Bat Chain Puller

Barry and I had a very interesting discussion the other day concerning why some Zappa fans also become big Captain Beefheart fans, while some do not. The crux of the biscuit, so to speak, comes down to Beefheart’s appeal, lyrically, since both Frank Zappa and Don Van Vliet are appealing musically. For example, I offer the following live version of Bat Chain Puller from the French Chorus TV show in 1980 (I suggest you turn it up loud, too):

8 Responses to “Bat Chain Puller”

  1. Hugh says:

    I caught that tour(Doc at the Radar Station) at The Beacon theatre in New York. My older brother treated me. I had never heard of Beefheart, but at seventeen I was very open to music, especially anything my big brothers listened to. That show was incredible and I’ll never forget it. I recall a video clip of Frank Zappa saying that he ran into Don back then and Beefheart was in “bad shape”(financial/health/addiction, I’m guessing). If this is true you would never know it that night at the concert. The Captain was in top form, as far as I was concerned. Though, looking at the video above(which is excellent thanks) Van Vliet does look a little frail.
    As far as being a fan of Zappa & Beefheart. To me Zappa was a natural gateway to Beefheart. Frank’s music made it easier for me to accept Don’s. I will tell you that a live performance is a great introduction to the avant-garde style of the wonderfully under-rated Captain Beefheart.

  2. Jamez says:

    Like it!! Anyone know what’s happening with Don? Where is he? I love Zappa’s music more but I have quite a few Beefheart albums, including Trout Mask Replica, Clear Spot and the Spotlight Kid and a few best ofs.

  3. Jamez says:

    Some of the MOI/Zappa band members joined the Magic Band aswell
    e.g. Art Tripp, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black, Denny Walley and Bruce Fowler.

  4. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Jamez:

    Some of the MOI/Zappa band members joined the Magic Band aswell
    e.g. Art Tripp, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black, Denny Walley and Bruce Fowler.

    If you were a musician and wanted a challenge, wouldn’t you? Although it’s been noted that both men were difficult taskmasters. Still, name me one musician above that didn’t benefit under their combined tutelage?

  5. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from Jamez:

    Some of the MOI/Zappa band members joined the Magic Band aswell
    e.g. Art Tripp, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black, Denny Walley and Bruce Fowler.

    If you were a musician and wanted a challenge, wouldn’t you? Although it’s been noted that both men were difficult taskmasters. Still, name me one musician above that didn’t benefit under their combined tutelage?

    Denny Walley said he didn’t want to join any other bands after he left Zappa and Beefheart because the music wouldn’t be as challenging.

  6. Gelatinous Adenoid says:

    wow, great tune. I think his real triumphs have come as a visual artist. When I listen or watch Beefheart live — the albums occasionally do justice to artistic intent, but not like performance art — it’s easy for me to understand the natural transition his work made from performance art to visual art. The lyrics and themes are very abstract and interpretive, but leave you with an unmistakable impression when it’s over. No two pieces are alike. They have a meter. They talk, they scream, they whisper, they communicate all by themselves without a band.

    Beefheart’s performances are great (some better than others). But given the music industry’s “album-airplay-tour-repeat” business plan for success, it’s easy to see why he’d want to make art that performed for itself, leaving him free to work on something new in the meantime. He also doesn’t have to worry about paint and clay and glass being drunk before showtime.

  7. Jamez says:

    I’m off to listen to ‘Tropical Hot Dog Night’…

  8. Eichstetter Matthias says:

    I love Beefheart, because he invented his own musical methods. For the recording of Lick my decals off , he gave the drummer a tape to learn a lick. On the tape was Don and his wife washing the dishes.
    It´s a tragic that he stopped doin`music. There are rmours that he is suffering of Multiple sklerosis.
    When FZ was very ill, Don used to call him on the phone. He didn´t taled to him, but played those old doo wop numbers on the phone.
    I downloaded lots of those songs the young Frank and Don was listening to in the 50ties.
    Don and Frank made totally different music, but there is a strong Rythmn`Blues string between them (as you can hear on Bongo Fury album)

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