Discord & Rhyme: An Album Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

026: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica (1969)

"I thought it was the worst thing I'd ever heard….It was just a sloppy cacophony. Then I listened to it a couple more times, because I couldn't believe Frank Zappa could do this to me…. About the sixth or seventh time, it clicked in, and I thought it was the greatest album I'd ever heard."

—Matt Groening

This week, the Discord and Rhyme crew settle in for a breezy, fast ‘n bulbous chat about one of the most infamously impenetrable albums of the 20th century. Sure, we could have made it easy on ourselves and chosen one of Captain Beefheart’s shorter, more accessible records, but where’s the fun in that? On this episode, Dan guides Mike, Phil, and Rich through Beefheart (and the Magic Band)’s 1969 magnum opus Trout Mask Replica, a double (yes, double) album that, depending on who you ask, is either a hugely influential, groundbreaking masterpiece or completely unlistenable noise. Listen as we discuss the insane story behind how the album was made, list the dozens upon dozens of bands and artists who have scrapped the album’s sound for parts in the decades since, and break down why people who enjoy it aren’t just trying to prove how cool they are.

Miscellany

  • Correction: Dan mistakenly introduced the album as being by The Magic Band. His Magic Band actually didn’t become The Magic Band until the 1970 follow-up album Lick My Decals Off, Baby. It’s small details like this that will drive an OCD person insane managing an iTunes library.

  • This lineup of the band indeed did go on to perform in a Captain-free incarnation under the name Mallard, releasing two albums in the mid-1970s and touring with Jethro Tull. In 2003, John French reformed The Magic Band, taking on vocal duties himself, and toured with a rotating cast of old and new band members.

  • Some of Captain Beefheart’s early collaborations with Frank Zappa can be heard on Zappa’s 1996 collection of odds and ends, The Lost Episodes. This compilation notably contains Beefheart’s first recorded vocal on the track “Lost in a Whirlpool.”

  • This album has recently been treated to a lovely vinyl re-release by Third Man Records. However, its availability of CD seems to be somewhat tricky, as Amazon currently only offers it through overpriced third-party sellers. For those of you who actually still buy CDs, the best place to find an affordable copy is straight from the official Captain Beefheart store: https://store.captainbeefheart.com/trout-mask-replica-cd.html

  • Our Spotify playlist for this episode does not include the actual album, because it’s not on there.

Other links

Discord & Rhyme roll call

  • Dan Watkins (host)

  • Phil Maddox (moderator)

  • Rich Bunnell

  • Mike DeFabio

  • Chris Willie Williams (Disclaimer)

Trout Mask Replica tracklist

  1. Frownland

  2. The Dust Blows Forward ‘n the Dust Blows Back

  3. Dachau Blues

  4. Ella Guru

  5. Hair Pie: Bake 1

  6. Moonlight on Vermont

  7. Pachuco Cadaver

  8. Bill’s Corpse

  9. Sweet Sweet Bulbs

  10. Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish

  11. China Pig

  12. My Human Gets Me Blues

  13. Dali’s Car

  14. Hair Pie: Bake 2

  15. Pena

  16. Well

  17. When Big Joan Sets Up

  18. Fallin’ Ditch

  19. Sugar ‘n Spikes

  20. Ant Man Bee

  21. Orange Claw Hammer

  22. Wild Life

  23. She’s Too Much for My Mirror

  24. Hobo Chang Ba

  25. The Blimp (Mousetrapreplica)

  26. Steal Softly Thru Snow

  27. Old Fart at Play

  28. Veteran’s Day Poppy

Other clips used

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band:

  • Big Eyed Beans from Venus

  • Zig Zag Wanderer

  • Tropical Hot Dog Night

Others:

