DON'T ARGUE THE CAPTAIN
A BRIEF CHAT WITH CAPTAIN BEEFHEART
from HOT WACKS #4
by brian hogg
is 06.06.74 interview
note: pictures by jacki
where did you get the guys for the new band?
los angeles. they're good. i like them: they're real good.
they give a different approach to the songs: a... -
fresh. that's right... yeah, they really work hard. and that's good.
do you want to talk about the old band? i can understand it if you don't really want to, but there are some things i would like to talk about...
well, they're like - uhhh - that's the old days. i wanna do new things now. there's not much really to say about them, other than the fact that, uhhh, they gave me five days to get a new band to get on tour, and they knew the tour was booked - i don't think that is very nice.... i don't know, you live and learn, but we had some good times.
yeah, well, like the really early stuff. you know, i like 'moonchild'.
were there just the four things you put down for a&m records?
let's see... they had 'moonchild', uhhh, they had 'who do you think you're fooling'..., 'diddy wah diddy'..., 'frying pan' and a - what else did they have? (to his wife jan:) what else did they have, jan?
jan: there was just the four songs (wrong answer! she forgot the unreleased 'here i am, i always am' - teejo).
did i say the lot?
yeah. was it the same band as 'safe as milk'?
no, not altogether. one guy by the name of rick hepner on guitar and a fellow named ah..., (long pause) oh..., on 'diddy wah diddy' played a fellow that's named david a. gates - you know, who plays in a group called 'bread'.
and on 'moonchild' too. you ever heard of them?
(still spluttering:) oh..., yeah... david gates has got this solo thing now.
they made it big, they made it very big.
that's - err - quite a strange combination: you and him together.
well, i don't know... (long pause.) yeah, i guess it is... (much laughter.)
herb bermann, who co-wrote so much of 'safe as milk' - who was he?
just a friend that lived in the desert... just a friend... and a good writer.
you know how 'strictly personal' got really changed by bob krasnow when you came over here - with him adding phasing and...-
- and i wondered if you had any plans to re-mix the tapes yourself.
i'd love to - if i could get a hold of it contractually. it's so difficult to get a hold of things in this silly record business - it's ridiculous. seems to me that virgin records are doing a great job. this is definitely the biggest sales on any album i've had.
are you happy with the album?
i like it. i like the album. now, on my next album i wanna do... - i've already got it written - some things like 'trout mask replica' and i'll do some things like every album i've ever done, a collage of all of those albums, you know: not the same things, different music but similar sounds.
that would be really nice.
i think i'll do that... (looking round.) i don't like these places, do you? i would really like to get some property in the highlands (somewhere else in scotland - t.t.). paul mccartney does. do you know jeffrey hammond hammond of 'jethro tull'? you know jethro tull? we toured quite a bit with them in the south (of the usa - t.t.). nice fellow... he's from up here, isn't he?
err... i don't know. (changing of subject:) uhh, yeah, it would be nice to tie up all the different things you have covered. there has been such a scope...
it's about time i did that. yeah, bring it in. that's what i wanna do, jan.
have you got recording planned?
andy di martino - the producer who was here a few minutes ago - says we'll be doing it in three months.
the last time you were here you said you were going to put some books out - you know, put out some poems.
i have a book called 'the old fart at play' - that's a novel that i wanna put out soon - and a book called 'singing ink', a book of poems. is that what you're referring to?
yeah, i'm gonna put these out very soon. that should be within five months or earlier even.
will it be your own publishing company?
no. it might - but i really don't know yet what i'm gonna do about that. maybe through virgin.
that would work.
they have a publishing company and they could put it in all their stores. i have so much writing, seven and a half sea trunks full - big ones. i'm probably more of a writer than a musician. i write all the time. i think up things all the time.
right. on stage, you know during that long number you said: 'write that down'. were you thinking of something there?
i was thinking that..., that i was hoping that orang-utan was all right.
as the magic band were due to set off at 7 the following morning we were (politely) asked if we could make our interview as short as possible to allow the captain a good rest. so there were a good few points not covered. maybe next time. oh, and the orang-utan is alexander, who watches television in our local zoo (in edinburgh - t.t.).
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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo