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flag US - California - Full Moon 175 - 12/21/10

Don van Vliet
Captain Beefheart

January 15, 1941 - December 17, 2010

One of the last of the wild ones is gone. Don van Vliet, AKA Captain Beefheart, died December 17th 2010. Mystery man, rabid man, magic man. Of his Magic band.

The late John Peel had a story from 1967, being a chauffeur to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band when they were touring England. Beefheart, whom Peel credited with 'extra-sensory powers' (then the farthest of the far out): the car once had to be stopped so that Beefheart could "...get out and listen to the trees..." (or "hug a tree", as it later has been cited). Peel later wrote that this could simply have been Beefheart's slang for taking a pee. Maybe not, maybe he did want to hug trees. Which isn't a bad thing to do.

Just to get an idea of the man and his ideas I'd like to include 4 of "Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing" (if they are true):

1. Listen to the birds
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.

3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.

5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

And, as The Captain passed away just before xmas: to quote one of his song titles (off his 1972 album The Spotlight Kid): "There Ain't No Santa Claus on the Evenin' Stage". For sure, no more.

2010 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

Our dear old Captain passed away last Friday after suffering from multiple sclerosis for more than two decades.

Singin' through you to me
Thunderbolts caught easily
Shouts the truth peacefully

High voltage man kisses night to bring the light to those who need to hide their shadow deed
Go into bright find the light and know that friends don't mind just how you grow

Midnight cowboy stained in black reads dark roads without a map
To free-seeking electricity

Lighthouse beacon straight ahead straight ahead across black seas to bring
Seeking electricity

High voltage man kisses night to bring the light to those who need to hide their shadow-deed hide their shadow-deed
Seek electricity......

2010 JP e-mail address

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