Captain Beefheart

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Interview: Gary Lucas

Gary Lucas has been described as “The Thinking Man’s Guitar Hero” by The New Yorker, a “Guitarist of 1000 Ideas” by The New York Times, and a “legendary leftfield guitarist” by The Guardian (UK). He first gained acclaim for his work with Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet), appearing on Beefheart’s 1980 album Doc at the Radar Station and 1982’s Ice Cream for Crow. Lucas was also Van Vliet’s manager during this time. He has since released solo albums – the first being 1990’s Skeleton at the Feast featuring effect-heavy interstellar guitar instrumentals – and albums with his band Gods and Monsters, whose ranks once included Jeff Buckley. He has worked with many other artists, and was nominated for a Grammy for co-writing Joan Osborne’s song “Spider Web”.

The Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters album The Ordeal of Civility will be released on Knitting Factory Records on May 10, 2011. This album is not just for fans of avant guitar – definitely worth checking out!

This interview was conducted by email, with responses received March 1, 2011. Lucas responded from La Habana, Cuba.