SXSW Tuesday Interview

Gary Lucas
Gary Lucas

Gary Lucas Plays Spanish 'Dracula'

10pm, Central Presbyterian Church Most notably as Captain Beefheart's Magic Band guitarist on latter-day LPs Ice Cream for Crow and Doc at the Radar Station, Gary Lucas cut an instrumental swath, but as a composer and songwriter, his work goes even further. Downtown in one of Austin's not-so-Gothic houses of worship, he and his Knitting Factory all-stars Gods & Monsters will soundtrack Lucas' eerie original score for the 1931 Spanish-language production of Tod Browning's Dracula, made during the original's filming in the late-night hours when the main cast was off set. Lucas is also scheduled on the Tropical Hot Dog Panel, a story swap in honor of the late Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, on Wednesday, March 16, 12:30pm, at the Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB.

He shared a few stories about his time with the Captain via e-mail:

"He could be maddening in the studio because he was prone to edit and revise the compositions up to the last minute, but that was his prerogative as far as I was concerned, as the overriding Svengali artist authority figure and band leader. He also disdained the use of things like reverb and ambient mic-ing, which me and the rest of the band and various engineers working on the albums tried unsuccessfully to advocate.

"When the engineer, Phil Brown, suggested the use of an ambient mic strung high in the rafter of the cavernous studio in Burbank to use as one of several sound recording sources in the mix of my solo guitar piece, 'Evening Bell,' Don nixed the idea, saying he wanted no 'heavy syrup' on the tracks at all. He wanted the album to sound like 'a two-dimensional painting.' We wanted it to sound competitive with Talking Heads!

"But it was his bat and ball. A great art concept though, in any case." – Audra Schroeder

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