Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Captain Beefheart

It wasn't until 1988 that I first heard the album Trout Mask Replica. A friend from the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia in 88') told me, 'Matt, I am for to be doing you a favor. You are going to have to listen to whole-album. You will be thanking-me later.' Thanks Jara, I hated the LP at that time--all 79-minutes of it--but it changed my view of music forever. Don Van Vliet (aka 'Captain Beefheart') had actually played in South Bend in 1979 at the legendary Vegetable Buddie's. Scarier: my own mother saw him, so it must have blown-her-mind. For those who have never heard the music of Vliet and the Magic Band, you must search-it-out. It beggars description, but imagine mixing Delta blues, Stravinsky, Dadaism, Fluxus, Ornette Coleman, Bernard Hermann, and the creative-insanity of childhood. If you've ever heard any Deerhoof, or early-DEVO, you know what I mean.

My love of Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band has outlasted almost everything: a bad ten-year marriage, college, the Gulf War, bad-jobs, the deaths of family-and-friends, everything. It's ironic, but art-snobs forget people use music (especially pop) to mark the moments in their lives, to mark-time. But Beefheart has been useful in other-ways. If you really-really want to remove unwanted-company (my ex brought-over junkies and other scum), put on Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band. The majority of humanity will react-physically and just leave, it's funny to watch. If that doesn't work, try the Butthole Surfer's 'Rembrandt Pussy Horse',
or 'Locust Abortion Technician', a classic. PiL also does wonders in removing unwanted-company. You can't lose.