Captain Beefheart: The Legendary 1980 Profile by Lester Bangs
"GRAAUUWWWKKK!" says the big slumbrous reptile, peering out its laser-green lidless bulging eyes and missing nothing. "Brickbats fly my fireplace," answers Van Vliet. "Upside down I see them in the fire. They squeak and roast there. Wings leap across the floor." "KRAAEEAUUWWWKKK!" advises heat-resistant gila.
Van Vliet the Captain nods and ponders the efficacy of such a course. They've both just washed down the last of the scalding chilli fulla big eyed beans from Venus what glare atcha accusingly as ya poppem doomward inya mouf. The Captain, Van Vliet, call him which you choose, has chosen to live out here, squatflat wampum on this blazened barren ground for many a year. Don't see too much o' the hoomin side o' the varmint family out here, but that's fine with Cap Vliet, "Doc" as he's called by the crusty prospectors hung on lak chiggers from times before his emigration to this spot.
Have you ever had somebody you idolized or looked up to as an artist?
"Can't think of anybody, other than the fact that I thought Van Gogh was excellent."
How about in music?
"Never in music I never have. A hero in music. No, fortunately."
So you didn't listen to like Delta blues and free jazz and stuff before you started to-
"Not really. . . I met Eric Dolphy. He was a nice guy, but it was real limited to me, like bliddle-liddle-diddlenopdedit-bop, "I came a long way from St. Louie," like Ornette, you know. It didn't move me."
Dolphy didn't MOVE you?
"Well, he moved me, but he didn't move me as much as a goose, say. Now that could be a hero, a gander goose could definitely be a hero, the way they blow their heart out for nothing like that."
Is that because you think that people generally do it for purposes of ego?
"Um, yeah, which I think is good because it gets your shoes tied. You know what I mean, it doesn't scare old ladies, you get dressed. So I think that's nice."
You don't think it's possible to create art that's egoless, that just flows through you?
"That's possible, I'm tryin' to do that, on this last album definitely."
Well, one thing I find is that the more I know the less I know.
"Me too. I don't know anything about music."
As reviews over the years have proved, it's always difficult to write anything that really says something about Don Van Vliet.