CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Quotes

Ted Alvy COSMOS TOPPER Home Page "Cosmic Consciousness with a Cosmic Giggle" featuring 60's L.A. Underground Radio (rebop from beatniks to hipsters to hippies), Mallard, Zoot Horn Rollo, Magic Band, Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, Neon Park, Firesign Theatre, Theodore Sturgeon, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Paul Krassner, Bruce Lee and COSMOS TOPPER (on the Web since September 1995) and TOPPER Films and TV Show

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CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Quotes by DON VAN VLIET

"I think people have had too much to think and ought to flex their magic muscles. It takes awhile to get oriented to what I do, but people seem to be able to hear it if they give it a chance. I'd never just want to do what everybody else did. I'd be contributing to the sameness of everything."

April, 1971 COAST FM & Fine Arts Magazine:

"I guess the reason I use lyrics is because I'm a singer and the record companies and everybody would think I was ridiculous if I didn't use the English language."

"For instance, the English language is the only language that has an *i* before *e* except after *c*. What's before an *i*? Before my eyes is a sea. But the *c* I see is a sea. I'm not that word-oriented. I'm trying to use words like music so that they don't take your mind anywhere that I want them to."

"It's hard to use the English language. I'd rather play a tune on a horn, but I've always felt that I didn't want to train myself. Because when you get a train, you've got to have an engine and a caboose. I think it's better to train the caboose. You train yourself, you strain yourself."

"I think nutrition is very important. If you eat bad, you feel bad. If you feel bad, you do bad things. Most of modern rock and roll is a product of guilt. People cop licks off of dead people, like stealing pennies off a dead man's eyes. The movement needs a bowel movement."

"I don't do lullabyes. I'm tired of lullabyes, like The Beatles. I heard *Lullabye of Broadway* when I was a baby, and I still hear it now, and I'm still a baby. We're the only people doing anything significant in modern music. I haven't heard anything else that gets away from mother's heartbeat. All I've heard is a rebelling against parents, and I'm tired of hearing that."

"I hope that the people who come to see me come in without any attitude, or lattitude, or longitude, or altitude. I'll be playing with: Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Winged-Eel Fingerling, Drumbo and Ed Marimba, who joined us about nine months ago and used to be with John Cage and with The Mothers. We've been together about three or four years. I'll be playing the saxophone. I never took lessons or anything. I never rehearse. The rest of the Band rehearses a lot. I would appreciate it if they would refrain, because I don't think having to rehearse is a fair recommendation. It's sort of saying you didn't have it to begin with, and I feel everybody has it. Drumbo has kept track of how many times I've played the saxophone. The last count was about 113 or 114."

"There's no competition with our music. It can't be compared or impaired, or impaled with points or justifications...It means absolutely nothing, just like the sun."

"I don't think there's any way you can *know* music. The minute you *know* it, you stop playing, and the minute a person stops playing, the music isn't playing anymore."

"I think most people try to get others to see through their eyes. And if you look through enough eyes, like in books, you end up not knowing how to use your own eyes. Then you have to be started by something. It all has to do with The One. People can't realize that a One is really a Zero split in half. It's like splitting the world in two; choosing up sides."

"They've already proved Einstein. I mean, all you have to do is look at the way the sun shines on a leaf, and it's round. They proved that light goes in a circle. So, I imagine as long as I'm light, I'm in a circle. Everything is in a circle. When people try to roll a square they get a lot of bumps. Spontaneous things are true things. Society is so anti-spontaneity because they can't get past the idea of The Switch. Some people think they can throw switches on other people. They switch them on when they want to hear them and switch them off when they don't. You know as well as I do that if you turn off a switch you couldn't turn a light back on if the electricity wasn't moving. See, electricity never stops moving. That's the *spark of life*. How can you turn life on or off?"

WASHINGTON POST Sunday, January 24, 1971

"The Beefheart Cometh" by Tom Zito:

"I don't believe in time, you know, 4/4 and all that stuff," Beefheart says. "Frank believes in time and we could never get it together. He writes all his music and gets sentimental about good old rock 'n' roll, but that's appeasement music."

