Archive for Frank Zappa

Don Van Vliet, the Great Captain Beefheart, Has Died.

Posted in Deaths with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by Ro

Don Van Vliet, the artist, also known as Captain Beefheart, the musician, has died at the age of 69. The cause of death was complications due multiple sclerosis, a disease he was rumored to be fighting since the 1970’s.

Van Vliet began his first career under the stage name Captain Beefheart in the 1960’s. He was known for his musical experimentation along with his friend and occasional music collaborator Frank Zappa. Many musicians claim that Beefheart influenced the alternative musical styles which are popular today.

Retiring from music in the 1980’s to pursue a new career in art, Van Vleit became known as an innovative expressionist painter. His paintings and drawings demanded high prices, proving that he had successfully made the transition from “rock star” to “renowned artist”.

By the 1990’s, he was almost completely confined to a wheelchair and had limited mobility in his hands to be able to continue painting. Often bedridden, he continued to sketch occasionally. His work is represented by the Michael Werner Gallery in New York.

If you haven’t heard his music, check out one of his best albums, “Trout Mask Replica.

On a side note, a few years back I was trying to pitch an interview with Van Vliet to Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine. I had to run the questions past his representative at the Michael Werner Gallery, and I was told that they didn’t want their client to discuss his past music career.  Elmo Kirkwood from the band Kirkwood Dellinger and son of Curt Kirkwood from the band Meat Puppets is a Beefheart fan so he helped me with the questions. Unfortunately, after the gallery reviewed the questions, they decided (without consulting Van Vliet) that they did not want  him to do the interview. I decided to go ahead and write a short article for an east-coast magazine and told this to Justine at the Werner gallery in case they wanted me to send them a few issues. Below is part of the response I got back (I still have the email chain):

“As you can imagine, we do like to have some input regarding articles written about our artists.”

As a writer, I don’t need to run anything past these control freaks, but out of respect for Van Vliet, I killed the article. Now I wish I hadn’t.

RIP, Captain Van Vliet.

Al and Tipper Gore Announce Separation

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by Ro

Al and Tipper Gore to separate after 40 years of marriage, according to the website Politico.

The politically-themed site received an email from the Gores and verified it’s contents.

“We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate.

This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration. We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further.”

Good for Al… he put up with this bi-polar twit for 40 years. I can’t imagine the suffering he went through during this time. If you recall, Tipper was the co-founder of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) which was a committee focused on censoring music videos, placing warnings of explicit lyrics on album covers, and pressuring stores to hide albums with explicit covers.

In the words of Ice-T in his rap “Freedom of Speech”, this one’s for you, Tipper! Toodles!

Freedom of Speech, that’s some motherfuckin’ bullshit
You say the wrong thing, they’ll lock your ass up quick
The FCC says “Profanity – No Airplay”?
They can suck my dick while I take a shit all day
Think I give a fuck about some silly bitch named Gore?
Yo PMRC, here we go, raw
Yo Tip, what’s the matter? You ain’t gettin’ no dick?
You’re bitchin’ about rock’n’roll, that’s censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what’s right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin’ assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes ’em sell gold
Can’t you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get


And a hilarious video of Frank Zappa presenting a reverend reading lyrics to The Mentors song “Golden Showers” to the US Senate in 1985 after the Senate held hearings based on the PMRC’s proposals for censorship.