At 69 years old, Captain Beefheart physical status not available right now. We will update Captain Beefheart's height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, and measurements.
Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941-2010) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performance artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart.
The Magic Band, his former drummer, released 13 studio albums between 1964 and 1982.
His music combined elements of blues, free jazz, rock, and avant-garde with idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist wordplay, and his wide vocal range.
Beefheart, who is well-known for his enigmatic persona, created myths about his life and was known to wield almost total control over his backing musicians.
Van Vliet's teenage years in Lancaster, California, helped develop his "highly influential" and "incalculable" reputation on a variety of new wave, punk, and experimental rock artists, and he maintained "a sociable but volatile" relationship with musician Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated.
He began performing with his Captain Beefheart costume in 1964 and joined the first Magic Band line-up, which was founded by Alexis Snouffer in the same year.
On Buddah Records, the group's debut album Safe as Milk was released in 1967.
After being dropped by two consecutive record labels, they signed to Zappa's Straight Records, where they announced 1969's Trout Mask Replica, and that the album debuted at number 58th in Rolling Stone magazine's top 100 greatest albums of all time.
He tried a more traditional rock sound in 1974, but the band's subsequent albums were heavily criticized; this act, along with not being paid for a European tour and years of living Beefheart's abusive conduct, led to the band's complete break. Beefheart eventually formed a new Magic Band with a group of younger musicians, and gained critical recognition through three albums: Shiny Beast (1978), Doc at the Radar Station (1980), and Crow (1982).
After his release from music in 1982, Van Vliet made few public appearances.
He pursued a career in art, an obsession that arose in his childhood passion for sculpture, and a venture that ended in his most financially stable.
His expressionist paintings and drawings sell for high prices, and they have been seen in art galleries and museums around the world.
Van Vliet died in 2010 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years.
1941-62, an early life and musical influence.
Don Glen Vliet was born in Glendale, California, on January 15, 1941, to Glen Alonzo Vliet, a service station owner of Dutch ancestry from Kansas, and Willie Sue Vliet (née Warfield), both from Arkansas. He descended from Peter van Vliet, a Dutch painter who knew Rembrandt, according to him. Van Vliet also said he was related to adventurer and author Richard Halliburton, cowboy actor Slim Pickens, and he recalled being born.
At the age of three, Van Vliet began painting and sculpting. His subjects reflected his "obsession" with animals, particularly dinosaurs, fish, African mammals, and lemurs. Agostinho Rodrigues, a local tutor, entangled him in a children's sculpture competition arranged for the Los Angeles Zoo at the age of nine. In the Splinters book titled Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh boxed CD work that was released in 2004, local newspaper cuttings of his junior sculpting accomplishments can be reproduced. The sprawling park, with its zoo and observatory, had a major influence on young Vliet, being a short distance from his house on Waverly Drive. This revived fascination is represented in the track "Observatory Crest" on Bluejeans & Moonbeams. Within the first issue of the US release of Trout Mask Replica, a portrait of school-age Vliet can be seen on the front of the lyric sheet.
Van Vliet worked as an apprentice with Rodrigues for a time in the 1950s, when the boy was branded a child prodigy. Van Vliet said he was a lecturer at the Barnsdall Art Institute in Los Angeles at the age of 11, but it is likely he gave a form of artistic dissertation. Van Vliet's precocious work in art include his claim that he sculpted on a weekly television show. He said that his parents discouraged his interest in sculpture, based on their perception of artists as "queer." Several scholarship offers, including one from the local Knudsen Creamery to travel to Europe with six years' paid tuition, were turned down by one of Van Vliet's interpretations of this tale. Van Vliet was deeply distraught by the fact that he was denied this opportunity for him to discover his creativity as an artist. He later said that the experience made him so miserable that he no longer listened to music and abandoned his art until he was twenty-three.
