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Jack White's Disturbing Beefheart "Epitaph"  
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Otto Reverse
Joined: 2017-10-21
Posts: 9
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Post 2018-10-19 08:59   [Quote] 
A friend (not knowing I already have seven original VG-M Straight Records versions with inserts) gave me a birthday copy of the recent Third Man Records re-release of "Trout Mask Replica" without the tote bag and mask, etc - I'm grateful for the gesture, but equally grateful that I didn't pay good money for the thing. The ugly, crazy colored double vinyl is just a distraction, as are the aesthetically unappealing Third Man labels and white color ("French only" who cares?) single.

I guess the appeal of re-issues is all a matter of taste, but Third Man haphazardly throwing together a bunch of disparate items and design elements into this "Trout Mask" reissue is just pathetic...I haven't even bothered to listen to the TMR vinyl yet (out of fear of potentially hearing Jack White playing newly-over-dubbed guitar and bongo parts on it) and even the "newly found" cover photo negative isn't enough to keep this reissue project afloat

And speaking of Jack White...has there ever been a worse poetic tribute "EPITAPH" ever written for any other major deceased musical figure? I doubt it...(see below)...obviously Third Man Records has no quality control when it comes to fine literature, because White's Beefheart poem is kind of lame...I mean stupendously lame

It's as if Jack White had his assistant bring him copies of all of Beefheart's albums, so that he (Jack White) could grab random fragments of Beefheart lyrics and song titles and then add some of his own hackneyed whimsy and mix it all into some sort of pseudo-meaningful bland, dumb poem.

White's epitaph is so tacky, so very bad...and probably only included with the re-issue in order to make White seem more hip and more formidable than he really is. He certainly should never write more epitaphs for anyone (living or dead!) - in fact, I kind of think that White should take out an ad in the NY Times and apologise to everyone in the world for writing his bad, bad Beefheart Epitaph

The following two lines are maybe the worst...

"On rollo, on rockette, on drumbo, on Willie Dixon. The carp you don on your face that made replica to face us with, smells bad, and is not so subtle..."

What?!

And how about this poetic White insight...

"And you donned a death mask. And we are forced to make it up
for ourselves. We are now alone with you, and you are a salad"

What?! Huh?

And how 'bout this gem...

"How flippant to click the microphone down to booglarize them
like you wanted them to walk up and hit you in the face?"

Utter free-form nonsense, ridiculously dumb writing!

Anyway, has anyone gleaned any profound inspiration from Jack White's opus poeticus?

It's disturbed me enough, that I'm putting this
whole Trout Mask reissue Third Man mess on eBay ASAP -
such a disappointment...such a major disappointment, oy vey!

In fact, I'll go ahead and state categorically that
Jack White's Beefheart Epitaph is the absolute
worst piece of creative poetry ever connected
directly or tangentially to pop or avant garde
music or the arts in general...ever...period.

----------------------

*Epitaph for Don van Vliet*
by Jack White III

The tape fast forwards and the tape rewinds back. Don clarinet, genius, trapped inside womb, escapes to find himself alone out here. He sculpts the bars of his crib. He listens to Howliní Wolf in his basement desert with other sculptors. He plays harmonica through wire hair while stalking through teenage social clubs in the big desert, this one has people, and concrete, and snow. And if you ever saw him you would even say he glows. But did he make a sound? How many people couldnít hear the low low tones way down in diddy wah diddy? How many sculptors could hear, but canít carve it like him?

The bass line is a yo-yo string, a jugular vein ripped from Donís arm, or leg, Iím not sure. The string is laid in a spiral and hot wax is poured over it, and a label is put on it, and itís put up for sale and judgment. Itís even signed so you know who did it. Your white strokes were the paper with no paint on them, ice cream, snow, milk. And the black strokes were your blood, crow, electricity.

For you the moon was a smoking stoneís throw and you wanted to show us what it could do. The white Howliní Wolf, if anybody bothered to notice, bringing the light to those who need to hide their shadow. But when there is peace and love in the air, is it easy to notice a rifle shooting flowers, holding the blues at bay while painting strokes as if the horn were played by man ray up all night soaking in x-ray light?

On rollo, on rockette, on drumbo, on Willie Dixon. The carp you don on your face that made replica to face us with, smells bad, and is not so subtle. The 9 months you spent locked together to try to prove to us that pena, her little head clinking like a barrel of red velvet balls, full past noise, didnít work did it? Who said three hundred copies sold means you succeeded? You were worried that it was too far out, and you were right. It was perfect.

You performed it live in a few hours, so real, were you surprised that the pope didnít paint fig leaves on it? The car was full of cauliflower and hair pipes, driving through laurel canyon screaming, to drop the magic boys on the welfare line. To shake us up you decided to tell the coming children to get rid of the labels. You even made a commercial for it. Isnít it terrible when you have to take them by the arm to show them they exist? It was in plain view. Woe are we.

But the spotlight was always on you, and only you, no matter who paid attention or who paid for it to be made, or who played it that day. The kid was still sculpting. Click clack, don a freight train face on a railroad track, one record going forward, and the other one coming back. Under the curtain of corn flake colored album covers, you don a mask for the blues for the whites. An avant gaurdian of tommy robert lemon johnson with a shuttlecock on top of your head. You donned a curtain of clouds blowing dust, blowing over marimbas, turning them to splinters, tricking yourself from bongo blues to cherry phosphate pop. You even tricked yourself onto motor city television and tricked , and then flicked, the microphone with a look on your face that instigated, agitated, and separated the crowd from you. How flippant to click the microphone down to booglarize them like you wanted them to walk up and hit you in the face? sometimes you have to nowadays, cut to commercial.

Donning a showing scalp flat top, particular about the point it made to us, you were a basket case on stilts with a harmonica taped to a bullet. But at some point you became the desert. A sculptor with no hands. You were either too smart or too dumb. You became subtle. And subtle is louder than 8 octaves, louder than streets, cars, zombies, paintings. You became so subtle that you didnít move, your heart didnít beat anymore. And you donned a death mask. And we are forced to make it up for ourselves. We are now alone with you, and you are a salad.

Here lies Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart. His creations spinning in the living world in canvas and stereo. His remains under ground in motionless mono. Donís dust blows forward from the clouds on his black captain cape like a smoke stack, the dust blows forward but to dust he has returned back.

Jack White III


Last edited by Otto Reverse on 2018-10-22 07:38; edited 6 times in total
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brainpang
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Post 2018-10-19 15:11   [Quote] 
Almost as disturbed and lame as owning 7 vinyl copies of TMR!
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father-0blivion
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Post 2018-10-20 04:36   [Quote] 
Thanks for posting that Otto Reverse... I had one of your cassette players in my car in the 70's...

Yes, this guy sounds like a right plonker.... I don't think he was even born when the famous ''Bongo Fury'' gig took place... Jack White III? What happened to the first two..?

As highlighted above, there seems to be a bit of a ''Twas The Night Before Xmas'' rip-off at the beginning of the 4th paragraph.... but is that a ''Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer'' quote in there as well..?!
Plus he seems to think that DVV died of ''subtlety''.....

In summary, it's craptastic...

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Dark Clothes
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Post 2018-10-20 05:26   [Quote] 
Tom Waits wrote a shorter and better piece about Don - it's included in the Sun Zoom Spark box.

I'm glad you refuse the package. I must try to find a pristine old copy from the original tapes. Will stick with the ZFT cd for the reconstruction.

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brainpang
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Post 2018-10-20 17:04   [Quote] 
In full disclosure, I've never read or intend to read Mr. White's tribute. Nor Byron Coley's.
I just don't want their thoughts to pollute my joy.
I do recall quickly reading Waits and it seemed like typical, late Waits. Which for me is forgettable.

Interestingly, as I posted in the TM TMR thread, the JW poem is printed in such a way that one must strain to read it.
Maybe his staff pulled that one on him!
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hoops
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Post 2018-10-25 16:18   [Quote] 
brainpang wrote:
In full disclosure, I've never read or intend to read Mr. White's tribute. Nor Byron Coley's.
I just don't want their thoughts to pollute my joy.


Considering the dubious attitudes of some, dressed up in musical language, on this site over the years I'm glad nothing could pollute my own particular Zappa joy...phe-ew Wink

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belew-vibe
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Post 2018-10-26 17:37   [Quote] 
hoops wrote:
brainpang wrote:
In full disclosure, I've never read or intend to read Mr. White's tribute. Nor Byron Coley's.
I just don't want their thoughts to pollute my joy.


Considering the dubious attitudes of some, dressed up in musical language, on this site over the years I'm glad nothing could pollute my own particular Zappa joy...phe-ew Wink


Well said !!!
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vandelpinkfloyd
Joined: 2018-03-26
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Post 2018-10-29 17:49   [Quote] 
Dang Otto, I feel bold enough to go out on a limb and call that overreacting...

The audio is the remaster (meaning no audio added...) and sounds great IMO, and even if the vinyl is so 'hideous', turns out it still plays music! Who knew?! Who cares about the included 7"? Well I for one didn't want to spend several hundred $$ on an original soooo yeah, works for me!

The epitaph was written just after Don's death. JW is a huge fan, and is a major reason (if not the biggest) we even have the reissue out right now. Anywhere else in print on vinyl?

Surprised an insert had so much control over someone's appreciation vinyl set (or lack there of), especially considering that vinyl is generally meant to be played... I, for one, am ecstatic that TMR/JW is going to be re-issuing/partnering with ZFT archives moving forward.
This idea of someone trying to expand to new audiences and appeal to new fans with this reissue nonsense has to stop!
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Otto Reverse
Joined: 2017-10-21
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Post 2019-05-13 20:08   [Quote] 
Just as an overall response...

I don't buy the con that "Trout Mask Replica" has somehow been gaining listeners over time and is now accepted in the mainstream...rather, TMR seems to be the groovy *GO TO* album to name check in the 2000s...and I doubt that few who assert its virtues have really taken the time to investigate it fully...