"A band of non-musicians who are painting artists" -- the Captain himself plus Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Winged Eel Fingerling, Drumbo and Ed Marimba playing such instruments as glass finger guitar, steel appendage guitar, simran horn and musette.

"The stars are matter, We're matter, But it doesn't matter."

"You can tell by the kindness of a dog how a human should be."

"See those people that used to be
Throw those tents
You can't see them now
They're in past tense
the past sure is tense"

"It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don't even have a boat."

"Earth...god's golf ball."

A God's Golfball Production is the name of the production company (see *Clear Spot* cover notes) that Don Van Vliet had with his manager Grant Gibbs starting around the time the band was living near Santa Cruz, California during The Spotlight Kid era.

DON VAN VLIET on CLEAR SPOT LP (a late 1972 release) from Rolling Stone Magazine 1/4/73:

"I'm lyrically less turbulent now. I'm like a woman because I have my periods, if you know what I mean. Every once in a while I get the cramps and do something far out. This album needs someplace to go, you know? So I sing with a definite woman in mind, not like those groups that have men on their mind."

"With my voice and my band, I can do anything. Believe me, I'm not compromising one damn bit on this album. Sure the changes will ruffle some feathers, but I'm fooling them all because I enjoy playing this stuff more than Trout Mask Replica."

"I would just as soon play the music on the new album because when I see all those people out there taking acid to get into *my* music, then I don't want to play that kind of music. I don't want to make people think they've got to use some sort of elevation to get into what I do. If I did that, what kind of artist would I be? Just another phoney asshole."

Magic Band being "untouchable by anyone on this planet" (Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Ed Marimba, Orejon):

"They've spent four years in a house practicing and shedding all of their available *buy me* shingles. What's more, they've gotten together and done something on their own that's different."

MAGIC BAND [in above quote] Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad), Rockette Morton (Mark Boston), Ed Marimba (Art Tripp), Orejon (Roy Estrada)

"Sure, I find that a lot of people run out one night and then back in the next. I really admire someone who has the guts to split after paying his money rather than sit and suffer when he couldn't get into it."

DON VAN VLIET on CLEAR SPOT LP (a late 1972 release) in Warner/Reprise CIRCULAR 11/20/72:

"When I see a dolphin, I know it's just as smart as I am. Sometimes I'd rather be thought of as a dolphin than as a human being. I live up at Eureka, among the big trees, and I tell you, those things are really saying something. You gotta work to hear what they're saying. They're great. But the eucalyptus is so far my favorite. They brought them over from Australia for lumber, but when they grew here they curved, and there was no way they could be used for lumber. I think maybe they threw a curve on the lumber companies. And I think that's heavy."

"I left my horn home. I'm like an alcoholic about my horn. If I had it here I'd be playing it, and we'd be making another of those albums people don't buy. I have a very unusual voice. I have seven octaves. I have a way of going from a high note completely down to the bottom. I can just completely relax, and I'll almost go to sleep to get that low note, but not so asleep that I don't have the blood there."

DON VAN VLIET on CLEAR SPOT LP (a late 1972 release) from Warner/Reprise CIRCULAR (cover date Early 1973):

"Recently, like on the last album, I've been getting inspiration from women, the way they move, their gestures. I think it's important that there be some men who appreciate women for what they are: women; not as some kind of extension of man. There's been a big ecological imbalance for years, what with women taking a back seat to men for so long. Their influence on life has been mutated, and, because of it, the men have been getting into wars and screwing things up. My inspiration comes from appreciating women for what they are."

"I also get a lot of inspiration from animals. I've always been looking at animals. I was at the zoo every day of my life from age 5 to 13. On my place I have lots of goats, horses, cows, cats, dogs. A lot of other animals eat here too: raccoons, coyotes, even a badger-gorgeous, tough, funny little animal. There's a lot to be learned from animals. They learned karate from cats. The way they move their hands in karate is the same way cats move their tails when they encounter one another. They learned yoga from the cats and the small animals. I think that most of the things there are to be learned can be learned from animals."