Van Vliet's artistic zeal increased to the point that his parents were coerced to feed him through the door in the room where he sculpted. When he was thirteen, the family moved from Los Angeles to Lancaster, the Mojave Desert's more remote farming town, where the growing aerospace industry was being served by nearby Edwards Air Force Base. It was a culture that would continue to influence him creatively from then on. Van Vliet stayed interested in art, and several of his works, many of which were reminiscent of Franz Kline, were later used as front covers for his music albums. During this period, he revived his taste and obsession with music, listening "aggressively" to Son House and Robert Johnson's Delta blues, jazz musicians including Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, and the Chicago blues of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, while Robert Johnson became interested in music, as well as the Chicago blues of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. Although Vliet's early teens, he would occasionally socialize with members of local bands, such as the Omens and the Blackouts, although his primary focus was still on art education. Alexis Snouffer and Jerry Handley of Omens would later become the founders of "the Magic Band" and Frank Zappa's drummer, Frank Zappa, would first capture Vliet's vocal skills on film for the first time. "Lost In A Whirlpool" is one of Zappa's first "field recordings" made in his college classroom with brother Bobby on guitar, in this first known recording, when he was simply "Don Vliet." It was included on Zappa's posthumously published The Lost Episodes (1996).
Van Vliet said he never went to public school, despite the fact that "half a day of kindergarten" was the extent of his formal education, and that "if you want to be a different fish, you've got to jump out of the classroom." His uncles said he only dropped out during his senior year of high school to help the family after his father's heart attack. In the school's yearbook, his graduation photo appears. His claims that he never attended school and his general disavowal of education may have referred to his encounter with dyslexia, which although not specifically defined, was apparent to sidemen like John French and Denny Walley's difficulty with cue cards and his frequent desire to be read aloud. Van Vliet became close friends with fellow teenager Frank Zappa while attending Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, sharing a common interest in Chicago blues and R&B. Van Vliet is depicted in both The Real Frank Zappa Book and Barry Miles' biography Zappa as a young child, and the focal point of his life at this point. He spent the majority of his time in his bed listening to music, often with Zappa, into the early hours of the morning, eating leftover food from his father's Helms bread truck, and requesting that his mother bring him a Pepsi. His parents tolerated such conduct under the assumption that their child was truly gifted. "Pepsi-moods" by Vliet were always a source of amusement to band members, prompting Zappa to write the wry song "Why Doesn't Someone Give Him A Pepsi?" later in the series. On the Bongo Fury tour, there were stops on the journey.
Since Zappa's regular work at Paul Buff's PAL Studio in Cucamonga, he and Van Vliet started working together, tentatively as the Soots (pronounced "suits." The duo had completed some songs by the time Zappa had transformed the venue into Studio Z. These were "Cheryl's Canon," "Metal Man Has Won His Wings," and a Howlin' Wolf styled reimagining of Little Richard's "Slippin' and Slidin'." Additional songs on Zappa's "Memory Shop" (1996), "I Was a Teenage Malt Shop," and "The Birth of Captain Beefheart" provide further insight into Zappa's "teen movie" script, titled "Capt. Beloved People," the first appearances of the Beefheart name. This name has been attributed to a man named after Vliet's Uncle Alan, who had a habit of alerting Don's girlfriend, Laurie Stone, that he appeared himself. He'd urinate with the bathroom door open, and if she were walking by, she'd mumble about his penis, saying, "Ahh, what a beauty!" It seems that it is just like a huge, fine beef heart. Van Vliet says "don't ask me why or how" he and Zappa came up with the name in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone. Johnny Carson asked him the same question, to which Van Vliet replied that one day he was standing on the pier and saw fishermen removing the bills from pelicans. It made him sad, and it put "a steak in his heart," he said. When Van Vliet's next commercial break, Carson seemed tense and tense, and Van Vliet's was gone. In an interview with David Letterman on Late Night, he'd say that the word referred to "a beef in my heart against this culture." Beefheart and his mother appear in the "Grunt People" draft script, with his father played by Howlin Wolf. Grace Slick has been penned in as a "celestial seductress" and Bill Harkleroad and Mark Boston appear in future Magic Band roles.
