Flaskaland
Monday, October 07, 2013
  Bells
Regarding Beefheart's road manager (the one who worked at the doggie Auschwitz):  Aside from the fact he was accustomed to people who had behaviorial problems from degenerative nerve disease (his dad, 'member?), I mentioned two important items that clinched his hiring (aside from the fact he just wanted a job in "show biz", because almost everyone did back then):

Uno.  He started pissing me off when I played the guitar.  He would reach over and fiddle with the tuning peg as I was playing.  That was a put down, a major male this is how we humiliate women musicians put down (you can't even tune your guitar, baby), but he could slide the pitch to what he felt was the "right" and "proper" tuning.  This after I had carefully tuned the string down just a little notch all the to better emulate the Olde Blues Player whose guitar style and song I was singing in the living room.  So of course that would make me mad, but I would describe the situation and then say "he's pushy about music" and also he was Jewish and that might explain it even better.  Ry Cooder later said he became a fine guitarist (meaning he played just the way Ry wanted, which is kind of boring after "Performance".

Dos. I had a turntable and I would listen to records, like "Further On Up the Road" or my current favorite

"The Bells"
("There's four black horses,
with eyes of flaming red,
and roses wrapped in ribbons
all around my baby's head ... The Bells! are ringing! .... )

and on certain records, because I knew my own speakers and what I wanted to hear in my own record that I was playing for my own edification and personal enjoyment, I would turn the treble up here on this one or the bass up on that one.  (I put up the original one from the Dominoes because I sold my version of Clyde McPhatter's in 1966, when I lived in Richmond,  you know that story by now, and I can't find it online anywhere).

My songs about death frightened him. 

He was upper middle class from the Valley and I was raised partly in Compton. 

We were just much too different to get along for very long.

This guy ... He would NOT really "hear the music" what I was trying to listen to, and what other people were willing to hear, but he would be "pushy" again and just reach over and adjust the treble or bass to what he felt was the "right" or "proper" settings for the music he was expecting to hear (like mainstream radio adjustments).  I had a variable pitch slide, and would adjust that, too, and he would get his hands all over it when I was listening (because I wanted to hear a piece of music at a slower pace in order to learn to play it) ... god he was irritating! 

I got mad at him once about that, and said "Keep your hands off my knobs!"

He pulled back in surprise and scolded me, "Wow. You've really changed!"

So I said he was probably good to carry equipment and to put records on the record player,

and this is how Beefheart kind of regarded him and I later read a very funny interview in which Don just had him put record after record on the turntable while a journalist was there writing about it. 

You might think he was a real hit because Ry Cooder who was in the band then (and even I had said something like oh be the judge yourself, the Rising Sons I have heard are good and they have a good guitarist), too, I will add way back in early '65) would work the group and he'd decide, say, not to perform at Monterey Pop Festival .... I'd hear about this all after the fact, but then soon encounter Beefheart's road manager up in Berkeley on the street where I lived when the Monterey Pop bubble burst for them.

And Don and I would try to read poetry aloud very early on, too.  I knew him before Beefheart's manager did, just like I knew Frank before he made his first album "Freak Out!":

The Bells (by Edgar Allen Poe)



(I think Don read aloud from that poem as part of the ceremony when he married Jan?)
 




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