  • Ween - Transitions

  • Ween - I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight

  • Procol Harum - The Thin End of the Wedge

  • Todd Rundgren - Dogfight Giggle

  • Dave Matthews Band - Dancing Nancies

  • Dave Matthews Band - What Would You Say

  • Frank Zappa - Willie the Pimp

  • Ween - Strap on That Jammy Pack

  • Complete - Hoogie Boogie Land

  • Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz

  • XTC - Ella Guru

  • Steve Reich - Come Out

  • The Pop Group - She Is Beyond Good and Evil

  • Gang of Four - Guns Before Butter

  • Steely Dan - Reelin’ in the Years

  • The Primevals - China Pig

  • The Fall - No Xmas for John Quays

  • Yes - Close to the Edge

  • Shellac - Watch Song

  • The Simpsons - Rappin’ Ronnie Reagan

  • Ralph Stanley - O Death

  • XTC - Living Through Another Cuba

  • Wilco - Via Chicago

  • Frank Zappa - Let’s Make the Water Turn Black

  • Yes - Heart of the Sunrise

  • Tortoise - Glass Museum

Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip

Captain Beefheart and His/The Magic Band

  • Diddy Wah Diddy

  • Electricity

Others:

  • Ween - Mister, Will You Please Help My Pony?

  • The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World

  • Frank Zappa - Debra Kadabra

  • Mr. Bungle - Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead

  • Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

  • King Crimson - Lizard

  • Frank Zappa - I’m the Slime

  • Frank Zappa - Apostrophe

  • Joe Jackson - (It’s a) Big World

  • Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart

  • Pavement - Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era

  • The Beatles - Love Me Do

  • Blue Öyster Cult - Astronomy

  • Madvillain - America’s Most Blunted

  • Fats Waller - Shortnin’ Bread

  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Our House

  • The Doobie Brothers - China Grove

  • The Grateful Dead - China Doll

  • They Might Be Giants - The World’s Address

  • Kendrick Lamar - Mortal Man

  • Frank Zappa - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask

  • The Cryan’ Shames - Sugar and Spice

  • Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain

  • Janet Jackson - Miss You Much

  • Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy

  • The Fall - I Feel Voxish

  • Queen - Hammer to Fall

  • Slint - Good Morning Captain

  • Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle - The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle

  • Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life

  • Wild Man Fischer - Merry-Go-Round

  • Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day

  • Parliament - Mothership Connection

  • Carly Rae Jepsen - Now That I Found You

  • Yes - The Revealing Science of God

  • PJ Harvey - Meet Ze Monsta

Band/album personnel

  • Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) - vocals, saxophone, bass clarinet, musette, simran horn, hunting horn, jingle bells

  • Drumbo (John French) - drums, percussion, arrangement

  • Antennae Jimmy Semens (Jeff Cotton) - guitar, “steel appendage guitar,” vocals

  • Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) - guitar, “glass finger guitar,” flute

  • Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) - bass guitar, narration

  • The Mascara Snake - bass clarinet, backing vocals

  • Doug Moon - guitar

  • Gary Marker - bass guitar

Credits

“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:

  • Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste

  • The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...

  • Faith No More - Midlife Crisis

  • Herbie Hancock - Hornets

  • Kraftwerk - Autobahn

  • Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen

  • Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Hair Pie: Bake 1 (this episode only)

You can buy or stream Trout Mask Replica and other albums by at some of the usual suspects such as YouTube and Amazon (but not Spotify or iTunes). Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news, updates, and other random stuff. Follow Rich @zonetrope, Dan @DanSWatkins, and Phil @pamaddox. Editing is by Rich, and special thanks to our own Mike DeFabio, the Other Leading Brand, for production. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.

This website and all episodes' discussion/commentary © 2018—2019 Discord & Rhyme. Excerpts from recordings appearing in episodes are included for purposes of review only, and all rights to such material remain property of their copyright holders. Please note that we make a good-faith effort to ensure all information included in these episodes is accurate, but if we get something wrong, let us know at discordpod@gmail.com and we will print a correction in the show notes. Website design by Amanda Rodgers. Thank you for visiting, and be ever wonderful.

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