Van Vliet started at Antelope Valley College as an art major but left the following year. He once worked as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner and sold a vacuum cleaner to writer Aldous Huxley at his Llano home, pointing to it and saying, "I assure you sir, this thing sucks." Van Vliet, who was previously employed at a Kinney's shoe store, moved to Rancho Cucamonga, California, to reunite with Zappa, who prompted him to perform. Van Vliet was timid at first, but he was able to imitate Howlin' Wolf's deep voice with his wide vocal range. He soon became comfortable with public performance and, after learning to play the harmonica, began performing at dances and small clubs in Southern California.
Vliet was invited to perform with a group he was assembled in early 1965 by Alex Snouffer, a Lancaster rhythm and blues guitarist. Vliet joined the first Magic Band and changed his name to Don Van Vliet, while Snouffer assumed Alex St. Clair (sometimes mispelled Claire). In 1966, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band signed to A&M and released two singles. The first was a version of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy" that became a regional hit in Los Angeles. "Moonchild" (written by David Gates, a later version of the band Bread) was less well received. The band debuted at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, one of the larger west coast venues.
The band performed two singles on tour and A&M in 1966 for the Safe as Milk album. Jerry Moss of A&M referred to this new direction as "too bad" and dropped the band from the label, although still under control. The majority of the demo recording was made at Art Laboe's Original Sound Studio, followed by Gary Marker on the controls at Sunset Sound on 8-track. They were signed to Buddah Records by the end of 1966, and a large portion of the demo was moved to 4-track, at the behest of Krasnow and Perry in Hollywood's RCA Studio, where the recording was finalized. Ry Cooder's involvement in the publication has therefore captured tracks that were not originally published in the demo by Doug Moon, as Moon has left "musical differences" at this time.
Drummer John French had joined the group, and it would later (particularly on Trout Mask Replica) be his patience that was required to translate Van Vliet's innovative thoughts (often expressed by whistling or banging on the piano) into musical form for the other group members. Bill Harkleroad's Lick My Decals Off, Baby, France's resignation, was assumed by him.
Van Vliet penned many of the Safe as Milk lyrics in collaboration with writer Herb Bermann, who befriended him after being spotted at a bar-gig in Lancaster in 1966. The song "Electricity" was written by Bermann, who gave Van Vliet permission to bring it to life. Unlike the album's predominantly blues rock sound, songs like "Electricity" illustrated the band's experimental instrumentation and Van Vliet's unusual vocals, which guitarist Doug Moon described as "hinting of things to come."
By the arrival of 20-year-old guitar proponent Ry Cooder, who had been welcomed into the group after a lot of pressure from Vliet, a lot of the Safe as Milk content was honed and arranged. Richard Perry cut his teeth in his first job as producer in spring 1967, and the band started recording in spring 1967. In September 1967, the album was released. Richie Unterberger of Allmusic referred to the album as "blues—rock gone barely askew," with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals from Van Vliet, and more doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk–rock influences than he would use on his more avant garde outings.
The Beatles were among those who paid attention. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were well-known Beefheart supporters. In the sunroom at his house, Lennon held two of the album's promotional "baby bumper stickers." Later, the Beatles planned to sign Beefheart to their experimental Zapple brand (plans that were cancelled after Allen Klein took over the group's leadership).
Van Vliet was also dismissive of the Beatles, but he was also dismissive of them. He found the line "I'd Love to Turn You On" from their song "A Day in the Life" to be ridiculous and conceited. "Beforte Bones "n' Smokin' Stones," a sardonic remark about their "lullabies," the sardonic mention of "strawberry fields," Strictly Personal's "Beatle Bones 'n' Smokin' Stones," sung of their "slithering, he slither on the heels of today's children and strawberry fields forever" slither. When receiving no response when he sent a telegram of assistance to him and his wife Yoko Ono during their 1969 "Bed-In for Peace" campaign, Vliet screamed out about Lennon.
