Sunday, December 23, 2012

The 7th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Captain Beefheart Festival 2012 - 2013, song from Shiny Beast

After recording the album Bongo Fury with Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet formed a new Magic Band and began recording an album for DiscReet and Virgin Records.

Herb Cohen, DiscReet's cofounder and Zappa's business manager, paid for the album's production costs with Zappa's royalty checks, leading Zappa to end his business partnership with Cohen. Cohen and Zappa each demanded to be paid an advance by Virgin, leading Zappa to withhold the master tapes, leading Cohen to sue Zappa.

 Due to the lawsuit, Van Vliet rerecorded Bat Chain Puller tracks for Warner Bros. Records under the title Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.


  1. The relationship between Zappa and Beefheart was much deeper than professional. it was a lifetime thing. They had been best buddies as outsider, alien intelligent teens growing up in Lancaster, Ca. That might explain a lot of Franks frustration in dealing with the sometime incoherent moods and behavior of Van Vliet. I posted an out take from the Tout Mask Replica sessions that Zappa recorded called Alley Cat...But if you check out the Zappa compilation, The Lost Episodes, released posthumously you will find stuff recorded on a reel to reel in a high school classroom in 64? Frank and his brother play back up to Don as he shows that he was as strange as a teen as he was many years later....
    Then there's the cut, Tiger Roach recorded in Zappa's Studio Z Cucamonga Studio a few years later...They had built a set for a low budget dada surreal sci fi movie called Captain Beefheart and the Grunt People....which of course was never made....but as you can see, the relationship was a lifetime affair.

  2. Sorry, corrections...the movie never made, from which Beefheart took his moniker was Captain Beefheart versus The Grunt People...the Lancaster High School class room recording session was 1958. Tiger Roach was 1962. On The Lost Episodes are a few monologues recorded by Zappa in 1969 of Beefheart which he "orchestrated" using the Kurtzweiller Synclavier, one of which is "The Grand Wazoo" from which became the title of one of one of Zappas great orchestral pieces a few years later.