During the European leg of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band‘s tour promoting ‘Doc at the Radar Station‘, Don Van Vliet was interviewed by VPRO Radio (Amsterdam) on November 1st, 1980 (no doubt prior, or just after the infamous Paradiso show during which Beefheart was heckled by a drunken patron).
Anyone interested in discovering what Beefheart fans find so appealing about Don Van Vliet need only listen to this interview. His peculiar individualism shines throughout while he playfully teases his interviewers. It’s clear that a lot of what Vliet says goes right over their heads. I suppose the same can be said about Beefheart’s music. Either you get it, or you don’t – it’s that simple.
Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 1)
Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 2)
Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 3)
In addition, I recently came across an interview of John ‘Drumbo’ French – interviewed in mid 2005, when French was fronting a reformed Magic Band, and touring in support of their CDs ‘Back To The Front‘, and ‘21st Century Mirror Men‘ – on the weblog, The Funky Goat:
He [Vliet] was in competition with Frank Zappa, I think that’s one of the reasons he went so far out. Frank was actually playing accessible music. Another thing was that being in Frank’s band had a sort of prestige, the instrumentalists would go on and play in other groups, they were wanted. Who was going to want a Beefheart musician? Half the public didn’t even think we knew how to play!”
A very illuminating interview for any fan of Beefheart’s music. Read the transcribed interview here.