Captain Beefheart, R.I.P.

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Captain Beefheart Dead at 69




Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, died Friday. According to Entertainment Weekly, the avant garde rocker passed away at a California hospital due to complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69.

The Captain, mostly remembered today as an icon from a certain time and place in American history, had command over an impressive four-and-a-half octave range. And while he had a vast working knowledge of a seemingly incongruous mix of genres -- from acid jazz to modern classical -- which he employed in his own blend of rock 'n' roll, truth be told, his unique fusion is best remembered as being, simply, true psychedelia.

Captain Beefheart will also forever remain loosely associated with Frank Zappa, whom he met as a teenager living with his family in the Mojave Desert. It was in that geographic location where he formed the Magic Band in 1964 -- his backing group, which would undergo many transformations in the years that followed. With their commercially challenging, though blues-based, sound, Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band would have several ill-fated dealings with record labels and releases, several of which left Beefheart disillusioned and, temporarily, unwilling to continue making music. He always returned, however, with an even more uncompromising vision.

In 1982, Beefheart retired from making music permanently, despite having attained near-mythical status among a certain demographic of music fan. His often underwhelming album sales in no way reflected the magnitude of his influence, however Beefheart spent most of the 1980s focused on his artwork, which was his original talent and love as a child.

Reissues, anthologies, covers and legend kept interest in Captain Beefheart very much alive and relevant in the years since, and his influence remains today, as felt and witnessed via a number of experimental artists from a variety of genres.

 
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Sheldon

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I saw that in the paper obits over the weekend. One sad commentary on getting older, I find I scan the Wash Post obits to see if anyone I know or knew has moved on.

Sheldon
 
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I saw that in the paper obits over the weekend. One sad commentary on getting older, I find I scan the Wash Post obits to see if anyone I know or knew has moved on.

Sheldon
My granpda used to rush to get the paper every morning and flip to the obits. We'd ask him what he was doing and he'd say "Making sure I'm not listed".
 

jgln

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I have heard the name before and I am pretty sure I have heard at least some of his stuff and maybe even saw them on TV once but I don't recall much so I decided to just now listen to some of his stuff again. Well, all I can say is it is not anything that interested me which is probably why I never got into his stuff. Not surprised he was a friend of Zappa. A lot of his stuff also sounded to me like it was all about how weird he could make it and expect to shock people with weirdness. I just don't find it enjoyable.

I have owned a Frank Zappa album and saw him in concert and he does have an ok song or three but I know now I was just listening to him because he was known to be odd and back then it made me feel special, a rebel. Today, I just don't find Zappa enjoyable to listen to and I doubt I will ever become a beefheart fan.

Sorry, but if I had something to say that was it. Not bashing the guy, just not my taste in music is all.
 

Fletch78

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My favorite Beefheart is his song with Zappa "Wonderful Wino" from the Lost Episodes, that came out after Zappa died, old random B-sides and whatnot. Give me a minute and let me see if I can find a youtube to link. It's a song that even the haters can enjoy.
 

Fletch78

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Same album, Beefheart .... Tiger Roach


 
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Thanks for posting them fletch. Honestly I had forgotten all about him until someone posted on facebook.

I wasn't a huge fan of him OR Zappa, I could probably only name one or two songs of each, but like it said in the bio I posted "The Captain, mostly remembered today as an icon from a certain time and place in American history...." He was part of my college radio experince from 25 years ago, where else but college radio could you get away with, for example playing Zappa's "Joe's Garage" and dressing like the captain....
 

Fletch78

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I think this is also Beefheart with Zappa at their earliest... NSFW

Great white boy psycadelic blues.

 
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Bulls Beers

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This song always kinda freaked me out back in the day..Especially when I was a little, ya know, toasted.

 
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