During their tour of Europe on January 27, 1968, Vliet and the band urinated together on a statue outside the hotel, promoting journalists and photographers alike, and Morgan and Penny Nichols were spotted in a jam session together. The producer attempts to persuade McCartney to rename Kama Sutra, but the possibility of a pleasant evening was stymied. McCartney said later that he had no recollection of the meeting.
Doug Moon left the band due to the band's increasing experimentation outside of his preferred blues style. Ry Cooder read of Moon's growing irritated by Van Vliet's unrelenting criticism that he stepped into the room pointing a loaded crossbow at him, only to have Van Vliet shout "Get the fucking stuff out of here, get out of here, and get back to your room." (Other band members disagree on this, though Moon is likely to have "passed through" the studio with a pistol.) Moon appeared in the early demo sessions at Original Sound Studio, which is above the Kama Sutra/Buddah offices. Moon laid down did not see the light of day when they were replaced by Cooder as they continued on Moon-inspired Cooder while Cooder worked on Moonshade with Marker. Marker subsequently fell by the wayside when Krasnow and Perry took the recording to RCA Studio. If the former studio was 8-track and the following studio was a 4-track, it would have a major effect on the safety of the Safe as Milk job.
The band had been scheduled to appear at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival to promote the album's release. Vliet suffered with severe anxiety during this period, possibly exacerbated by his heavy LSD use and the fact that his father died of heart disease a few years ago. The band performed "Electricity" and straightened his tie, then walked away from the 10 ft (3.0 m) stage and landed on boss Bob Krasnow at a critical "warm-up" performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival (June 10-11). He later declared that he had seen a woman in the audience turn into a fish, with bubbles emanating from her mouth. Any chance of triumph at Monterey was shattered as Cooder immediately announced that he would no longer be a part of Van Vliet, effectively ending the performance and the band on the spot. With such intricate guitar parts, there was no way for the band to find a suitable replacement in time for Monterey. Gerry McGee, who had been with the Monkees for a short time, was finally filled for Cooder's position for a short period. According to French, the band appeared on two occasions with McGee, one of which was at The Peppermint Twist near Long Beach. The other was on August 7, 1967, as the Yardbirds' opening act. McGee was in the band long enough to have an outfit made by a Santa Monica shop that also produced the outfit used by the band on the Strictly Personal cover stamps.
Guitarist Jeff Cotton was vacated by Cooder and McGee in August 1967, filling the guitar position left by Cooder and McGee. The Snouffer/Cotton/Handley/French line-up produced content for what was supposed to be the second album between October and November 1967. It comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper for the Buddah brand, and it was released in 1971 and 1995 in pieces. After the group's demise in Buddah, Bob Krasnow urged the band to re-record four of the fewer numbers, add two more, and produce shorter versions of "Mirror Man" and "Kandy Korn." Krasnow's strange blend of "phasing" that, according to most (including Beefheart's), reduced the music's luster. On Krasnow's Blue Thumb label, this was released in October 1968 as Strictly Personal. Stewart Mason's review of the album referred to it as a "terrific album" and a "fascinating, underrated debut... every bit the same as Safe as Milk and Trout Mask Replica." Strictly Personal, Langdon's highest praises. The Magic Band's guitars mercilessly bend and stretch notes in a way that suggests that the music industry has stumbling clear off its axis, as the lyrics reveal "Beefheart's ability to juxtapose amusing humor with troubling information."
