On 23 July 1993 Dutch radio presenter Co de Kloet recorded a wonderfully relaxed Don for this telephone interview for the ‘Supplement’ programme Radio 4 in Holland. Co has been a great advocate for Don and his music as well as Frank Zappa. Don’s voice is weak but his mind is still sharp. It’s a great interview.
1993 – 1994 solo travelling exhibition visiting Bielefeld, Odense and Brighton.
A 1993 poetry reading CD was included in the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition book and later reproduced in the Pearls Before Swine book. It included readings of the following poems: Fallin’ Ditch The Tired Plain Skeleton Makes Good Safe Sex Drill Tulip Gill At the time, many found the recording shocking and upsetting. This was the first time Don Van Vliet had been widely heard in public since 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow and the intervening 11 years had clearly not been kind. He sounded far older than his 52 years and rumours of illness seemed to have confirmation. Today, I think they
Ice Cream for Crow. On the Relationship between Music and Painting in Captain Beefheart’s Work Those who, over the last twenty years, have loved the music of Captain Beefheart cannot forget that he decided to abandon the music scene (it would seem definitively) to devote himself full-time to painting. Specialist rock critics, who were left the sad task of a retrospective tribute to his career, each time have boldly tried to establish correlations bet-ween yesterday’s music and today’s painting, acting in a way that is markedly ‘reparative’ and which, implicitly placing diachronic continuity to his basis, has no logical or cultural justification in the Californian
On September 30, 1993, Dave DiMartino received a phone call from Don Van Vliet. I heard that you have a new studio up there. Is it a big one? Yeah. Is it complete? Yeah. I’m painting like a house afire. (laughs) How do you spend your time now? Mostly painting? Yeah. Do you do any drawing? Oh yeah. All the time. How is your day spent up there? Do you see many people? Just paint. No people. Just painting. Are you happy up there like that? Yeah. Happy as a clam. (laughs) Does it seem as if you made your music a very long time
He is alive. A recluse. Painting in seclusion up near the Oregon border. There have been weird signals through the ether since he stopped making music 11 years ago, but they were faint, confused, unintelligible. But now Dave DiMartino has finally made contact with the man who used to be Captain Beefheart. It is entirely fitting that Don Van Vliet, painter of international repute, and one of a handful of truly legendary figures in rock ‘n’ roll, gifted us with a song entitled The Past Sure Is Tense on the last album of his career; 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow. While the former Captain Beefheart