HIS TALENT: "I am a genius and there's nothing I can do about it."
LSD: "An awfully overrated aspirin and very similar to old people's Disneyland."
SHAKESPEARE: "He was out licking the sidewalks to feel the texture of the souls. I've licked a few sidewalks myself."
THE CONSUMER SOCIETY: "A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond."
DRUGS: "It's not worth getting into the bullshit to see what the bull ate."
EVOLUTION: "I think that man has the most highly developed intelligence. I think men get so intelligent that they're stupid."
VIRGIN RECORDS: "They're so old fashioned. I've seen better jokes in bubblegum wrappers."
MENTAL HEALTH: "The largest flying land mammal is the absent mind."

Los Angeles Times May 30, 1971 West Magazine "BEEFHEART IN BLUNDERLAND":

[On the tour, someone had asked Beefheart if people thought too much about his music. He had said yes.]

"My music isn't that much different from the music that's in their minds. Because I conceive it so naturally, it's bound to be in their minds. Sooner or later, they'll catch on; they'll learn to enjoy it without understanding why. Unless they're so far out they can't get back. I don't really think they are. All tongues are connected, you know - we all drink from the same pond."

ROLLING STONE Magazine No. 58, May 14, 1970,

"Captain Beefheart is not even here" [Cover Story] by Langdon Winner:

"There are only forty people in the world and five of them are hamburgers."
"Everybody's colored or else you wouldn't be able to see them."
"God's doing the jerk and it's the jerk's fault for lettin' him do it." (title of a poem)
"Think about the poor rhinoceros. He's in trouble because people think his horn's good for sex.
They grind it up as a potion for sex. We're lucky they don't find out about our teeth." (The secret of our teeth, according to Beefheart, is that like elephant's tusks, they're made of ivory.)
"I don't want to sell my music. I'd like to give it away because where I got it, you didn't have to pay for it."
"Do you know what I mean?" (Asked at the end of every Beefheart sentence).
"Everybody drinks from the same pond."
On the Vietnam war: "It's getting pretty desperate when you have to shoot somebody with a bullet just to say `hello.'"
"I'm not really here, I just stick around for my friends."

At age 29, Captain Beefheart, also known as Don Van Vliet, lives in seclusion in a small house in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.

In the early Sixties Don Van Vliet moved to Cucamonga to be with Frank Zappa who was composing music and producing motion pictures. It was at about this time that Van Vliet and Zappa hatched up the name Captain Beefheart, "But don't ask me why or how," Beefheart comments today. The two made plans to form a rock and roll band called the Soots and to make a movie to be named *Captain Beefheart Meets The Grunt People* but nothing ever came of either project. In time Zappa left for Los Angeles and formed the Mothers. Beefheart returned to Lancaster and gathered together a group of "desert musicians." In 1964 the Magic Band was ready to begin playing teen age dances in its home town.

For the first time also, Beefheart was able to demonstrate the power and range of his voice. On one song, for example, Beefheart's vocal literally destroyed a $1200 Telefunken microphone. Hank Cicalo, engineer for the sessions, reports that on the song "Electricity" Beefheart's voice simply wouldn't track at certain points. Although a number of microphones were employed, none of them could stand the Captain's wailing "EEEE-Lec-Triccc-ittt-EEEEEEEE" on the last chorus. This, incidentally, can be heard on the record.

The formlessness and intensity of Beefheart's music have often led people to conclude that he is merely another product of the drug culture. Sadly, much of the promotional material on him in past years has implied that he is the king of the drug heads and hip freaks. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don Van Vliet does not use drugs and does not allow members of the Magic Band to do so either. Like his friend Frank Zappa, Beefheart admonishes everyone to stay away from LSD, speed and marijuana. The reason for this is not only that he believes that drugs have harmful and irreversible effects, but also that each person has the power to get "there" all by himself.

Ted Alvy COSMOS TOPPER Home Page "Cosmic Consciousness with a Cosmic Giggle" featuring 60's L.A. Underground Radio (rebop from beatniks to hipsters to hippies), Mallard, Zoot Horn Rollo, Magic Band, Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, Neon Park, Firesign Theatre, Theodore Sturgeon, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Paul Krassner, Bruce Lee and COSMOS TOPPER (on the Web since September 1995) and TOPPER Films and TV Show

E-MAIL TED ALVY via tedalvy@aol.com