TMR has only sold a few thousand copies...maybe 60,000(?) copies maximum since 1969, with I'm sure much returned product -- for many people "Trout Mask" is abhorent and unlistenable and unlikable...people do not listen to music they don't like...people generally do not listen to "Trout Mask Replica" and if they do, it's only to annoy their friends

I don't even care if Jack White is Junior President of the Beefheart Fan Club...his epitaph is bad, horrible...embarrasingly juvenile and hackneyed...the TMR tote bag is especially insulting to old fans and new fans...and when has Beefheart ever been a commercial entity anyway? Money-wise, his career was a collosal flop...art-wise is a different story
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Dark Clothes
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Post 2019-05-14 09:09   [Quote] 
With the Bizarre/Third Man issue that was released on Record Store Day you don't get anything but a great sounding pressing of the reconstructed album from Dick Kunc's safety copies + the original lyrics insert on sturdy paper - in a really beautiful pasted gatefold cover. No trace of the offending poem, just a red hot and fetishable version of the one and only Trout Mask Replica!

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Urchinn
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Post 2019-05-14 14:48   [Quote] 
I bought that "deluxe" TMR reissue...and I like it. Sounds good, love the 7", and I use the tote bag every Saturday at our vegetable market. I don't stand and watch the colored vinyl while it spins, so I can't complain about that aspect. Just give it away, or sell it, if you are upset.
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Buckalos
Joined: 2013-09-02
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Post 2019-05-14 16:54   [Quote] 
It never ceases to amaze me how people will do their damnedest to find something wrong with anything... Rolling Eyes

Otto Reverse wrote:
I don't buy the con that "Trout Mask Replica" has somehow been gaining listeners over time and is now accepted in the mainstream...rather, TMR seems to be the groovy *GO TO* album to name check in the 2000s...and I doubt that few who assert its virtues have really taken the time to investigate it fully...

TMR has only sold a few thousand copies...maybe 60,000(?) copies maximum since 1969, with I'm sure much returned product -- for many people "Trout Mask" is abhorent and unlistenable and unlikable...people do not listen to music they don't like...people generally do not listen to "Trout Mask Replica" and if they do, it's only to annoy their friends

While I definitely don't think Trout Mask is in the "mainstream" myself, I don't know if I'd say it's a popular album to name check either; yes very few of my friends know who Beefheart is, but even less care. They don't think me any more hip for introducing them to his work, and I certainly didn't show them Trout Mask to "annoy" them. It's certainly not as though I strapped them down like in 'A Clockwork Orange' for the Beefheart edition of the Ludovico Technique Laughing

Otto Reverse wrote:
I don't even care if Jack White is Junior President of the Beefheart Fan Club...his epitaph is bad, horrible...embarrasingly juvenile and hackneyed...

Is Jack White's epitaph perhaps too ostentatious and more than a little mawkish? I'd say so. But the guy is a music fan trying to express his admiration for Beefheart; is he not allowed to be a fan? What does he have to do to earn that privilege? hmm

Otto Reverse wrote:
[T]he TMR tote bag is especially insulting to old fans and new fans...

And I'm guessing even though I've been a fan of Beefheart for a few years now (since I started listening to FZ and FZ-related music in junior year of high school) that doesn't qualify me as an "old fan" since I'm too young to have been around when this music was NEW, but I don't see how in the hell the tote bag is "insulting" in any way... It's a simple design with tough enough material for a little wear and tear to carry records or whatever else you can fit in there... It's a cool way to show some love and represent the legacy.

Otto Reverse wrote:
[A]nd when has Beefheart ever been a commercial entity anyway?

The day that the "Didday Wah Diddy" 45 hit retail shelves. So for about 53 years.

TL;DR: People will bitch about anything, whether or not it's justified. I for one am glad anytime I see Trout Mask (and Beefheart in general) get some acknowledgement and accolades; getting the record re-pressed in high-quality heavy-duty vinyl is fantastic, and all the extra bells and whistles (color vinyl, bonus 7" 45, Trout Mask patch, etc...) is just extra gravy on top. I personally feel sorry for anyone that convinces themselves not to enjoy a fantastic reissue of a one-of-a-kind album by a one-of-a-kind artist simply because they don't like Jack White.

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wingedeelfingerling
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Post 2019-05-16 13:14   [Quote] 
The RSD VERSION is getting a full release in the UK in June you can order it at Piccadilly Records
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BengoFury
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Post 2019-05-16 17:07   [Quote] 
wingedeelfingerling wrote:
The RSD VERSION is getting a full release in the UK in June you can order it at Piccadilly Records


In June? It's already available here in Sweden, I did order it two days ago, and it's due to arrive tomorrow...
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vandelpinkfloyd
Joined: 2018-03-26
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Post 2019-05-17 18:44   [Quote] 
Otto, not going to continue with my opinion since everyone's entitled...

However, I will happily take your TMR extras if you do not want them. I am not incredibly insulted by a useful record sized tote (decent canvas material too), and I quite enjoy the epitaph. Let me know, I can pay some $ too if needed.
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