Captain Beefheart Lick My Decals Off Ad and BBC Documentary

A 1971 TV ad that Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) created for his album Lick My Decals Off, Baby. A Los Angeles TV station KTTV banned this ad at the time claiming that the album’s title was obscene.

Decals was the followup to Beefheart’s most famous recording Trout Mask Replica; it is thought by some to actually be a better album (it was supposedly also Van Vliet’s personal favorite). Legendary rock critic Lester Bangs wrote at the time:

… even though the sonic textures are sometimes even more complex and angular than on Trout Mask, the lyrics have taken an added universality, many of them stepping back a stride from the kaleidoscopic image-clusters of last year’s songs.

The album has been out of print for nearly 20 years now, and sells for high prices if you can find it. Bangs also wrote…

Captain Beefheart takes some getting used to at first, just like Ornette and Ayler and the Velvets and even the Stooges (and didn’t Dylan sound pretty strange the first time we heard him?). But if it does sometimes require some patience and close attention, is also one of the most rewarding musical experiences available today. The fact is that this man’s music, probably more than that of anybody else working in rock now, is breaking ground for an awesome superhighway leading us away from the decadent era of Superstars into a future where every man shall have ears to hear music beyond our wildest dreams, music like nobody’s heard on earth before.

There’s a great BBC documentary on YouTube about Beefheart narrated by John Peel, with appearances by Frank Zappa, Matt Groening, and Ry Cooder.