Just watched Captain Beefheart: Under Review, a DVD documentary of the music of Don Van Vliet and his bands. Notes:
- The guy was an artist who expressed himself through music (and who ultimately gave up on the music business to turn to the potentially more receptive avant-garde art world).
- He was really remaking the natural, bluesy world in his own, gnarly image.
- The footage of elder bluesman Howlin' Wolf was invigorating.
- The DVD had hokey staging for each of the interviews but it didn't detract from the story.
- An underlying theme throughout was a sense of mild disappointment in the face of creativity, both in the resultant music as well as the lack of popular success.
- Similar to Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, the Magic Band varied in both membership and quality over time.
- Captain Beefheart turned down the opportunity to play at Woodstock.
- As we know, the theremin was used in music by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Edgard Varèse, and Captain Beefheart, although for the latter, the band tried to get a buzz saw effect before turning to the theremin.
theremin resources: theremin world. electro-theremin page.
other theremin users: charles ives, aaron copland.
wikipedia quotes: John Peel stated, "If there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it's Beefheart." "Art critic John Rogers agrees that Van Vliet is "one of the art world's more renowned abstract expressionists."
napster: captain beefheart's shiny beast. 75 howlin' wolf tracks. edgard varèse' ecuatorial. brian wilson's good vibrations
youtube: beefheart's big eyed beans from venus and ice cream for crow. beefheart/zappa's willie the pimp. beefheart on david letterman (twice).