My Smile Is Stuck

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band performing live at Ludlow’s Garage in Cincinnati in 1969. Photo by Kim Torgerson.

We haven’t seen the man-child mayor of Durand all winter. We have seen his buddies a few times on the long twisted path that they sled down and the next time we see them I plan ask about the mayor. The banks of that hill are all packed down with fresh snow making it look like a bobsled run. We skied down it today but snow plowed most of the way down to break our speed.

Our neighbor spotted a coyote yesterday and the neighbors down the street heard them howling last night. They said the coyotes had killed a deer out back so Peggi and I skied around the creek bed to see if we could spot the carcass but no luck. We got back to the house around dusk and there was a message from our friend, Duane, giving us the news that Don van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) had passed away. Duane owns one of Van Vliet’s prints and Peggi, Duane and I had seen a few of Van Vliet’s painting shows together in New York. I love his paintings but I absolutely love his music and poetry.

One of my favorite psychedelic experiences was having the sensation that the little house that Dave Mahoney and I lived in in Bloomington was flying like that scene in the Wizard of Oz. The soundtrack was 1969’s “Trout Mask Replica” which had just been released. We rode to Cincinnati with Jeff Amour from MX-80 Sound to see the Captain at Ludlow’s Garage on that tour. We sat in giant chairs. Screaming Gypsy Bandits and The Hampton Grease Band opened. Kim Torgerson took the photo above at that show. Steve Hoy drove us to Columbus the following year to hear the Magic Band on the “Lick My Decals Off Baby” tour. And back in Rochester I heard him at the Red Creek Inn where I recorded the live track below. That’s Brad Fox you hear sitting next to me. Greg Prevost from the Chesterfield Kings interviewed the Captain between sets.

Captain Beefheart Live at Red Creek in Rochester, NY


2 Replies to “My Smile Is Stuck”

  1. I was at the Red Creek show and it was one of the great musical moments of my life. Paul, I give you credit for turning me onto the musical lifeform known as Van Vliet

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