DON'T ARGUE THE CAPTAIN
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART PULLS A HAT OUT OF HIS RABBIT
from NEW YORK ROCKER
#16 010179 usa
by byron coley with an assist from robbie carey
is 26.11.78 interview
(which text was reprinted in JAPANESE translation in japan 011079 rock magazine #27 as 'why don't you listen? there is a sound.')
as well as the full version
MASTER MUST SPEAK TO YOU'
the small matter of an interview with captain beefheart
from PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE #28 010200 england
notes: i combined both versions, with the later material in a different colour. the story line followed is that of the authorized second version - teejo
part 1 - part 2 - THIS is PART 3 - part 4
how do you like covers of your songs? like the tubes' 'my head is my only house unless it rains'.
i thought, at first, that it was awfully nice.
did you play harp with the tubes? [see note at the end - teejo.]
i played on a thing called 'golden boy' and they turned it way down. i also played soprano on 'cathy's clone'. i like the girl who wrote it, i think she wrote a good song. i told her i really liked what she had done and that i'd really play for her, and i played it. i thought it would be on there, but again it was turned down, way down. i don't want anyone to govern me. that i didn't like too much.
what about 'alice in blunderland' by henry kaiser's band 'monster island'?
well, that was originally done for elliot ingber [winged eel fingerling]. i put together that composition and gave him the complete freedom to play whatever he wanted on the guitar, which i thought he should get. you know, he never got it with frank [zappa - t.t.]. he's really great. he wrote 'don't bogart that joint' (by fraternity of man - ed.).
what else has elliot done?
well, right now he lives in hollywood across the street from a windows-darkened-up bookstore. you know, one of those places with the gynecology shots and whatnot - trophies. he lives there on santa monica boulevard, down the street from the 'pink pussycat' - now thére's a place - and he just plays all the time. he'll play with me again.
he will. (but it didn't happen, after all - t.t.) i think he's one of the greatest melodicists of the guitar who ever lived. he's been a tremendous influence.
what's the deal on the original 'bat chain puller'? is it different than this one, 'shiny beast'?
oh, definitely. glen kolotin was the engineer on this album and man, i think he's one of the better living engineers. he did stravinsky's last album. on this album you can hear everything. isn't that amazing? i wish on 'trout mask replica' you could hear everything.
you weren't happy with the way it came out?
well, the idea of being able to do an album like that in that time was amazing. i was lucky to have gotten it out. i was lucky that frank zappa gave me the opportunity to get it out. how it was merchandised was disgusting, but i can't put that on frank. what could he do about that? it's just business.
i mean, he's being sued right now. you know what? he's locked out of one of the places he owns. he's in a big lawsuit. not by warner brothers, but by an unmentionable jerk. i don't even want to mention his name. i don't think the press should have his name in it. i wouldn't want to give the unmentionable character fuel of any kind. (the other flamingo in that fruit fight was herb cohen, zappa's long-time business companion - t.t.)
what's 'apes ma' about?
it's obvious, isn't it? 'you're eating too much / you're going to the bathroom too much, apes ma / and apes ma / you're cage isn't getting any bigger, apes ma.' that's self-explanatory. i think that's fairly good poetry.
did mary jane (eisenberg, who performed dances to some of the songs - teejo) do her own choreography for that?
she did that herself and in about ten minutes. she got that stuff at a food store. she's good, man. that is a great dancer. i think she's the best living dancer. the truth has no patterns, but i think maybe she is the best. i know she sure as hell can think. and that's the sixth time she has ever played maracas. the sixth time! she's never been out with a band, never played an instrument. man, that i find really uplifting.
she dug eric dolphy. she did a piece that no one would ever do, to a thing that dolphy did that was pretty far out. he was really hip. it was a thing called 'senor something'. i can't remember the name of it. i knew dolphy. i hope he doesn't come down and get me for this, because i can't recall the name of the tune. probably because i write so many tunes, all of the time.
so she just came along with bruce [fowler] pretty much?
yeah. she likes my music.
everybody likes your music.
i don't think everybody likes my music. if everybody liked my music they wouldn't buy orange juice from that damn woman we were talking about.
do you listen to any new music?
well, anybody who's going on at all now used to be a lot better. i was in england, and i played a thing in france - a festival (fête du nouveau populaire de paris on 19 november 1977, so a year earlier - teejo). there were tén thousand people in the rain, and me under a thing where the rain didn't hit me. i was feeling sorry for the people in the rain. things like that are hard if you're at all feeling.
i apologized at least twelve times, i probably bored everyone to tears. that's not good business. god, that was terrible. it's wonderful to see people out in the rain, but not with me under a canopy. do you know how cold it was that night? it would freeze the fur on a fishing pole, i'll tell you that. contact lenses would be frightening in that kind of cold. i think it must have been at least ten below. [now, to someone living in the mojave desert any european temperature is chilly of course - teejo.]
you did a cover for the album blorp esette.
oh, ace and duce. i like those guys. they seem to be among those people who have a hold. which is why i did that. i was quite annoyed by the fact that he put 'blorp esette' right in the middle of my drawing. i think he could have found some other way to do that. he's a nice guy.
are you familiar with the 'residents' (who happen to have a track on that elpee, by the way - teejo)?
they're pretty damn good. i like them, i think they're really quite good. but i don't have much time to listen to anything. i'm doing this and doing that and training this and training that and trying not to train anything. an artist is probably the one who kids himself most gracefully. because somebody doing what i've created in an awful responsibility... - puts me in a sort of jail.
are you still doing sculpture?
your music is very sculptural.
well, that's it. that's what i am. that's why. it's all textures and stuff.
have you ever heard joseph spence?
i've never heard of him. what does he do?
he's a guitar player from the bahamas.
does he just do that constant beat? man, i hate that heartbeat being driven into my mind like that. that, i think, has got to change. that's what all of the drum things i've ever done have tried to do: to change that. because if that doesn't change to some degree... - and i think it won't be changed by electronics and i think that it won't be changed with mechanicals - that's why no electric drums. they could just hook you right into 'general electric'.
what kinds of influences do you see on your music?
none. never. you know why? because it would be a distortion of the prism. you know, color distortion. i think that an artist should be exactly what he is, or she is. i don't think that influences...
but these days everyone takes in so much information.
i don't. there are books that i would love to read, lóve to read. but i'm afraid they would influence me, and that could stop me.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW THIS ENDS, CLICK CLACK TO PAGE FOUR
click clack to the power station, the news or the other INTERVIEWS
captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo