captain beefheart electricity

DON'T ARGUE WITH THE CAPTAIN
history - story



WHEN DON WAS DONNIE...

is may 1990 picture
from holland 30 june 1990 OOR vol.20 #13

by ANTON CORBIJN

although their first meeting in 1980 was merely professional, don you-know-who and his 'strictly personal' photographer anton corbijn somehow became friends for life. not only through telephone - a favourite pastime of don - but also by some occasional visits the dutchman paid to the van vliets. one of those scarce happenings took place around may 1990 at the coastal residence of the retired captain (i wonder why by that time he complained: 'it makes me itch to think of myself as a captain - i don't even have a paddle...', while he had a whole ocean at his disposal!).

anton must have had very pleasant days, for when he came back from the outing, he immediately persuaded the dutch magazine OOR he worked for to feature a little story about it - totally ignoring the fact that it was a músic mag and beefheart hadn't been heard of for eight long years. the article appeared as 'kunstbroeders [brothers in art]' and mainly contained pictures anton had taken of don as a painter and / or devoted cigar smoker.

(those photographs later were used - amongst other - along the interview where's the beef?, and in the 1993 book 'stand up to be discontinued', if you want to know.)

it seems that at a certain moment the chat between don and anton took such dimensions that the former musician started to talk about his past, like his unhappy youth as an only child. gone mad, he - or probably it was his wife jan who dug them up - even showed his guest a pair of very, very old portraits. to which anton said: 'hold it', and made the 'still life with cigar' that most of us also have seen flashing by in their co-production some yo yo stuff.

(i'm sorry i'm bringing you a picture you already know...)

captain beefheart / don van vliet - young don - picture by anton corbijn

anton wrote the following comment:

Even Don once started small - here we see him at the age of three and twelve respectively - notice the ears. Cuban cigars are in high favour with Don; other favourite stimulants are Belgian beer, Dutch gin from the stone bottle, salmon, pecan pie, and tea from Fortum & Mason - and rather all at a time.

(if you take a close look, you can see that the then 12 year-old lad already could hardly leave the tobacco aside....)

*


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