captain beefheart electricity

the interviews


van vliet, painter
collection of fragments

THIS is PART 1 1985/89 - 1990/95


painting with melody

from usa 18 december 1985 NEW YORK TIMES vol.135 #46627
by jon pareles
is first half december 1985 telephone interview


i'm real serious. a lot of people didn't know that; they thought it was just random function. my music and the paintings are the same thing, really. i don't think i would have been able to do the music if i hadn't been an artist. with both of them, you have to capture the moment in your mind and maintain it.


i did the music out of boredom, and out of irritation, and the paintings too - when you see them, you can tell that i was very upset when i was doing them. i guess i've been upset for 44 years.


on live performances:

right now, trying not to laugh when i look in the mirror is enough performance for me. i will never quit doing music. but i'm definitely enjoying the time to be able to paint. i've never had so much fun with my clothes on.


from england 22 march 1986 NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS
by david belcher
is first half march 1986 telephone interview


on their crackling telephone connection
do you know how strange it has gotten, the connections? do you hear that ssshhhhh...? it's like that cheap perfume in a damn telephone booth, that smell, constantly. that noise discombobulates me (disturbs - editor).


i'm painting the stuff i played.


i paint all the time..., 18 hours a day which is beginning to get up to more than 18 hours a day. i miss going on tour.... i'm painting so damn much, i don't drive any more because painting makes you very far out.


do you know about all the reissues in england by virgin, and that, off the record, wea says that 'safe as milk' is selling better than some of their current advertised elpees?

i'll be damned. not many things out there, huh? ha ha ha..., two pound 99 - four dollars? that's a bargain - i'll come and buy some. it's funny...: they don't even have anything out on me over here. all you can get is 'trout mask replica'.



from usa 1 april 1986 (andy warhol's) INTERVIEW vol.16 #4
by robert becker
is early 1986 telephone interview

captain beefheart / don van vliet - painting studio, usa early 1986 - italy 010391 rockstar #126 - picture by paula bullwinkel gardner
picture by paula bullwinkel gardner
b&w original replaced by a comparable coloured one
from the italian magazine 010391 rockstar #126


i hate music, i always have. it was an allergy or an irritation that i had to soothe. i'm very serious about painting, however. when we were on the road i would paint on anything i could find. i carried watercolors, oil paints and color markers with me when we travelled and kept canvases at home.


captain beefheart was just the shingle that gave me shingles. painting is my true love.


from usa 25 november 1988 SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
as well as

from usa 30 december 1988 THE BOSTON GLOBE
today captain beefheart aims to make the canvas sing
from usa 8 january 1989 CHICAGO TRIBUNE

by rip rense
is mid november 1988 telephone interview

note: all three, slightly different versions were based on the same text


yeah, i'm 47 years out. but i string the four and shoot the seven so fast that it becomes a one - that's how old i am!


actually, i am making music - on canvas.

actually, what i try to do is turn myself inside out on canvas, to freeze the moment so that the person seeing it can observe what i froze. i try to turn what is going on in me into a still life of that moment.


what am i reading? that guy, i can never think of his name - dick francis [a british mystery writer - ed.]. he's good. you know who reads him? phillip larkin [a postwar british poet]. god, i'd love to have met him. great poet. the best, really, i think.

what is my favorite poem by larkin? the one about the moon: Ďand looking out to see the moon thinned / to an air-sharpened blade'. god, that's good.


the artist often speaks fondly of his painting 'band and cat panda', perhaps because in its creation he had a collaborator, of sorts. one morning as he worked, his cat garland, proceeded to sharpen his claws on the lower right corner of the work.

garland just fooled around. i won. i bought the canvas! he just enjoyed scratching it, cleaning his little toenails, his little protein points.


business is yogurt with wrenches.


go to the NEXT part: 1990/95

click clack to the history or return to the power station

captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo