Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart has apparently died at the age of 69 after many years of rumored ill-health. I’m in shock at the moment. He was one of my greatest musical heroes and one of the most powerful and distinctive vocalist/lyricist/composers of the last century. Play Orange Claw Hammer (below), an a capella powerhouse from Trout Mask Replica as loud as you can and know that there was a real depth of feeling in the man’s work that went beyond weirdo freakishness. Bon voyage, good captain. We’ve lost a true original.
via Rolling Stone :
Don Van Vliet, who became a rock legend as Captain Beefheart, died today from complications from multiple sclerosis in California. His passing was announced by the New York-based Michael Werner Gallery, which represented his work as a painter. His Trout Mask Replica was Number 58 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. “Don Van Vliet was a complex and influential figure in the visual and performing arts,” the gallery said in a statement. “He is perhaps best known as the incomparable Captain Beefheart who, together with his Magic Band, rose to prominence in the 1960s with a totally unique style of blues-inspired, experimental rock & roll. This would ultimately secure Van Vliet’s place in music history as one of the most original recording artists of his time. After two decades in the spotlight as an avant-garde composer and performer, Van Vliet retired from performing to devote himself wholeheartedly to painting and drawing. Like his music, Van Vliet’s lush paintings are the product of a truly rare and unique vision.” Van Vliet leaves behind a wife, Jan. The two were married for more than 40 years.