captain beefheart electricity


don van vliet SINGING INK
poetry and fine arts - 'brown star'

BROWN STAR / KISS ME WHERE I CAIN'T abandoned album 1972
CLEAR SPOT audio exhibit

THIS is part 1 - part 2 - part 3


15 january 1972 captain beefheart and the magic band went on a world wide tour to promote the newly released record 'the spotlight kid'. soon after the start, a 'brown star' in a 'clear spot' in the night sky inspired don van vliet to create a new album he talked about in several interviews from that time:

24 january 1972 interview AMERICA IS BULLISH ON CAPTAIN BEEFHEART usa 31 january 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #14
what are you doing with your time off? is it all interviews?
yeah, and i'm writing. i wrote the new album last night on the way over to yale (university, in new haven, connecticut - t.t).
in a car? you wrote the whole album?
the name of it is brown star.
is there a song on it called brown star?
yeah. i've got that written and i've got..., let's see, what else did i write? i can't remember the names of any of them. they're sure good.
during the three-weeks break in early march between the north-american part of the tour and the shows in europe the band couldn't explore the fresh tunes: they had to embed their latest asset, bassist roy estrada, into their live act
23, 27 and 28 march 1972 interview BEEFHEART INTERVIEW england 1 february and 1 april 1981 MOONLIGHT DRIVE #1/81 and #2/81
the next album is 'brown star'. can you tell us something about it?
on that album big eyed beans from venus is one thing: 'don't let anything get between us' - meaning to love people.... you know, big eyes as opposed to... (narrows eyes). another song is 'blue..., er..., sómething' (her eyes are a blue million miles? - teejo).
23 march 1972 interview ZAPPA STOLE MY IDEAS, SAYS THE CAPTAIN england 1 april 1972 DISC and music echo
the captain wrote the next album during a car journey on the american tour. it is called 'brown star' and there is to be a beautiful percussion and horn track between ed (marimba, real name: art tripp - t.t.) and the captain (spitball scalped a baby - t.t.).
i shall play a lot of horn on this album.
23 march 1972 interview A TRIP INTO THE MIND OF THE SPOTLIGHT KID england 1 april 1972 NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS
when are you going to record your next album 'brown star'?
probably when i go back. i may record some of it here (so, in england - t.t.).
i like to wear silk. i have silk suits, silk shirts, silk socks. air, you know. i've done a song for my next album 'brown star', called shiny around the edges with a breathing top. it's a beautiful song, it's like a cheer. it's a good cheer though, not a bad cheer.
29 march 1972 interview ROUGH TRADE FROM VENUS HITS IT BIG england 28 april 1972 FRENDZ #26
his next album - 'brown star' - though yet to be recorded, is completely worked out in beefheart's head. it was written during an eight-hour car journey between boston and yale. amongst the numbers to be featured are 'big eyed beans from venus' - 'which says you don't have to go back into the past. all the past in the world doesn't go to make up a man of the present' - and happy blue pumpkin, written by jan van vliet, don's wife and constant companion.
beefheart is planning on using some of the tapes of interviews he has made in this country for inclusion on 'brown star'.
28 and 29 march 1972 interview BEEFHEART'S BOOGIE england 1 may 1972 CREAM vol. 2 #1
but i am a super star. as a matter of fact i'm writing an album called 'brown star'. i have it done now, and it'll be the next one out. it's not avoiding being a super star that i saw 'brown star'. at the end of the poetry or whatever you call it, it says: 'you ask a child if he's seen a brown star around / and he'll laugh and jump up and down and say: / i found a brown star right on the ground'. i think we're living on a brown star. [...] i think this planet is as bright as sirius. but i think it is the 'on the other side of the fence the grass is greener' element that is ruining this paradise.
8 april 1972 interview IK WIL HUILEN ALS EEN WEERWOLF holland 5 may 1972 ALOHA vol.3 #1
does your new elpee resemble 'the spotlight kid' or any earlier record?
nothing i've done till now sounds much like 'brown star'; it's - i hope - the warmest elpee i've ever made. the band is more played-in to each other now, they sense each other better than ever before and i believe that's the gorgeous feeling on this album. we now also have a good engineer, ted templeman.

april 1973 interview A QUICKIE CHAT england 1 february 1974 ZIG ZAG #38

i've been told that you wrote crazy little thing in about an hour. is that right?
yeah. it was in a car. i wasn't driving, bill (harkleroad) was - from boston to yale university, where we were doing a gig. that's all it took.
words first?
both at the same time really: words are music to me and vice versa.


when they returned from the european continent an extra usa tour had been arranged, starting a few days later. according to the record company's 'weekly news device' it was supposed to be accompanied by a coloured brochure:
BROWN STAR booklet
usa 17 april 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #15

captain beefheart
                                -'brown star' brochure - announcementcaptain
                                        beefheart - tull-beefheart
                                        alliance - combined usa tour
                                        april 1972

the booklet actually isn't much of a tour program, but rather an off-topic collection of fine art by don van vliet.... no wonder it never was distributed at those concerts meant to buy the 'spotlight kid' album in stead of a future one for which not a single note had been recorded yet. to that, if the brochure had been available at the gigs, copies of it regularly would have been offered for sale over time - but such is an exceptionally rare happening! ultimately, a few left-overs later were hidden in a number of signed copies of the pre-release promo single 'clear spot' with 'wolfman jack' front....

by the way, given the subject of the 'catalogue' it is no surprise it's printed on brówn paper.

[technical note: as the magazine was posted folded, the scans suffer from a crease]


drawing don van vliet february 1972
lyrics / poem don van vliet 23 january 1972

brown star is the title of captain beefheart's next album, succeeding the spotlight kid, lick my decals off baby, trout mask replica and the rest, which are history

                        beefheart -'brown star' booklet - don van vliet
                        drawing and poem
              i know of a brown star
              that only very certain people have found
              for years and years they been looking around
              a lot of people looking up
              but very few of them looking down
              well they searched high and low for that little glow
              that'll make them happy
              some searched fast and they went on past
              some went slow but couldn't let it go
              i know of a brown star
              that only very certain people have found
              you can ask a dog why he's so happy
              just wagging his tail around
              or a frog what makes him jump around
              follow a sailing cloud until it dumps
              the rain right down
              but ask a man and a woman if they've seen
              a brown star around
              some will say yes and some will say no
              some will just laugh and some will just glow
              some will say why do you ask
              some will say well don't you know
              then there'll be the one that says
              it's already been found
              but you ask a child and they'll just jump up and down
              saying we found a brown star
              right on the ground

page reproduced in liner notes 1999 2ceedee the dust blows forward (an anthology)
reproduced on white background in liner notes 1990 ceedee the spotlight kid / clear spot
reprinted in magazine germany 1 june 1972 sounds


and lyrics to steal softly thru snow from 'trout mask replica' (1969)

captain beefheart -'brown
                      star' booklet - picture and lyrics 'steal softly
                      thru snow'

real name: don van vliet

lyrics reproduced in liner notes 1990 ceedee
the spotlight kid / clear spot (really!)

watching and reading....

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flits captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo