captain beefheart electricity

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intro - THIS is part 2 MORE THINKING - review

by average customer teejo

this is one of the two most interesting parts of the mixed bag, because 'none of the material has been seen by the public before'. that is, if you don't mind that it actually all is stuff from bygone days.

for example, a considerable section of the book is a collection of pictures by don's old friend anton corbijn, whose feeling for catchy photographs is world famous. and although they have a regular contact by phone, face-to-face meetings have been scarce. since their first acquaintance in the mojave desert in october 1980 - so in the last years of captain beefheart's existence - anton only visited the van vliet's twice: in 1990 and 1993, when don had long become a full-time painter. (p.s. corbijn also pictured don at the 30 october 1980 manchester concert, but that was a completely different situation.)

as most of the shots from the desert session have been published, the 'corbijn splinters' must be so to say outtakes from the '90 'waving hand' portraits and anton's slumber party in 1993 which resulted in the 'stand up to be discontinued' pictures and the 'some yo yo stuff' film. so, in practically all the photos don van vliet shows little to no resemblance to the former captain.

next, i'd like to ask you a question. what is missing from this phrase: 'a selection of personal archival material supplied by Don and Jan Van Vliet - including family snapshots, drawings and sketches'?... answer: the words 'captain beefheart'!

several times after his retirement from music don has told us he wants to forget his 'weirdo act'. but i think that in his second life he also abandoned an important artistic singularity. for, if you ever went to a van vliet exhibition, you know that most of his new outings (laborious paintings) lack his main mark: the impressionistic touch. don was / is at his best when immediately putting down his sudden ideas: by drawing them out at once, or instantly recording sentences and musical creations which bubbled up.

don van vliet / captain beefheart - 199? retiring on
              sofa - art set 'riding some kind of unusual skull sleigh'
              usa 2003 - book 'splinters' - buy jan van vliet
picture by jan van vliet

thus, as it is in contradiction with van vliet's new confession, it is a pleasant surprise that the art splinters in the second book appear to be sketches, drawings and poems which were created following the old principles. despite the regular stashing away of the 'inappropriate' side step, a lot of the material dates from the 'erased' years - which makes it of special interest: if you realize that don often made a drawing to explain a musical idea to the band, and that spoken words can be turned into lyrics, you can imagine what could have happened if captain beefheart had lived on....

a postscript for dummies: i might be wrong
but as captain beefheart was a fantasy figure who never had any relatives
the 'family snapshots' must be pictures from before (and after?) the 'regrettable transformation'


for the second time, a van vliet book is accompanied by a disc with poems. but whereas the previous 'stand up to be discontinued' cd has a link to captain beefheart by containing two song texts, this next poetry reading doesn't seem to have a connection to the 'ghost from the past' - although an unknown amount of poems comes from years when captain beefheart still was alive and kicking (1977/82). which makes it of special interest, if you realize that spoken words can be transformed into lyrics....

unfortunately, you can't hear them without having to buy the complete set (which i can't)!


we know this part of the box very well - and probably already have it. which is another reason why i would have liked the possibility to obtain separate pieces of the set in stead of having to take áll or nóthing.


of course, the biggest problem with this set is the luxurious price. also, the fact that the different parts of it aren't available separately damps the enthusiasm of potential buyers, mainly because a lot of them already possess a considerable segment of the content or are familiar with it. besides that, most fans simply prefer the art of captain beefheart to don van vliet's.

for, maybe thát's the main trouble with this 'retrospective': the former musician seems to hate one third of his life! all right, don, you might be blissfully happy with your current role, but that's no reason to be ashamed of the 'fatal mistake' you think you have made. i - and many others with me - lóve it.
don van vliet / captain
              beefheart - drawing - untitled drawing - usa 2004 book
untitled drawing - year unknown - felt on paper

actually, if you come to think about it, it's quite astonishing that this combi-issue contains no examples of captain beefheart's music. rhino handmade is a daughter of warner bros, the record company which owns the rights to many of the records and hides a nice amount of interesting outtakes in its vault, especially from the 1972 'brown star / clear spot' sessions. if anyone cautiously díd made the suggestion to bring out a selection of it, i suppose don must have vetoed that perfect idea (and demanded that the poor employee got sacked)....

CONCLUSION: for don van vliet addicts with much money
ADVICE: unfit for captain beefheart lovers


originally rhino handmade didn't mention that don has signed the etchings a bit carelessly. as a result, some signatures are incomplete and it's a kind of lottery which percentage of it happens to be on the copies.... after (declined) complaints by buyers they hastely replaced the unsigned sample on the website by a picture which is more according to truth.

click clack to the NEXT part: REVIEW (when ready)



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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo