The Coral on the influence of Captain Beefheart
As Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat get set to celebrate Captain Beefheart’s enigmatic, surreal and unforgettable music, The Coral's Nick Power chooses his favourite tracks by the Californian psych master.
Listening to early Coral tracks, such as Skeleton Key, you can see Beefheart's sonic alchemy entwined in the band's DNA. Beefheart has been a source of inspiration for many musicians since the release of debut LP Safe as Milk in 1967. He, and his ever-changing Magic Band, released a further eleven studio albums, each one eclectic in style and ground-breaking in creative ambition. His other admirers include PJ Harvey, Mark E Smith, Lee Mavers of the La’s, and Tom Waits. And Jack White once described Beefheart’s seminal 1969 album Trout Mask Replica as ‘one of the most unique records in music history’.
In this celebratory musical event at Liverpool's District on Sat 11 November, a host of Beefheart-inspired musicians will perform their own original music alongside reworkings of Beefheart songs, in celebration of a true maverick and counter-cultural hero. Many of the artists featured hail from Liverpool, reflecting the reverence and adulation that Beefheart found in the area. They include Pale Rider, Karm, The Cubical, Psycho Comedy, Strange Collective, a.P.A.t.T, Dave McCabe (The Zutons) and Edgar Jones and the New Joneses. Plus, very special guest: guitar legend and former Magic Band member Gary Lucas
"Electricity: the one that changed everything. I heard this in Paul Duffy's top bedroom when I was a teenager, after buying it from Hairy Records in Liverpool. When the high theremin sound petered out at the end, I remember coming back to reality and realising the way I thought about music would never be the same. This was like some dark cartoon."
"Abba Zaba: From the same album. "Abba-Zaba-Zoom/ Two shadows at noon". About an ape (Babette Baboon) who's "coming over pretty soon" to human evolution. Sounds like a night voyage down some haunted bayou. And that bass break...."
"Moonlight on Vermont: from Trout Mask Replica, this is as outer-dimensional as it gets; a high supermoon sends the residents of a small middle-American town stir-crazy. Mars-music."
"Obeah Man: from the Grow Fins box set. Recorded before Safe as Milk, this catches the magic band in their voodoo blues peak. "If you wanna find out about magic/ let me show you just where it's at/ they call me the obeah man."
"Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles: Don Van Vliet could write a perfect love song too: this from Clear Spot is an eerie, beautiful cut. I don't think are many writers who can tap this vein of emotion so effortlessly. This sounds distant and sedated, like a sad dream."