Thursday, September 23, 2010

Capt. Beefheart and the Bush

I took my second walk today! I'm really trying to get into this exercise routine. I do have a fun neighborhood to walk around in. It has pretty challenging hills to go up and down and beautiful views. I feel like I'm walking along mountain trails along some parts of the walk. My neighborhood is a weird mix of large, relatively expensive homes and shacks that look like they'd fall apart if you blow on them, and everything in between!

This area was first developed in 1925. The developer put in a golf course, tiny cabins, and lots and lots of trees (over 200,000 of them!). The trees have survived, but many of the old cabins haven't. I've read that there are only about a dozen of them left. I know of about 4 of them. Friends of mine had lived in two of them and there are two of them located by the end of my backyard. I just learned that one of the cabins near my backyard had an interesting history tied to it.

I have a huge love of history, including local history. It's probably the part of me on the spectrum that is so into this, but once I hear an interesting tidbit, I have to research the life out of it! Apparently, a musician called Capt. Beefheart did a lot of his work in that house. I know nothing about Capt. Beeheart, but based on the research I've done, he was quite the big deal from 1965 to 1982.

Here is a link to some pictures that were taken a few years ago. These pictures really don't do justice to how horrifying the house looked then. According to this link, they were asking for $850,000 for the house in 2006. This link also has really interesting information about the history of the house. For example, a photo from the cover of the album "Trout Mask Replica" was taken from the backyard of the house.

It was recently fixed up and put on the market again. It looks so much better and is now on the market for a relative bargain at $325,000! Here is the link.

Any interested buyers?

Side Note, Totally Unrelated to Above:

I have a quick funny story to share. A crazy driver managed to plow into a bush at the front of our house, totally destroying sprinkler pipes that were nestled in the bush. The driver escaped the scene of the crime and when we noticed the damage, he or she was long gone. I mentioned the carnage to my daughter's behaviorist. She hadn't noticed the damage on the way into the house. On the way out she said, "I have to check out your bush!" Needless to say, we both erupted into hysterical laughter. For a moment there, my daughter was the most mature one in the room.


  1. interesting. when i lived in ca there was an odd mix of shacks and nice homes too on our street.

    i think you should take more have a neat neighborhood.

  2. Since I have the maturity level of a middle schooler and I love Frank Zappa, this post was awesome. My inner Beavis and Butthead is giggling right now.

  3. So when the place was a dump it was going for $850K and now that it's fixed up it worth $325K? I didn't think that the burst housing bubble effected Cali that much! Captain Beefheart is still alive...maybe he'll buy it and you'll have a cult celebrity neighbor...

  4. HAHAHA! You said "bush." HAHAHA!

  5. OK... I have to contribute some material facts about Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) and what happened in this house. "Trout Mask Replica" was a very important record when it came out but its creation was quite the epic & controversial story in itself.
    I know someone who claims to have been locked in a closet by Van Vliet and forced to listen to a song over and over until he "got it", but rather than recount things I've heard & read, I'll just paste a few sentences from the Wikipedia entry. It's quite amazing.
    "Van Vliet wanted the whole band to "live" the Trout Mask Replica album. The group rehearsed Van Vliet's difficult compositions for eight months, living communally in a small rented house in the Woodland Hills suburb of Los Angeles. Van Vliet implemented his vision by asserting complete artistic and emotional domination of his musicians. At various times one or another of the group members was put "in the barrel," with Van Vliet berating him continually, sometimes for days, until the musician collapsed in tears or in total submission to Van Vliet.[42] Drummer John French described the situation as "cultlike"[43] and a visiting friend said "the environment in that house was positively Manson-esque."[44] Their material circumstances also were dire. With no income other than welfare and contributions from relatives, the group survived on a bare subsistence diet, and were even arrested for shoplifting food (with Zappa bailing them out). French recounted of living on no more than a small cup of beans a day for a month.[23] A visitor described their appearance as "cadaverous" and said that "they all looked in poor health." Band members were restricted from leaving the house and practiced for 14 or more hours a day.
    Physical assaults were encouraged at times, along with verbal degradation. Beefheart spoke of studying texts on brainwashing at a public library at about this time, and appeared to be applying brainwashing techniques to his bandmembers: sleep deprivation, food deprivation, constant negative reinforcement, and rewarding bandmembers when they attacked each other or competed with each other."
    The entry then goes on to detail the various "escapes" that musicians made from the compound.
    An incredible and scary history.

  6. I just read an article about Beefheart -- what an interesting area you must live in! Sounds like a great place to go for a walk. I love walking in my neighborhood, but once you get off my street, there's a depressing sameness to the houses you see.

    The sprinkler story made me snort too: Guess I'm not very grown-up either :-)

  7. Honestly! Shame on you! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry about your...bush. BAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  8. Your bush story is hilarious! I think it's so great that you're a history must know so much :)

  9. we have that record! That was taken in your back yard??? How cool. Thanks for stopping by to read my interview with Lynn, and come back again soon!