Bat Chain Puller

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Bat Chain Puller
Bat Chain Puller.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 22, 2012
GenreExperimental rock, blues rock
ProducerDon Van Vliet
Kerry McNab
Captain Beefheart chronology
An Ashtray Heart
Bat Chain Puller
The Lost Broadcasts
Professional ratings
Review scores

Bat Chain Puller is the 13th studio album (and first official posthumous album) by Captain Beefheart, released on February 22, 2012. It was recorded in 1976 by DiscReet Records, who had intended to release it with Virgin Records as Captain Beefheart's tenth studio album. It was co-produced by Beefheart and Kerry McNab.

The album was a subject of friction between DiscReet cofounders Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa. Cohen had used Zappa's royalty checks to fund the album's production, and this led Zappa to withhold the master tapes from Virgin. Beefheart recorded a new album for Warner Bros., Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), with no involvement from Cohen or Zappa.

Following a lawsuit which was settled in 1982, the album remained unreleased until 2012, after Zappa's family had announced in 2011 that they would release the original Bat Chain Puller in its intended form.


After recording the album Bongo Fury with Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet formed a new Magic Band and began recording Bat Chain Puller for DiscReet and Virgin Records.[2][3] Zappa described the proposed album as Vliet's best since Trout Mask Replica.[3] Vliet co-produced it with Kerry McNab, who also served as the remix engineer on Zappa's album One Size Fits All.[3] Herb Cohen, DiscReet's cofounder and Zappa's business manager, paid for the album's production costs with Zappa's royalty checks, leading Zappa to end his business partnership with Cohen.[3][4] Cohen and Zappa each demanded to be paid an advance by Virgin, leading Zappa to withhold the master tapes, leading Cohen to sue Zappa.[3][4]

Due to the lawsuit, Vliet rerecorded the Bat Chain Puller tracks for Warner Bros. Records under the title Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).[2][5]

In 1982, Cohen settled his lawsuit with Zappa, while Vliet was recording Ice Cream for Crow. Vliet intended to use half of the tracks from the original Bat Chain Puller album on Ice Cream For Crow, but Zappa refused Vliet's request.[3] Vliet biographer Mike Barnes subsequently claimed that Vliet did not want the original album to be released.[6]

On June 24, 2011, six months after Vliet's death, Zappa's widow Gail claimed that the original Bat Chain Puller would be released "[t]his year. December most likely";[7] in December it was announced for release on January 15, 2012,[6] but was delayed and did not ship until February.


The song "Bat Chain Puller" was based upon the rhythm of the windshield wipers on Vliet's Volvo car.[2]

Track listing[edit]

1."Bat Chain Puller"5:07
2."Seam Crooked Sam"3:09
3."Harry Irene"3:25
4."81 Poop Hatch"2:35
5."Flavor Bud Living"1:49
6."Brick Bats"4:27
7."Floppy Boot Stomp"3:57
8."Chariot (Ah Carrot Is As Close As Ah Rabbit Gets To Ah Diamond)"1:37
9."Owed T' Alex"3:19
10."Odd Jobs"5:14
11."Human Totem Pole (The 1000th And 10th Day Of The Human Totem Pole)"5:49
Bonus tracks
13."Bat Chain Puller" (alternate mix)5:05
14."Candle Mambo"3:25

Included are original recordings of songs that had appeared on the albums Shiny Beast (tracks 1/13, 3, 7, 9, 12 & 14), Doc at the Radar Station (tracks 5, 6 & 8) and Ice Cream for Crow (tracks 4 & 11).



  1. ^ Beta, Andy (8 June 2012). "Captain Beefheart: Bat Chain Puller | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Buckley, P. (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781843531050. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Miles, B. (2005). Zappa. Grove Press. p. 250. ISBN 9780802142153. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Slaven, N. (2009). Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa. Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780857120434. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ Raggett, N. "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) – Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band | AllMusic". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b Michaels, Sean (21 December 2011). "Lost Captain Beefheart album Bat Chain Puller finally due out". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Zappa, Gail. "'Orig BCP' release date..." Archived from the original on 9 January 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2011.