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

part 1 - part 2 - THIS is part 3 


after the joint concerts the band could concentrate on the new album. except for two incidental gigs in the first month, may and june were rehearsal times. elliot ingber (the winged eel) left before the recordings began in july, and on the ninth don van vliet said something logged in a short news item about NAME CHANGEs:

captain beefheart - announcement 'kiss me where i can't' album (formerly 'brown star')
usa 10 july 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #27

july went, and so on till october when 'brown star' 'kiss me where i cain't' was ready to be pressed....


whatever happened - like a whole new album title - the captain made sure his alter ego's artistic ideas were reflected in every aspect of the release

usa 20 november 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #46

the practical context, the reason for my being there and his excuse to break away from his recording session to talk with me, was my assignment to see what was happening with his new album clear spot.
i realized that we had talked of nearly everything but the captain's work in progress, and i had to take a firmer tack if only to justify my presence. i had already heard a scrap of a gentle, pretty song called too much time and a couple of titles: my heart [whát? - t.t.] is my only house unless it rains and nowadays a woman's gotta hit a man.
the album concludes with a enigmatic vale: 'webcor, webcor...' (last phrases of golden birdies, initially written in 1970 - t.t.)
don envisioned 'clear spot' as a gleaming disc of clear vinyl [...]. however, tests on clear sample platters revealed insurmountable obstacles - a nasty tendency to pick up other colors in smudges and flecks [...]; an even nastier tendency to go gooey and stick to its sleeve [...] during shipment.
an extravagant series of experimentations compromised with the captain's original concept and the customary black record will be visible through a clear vinyl liner - strikingly unique, even for a one-of-a-kind artist. (i suspect that disc-jockeys will be grateful: how easy for a clear disc to vanish in a cluttered control room, how difficult to squint for the cut to be aired.)

captain beefheart - original 'clear spot' album in embossed hard plastic sleeve
album in original EMBOSSED HARD PLASTIC SLEEVE - design by don van vliet / reprise
(before jacket and insert were replaced by a common paper sleeve)

the paintings to listen to:
low yo yo stuff

nowadays a woman's gotta hit a man

too much time


my head is my only house unless it rains

sun zoom spark

clear spot

crazy little thing

long neck bottles

her eyes are a blue million miles

big eyed beans from venus

golden birdies

words and music don van vliet

of course, don also was involved in the public presentation of his bloodbrother's 'brown star' that had turned into a 'clear spot'

early november 1972 interview / report CAPTAIN BEEFHEART MEETS THE WOLFMAN usa 20 november 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #46
the interview [reel] was arranged with an eye towards promoting the captain's new album 'clear spot'. wolfman understandably led off with a question about the record, asking beefheart when he wrote it.
going from harvard to yale [university] (not quite correct, but he always liked puns - t.t.).
'you're teasing me,' wolfman observed.
i wrote it on the move, i wrote it in about an hour.
a few days after the interview it was to be his honor to unveil a billboard of his artwork [...]. the record biz cat pack was on hand at a bash (on 5 november - t.t..) honoring the great man of arts' 'clear spot' release. [...] unfortunately, beefheart arrived too late for the unveiling and the party, but he pronounced the twilight display quite acceptable.

caption: BEEFHEART BOARD pictured here is the captain beefheart billboard [for an audio exhibit]. the drawing of the tiger is mostly green.
captain beefheart - 'clear spot' promotional billboard - launch party 5 november 1972 with dr. demento

  [NEWS ITEM] usa 7 december 1972 ROLLING STONE #123
warner bros. records set up a tent on a vacant lot on wilshire boulevard, stocked it with food and champagne and surrounded it with an artificial lawn, all a preliminary to the unveiling of captain beefheart's self-designed billboard advertising his new album, 'clear spot'. mimes, violins and accordion entertained. the day wore on. no beefheart. finally local disc jockey dr. demento unveiled the sign without beefheart's presence; the captain arrived about a half hour later, delayed by his plane from newfoundland, where he had given a concert in st. john's. 'how embarrassing', said the captain.
captain beefheart / don van vliet - 5 november 1972, los angeles, california, usa - 'clear spot' billboard drawing
additional picture by
loni specter
now, if you would step a bit closer to the huge advertisement, you could spot a clearer part of it:


drawing don van vliet october 1972

captain beefheart  / don van vliet drawing - 'tiger' 1972 - promotional billboard 'clear spot' launch 5 november 1972

drawing detail from inside of box 1999 2ceedee the dust blows forward (an anthology)
for a correct view an 
which is printed over it, has been erased

24 february 1973 interview THE CAPTAIN'S KIND TO ANIMALS TOO... england 17 march 1973 NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS

did you know that i wrote all the material for 'clear spot' in just two and a half hours? he turns and calls out to jan, who's in another room: i know it was when we were driving between two college towns, but can you remember where i wrote 'clear spot'?
jan: between boston and new haven.
of course, now i remember. we were driving to yale in the station wagon when i wrote the songs. so, as you can see, it's a pretty spontaneous little album, perhaps even more than any of the others. like just about everything i do - writing, painting or making music - i like things to be spontaneous. so when i feel that it's time for me to do a new album i always put the material together as quickly as possible, and get it in the stores so as it's reflective of what i'm doing at that point in my career.



click clack back to the singing ink or return to the power station
flits captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo