Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Don Van Vliet, AKA Captain Beefheart (1941-2010). Wikimedia Commons.

The music world mourns the passing of one of the True Originals: Don Van Vliet, who died yesterday from complications of multiple sclerosis. He was 69 years old.

Most of my Esteemed Readers will scratch their heads and say, “Don Van Vliet? Who dat?” Others will recognize him by his more familiar (to some, anyway) stage moniker, Captain Beefheart.

The good Captain was a True Original. His musical output ranged from the Wildly Experimental (Trout Mask Replica) to the Almost Commercial (Clear Spot). Nobody who ever listened to Trout Mask Replica came away unchanged by the experience; the album comprised everything from the completely unlistenable to the bizarre-yet-sublime, a Unique Artistic Opus.

Van Vliet retired from the music business in 1982, concentrating instead on a second career as an abstract expressionist painter. Appropriate enough for someone whose finest music had an abstract expressionist cast to it.

Rumors that “Pachuco Cadaver” will be played at Van Vliet’s funeral are believed to be unfounded.

Ahh, Don. We hardly knew ye... and even if we did, we could hardly figure ye out. Requiescat in pace!

[A tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora goes to Dax Montana, who alerted me to the news and whose post on the topic may be found here.]


Rhetro Zenberg said...

Missing the Captain already

BobG said...

There's a name I haven't heard for quite a few years.
RIP, Captain.

Anonymous said...

.... the day Tom Waits dies, I will set a pyre out back like East Tennessee has never witnessed before........

... and that' a fact....


Elisson said...

@Eric - I'm sure you're aware that Beefheart was a major influence on Tom Waits. We need to get more of the good Captain's material on your Tune Rotation.