Image © Alex Waterhouse
I took these pictures of Captain Beefheart sometime in 1980 at the Hotel Plaza on Burrard the day he appeared with the Magic Band at the Commodore (third photograph). This was one of my earlier collaborations with writer Les Wiseman for his In One Ear column in Vancouver Magazine. Wiseman had told me that if he had to go to a desert island with one record (there were no CDs yet) it would be Beefheart’s 1969 Trout Mask Replica . Such was the complexity of this record’s music that it would take years to figure it out and one would never tire of it.
In the hotel Wiseman gave Beefheart a pack of Gitanes to smoke. All three of us were wearing Harris Tweed jackets. Beefheart impressed us with his knowledge of how many dyes were involved in their making. We also discussed the horsemanship of rejoneador Don Álvaro Domecq who fought bulls from beautiful white horses. I had seen Don Álvaro in Mexico City and Beefheart wanted to know more.
What remains most in my memory of that day was listening to Beefheart sing the line: Somebody’s had too much to think and then he stopped and stared at the young man in the picture.