Don Van Vliet AKA Captain Beefheart passed yesterday at the age of 69. A truly original artist in every sense of the word. Vliet worked off/on with Zappa through the years and with his own Magic Band. Never one to be fenced in or labeled, his unmistakable tortured vocals can be heard in the songs below. His career shifted to paintings, sculpting and drawings that would prove to be highly sought after works. His last many years had been spent in seclusion after many reports came forward claiming him to be afflicted with multiple sclerosis.
Rest well, Captain.
Here’s “Her Eyes Are Blue Million Miles”:
“Tropical Hot Dog Night”:
AKA Don Van Vliet, born on this date in 1941. Here’s Don with “Tropical Hot Dog Night” and with David Letterman.
and live in ’71:
Don Van Vliet or Captain Beefheart has always been a bit of an eccentric, kind of like how Donald Trump is a little arrogant. It seems that Don grew up with his parents thinking he was a child prodigy as an artist and sculptor. Apparently they thought very highly of his talents and didn’t require him to attend school and would allow him to boss them around from the comfort of his bedroom while he contemplated his next artistic endeavour. Somewhere in this timeframe he befriended Frank Zappa and the two of them would listen to blues and doo-wop music on Don’s turntable. Frank gave Don the nickname “Captain Beefheart”, many theories exist exploring his name, one being that he had a beef in his heart against society. Beefheart released his critically acclaimed masterpiece, “Trout Mask Replica” in 1969.
The following song is off of Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) in 1978. The video is just some random weirdness, but you can catch Captain in appearances throughout the video. These images of him from the only video he ever made, Ice Cream For Crow, which was deemed “too weird” for MTV.
And here he is with David Letterman in 1982: