Gary Lucas   Don Van Vliet Artwork  

Signed "to Gary love Don Van Vliet '75"

black marker on paper

8" x 10 3/4"

Don Van Vliet wrote out this well-known poem of his—which first appeared on the inside cover of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's "Mirror Man" album (1971 Buddah Records)—as a gift for Gary Lucas on the night of April 27th 1975, after Gary had auditioned for Don in Don's Boston hotel room during Frank Zappa and the Mother's Spring '75 "Bongo Fury" Tour featuring Frank's special guest Captain Beefheart. There are variant spellings from the original printed poem in this version, including the (deliberate?) misspelling of the word "rolls" as "rools" in the first line; the use of the letter R for the words "are" in the first and fourth lines; and a crossing out by Don of the word "birds" and his subsequent correction to "words" in the fourth line. Don had invited Gary to come up to Boston to audition for Don after Gary had informed him that he played guitar on the the night of April 22nd 1975, during a shared midnight meal of barbecued spare ribs at Tobe's Barbecue Smoker, situated in the backyard of Tobe Erwing's house on Cherry Street in Syracuse NY. Earlier that evening Gary had had a warm reunion with Don at the conclusion of Zappa's concert at the Syracuse War Memorial. Their last meeting has occurred backstage at Town Hall in NYC on Feb. 24th 1973, which resulted in Gary writing a cover story for "Zoo World Magazine" about Captain Beefheart. Don was enthusiastic about Gary's guitar work upon hearing him play for the first time in Boston, but as Gary was scheduled to depart shortly thereafter to work in Taipei Taiwan, it was not to be for the moment. The pair didn't hook up together musically until 1980, when Don invited Gary to perform his solo guitar composition "Flavor Bud Living" on his "Doc at the Radar Station" album—which put Gary Lucas on the musical map as a guitarist.