View Full Version : Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing: Maybe for the uke as well?

10-17-2014, 04:11 AM
Budding guitarists take note.

1. Listen to the birds

That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you’re guilty of thinking, you’re out

If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key

That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place

When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

10-17-2014, 06:17 AM
Thank you, Chikon 2000. I saw the Captain several times and his band was amazing. I hate to say it because I'm sure Beefheart wouldn't have liked it but they sound just like the record. They played most of Trout Mask Replica and most of Clear Spot and certainly other songs I didn't know. Another time the room was completely dark and all of a sudden you heard the the Captain loudly growl out, "Tropical Hotdog Night" and the lights came on and the band crashed into action. Drama. Once he was wearing a Smokey the bear ranger hat. A great guitarist accompanied him while he sang the bluesy I Don't Wanna Kill My China Pig. He was a vegetarian I believe.

Supposedly he was told that he could be the biggest bluesman in the world and he said, "I don't wanna be the biggest bluesman in the world."

A lot of funny stories and not a bad painter. Lived in a trailer in the desert. Said his high school buddy Frank Zappa was too uptight. Ry Cooder played with him.

He said he didn't teach his musicians how to play; he taught them how not to play. Can't seem to find my kind of people having fun. Gotta run, run,run to find a clearspot.

Once at a concert in S.F. someone not a fan shouted from the upper seats of Winterland, "Piss on you, Beefheart!" The Captain replied, " You c**k's not that long!"

10-17-2014, 06:44 AM
What the heck did I just read?

Time for bed..

10-17-2014, 08:39 AM
I'm with Kissing on this one. What was that anyway? I always had my doubts about guitar players. Now those doubts seem, uh ..... more real?

10-17-2014, 09:17 AM
That was awesome,..................God I miss the 70s.

10-17-2014, 10:30 AM
The good Captain is right.

Time for someone to cover all of Trout Mask Replica on uke, too!

10-17-2014, 10:37 AM
Sorry, I wipe the sweat off my ukes.

10-17-2014, 02:55 PM
Great stories, Kimosabe. A friend saw his sound check once, and Beefheart insisted on surrounding himself with 3 monitors. When the soundman asked why he needed so many, he said, "I have a 3 octave voice".

10-17-2014, 03:15 PM

How about this?

Radio Flyer
10-17-2014, 03:19 PM
i've heard similar talk from wyatt winghead while aboard the intergalactic MF express in the 70's.