Do We Really Believe Jon Huntsman Is A Captain Beefheart Fan?

On Thursday, former Utah governor and current long-shot GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman tweeted the following: “I wonder if a tweet where I admit how much I like Captain Beefheart will make the followers skyrocket even more!”

So do we believe Huntsman is a Beefheart fan?  Not really.  And it’s not simply because he throws the late Captain’s name out there as potential link bait.  We suspect instead that he has a very clever press secretary. While the son of a Utah billionaire and the late Don Van Vliet were geographically connected by the Mojave Desert, the distance between them seems just too great to have been crossed.

Some years back, when Republican Massachusetts governor William Weld served up Between The Buttons as his favorite Stones album, it had the immensely charming virtue not only of alluding to a quirky, semi-obscure record, but also of seeming authenticity.  Weld was a genuinely eclectic politician — a liberal Republican relative of Theodore Roosevelt, charmingly idiosyncratic in an upbeat preppy manner, a novelist who clearly wrote his own damn book.  You can see him listening to Keith Richards’ harmonies on “Connection,” on the last good Stones album before they hit their streak of genius, which began 18 months later with Beggars Banquet.

But the wan, former Obama appointee who is now trying to concoct a rationale as the sensible Republican in the race — eminently admirable for that, for sure, but nonetheless done with an air of contrivance — could be invoking Mr. Beefheart as a quirky touchstone.  So, to Mr. Huntsman, we pose the following quiz:

1.  What notable figure from rock’n’roll history went to high school with Don Van Vliet?

2.  In what canyon was Trout Mask Replica rehearsed?

3.  In which bands did Roy Estrada play before joining The Magic Band?

4.  What is the real name of Zoot Horn Rollo?

5.  What is your favorite Beefheart album, and why?  (If you name Clear Spot as your favorite, please indicate whether you believe Ice Cream For Crow was a sufficient final opus, or should he have just stopped releasing albums after Doc At The Radar Station?)

6.  Was Don Van Vliet a better singer or painter?

If Jon Huntsman — or even his press secretary — can answer those questions, Tulip Frenzy will endorse him for president.  Several can be answered by going to the Wikipedia.  But a few involve subjective decisions, and we think we will be able to discern whether the Beefheartian positioning is real, or a ploy to look more interesting than we suspect he is.

3 Responses to “Do We Really Believe Jon Huntsman Is A Captain Beefheart Fan?”

  1. So in order to “really” like Beefheart, you must be a nerd that knows a boatload of trivia about him? LOL. I know most of the answers, but don’t see the connection between that and appreciating his music.
    I also like Beethoven but know very little about him.
    He’s a musician, so it’s natural for him to appreciate Beefheart (and Zappa, no doubt).
    What? You expected the Partridge Family and the Cowsills? 🙂

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