Some of Buddah's recordings were released as Mirror Man in 1971, with a liner note stating that the data was shot in "one night in Los Angeles in 1965." This was a ruse to avoid future copyright problems. The data was collected in November and December 1967. Essentially a "jam" album, with a Beefheart vocal thrown in here and there. Some will be dissatisfied with Beefheart's surreal poetry, gruff vocals, and/or free jazz, while others may find it thrilling to hear the Magic Band simply letting loose and cutting loose." "Alex St. Clare Snouffer" (Alex St. Clare Snouffer), "Antennae Jimmy Simmons" (Handley) and "Jerry Handsley" refer to the album's "miss-credit errors" as "Alex St. Clare Snouffer" (Alex St. Clare/Jeff Cotton). Both a die-cut gatefold (announcing a "cracked" mirror) and a single sleeve with the same photograph were released. The UK Buddah issue was part of the Polydor-manufactured "Select" series.
Captain Beefheart was briefly represented in the United Kingdom by moderator Peter Meaden, the early boss of the Who, on his first trip to England in January 1968. The Captain and his band members were initially refused admission to the United Kingdom because Meaden had unlawfully booked them for gigs without having to apply for legitimate work permits. After returning to Germany for a few days, press coverage and public outcry resulted in the band's return to the United Kingdom, where they played tracks from Safe as Milk and some of Mirror Man's experimental blues tracks on Friday. After the performance, the band greeted a raucous audience; French recalled the evening as a tumultuous moment for the band: "We were led to the dressing room, where we waited for hours as a line of hundreds of people waited by one by one to shake our hand or obtain an autograph." Many people were brought Safe as Milk items to autograph — many of which were sent to us by mail... It seemed that we had received some recompense... Suddenly all the criticizing and coercion of bizarre individuals seemed to be unimportant. It was a glorious moment, one of the few I've ever encountered. They had ended their relationship with Meaden by this time. Beefheart performed in the MIDEM Music Festival on the beach in Cannes, France, on January 27, 1968.
After returning from a second European tour, Alex St. Claire left the band in June 1968 and was replaced by teenager Bill Harkleroad; bassist Jerry Handley left the band a few weeks later.
The band returned to the United States following their Euro tour and the Cannes beach appearance. They had already been on the air for them to leave Buddah and sign to MGM, but they had re-recorded some Buddah material from Bruce Botnick's partial Mirror Man sessions at Sunset Sound in the United Kingdom prior to their May tour, mainly in the United Kingdom. While suggesting to other musicians that they should be involved, Beefheart was also conceptualizing new band names, including 25th Century Quaker and Blue Thumb. The intention of 25th Century Quaker was that it would be a "blue band" alias for the Magic Band's more avant-garde work. The band was photographed in Quaker-style outfits by photographer Guy Webster, and the photograph appears in The Mirror Man Sessions CD insert. Later, it would be revealed that much of this situation was temporary, and that Buddah's Bob Krasnow was to establish his own name. Unsurprisingly, Blue Thumb unveiled Strictly Personal, a truncated interpretation of the original Beefheart's vision of a double album. The "25th Century Quaker" became a hit, and a potential band name became a brand.
In summary, the works for the double album were supposed to be wrapped in a plain brown wrapper, with a "strictly personal" overstamp and addressed in a way that might have connotations of drug use, pornographic, or illicit information; as per the small print ads of the time: "It comes to you in a plain brown wrapper." Given that Krasnow had effectively poached the band from Buddah, there were limitations on what could be released. The result, which was wrapped in its enigmatically addressed parcel sleeve, was strictly Personal. A slew of pieces left behind finally emerged, first on CD as I May Be Hungry, But I Sure Ain't Weird, and later on vinyl as It Comes To You in a Plain Brown Wrapper (which also has two songs that are missing from the previous release). Both Blue Thumb and the stamps on the front of Strictly Personal have LSD connotations, as does the song "Ah Feel Like Ahcid," though Beefheart has denied this (claiming that this is a rendering of "I feel like I said").
