I was entranced by Don Vliet the moment I heard him way back in 1967. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band created some of the greatest music ever. That first album was just a taster. The live performance that year was probably the best I have ever seen.
Some find him discordant. But for me it gels together into the most original music ever recorded. His poetry was the same, that rich imagery and invented words.
Live the band were amazing. The Magic band still are but I can’t help but miss the Captain.
Way back in 1981 he gave the music up forever. He turned his attention to his other love – art, with equal brilliance.
His paintings from the deserts of California were carved from slabs of colour that sang with their own fluorescence. I could lose myself in those paintings in the same way I did the music.
It would have been good to sit out on the steps in the desert and watch that sun slowly sink towards the horizon. I can imagine it.
Looking through Vliet’s eyes at scrawny black crows
Perched on jagged cactus vantage points
Before daubed hills and scrawled figures
Carved with sweeping strikes of thick textured colour
On a timeless backdrop of infinity.
Staring at distorted garish dreams of reality
Timelessly floating towards forever ……………forever……….
Along the tides of an invisible desert sea
And wishing we were caught within the waters of his eyes
In neon magic,
Breathing the ocean bottom together,
As we watched the sun slowly set
And sipped a beer.