There are scores of rock n’ roll geniuses, and most of them are so obviously human. They’re bold but fragile, bursting with rage and ready to bleed all over the place. Then there’s Captain Beefheart, who was so obviously super-human. He could twist rock n’ roll into 12 dimensions with extra-terrestrial confidence. He possessed a blues voice that was light years ahead of any other white man on Earth. He was soulful, yet unflappable. Yes, it takes gargantuan balls to pull off the kind of noise Captain Beefheart made with his Magic Band. And Captain Beefheart knew he had those balls, and he knew exactly what shapes the ripples of his noise would make. You never imagined he did drugs, because he was drugs.
When I see a dolphin, I know it’s just as smart as I am. Sometimes I’d rather be thought of as a dolphin than as a human being. I live up at Eureka, among the big trees, and I tell you, those things are really saying something.
If I remember correctly, Trout Mask Replica was the first album that made me think This is really difficult to listen to, but I like that about it, and I want to hear it again and again. It’s still hard to listen to, but it gets easier, and I will always want to listen to it at least one more time. Of course, Safe As Milk will always be the best Beefheart.