Lunar Notes
Zoot Horn Rollo's Captain Beefheart Experience
Bill Harkleroad with Billy James

SAF Publishing Ltd
ISBN 0-946719-21-7
160 pp, paperback, 23,5 x 15,5 cm

On pages 24-25 Bill Harkleroad writes about a jam session at Zappa's log cabin in Laurel Canyon. Cal Schenkel's photos from this event are available at :

After the audition Don and I jumped into his car, this big old bitchin' Mark IV Jaguar, and drove into Laurel Canyon to Frank Zappa's house. That's when I started getting nervous. Frank was a big deal to me. As far as music went, my two influences besides the blues, and some jazz were Beefheart and Zappa! So I'm going down to meet Frank Zappa and by now he was definitely more successful than Don. I think Absolutely Free had been done, I don't think We're Only In It For The Money had been released yet. So we go down to Frank's place – Tom Mix's old house in Laurel Canyon. There's tons of people hanging around in this big old log cabin and I'm pretty nervous. So we went downstairs and ran into Frank. He was very cordial and animated and there's people everywhere. Women were all over the place – what an experience!

It turns out Frank was trying to put together this Rock 'n' Roll Circus thing, which The Stones later put together without him. I don't know how many  Rolling Stones were there at the time, but Mick Jagger certainly was, as were The Who and Marianne Faithful. She was so ripped she was drooling – but what a babe – I was star struck! It was funny because Jagger really didn't mean a whole lot to me at that point. I'd played all their tunes in various bands. To me he really wasn't a singer – he was a "star". But when I actually met him, all I can remember thinking is, "How could you be a star? You're too little!"

Downstairs at Frank's was the first time I saw Art Tripp. He had just joined the Mothers and he was playing drums. Frank was rehearsing some tunes with a string section, clarinets and various other session players. Also, there was a one lane bowling alley down there! Well being the acid-head I was – I'm almost hallucinating to suddenly be amongst Zappa and all these people! I ended up in this jam session in a circle of people about six or seven feet apart and we're playing "Be-Bop-a-Lu-La"! Don was to my immediate left wearing his big madhatter hat and to his immediate left was Mick Jagger and right around the circle all these people were playing, Frank included.

 So I'm jamming with these guys almost too nervous to be able to move or breathe. I started to ease up after I noticed that Jagger seemed to be equally intimidated. Then we went into Muddy Waters' "Rollin' & 'I'umblin'" and a couple of blues things and that was it. It was such a strange experience – somehow just out of nowhere I'm down in Hollywood meeting Frank Zappa and this whole entourage of famous people like Jagger, Marianne Faithful and Pete Townshend. What an audition! There I was 19 years old and I'm very taken with these big important people.

Subsequently, any time I was hanging out at Frank Zappa's Laurel Canyon house or later at his house on Woodrow Wilson, there was always at least 20 people roaming around without fail. Even if Frank wasn't involved – it was because of him and/or in spite of him. Whether he was just a generous guy letting people hang out, or he needed a circus around him to feel comfortable – I don't know. Frank was always downstairs in his studio. I was there often enough to get a feel for exactly how much work he actually did. The routine involved smoking Winstons, drinking coffee, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cutting tape.

Foreword to Lunar Notes by Henry Kaiser
Captain Beefheart's Radar Station
Dada Jotirupananda review
Amazon: Customer reviews


Lunar Notes
Zoot Horn Rollo's Captain Beefheart Experience
Bill Harkleroad with Billy James

éditions de la rose des vents - suiseisha
ISBN 4-89176-405-8
293 pp, hardcover, 19 x 13,5 cm

 Japanese translation by Keiko Koyama.

Billy James:

Lunar Notes - Zoot Horn Rollo's Capt. Beefheart Experience - written by Bill Harkleroad & Billy James. SAF Publishing UK. First release 1998, reprinted 2000. A hardbound Japanese version with a different cover was released in 2000.

Paper jacket
paper jacket

Source: Electricity