Sunday, December 19, 2010

Captain Beefheart R.I.P.

I miss Captain Beefheart who died this past Friday at 69.

A.K.A. Don Van Vliet, he was to me the quintessential experimental artist whose vision expressed in music and painting-- let everyone else see. He made his high school classmate Frank Zappa (with whom he had a love/hate relationship)seem mainstream. He made the first music video in the early '70's creating his own ingeniously complex brand of subversion. You gotta love a guy whose answer to "I wanna hold your hand" is "I wanna swallow you whole" from LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY.

Click here for an early 80's interview with Letterman.

Then read the following lyrics which my husband knows by heart and regales us with regularly. Hooray for Captain Beefheart.

“The Dust Blows Forward and the Dust Blows Back”
Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart)

"There's old Gray with her dove-winged hat_
There's old Green with her sewing machine_
Where's the bobbin at?_
Totin’ old grain in a printed sack_
The dust blows forward and the dust blows back
And the wind blows black thru the sky_
And the smokestack blows up in the sun’s eye_
What am I gonna die?_
A white flake riverboat just flew by_
Bubbles popped big_
And a lipstick Kleenex
hung on a pointed forked twig_
Reminds of the bobby girls_
Never was my hobby girls_
Hand full o’ worms and a pole fishin'_
Cork bobbin' like a hot red bulb_
And a blue jay squeaks_
His beak open an inch above a creek_
Gone fishin' for a week_
Well I put down my bush_
And I took off my pants and felt free_
The breeze blowin' up me
And up the canyon_
Far as I could see_
It's night now and the moon looks like a dandelion_
It's black now an the blackbird's feedin' on rice_
and his red wings look diamonds 'n lice_
I can hear the mice toes scamperin'_
Gophers rumblin'
in pile crater rock hole_
One red bean stuck in the bottom of a tin bowl_
Hot coffee from a crimped up can
Me and my girl named Bimbo


  1. Just another reason I wish you were still on national television. I used to endure Maltin just to see an intelligent person reviewing movies.

  2. Van Vliet was a very unappreciated artist. What fertile grounds for innovation with him, Zappa, St Clair(e) , Ry Cooder and the like moving in close circles.

    I love 'Dust blows forward...' lyrics and it is a toss-up between that and Orange Claw hammer for favorite of mine. A friend of mine thinks it's 'Neon meate dream of a Octafish' but I just don't see it.

    Great mind, certainly different ; I can only hope that at this moment the wind is 'blowing up him and up the canyon, far as he can see.

    Nice remembrance Joyce.