The Mascara Snake

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Victor Hayden at the house where Trout Mask Replica was rehearsed and recorded in 1968

Victor Hayden (born Victor Haydon, August 16, 1948 – December 7, 2018), also known by his stage name The Mascara Snake, was an American painter and musician. He was a cousin of Don Van Vliet,[1] better known as Captain Beefheart. Hayden joined Beefheart's Magic Band as guest bass clarinet player in 1968, but is heard only on the 1968 album Trout Mask Replica. He can also be heard on one of the sections of dialogue interpolated between the album's tracks, in which he and Beefheart agree that some unknown thing is "fast and bulbous".[2] He appeared on stage with the band at the Amougies Festival in Mont-de-l'Enclus, Belgium, October 1969, where they were recorded playing two compositions in the film Music Power.[3]

In Pamela Des Barres' memoir I'm with the Band, she mentions that Hayden befriended her while she was in high school, introducing her to his cousin Beefheart and asking her to be the president of the local chapter of the Beefheart fan club. Also, Des Barres and Hayden worked together at a factory in Van Nuys, California, to support their love of rock music (especially the Rolling Stones, whom they eventually met). Des Barres described Hayden as "living among the Redwoods", dropping out of mainstream society completely, while also citing him as an important influence on her life.[4]

Hayden co-founded Alchemy Records in 1986 with Mark Deutrom, and worked there through 1991. From 2007 to 2018, he was the A&R Director for PIG Records.[3] He produced records for Ever Rat Records, Subcore Records, and PIG records. While holding these positions, Hayden also created cover art for the Melvins, Poison Idea, Potbelly, and the Senseless Death Compilation. After having met the Mascara Snake, John Frusciante named a track "Mascara" on his first album, Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt.[5] Hayden produced the painting that was used as cover art for the 1974 Beefheart album Bluejeans & Moonbeams.

After designing an advertisement for Absolut Vodka in 1991, Hayden exhibited his paintings periodically. His most notable shows were in New York City, New York in 2001; Seattle, Washington in 2004; Austin, Texas in 2011 (as part of the SXSW festival);[6] and 2019 at Lisa Derrick Fine Arts in Los Angeles.[7]

Hayden died on December 7, 2018 from complications after being struck by a van.[8]


  1. ^ Bill Harkelroad (2013), Lunar Notes, Gonzo Multimedia, ISBN 978-1-908728-34-0, page 25
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  4. ^ Pamela Des Barres (1987), I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, Chicago Review Press, Updated Edition (2005). ISBN 978-1-55652-589-6, pages 34-35
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  8. ^ "Victor Hayden RIP". Captain Beefheart Radar Station. 9 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018

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