I don't understand Captain Beefheart.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tupac, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Can someone explain to me how their randomness is secretly intelligently artful? Or is the fact that their randomness isn't artful their charm? Either way I don't think it's good music.
  2. slobake

    slobake resident ... something

    What's to understand? You like or you don't. Many don't but I do. Here is one my favorites.

  3. I like lots of things that I feel no obligation to defend. If it's not harming anyone, like on. Or don't
  4. well one thing that makes it kinda impressive from an objective standpoint is that it's not really random at all. it's all very composed and they performed it the same way every time. no improvisation at all, except for captain beefheart's own sax/harmonica solos which were purposely random.

    it's a mistake to think that there's something to "get" about captain beefheart. as he himself would have said, "you've had too much to think!" part of his appeal is his complete uniqueness, and if you can get accustomed to the weirdness you'll find that it's kickass music the likes of which no other human has ever produced. i like his voice and lyrics especially.
  5. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    I don't understand the Captain. And I certainly don't "get" him.

    But I love his stuff. He is like a glimpse into an alternative human condition that doesn't apply to the rest of us.

    In a world where so often the main difference between artists is electronic, marketing or technique driven, the Captain stood (almost) alone.

    And for the OP, it's ok not to get or like the Captain (or anyone else). I will say, however, that much of his music is the most heavily rehearsed performance art of all time, to the point (if the stories are true) of an almost cult like slave labour.

    The Owl likes this.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Back in the day, I used to go to a club called Horatio's Green Onion in San Diego and watch a band called Buckwheat. The keyboardist from that band, Michael Smotherman, ended up playing in the "The Tragic Band" after Beefheart and the Magic Band suddenly parted ways just before a tour. Also, guitarist Dean Smith played in Buckwheat and another band, Dean Hawley and his Crew, that I used to go see at The Voyager when I was in the Marines. Here's a video of Captain Beefheart with Smotherman on keys and Smith on guitar.

    One of the fans' complaints about the Tragic Band was that they didn't have the feel for Beefheart's music that the former band had. Others apparently felt they made the music a little more commercial and liked it. (Paraphrasing from internet info.)
  7. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
  8. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    I once heard Beefheart referred to as the missing link between Howlin Wolf and Ornette Coleman. He mixed rhythm and blues with free jazz
    The Owl likes this.
  9. I saw Beefheart on this tour at Town Hall in NYC. It wasn't that they were bad players, but not the old favorites and they were not the magic band and to me it seemed the crowd was more upset with the new music - an attempt at being more commercial and really not as good as the earlier and even later songs.

    The crowd gave the Captain a hard time and he left after a few songs ending the set very early. Me, I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and let them play but was overruled.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    "What's he doing in there?"
  11. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I was reading a large article on Rolling Stone from 1970 about Beefheart, and found this interesting passage:

  12. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I enjoy the artiness and humor. Also, when I see mommy, I do feel like a mummy.
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Thanks for the link, good stuff.
  14. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    I like this one lots.
  15. paparoof


    Apr 27, 2011
    fEARful koolaid drinker
    Oh man, some of favorite Zappa stuff is the stuff with Beefheart on it. Hot Rats, Muffin Man, yeah. Good stuff.

    As was said earlier, don't over think it. If you don't like it, that's just fine too.
  16. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    Yeah the stuff on Bongo Fury with Zappa has some good moments for sure.
  17. nothing random at all about beefheart's music. all the parts are either written or sung-and-transcribed by Don to his players. all this has been covered in interviews and music press for decades.
    many people get thrown by their seemingly "odd" time variations within phrases and sections, but it's good refreshing stuff in a hammer-headed world of modern pop rhythms.
  18. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Nowadays people use the word "random" to mean what we meant when we said "off the wall".
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    That's the gist of what I got from internet comments. I never saw Beefheart, but I know Smotherman and Smith are pretty good musicians.
  20. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Favorite moments with The Captain: