Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Captain Beefheart, whose real name is Don Van Vliet, was a school-mate and musical chum of Frank Zappa and made many an album. He was also a favorite of Zippy's (see earlier posts for information regarding Zippy).

Oddly enough my brother lived in the same trailer park as Don while attending Humboldt State and Don was waiting for his home to be built. Don would hang out by the pay phone, and as my brother headed to the showers Don would mumble "I'm famous, I have a band". My brother had no idea who Don was.

My brother and Don would go to town to buy groceries, and one time Don bought a bag of ice, which he later brought home to his wife after it had melted. When she chastised him on this fact he said "Oh no, it was this way when I bought it." Don would try to impress my brother with his harmonica playing, but by this time in his career his had lost some of his chops.

One day Zippy and I drove to Humboldt to visit my brother. On our way home we stopped by Don's house and were promptly turned away by his wife. We sat in the car for a few minutes and determined that we would not so easily be turned down. So, we went around to the back of the house where it just so happened that the Captain was relaxing on his large porch. He was very friendly and we discussed a number of things. He signed an album that Zippy had brought: "Love over gold, Don".

This made the 300 mile journey home much more worthwhile.