The Great One died earlier this year, magically at the age of 69. The man who painted with sound and ended his days painting with paint. As with his music, his visual art did not simply defy convention, it refused to acknowledge it.
The Captain was not like us – he was a precious idiot-god. Probably functionally illiterate, seeing music in drawings and drawings in sounds, I doubt anyone could have ever seen the reality he perceived – an endless source of grief for him, especially when bumping into immovable objects like Zappa.
He was without a doubt the man who poisoned me – life changed when at age 16 I had my mind permanently deformed by Doc At The Radar Station. I blaspheme by considering this his greatest work, alongside Lick My Decals Off Baby. Trout Mask is, dunno, beyond me, but still a masterwork, a communion for once a year perhaps, a sacred experience – black putty music. But Doc and Decals do it for me.
So, 35 years later, something all of us with fins have been waiting for, is finally being released from the vaults of Virgin records after being stuck in legal limbo. Bat Chain Puller is coming. There are many tracks from this that were subsequently re-recorded and added to later vinyl, much of it amongst the best of the best, like the sublime Owed t’Alex (raw live version, no doubt in a pub with sticky carpet and a faint vomit smell, the way I like it)–
Here’s a cut from Doc: Sue Egypt –
And one from Decals: Buggy Boogie Woogie (probably my all time fave) –
I salivate at the prospect of Bat Chain Puller.