OLD FART AT PLAY !
or: a story about bob k.
do you remember the first picture of this 'striped light' photo album? it appeared over a year ago, was called blimp over europe 1a, and dealt with the visit captain beefheart and the magic band brought to holland (aka the netherlands) at the end of their second tour of europe in spring 1968. the news item announced four gigs - including takes for a teevee program - on 31 may and 1 june...
because of an overdose of beefheartian activities i forgot to find time for further investigations - yes, it's a shame (ja, jullie hebben gelijk: natuurlijk ben ik maar gewoon een aartsluiaard met een mooie smoes - is er dus misschien iemand die deze eervolle klus over wil nemen?). but luck sometimes comes from an unexpected corner - in this case: the burnleg ceedee out here over there. for inside the notes foldout to the collection of songs from the european 1968 gigs there is another proof they were over here!
which, by the way, happened suddenly. after their first european tour in january that year - as part of a 'buddah records' promo exuberance - they were booked for a second round 'on their own'. except for a side-jump to the international pop festival in rome, italy on 4 may, the three-weeks tour was planned to take place in england only. but during the execution of their contract interest in his music arose on the other side of the northsea too, as well as possibilities to give some concerts. difficulties with work permits prevented an immediate storming of the eager lowlands, but after a handful of boring days in london they finally could steer their blimp towards the land of the wooden shoes and tulips...
as the mentioned announcement proved, captain beefheart and the magic band didn't come unnoticed and one photographer even caught them doing some sightseeing in the country of don (van) vliet's ancestors. he made them line-up around an assortment of tulips they were admiring (don later would write the song 'sweet sweet bulbs' about it; or do you think this is a joke?) - which portrait resulted in one of the best group pictures of the early days - and surely their most relaxed one! great!!!
some remarks, just because i always like to make them: 1) i can assure you those tulips aren't decoration bought in a (uk) shop - as a dutchman i can recognise a tulip when it's flowering in its natural soil. 2) on the notes to the bootleg this picture is combined with a short interview from the tour in england in may - i'd like to know the source of that publication, and of the photo of course (dutch review? article? interview? [question later solved!]). 3) where can that goddamn tv footage be? 4) the guys in the picture are from left to right
- and in fact is the last picture of this particular line up (back in the states they split, just read on).
DON VAN VLIET captain beefheart , ALEX SNOUFFER alex st. clair , JERRY HANDLEY , JOHN FRENCH drumbo andJEFF COTTON antennae jimmy semens
VERY IMPORTANT LATER CORRECTION
i must apologize for giving you totally wrong notes to the above photo... for i truly believed beefheart had been in holland in 1968 as 1) the liner notes to 'i may be hungry but i sure ain't weird' say so, 2) a reliable dutch paper mentioned the performance at paradiso in amsterdam, 3) the announcement of their concerts seemed to be the ultimate proof. i honestly thought this picture was the next clue to their presence over here...
but someone who can know - john french, the contemporary drummer - by accident visited this website and sent me a mail yesterday (and i didn't dare to change a capital of it!):
Unfortunately, this is totally wrong. The band went back to the States before ever playing in Holland. Regretably, our acting manager, Bob Krasnow, had left the UK with all the funds we had earned while on tour in England. We found out about this the morning we were scheduled to depart for Holland and therefore cancelled, flying home the same day. I do believe there was some legal action or fines that had to be paid as a result, but we felt as though we would become involved in a serious financial situation were we to go to Holland, then back to the UK, with a four week hotel bill to pay, then fly home.
so that's been cleared now (thanks, john).
by the way: as you know, right after the return at his luxurious office bob k. started to 'produce' what would be the next beefheart album 'strictly personal' by adding flower-power effects to it. after finding the cheapest record manufacturer around he brought out a grim pressing... - on the 'blue thumb' label he had sneakily started for himself (while buddah - of which he was the head - owned the rights of release)...