captain beefheart electricity


history - interviewflits


from holland 15 december 2001 OOR #25/26
by paul hewson aka bono
is 17 november 2001 usa telephone chat

as well as

beefheart speaks... to bono!

from england 1 april 2004 MOJO #101

* the first version of this chat between don van vliet and the frontman of the irish pop group 'u2' - who knew each other vaguely from (at least) the mid 70s and one day halfway june 1980 - was a DUTCH translation for a christmas special edited by anton corbijn
* the later 'natural' version in ENGLISH - which is a bit shorter - is the base of the combination of both texts used here

part 1 - part 2 - THIS is PART 3


i'm a damn animal freak.

sounds like you've had some interesting species around you over the years.(laughs.)

let me tell you one right now. have you ever seen a sunfish?


you must see one. they weigh as much as a couple of cows and it looks like the head of a fish, just the head.

is this animal, mineral or vegetable?

boy, i don't know, i'm afraid. (laughs.)

where have you seen the sunfish?

my gardener showed me a picture of one.

and they are from the river, the sea or an unknown universe? (laughs.)

i don't know really, but they are from the ocean.

wow. well, i'll keep an eye out for the sunfish. it's something to look forward to.

have your people get one for you.

when you're a rockstar you can do that. you say: 'don wants me to have a sunfish'.

you can do so?

i think i should do so. we might tour in one. (laughs.)

well, yes, there is your pope-mobile.

we'll take it around the world. i love the pope-mobile.

doesn't that look great?

absolutely, and it also resembles what you just described as the sunfish: it has a very big forehead.

yeah. (laughs.)

the pope-mobile, and -- are you interested in the pope, catholicism or anything like that?

sure, why not?

is that a stone you have ever lifted?

er, i have smoked a few.

(laughing:) not smoking the stones again (reference to the song 'beatle bones and  smokin' stones' - t.t.)?

no, i don't do that any more.

you don't smoke?

i swear, the first time i thought a reefer was a duck's tail. that was in 1955 and the fellow who gave it to me said: 'hey, try this, it's like gas'.

what happened next?

i didn't take it.

you didn't take it?

that's chicken shit.

(laughs.) did you ever smoke chicken shit?

(laughs.) i don´t know, is that something new?

that's what young people tell me they do.

you're kidding.

i don't know, it wouldn't surprise me.

you know, i heard something very unusual on the radio the other day. this fellow said there was a pitcher (baseball player - t.t) named s-t-i-n-k, and i found out, shortly after that, that they bury fish in the ground - the heads of fish - and then they could dig them up [later] and eat them. that's s-t-i-n-k too.

wow, is that what's called a 'trout mask replica'?

(laughs.) do you know what that was?

tell me.

a carp!

a carp?


wow, are carps cool nowadays?

did you like 'trout mask replica'?

i think it was the big bang of a certain approach to music. i felt like it was a record made by a geologist, an adventurer, a captain in search of a propeller aeroplane, and a general scrabbler in the dirt.

it didn't sell shit.

yeah, but you know, i think you were looking in places before a lot of other people were, and that was the mud more than the dirt. i always think that all the great music comes out of the water you think of the delta, the mud of mississippi. it's kind of out of the ground and you can call it shit if you like, that's all right, but i can't. i can just call it the mud, the same place we all grow out of. and i just like that.

i agree.

and the more i think about your music, i also think of skeletons and skeletons out of the closet.

i have a crush on your skeleton (line taken from 'skeleton makes good' - t.t.).

yeah, that's right, that's classic. that's a classic: 'i have a crush on your skeleton'. i'll remember that line. what's that from, is that a poem or a song?

it's from a salad. (laughs.)

it is whát?

a salad! from a song.

i know that line, i've seen it written down, and --

guess what?


that's what.... it is an old joke from the fifties.

gosh, it's so great to talk to you. i wish, these conversations could have happened a long time before this. anton has been talking about you for years and i was always shy to approach you.

oh, no, no way.

oh yes - polly harvey (english female singer-songwriter - t.t.) is totally crazy about you, too. she toured with us for a while, and highly commended you.

she's cute.

yes, she's cute. do you have a crush on her skeleton? (laughs.)

i don't think ray (polly's father - a.c.) would permit that.

there's nothing wrong with liking someone. you know, that's one thing about your music i don't hear people talking about: the sexuality of it, the wantonness of it. there are some sexy skeletons in there, life force and humour and a sense of wonder, discovery, annoyance at the mundane things and those are the things we get from your work.

thank you very much.


preach it, preach it.

well, i'm going to head off now - we're going to play, of all places, las vegas.

yeah, neon.

so i'm gonna go out there now, and i wish you well. i hope - when you're out wandering in whatever desert with your locusts and wild honey - that you meet the lord(laughs) and that you tell him we were all asking for him.

well. i will. listen, i appreciate it and i'm sure glad anton finally got me on the phone with you.

i am too, don. god bless you and all who sail in you.

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