"Captain Beefheart for pop star."
... I wanted to do the album as if it were an anthropological field recording -- in his house. The whole band was living in a small house in the San Fernando Valley (we could use the word cult in here). ... I thought it would be great to go to Don's house with this portable rig and put the drums in the bedroom, the bass clarinet in the kitchen and the vocals in the bathroom: complete isolation, just like in a studio -- except that the band members probably would feel more at home, since they were at home. ... Don got paranoid, accused me of trying to do the album on the cheap, and demanded to go into a real recording studio.
So we moved the whole operation to Glendale, into a place called Whitney, the studio I was using at that time -- owned by the Mormon church.
... After it was mixed, I did the editing and assembly in my basement. I finished at approximately 6:00 A.M. on Easter Sunday, 1969. I called them up and said, "Come on over; your album is done." They dressed up like they were going to Easter church and came over. They listened to the record and said they loved it.
. . . "It's been said that you started sculpting when you were four years old."
"Oh, before that: when I was three. But," he emphasized, "I was whistling when I was probably two. I had a mockingbird friend when I used to lie in my bassinet in my grandfather's back yard -- he had a lot of foliage out there. He grew roses, fantastic roses."
After a digression about his grandfather's career as a riverboat gambler and the gardens he'd had in New Orleans, the captain mentioned that he'd been given a paper punch for his fifth birthday. Non-plussed, I thought, 'What the hell does that have to do with rose gardens?' Oh, no.
"You didn't punch the. . . "
"Every one of the leaves, perfectly," he said, rather proudly, "on every rosebush in the yard. I thought it was so nice the way the sun shone through the holes in the leaves; and the shadows, the little green dots they'd create on the grass. Of course, I got caught. I came into the house all covered with green pulp.
"I've never grown up. I've refused. But I feel real abused, you know what I mean?"
[. . . ]
"How do you stand in relation to the rest of the universe?"
"An artist is one who kids himself the most gracefully.
That's all I've ever been able to come up with."
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