The Ballad Of Beans Barton, Captain Beefheart And Stomach Pump Ruland
Lonesome, Onry and Mean likes us some Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds. Loves us some. No act in town comes close to the joyous pandemonium of one of the Bi-Peds' performance-art sets at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. Belly dancers, children, hippies, hula-hoopers, and other weirdos - in both the band and the audience - make these hippie hoedowns a soul-lifting experience every time we see it.
We recently interviewed Dale "Beans" Barton and, while you'll have to wait until next week's print edition to get the full force of this Houston artistic hurricane, here's a little teaser.
Shortly after Captain Beefheart's legendary double album Trout Mask Replica appeared, Beefheart and his Magic Band played Of Our Own, a hippie joint at the corner of Kirby and Rice Boulevard, on Feb. 19, 1971. Opening were Ry Cooder and Barton's former band, Bruiser Barton and the Dry Heaves, which Rolling Stone magazine dubbed "the worst rock band in Texas."
LOM and legions of our barefoot U of H hippie friends sat on the floor completely mesmerized by the Heaves, who were costumed as oddly as the Magic Band - and that took some by-god doing, 'cause those guys were weird. Bruiser Barton performed the entire set in a wheel chair dressed like an Arab escapee from Sam the Sham's band of Pharoahs. His singing style would best be described as spastic in a Dr. Strangelovean sort of way. You had to be there to get the full depravity of this.
Anyway, we were discussing this with Barton and here is his recollection of that bizarre evening.
"It was a legendary show. The Heaves opened for the Captain and Ry Cooder. After our set. Ry, the Captain, and their manager come up to us backstage, and the Captain says something un-pronouncable, yet he did pronounce it. Then the manager says, 'Ry's guitar is broken, do you boys have a Fender guitar that Ry could use for his set?'
Stomach Pump Ruland, Heaves guitarist, says, 'Well, we've got a mock Fender guitar' that we had bartered some luan den paneling for. It didn't have a case and Stomach Pump claimed it had a warped neck.
The dark guitar was lying on a table by the backstage sofa. We looked at it, the Captain and Ry look at it, Ry shrugs and picks it up. Stomach Pump says, 'He's gonna look like a dillweed when he has to keep stopping to tune,' but Ry played flawlessly. He seemed to have no difficulties.
So the Pump says,'It must be perfect humidity or something kept it tuned with meteorology.'
Yeah. What he said.