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The Strange Development of a Beefheart CD Album Cover

Jeff DeMark: After hanging out at the club somehow we made it over to a Howard Johnson Hotel across the street. The photo on the cover was taken by Hank Grebe, an artist friend from Madison who had come down with my brother Mike and I. I'm the one in the middle writing something down and my brother Mike is sitting next to the soda machine. A English roadie and Beefheart sat with us all night on the floor near the soda machines talking all night long, until maybe 6am. Captain Beefheart was continually sketching in a large sketchbook, smoking cigarettes, and simply conversing. My brother Mike had a tape recorder and was playing various tapes, some by New Orleans artists I think.

Mike DeMark: Later, Beefheart invited us back to his hotel, and we spent most of the night sitting on the floor in the hallway, talking. I remember playing him a tape of the great, crazy New Orleans pianist, James Booker, who he had never heard before. He was pretty blown away by Booker's playing, but at one point he said, "Aha, he tipped his hand there." We asked what he meant by that, but he just repeated that he showed his hand. Thereafter, he seemed a little less impressed with James Booker.

Jeff DeMark: At one point I asked Beefheart if he'd ever heard the jazz pianist Randy Weston. He said, "No, what does he sound like?" I said, "He sounds kind of like Thelonious Monk."

"Kinda like Monk? Nobody sounds like Monk but Monk. Man, you've had too much to think."
So the night went on. When we got up to leave at dawn, Beefheart rode the elevator down to the lobby with us. Halfway down he realized he'd left his clarinet on the floor near the soda machine. When we got to lobby, he went back up, saying just before the elevator door closed,
"I must be out of my mind... and I don't want to get back in."


Mike DeMark: Captain Beefheart seemed unwilling to let us leave, and when we finally made a move, at 5 or 6 in the morning, he followed us down in the elevator. I recall talking to one of the band members about the fact that Beefheart seemed to never sleep. "I've stayed up three days straight with the man, and finally I had to crash, and when I woke up, he was still awake. I've never seen the man sleep."

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Read about the Amsterdam 80 Live CD Beefheart Videos on YouTube

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