Beefheart R.I.P.

December 17, 2010

[I reprise this post from November 30, 2005 to note the passing of the Captain.]

Captain Beefheart – do you know him? I didn’t, until today. I first heard of him when I was in the eighth grade and a bio-lab partner asked me what music I liked. I said something like Jethro Tull most likely, and he said, “I like Captain BEEFHEART!” Whaaa? That was Greg Grunke, a bit of an oddball, though his name is…just his name. He later gave me a yellow calling card, which I probably have still, that says, “Max Ernst is dead, isn’t he?” Now THAT I liked! So, that was thirty-five years ago, and all this time I’ve been wondering who IS this Beefheart fellow. Finally, I got his Trout Mask Replica album off of eBay and started listening to it. I’ve made it through four songs so far, and I can say that it is everything I hoped for – intriguing and weird. Definitely an acquired taste, but so is wine, scotch, and lots of other good things that no one thinks twice about. Why should music be different? And that album cover is one of the best surrealist images ever made, I think. Max Ernst would definitely have approved.

Vliet (aka Beefheart) was friends with Frank Zappa as a high-schooler, how about that? Two of the weirdest souls in “pop” music and they were school chums in Antelope Valley. Take that Greenwich Village, center of the Bohemian Universe!

I just get tired of the same old, same old, and the other day I pulled out my one Frank Zappa record, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, which I love. I never got much into Frank, but perhaps now I’ll give him another look. That’s the wonder of recorded music, the Internet, and the public library – there’s a world of sounds, images and words to get lost in forever. Perfect for non-productive parasites like yours truly, who never care to produce anything of value, other than their own persons and their offspring, but who love to consume the culture of others.