Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart, 1941-2010

'Music to dematerialise the catatonia'; cover of the 1969 surreal masterpiece Trout Mask Replica. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, has died in California, aged 69. Though he sold few records, his influence on other musicians was immense, his increasingly experimental avant-garde rock expanding the parameters of what rock music can be.

In 1982 he gave up music and moved to the Mojave desert to concentrate on his painting and drawing, becoming reclusive. He died from complications of multiple sclerosis.

I'm almost ashamed to admit I've only got two of his albums: Safe as Milk and Trout Mask Replica (which I got last week). Though only two years apart, they sound worlds apart. Safe as Milk (1967) is (almost) traditional rhythm and blues (surreal, psychedelic-sixties, California-style), with a young Ry Cooder playing slide guitar; whereas Trout Mask Replica (1969) is… unclassifiable. I'm not even sure it's music.

Another musical legend gone.

1 comment :

T -1000 said...

recommend 'Bongo Fury' - an album he made with Frank Zappa in 75.

Nb Zappa and Beefheart were contemporaries at Antelope Valley High School-the birthplace of avant-garde rock.