Zappa, Beefheart, and Bongo Fury

Source: Yahoo Entertainment.

While not a collaboration, there’s no denying that Frank Zappa helped bring Captain Beefheart’s game-changing Trout Mask Replica to fruition. Yet while both were demanding bandleaders busy tearing up the rulebook and redefining the lexicon of rock – Zappa with his satirical deconstructions of rock’n’roll, Beefheart with his primal, blues-indebted exhortations – they were also headed down divergent paths. Zappa left nothing to chance, planning everything to the final detail. Beefheart, meanwhile, worked in a creative hurricane that sometimes seemed as chaotic as his stream-of-consciousness lyrics. An acrimonious split between the two personalities would take several years to mend.

In the mid-70s, however, both were at a crossroads. Zappa was about to say goodbye to his long-time band The Mothers Of Invention, while Beefheart, following his divisive foray into more overtly commercial territory, found himself casting around for a new Magic Band. Burying the hatchet, the two hit the road for a brief spring US jaunt in 1975, portions of which were captured on tape for Zappa’s 1975 album Bongo Fury, part recorded in the studio, part recorded at the World Armadillo Headquarters in Austin, Texas.