Trout Mask Replica, Van Vliet's most popular tribute, was released as a 28-track double album on Frank Zappa's newly formed Straight Records label in June 1969. The first issues of the Mascara Snake were auto-coupled and housed in the black "Straight" liners, as well as a 6-page lyric sheet illustrated by the Mascara Snake. On the front of this sheet, a school-age portrait of Van Vliet appears, though the gatefold depicts Beefheart in a redesigned Pilgrim hat, obscureing his face with the head of a fish. The fish is a carp, in fact a "replica" for a trout, photographed by Cal Schenkel. Ed Caraeff's inner spread "infra-red" photography is from his Beefheart vacuum cleaner sessions, which also appeared on Zappa's Hot Rats a month earlier) and accompany "Willie The Pimp" lyrics sung by Vliet. Alex St. Clair had left the band and, after Junior Madeo from the Blackouts was considered, Bill Harkleroad assumed the position. Jerry Handley, a bassist, had also left, with Gary Marker stepping in. The album's long-awaited rehearsals began in Woodland Hills, California, where it would be named the Magic Band House.
With bassist Gary "Magic" Marker of T.T.G., the Magic Band began recording for Trout Mask Replica. (On "Moonlight on Vermont" and "Veteran's Day Poppy"), but later enlisted bassist Mark Boston after his departure. The remainder of the album was recorded at Whitney Studios, with some field recordings taken at the house. Through previous bands, Boston was familiar with French and Harkleroad. Van Vliet had begun giving nicknames to his band members, so Harkleroad became Zoot Horn Rollo, and Boston became Rockette Morton, while John French took the term Drumbo, and Jeff Cotton became Antennae Jimmy Semens. Victor Hayden, the Mascara Snake, appeared as a bass clarinetist later in the proceedings. Laurie Stone, a Vliet's girlfriend who can be heard laughing at the beginning of "Fallin' Ditch," became an audio typist at the Magic Bandhouse.
Van Vliet wanted the whole band to "live" the Trout Mask Replica album. The company rehearsed Van Vliet's difficult compositions for eight months while living in their tiny rented house in Los Angeles's Woodland Hills suburb. Band members will sleep in several parts of one, while Vliet took over the other, and rehearsals were held in the main living room. Van Vliet mastered his musicians, both technically and emotionally. One or another of the group members was "put in the barrel," with Van Vliet berating him on a daily basis, often for days, until the musician died in tears or total submission. Bill Harkleroad, a guitarist, said his fingers were a "blood mess" as a result of Beefheart's instructions that he use heavy strings. "The climate in that house was positively Mansonesque," drummer John French described the situation as "cultlike," and a visiting friend said "the atmosphere in the house was positively Mansonesque." They were in dire need of money. With no income other than welfare and family contributions, the group barely survived and was even jailed for shoplifting food (Zappa bailed them out). A day after a month, a French man was recalling being on no more than a tiny cup of beans. "They all looked in poor shape," a visitor said of their appearance as "cadaverous." Members of bands were forbidden from leaving the house and attended for 14 or more hours a day.
Through the Eyes of Magic by John French, a book that was inspired by his participation in his drumming shed ("The Blimp (mousetrapreplica)) and not having finished drum parts as quickly as Beefheart wanted. French students remember being beaten by band members, shoved, slapped, and kicked in the chest by Beefheart hard enough to draw blood. Beefheart, according to French, threatened to throw him out an upper floor window. During "talks" aimed at his bandmates, he admits complicity in similarly assaulting their peers. Beefheart ejected French from the band by throwing him down a flight of stairs, eliciting him to "play a strawberry" on the drums in the end. Beefheart replaced French with drummer Jeff Bruschel, a Hayden acquaintance. This final act, referred to as "Fake Drumbo" (playing on French's drumset), resulted in French's name not appearing on the album credits, either as a player or arranger. Bruschel toured Europe with the band, but they were forced to leave by the next album.
