captain beefheart electricity

review and rants

pre-beefheart guest appearance
member of THE SOOTS 1963-64


usa 1998 advance cd limited edition ceedee rykodisc rcd 10580 adv promo no front sheet
usa 1998 ceedee rykodisc rcd 10580
usa 1998 limited edition cassette rykodisc [ unknown]
japan 1998 ceedee rykodisc vack 5391
japan 2003 ceedee rykodisc [ unknown] front is repro of elpee cover gatefold cardboard sleeve

captain beefheart guest appearances - the soots (1963/64) - frank zappa 'mystery disc' cd - front


before captain beefheart took over his personality in 1965, don vliet (without 'van') hang around a lot with a guy called frank zappa. to educate themselves they drank pepsi and enjoyed rhythm and blues all night. according to the liner notes to a track they recorded at z.'s:

in our spare time we made what we thought were 'rock and roll records'. in this example, vliet was singing in the hallway outside the studio (our vocal booth) while the band played in the other room. the lyrics were derived from a comic book pinned to a bulletin board near the door. the musicians include me on guitar, vic mortensen on drums [once to be in the magic band - t.t.], and a bass player from a surf group (identity unknown).

captain beefheart guest appearances - the soots (1963/64) - 'metal man has won his wings' cartoon song
the meant part of the comic book

the meant song METAL MAN HAS WON HIS WINGS is the beefheart contribution to the first (of two) bonus album(s) of re-mastered zappa material, originally released in a series of mail-order only 'old masters' lp box sets. that mystery disc from 1985 also included frank's short spoken-word the birth of captain beefheart. the notes go:

i was trying to raise money for a micro-budget sci-fi film called 'captain beefheart versus the grunt people'. this is a sample of the dialog. captain beefheart was a character i invented for the film. his name derives from one of don vliet's relatives. he used to piss with the door open when don's girlfriend walked by and make comments about how his whizzer looked just like a beef heart.

the mentioned comic song is known from the bootleg ceedees PULLER MAN [in a faked-live version] and THE EARLY YEARS 1959-1969, but this is a better-distributed release. however, when you want to buy that zappa (don't forget!) record: you must 1) realise that the pictorial effects and the lettering in the booklet make a horrible lay-out, and 2) wonder why the commercial thing is that these nice beefheart bits weren't reunited with 'tiger roach' on the previous ceedee release 'the lost episodes'.

by the way: you can hear a lot of mothers of invention that later would run to beefheart!

but despite its low score, the booklet has an enormous surprise on page 13:

captain beefheart / don van vliet - backstage shrine auditorium, los angeles 1968 or 1969 - notes booklet frank zappa cd 'mystery disc' - picture by ed caraeff
don backstage at the shrine auditorium in los angeles 7 december 1968
picture by ed caraeff

MY CONCLUSION: not completely successful
MY ADVICE: better get a beefheart bootleg

[130998 with many thanks to biffy, the elephant shrew / 151198]


maybe you're interested in the full discography of this pre-beefheart guest appearance with zappa ?

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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo