I met Don van Vliet just the once, in the gents at Warwick University. I offered him a pull on a joint. Ah, No, sir, people have paid good money to see us tonight and I like to be straight for them. Thirty years later, I still don't know whether he was shitting me or not. He was certainly, albeit on the basis of a brief encounter, one of the gentlest men I have ever met, even though Maestro Ry Cooder insists that Beefheart got the best from him by pointing a gun at his head. He hadn't recorded for a long time, instead painting in, I believe, the Mojave Desert. Last time I saw him he was playing two saxophones at the same time, threatening to sack his drummer and raising the roof. May he have been in Blues Heaven half an hour before the Devil knew he was dead.