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”:
From Frank/Beefheart’s ’75 album, Bongo Fury, “Muffin Man” has always been one of the most rippin’ songs. Here, Dweezil and the rest ZPZ just plow through the song.
According to Barry Miles’ Zappa biography, Tina Turner was so impressed with a rough cut of the song, she volunteered herself and her backup singers to sing the “raising my lonely dental floss” backups on the song. Afterwards, Tina called her then-husband Ike Turner into the studio to listen. According to Miles, Ike listened for about a minute, declared “What the hell is this shit?”, and left.
“Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.”
Frank was just a bad ass.
Slide guitar extraordinnaire Lowell George, passed on this date in 1979. After a brief stint with Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention, George founded Little Feat (named for his small, fat feet), whom he triumphantly lead throughout the 70’s. George also tried his hand at producing, most famously taking the helm for the Dead’s Shakedown Street. Here’s a ripping “Dixie Chicken” from 1977:
Click here to check out Little Feat at Ultrasonic Studios from ’74.
Jim Gordon (drummer for Derek and The Dominoes, Delaney & Bonnie, Zappa, Joe Cocker, Dave Mason, etc., composer of the piano outro in “Layla” and the man Clapton called the best drummer he ever worked with) brutally killed his mother with a claw hammer. Gordon had been hearing voices in his head since the mid-70’s, which his doctor attributed to alcoholism and treated him accordingly. Obviously a mis-diagnosis, Gordon continued a tortured existence, which ineveitably led to him bludgeoning his mother. Gordon was sentenced to 16 to life and is serving his sentence at the Atascero State Hospital in San Luis Obispo.