Captain Beefheart is actually Don Van Vliet. He made a bunch of records in the sixties and seventies. Then he retired from music to live in the desert and paint. I don't like all of Captain Beefheart's music. It's all quite interesting but its pretty weird and sometimes silly and just not usually what I'm wanting to hear. He was buddies with Zappa and I guess was kind of interesting and silly in similar ways. Trout Mask Replica is one of his records that I often see on rock critics' lists of the top 100 records of all time. I have tried to listen to this record many times and I haven't really liked it that much. The Beefheart record at the other end of the spectrum would probably be Clear Spot. This is by far my most favorite Beefheart record and would certainly be in my list of the top 100 records ever.
Clear Spot got me right away the first time someone played it for me. I went right out and got it. I actually had the LP in the clear plastic cover. I had never heard of him. This record has always been amazing to me. I once called a DJ on a local alternative radio show and asked to hear something from Clear Spot. I knew he liked Beefheart (his radio name was "the Spotlight Kid"). He said that Clear Spot was "too accessible" and that he would probably play something from a different Beefheart record. Clear Spot is in fact a very well-produced record and many of the songs could be called "radio-friendly". Of course none of his records ever got any big time airplay. Clear Spot really is an "accessbile" record, which I think is good. (My problem with Trout Mask Replica is probably that it is "unaccessble"). Of course all Beefheart fans love Clear Spot anyway, it's an awesome record. He has a crackerjack rock and roll band laying down some sizzling music. Lots of red hot guitar. And lots of crazy Beefheart songs. Here's some words from the title song:
Can't find my kind of folks having fun
I have to run run run run .... to find a clear spot.
Sleeping in the bayou on a old rotten cot.
Moquitos and mocassins slippin' all around
'Fraid I'm gonna get hit.
'Fraid I'm gonna get hit.
I have to run so far to find a clear spot.
Clear Spot is now on CD together with another entire Beefheart record, The Spotlight Kid, which is good also.
I saw Beefheart on Letterman in 1982 and I remember him explaining that his name was Beefheart because he has a "beef in his heart with society". The first site listed below actually has the video of this Letterman appearance and another one in 1983.
The Captain Beefheart Radar Station - VERY extensive site.
Radar Station Links Page
Beefheart Tribute Page from Perfect Sound Forever
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Revised 12/02/99 Links checked 12/02/99