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“Ashtray Heart” December 13, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Captain Beefheart, Music.

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band perform “Hot Head” and “Ashtray Heart” on Saturday Night Live, November 22, 1980.

The person yelling “Shit!” at the end of the SNL performance was Radames Pera, the once child actor playing “Grasshopper” in the TV show Kung Fu. He was disgusted with the Beefheart performance. It was evidently his first exposure to Don’s music.

He said, ‘Shit!’ as in ‘that sucks!’

After the show we went to an after show party at a bar in Manhattan with the cast including Malcom MacDowell. Charles Rocket introduced me to Radames and we became friends. I gave him the Beefheart sales pitch and managed to convert him into a fan.

Two days later we played a show at the Beacon Theatre and when the union guys cut our show short, Radames got on the microphone and tried to rile the audience with something like, “Hey! We’re not going to take this, are we?!”

He later moved to LA from New York and we hung out a lot. When he was doing the Kung Fu TV show his mother was getting the checks and spent every penny on herself. Sometime around the late 80’s he married a woman named Marsha and moved up to Portland. I haven’t heard from him since. Gee, this sounds like a high school book report.

— Robert Williams, Magic Band drummer

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