While on that topic:
I got a lot of fantastic positive comments from fans at Z16 and I was flattered and proud to be part of bearing the Beefheart torch, but it was often difficult to absorb. The more I play the music of Captain Beefheart the more I realize that it is not jammy, or free form, or loose. It is very controlled linear composition. You change it, it isn’t the same. It loses power and it loses the message. I have never considered myself to be a perfectionist in any area, but this gig brought out my inner perfectionist.
Playing in Doctor Dark was simultaneously one of the most uplifting and one of the most degrading musical experience of my life. I was able to attempt to play the parts of a man that I consider to be one of the true “lost greats” of the electric bass, Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston. I was able to attempt that with players who were also trying to fulfil the promise of other amazing musicians: John “Drumbo” French or Art Tripp or Robert Wiliams, or Bill Harkelroad, or Ry Cooder (yes, THAT Ry Cooder), and Don “Captain Beefheart” Vliet, and a lot more. All this despite a lifelong desire not to be in a cover band, or a blues band, or to churn out bass riffs behind some guitar wanker. That desire has been my mantra since the Carter administration, so it isn’t like I had some kind of epiphany last week.
Ultimately I found that some of my strengths worked in a positive way, some in a negative way, and that if I didn’t watch myself my love of music could be used as leverage to put me in a position to betray myself.
My fellow Doctor Darkians know the deal but for the record: Zappanale 16 was my last gig with Doctor Dark. The feeling is one of melancholy with an elation chaser. My hope is that by making the decision honestly and promptly there will be an overall avoidance of regret. I know. Fat Fucking Chance.