The 28 songs on the album were written in a single 8+12-hour session at the piano, an instrument that he had no expertise with, according to John Cage's "maverick irreverence toward classical tradition," although band members have claimed that the songs were written over a year ago, beginning in December 1967. (During the recording of the album, Federico Fellini's 1963 film 812 was on display). The band took about eight months to develop the songs, with France taking primary responsibility for transposing and shaping Vliet's piano fragments into guitar and bass lines, which were mainly notated on paper. In retrospect, Harkleroad 1998 said, "We're dealing with a strange individual who comes from a place of being a sculptor/painter, who wielded music as his idiom." He was getting more into the character of who he was instead of this blues singer. The band had rehearsed the songs so much that the instrumental tracks for 21 of the songs were recorded in a single four-and-a-half recording session. Van Vliet spent the next few days overdubbing the vocals. The album's cover art was photographed and created by Cal Schenkel, and it depicts Van Vliet's raw head of a carp, purchased from a local fish market and turned into a Schenkel mask.
Trout Mask Replica incorporated a variety of musical styles, including blues, avant garde/experimental, and rock. The relentless practice prior to recording turned the song into an iconoclastic tempo, including slide guitar, polyrhythmic drumming (with French's drums and cymbals covered in cardboard), honking saxophone, and bass clarinet. Van Vliet's vocals range from his signature Howlin' Wolf-inspired growl to frenzied falsetto to laconic, casual ramblings.
The musical backing was effectively recorded live in the studio, while Van Vliet overdubbed the majority of the vocals in only partial harmony with the music by hearing the slight sound leakage through the studio window. "It was] impossible to tell him why life should be organized in such a way," Zappa said of Van Vliet's approach. It seemed to me that if he was going to create a unique object, the right thing for me to do was to keep my mouth shut as much as possible and let him do whatever I thought was wrong or not."
Van Vliet promoted a variety of myths that were later quoted as fact despite widespread media coverage, particularly during a 1970 Rolling Stone interview with Langdon Winner. For example, the winner's essay stated that neither Van Vliet nor the members of the Magic Band ever took drugs, but Harkleroad later denied this. Van Vliet said that she had taught Harkleroad and Boston how to play their instruments from scratch; in truth, the pair were already established young musicians before joining the band. Lastly, Van Vliet claimed to have gone a year and a half without sleeping for a year and a half. When asked how this was possible, he said he only had fruit.
The album's success, according to critic Steve Huey of AllMusic, was more in spirit than in literal copycatting, and more as a catalyst than a concrete musical starting point. Nonetheless, its enthralling reimagining of what was possible in a rock context laid the groundwork for scores of experiments in rock survivability to follow, particularly during the punk and new wave periods. The album was ranked sixth by Rolling Stone in their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003, with Beefheart "singing and reciting poetry over fractured guitar licks." But the apparent sonic chaos is an illusion; to produce the songs, the Magic Band rehearsed twelve hours a day in a house with the windows blacked out. Frank Zappa, a producer, was able to record the majority of the album in less than five hours). "Ella Guru" and "My Human Gets Me Blues" are two of the primary precursors of modern musical primitives such as Tom Waits and PJ Harvey." "Forces that often arise in improvisation are harnessed and made constant, repeatable," guitarist Fred Frith said during this process.
Robert Christgau, a critic, gave the album a B+, saying, "I find it difficult to give this album an A because it is just too weird." But I'd like to. When you're feeling jittery, this performance will never be as tumultuous as this one." "If there has been anything in the history of popular music that could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are not interested in other fields of art will comprehend," BBC disc jockey John Peel said of the album. In 2011, it was accepted into the United States National Recording Registry.
Baby Lick My Decals Offset (1970), a film in which experimentation continued. It was Van Vliet's most commercially lucrative in the United Kingdom, with an album with "a tighter design" in the Magic Band's "most experimental and visionary stage," earning twenty weeks on the UK Albums Chart and peaking at number 20. An early promotional music video of its title song was created, and a bizarre television commercial containing excerpts from "Woe-Is-Bop," a silent video of masked Magic Band members using kitchen utensils as musical instruments, was also shot, as well as Beefheart kicking over a bowl of what seems to be porridge into a dividing stripe in the middle of a road. The video was rarely shown, but it was accepted into the Museum of Modern Art, where it has been used in several programs related to music.
