DON'T ARGUE WITH THE CAPTAIN
history - story
SAFE AS BABY ROLLING STONE
it took captain beefheart quite a time to make his first album. but that wasn't hÝs fault. for he already had made some songs for an intended debut elpee during his contract for two singles with a&m records in early 1966. so, when he had finished the demos he went to herbert moss, the 'm' of that record company. in the bootleg-only track the story of 'electricity' don explains that the boss rejected his songs - and especially the potential 'hitsingle' - as being 'too negative, and not good for my daughter'...
after that disappointment nearly a whole year went by: a time of doing nothing, just smoking softly, and relaxing? or did they furiously try to find another label interested in the material? there's very little known about that period from say summer 1966 thru september 1967. john french replaced paul blakely on drums in october, they did just f-i-v-e concerts in seven months, in april guitarist doug moon suddenly got sacked, ry cooder - who soon would quit after don had zig zagged off a stage - was asked to assemble the elpee off which seemed to have come to an arrest.
but meanwhile some changes had occurred in the original plans. for the recently discovered test-pressing captain beefheart shows that the group had signed with kamasutra records. now, the guy that had arranged the recording deal was a young, ambitious producer named bob krasnow. as he was keen on money and fame - for himself rather than for the bands he 'handled' - one way or another he got it done that a sublabel was founded: BUDDAH (yes, spelt the wrong way). of course he became the head of that company, and started working on the first release: SAFE AS MILK by captain beefheart!
one of the practical things kamasutra provided bob k. with was a big pile of dollars to promote the fresh record company. so, by the time beefheart's debut was ready the label did some advertising in magazines such as san francisco's 'world countdown' and the nation wide 'billboard' and 'cash box' in june - which in hindsight turned out to be much too early: the 'krasnow corrects perry's sound' re-editing still had to happen [see liner notes to the remastered 'buddha' version with seven bonus tracks from 1999].
eventually the debut record was brought out in august, and a few months later bob krasnow took a risk when he heard about an interesting states-wide 'alternative' periodical which was gonna be called ROLLING STONE... so, when the first issue of that magazine - on 9 november 1967, priced twenty-five cents - hit the stalls it appeared that buddah records had bought the complete centre page on behalf of the captain. as the new publication wasn't introduced by handing it out for free to all americans - and it was unknown too, of course - far too few people have ever seen that poster-size ad (which was similar to the ones published five months earlier)! thus, as a mint copy of that #1 now costs $300, most of us unfortunately must be satisfied with the following tiny reproduction of the 58 x 42 centimeters original:
upper left there's just the logical text: captain beefheart and his magic band (bds 5001) - but, er, what the baby has to do with?... well, the very first editions of the album held the device may the baby jesus shut your mouth and open your mind, and the baby is a substantial part of the inner sleeve artwork as well as the bumper sticker that came along with it...
the advertisement also appears in:
usa 1986 25th ANNIVERSARY REPRINT
usa 2007 (book+4dvd)boxset ROLLING STONE * COVER TO COVER 40 years of rolling stone 1967-2007
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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo