Don Van Vliet and Gary Lucas during the "Doc at the Radar Station" sessions, Soundcastle Studios, Glendale Ca., June 1980
Gary performs at his Captain Beefheart Symposium at the Echoplex LA Jan. 2010 shortly after the death of Don Van Vliet photo by Angel LaCanfora
Aunt Cigars Baby by Don Van Vliet
Fur On the Trellis and Just Up Into the Air by Don Van Vliet
Beezoo Beezoo by Don Van Vliet
Check Bif by Don Van Vliet
GL presenting his Dutch Captain Beefheart Symposium at the BimHuis Amsterdam, in front of Don Van Vliet's "Portrait of Bob Rubin", 6/16/12
Gary gives his 3rd Captain Beefheart Symposium at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall as part of his 4 night Artist in Residency 11/29/15
Recently released digitally on Okaymusic, "I HAVE A CAT"—the last lengthy interview with Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart, conducted by Co De Kloet and set to music by Gary Lucas, download here! "The World of Captain Beefheart" with Gary Lucas and the 60 piece Metropole Orchestra was performed at the Paradiso Amsterdam in Feb. 2013.
Gary performed the Dutch live premiere of "I Have a Cat" with his co-pilot Co De Kloet as part of his Amsterdam Captain Beefheart Symposium at the Bimhuis on Sat. June 16th.
Read rave reviews from The Word, Audio Apocalypse, and SevenStreets of Gary's sold out Captain Beefheart Symposium in Liverpool in January 2012!
Rest in Peace, Don Van Vliet (1941-2010)
Presenting a 2 hour "Beefheart Symposium"
conducted by Gary Lucas
GARY LUCAS, featured guitar soloist and member of the final edition of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, celebrates the career of visionary American maverick genius Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart, who changed the face of music forever over a career spanning a dozen brilliant albums, from 1967's groundbreaking "Safe as Milk" through 1969's radical "Trout Mask Replica" and finishing with 1982's uncompromising "Ice Cream for Crow".
A legendary composer/vocalist/songwriter/bandleader/poet/sculptor and painter, Don Van Vliet has been honored over the years by everyone from Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer to Bob Dylan, Bono, David Lynch and Anton Corbijn—but is still relatively (and unfairly) unknown to the public at large.
During the symposium Gary Lucas will show rare archival footage of the band, spin unreleased tracks, project slides of Van Vliet's paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and illustrate Van Vliet's quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques with a live solo guitar performance.
Read an appreciation of Don Van Vliet by Gary from The Wall Street Journal. Gary remembers Captain Beefheart in an interview in the official SXSW Festival book.
Read three eulogies for Gary's friend and mentor Don Van Vliet (1941-2010) from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Romanian music site ClickZoomBytes.
Gary presented a NYC Captain Beefheart Symposium on Friday, April 8th at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn, including special guests Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Richard Pena, Danny Fields, Hal Willner, Glenn Kenny, Byron Coley, Ken Schreiber, Dusty Wright, Felice Rosser, Vivien Goldman, and Brainpang. Read an interview with Gary about his NYC Captain Beefheart Symposium from The Gothamist.
Gary presented his Captain Beefheart Symposium on Friday Feb. 11th in San Francisco at The Independent with special guests Jerry Harrison, Terry Van Vliet, Victor Hayden (The Mascara Snake), Gary Marker, "Ice Cream for Crow" recording engineer Phil Brown, Francis McCarthy, and Mark Plakias. Check out a preview in 7x7 Magazine, and read an interview in the SF Weekly about the symposium. Check out a RAVE review of the symposium in the latest issue of RELIX!
Gary Lucas presented his 2 hour Captain Beefheart Symposium at The Echoplex LA Thursday Jan. 13th, with special guests Matt Groening, Pamela des Barres, Magic Band drummer Robert Williams, Don's cousins Terry Van Vliet and Victor Hayden (a/k/a The Mascara Snake), Stan Ridgway, Kristine McKenna, Bill Moseley, and Weba Garretson. Read the Pick in the LA Times and in LA Weekly. Check out two clips from the Symposium: Part 1 and Part 2.
Gary talks about working with Don Van Vliet on John Schaefer's Soundcheck program on WNYC FM, 12/22/10.
Gary Lucas discusses and performs "Evening Bell" at his LA Captain Beefheart Sympoisum at The Echoplex 1/13/11
Gary Lucas performs "Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do" at The Echoplex LA 1/13/11
hollow smoke the hole transmitting
her hair come out like red meat through a screen door
wiped her shoulder balanced like a ball
her face was erect on a long thin neck
light rubber mountains in the distance stretched
under wind blown spider webs
the wind puffed out drank the blue sky
one milk cloud grazed
the sun sailed into black bag hung to strap around
the girl bowed and rested against her cocked hip
a row of buttons ran up her like raisins
crisp collars folds made shadows under her loose breasts
feet orange rakes wiggled sand
the sea moved returned claimed one lace paper plate
like a frayed damp fish it spun and sank in a foaming circle
a sandwich corner flies in a gull's beak
she smiles her fingers skim into green beads
drip roll and line off her creased palm
clear salt diamonds sparkle on her nose
black horns shadows her cheeks
turn pink red pulp darts into speech
and rests between glazed white
in a moment i say
the day caught me full hot open eyes swam blood graphs
cloth grated roughly damp where i set
black hair fur and wings rancid rainbows
hummed the half eating dead fish silver and pink brine
bubbled from the torn off fin
i searched for a stick
poked the bloated bulb one scale broke loose like a husk
shaped like a fingernail blew away like paper
over my shoulder the sand made the highway crawl
black and wavy my car looked important
a fat person moved noisily by with two small children
on either hip disappeared down the beach as decorated genitals
under an umbrella rocks stuck my buttered body
i caught one under my nail and flicked it with my thumb
pena said: 'you look like a sugared strawberry.'
we better get going before it gets cold and it makes us too hot
pena danced like a wounded stork - held her foot up
screaming: 'i have been bitten by something!'
i consoled her - you have been attacked by a coke cap
it's angry teeth prints fading
pena exclaimed: 'that's the raspberries.'
a banana like a limp star drooped from her free hand
this situation pleased the old man
his face smiled leather laughter
the thermos opened - the inside of the car
tasted like a caramel you walked by
this is cold - this is too - somebody will see if we do something about it - it's too day
you wanted to - it was your idea - it's damp 'n' cold 'n' noisy at night though - cops might arrest us - who cares how we go together but jesus?
pena your legs are pretty as a crab the way they open
'are like pincers' said pena innocently
'whales never come out of water do they?' pena tongued
if that happened it would be a sticky situation - listen to the ocean - i can't - all those little ears - ha ha pth pth zzzz
pena exclaimed: 'that's the raspberries!'
what more could you want than to be brought up?
the old fart's heart beat like a drum
his mouth was dry and there was an angry whelk
throbbing from where he had been poked earlier that day
while posing as a dead fish
one fly had crawled through the nostrils in his intricate trout replica mask
and had somehow got fouled-up in his intricate air-bulb atomizer breathing device
and it whistled and stank and tickled with every breath
one leg had been torn off where the tube went in his mouth
he could feel it hanging from his lip
and the thought of it almost made him vomit
he was numb from the neck down
and was too exhausted at this point to dig himself out of the sand
his whole scheme had been foiled
by the fog that gathered on the inside
of the detailed view holes
that even upon close inspection
appeared to be eyes
don van vliet 1982
"Ice Cream for Crow"—Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band 1982 "Electricity"—Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, live on Cannes Beach 1968 Gary performs Don Van Vliet's composition "Flavor Bud Living" live in Paris, Chorus tv programme 11/80