Sunday, December 19, 2010

Adios, Cap'n Beefheart - 1/15/41 - 12/17/10 - You were a good old boy. We will miss you at the radar station.

Don Van Vliet was an American musician and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians he called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982. He recorded 12 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with free jazz, avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. An iconoclastic mix of complex instrumentation, atonal melodies, and often humorously surreal lyrics, it was crafted through dictatorial control over his musicians and creative vision.

During his teen years in Lancaster, California, Van Vliet acquired an eclectic musical taste and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with Frank Zappa.

Van Vliet has been described as "one of modern music's true innovators" with "a singular body of work virtually unrivalled in its daring and fluid creativity." Although he achieved little commercial or mainstream critical success, he sustained a cult following as a "highly significant" and "incalculable" influence. Van Vliet died after many years of suffering from multiple sclerosis.

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