Art Tripp III, a member of the Mothers of Invention, performed drums and marimba, as well as a returning John French on this album. Lick My Decals Baby was the first album on which the band was credited as "The" Magic Band rather than "His" Magic Band. This change, according to journalist Irwin Chusid, was "a grudging compromise of its members' at least semiautonomous humanity." "Beefheart's renowned five-octave range and clandestine totalitarian structures have taken on a playful undertone, repulsive and engrossing, as well as a slapstick comedic performance," Robert Christgau wrote on the album. Baby was out on CD for many years, but it stayed on vinyl due to licensing problems. It was ranked second in Uncut magazine's top 50 Most Lost Albums list in May 2010. On the iTunes Store in 2011, the album was available for download.
He performed on the bill in 1970 with Ry Cooder on the bill to advertise the album.
The Spotlight Kid (simply credited to "Captain Beefheart") and Clear Spot ("credited to "Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band") were both released in 1972. According to one reviewer, the atmosphere of The Spotlight Kid is "definitely relaxed and fun, maybe a step up from a slumbery." "Thought things may be a little too blasé," Beefheart's worst day still has more than most groups at their best. The music is simpler and slower than on the company's two previous albums, the uncompromisingly original Trout Mask Replica and the lively Lick My Decals Off Baby. This was part of Van Vliet's attempt to become a more appealing commercial proposition during the previous two years — at the time of recording, the band members were still worried about welfare food handouts and remittances from their parents. "I was sick of being scared of being scared of doing what I was doing," van Vliet said. I knew that I had to give them something to hang their hat on, so I began to be more involved with the music. It's more human than that way." Van Vliet's inability to connect his songs with the instrumental support of the earlier albums' earlier records, which was further exacerbated in that he almost never rehearsed with the band. The band lived communally in the months leading up to the album, first in Ben Lomond, California, and then in northern California near Trinidad. When constructing and rehearsing Trout Mask Replica, the situation brought physical violence and psychological manipulation that had existed during the band's previous communal residence. According to John French, the worst of this was directed at Harkleroad. Harkleroad's autobiography recounts being thrown into a dumpster, which he described as having metaphorical intention.
"Why in the world [it] wasn't more of a commercial success than it was," a clear Spot's production manager said to AllMusic, that although fans of Beefheart's completely all-out approach may have their expectations tempered with a new ease. "A remarkably strange piece of violence" is described in the review, "Big Eyed Beans from Venus" is described as "a remarkably strange piece of violence." "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles," a Coen brothers' cult comedy film "The Big Lebowski (1998), was a Clear Spot track.
The Magic Band's original members left in 1974, right after the release of Unconditionally Guaranteed, which quickly followed the trend toward a more commercial sound heard on some of the Clear Spot tracks. For a period, disgruntled and former members gathered together, gigging at Blue Lake and putting together their own ideas and demos, with John French earmarked as the vocalist. These ideas eventually developed around the core of Art Tripp III, Harkleroad, and Boston, with Mallard's creation, as well as finance and UK recording services from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Several of French's compositions were used in the band's performance, but Sam Galpin was eventually replaced by John Thomas, who had lived a house with French in Eureka at the time. At this moment, Vliet attempted to recruit both French and Harkleroad as producers for his next album, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Both Andy Di Martino and Virgin label albums were released.
With studio players who had no knowledge of his music and in fact had never heard it, Vliet was forced to create a new Magic Band to complete support-tour dates. They simply improvised what they felt would go with each song, delivering much slicker versions of Beefheart songs that had no idea of the previous Magic Band style. According to a review, this incarnation of the Magic Band has been called the "Tragic Band," a term that has stuck with the years.
"The band's name, presumably banal description of the music of a man who had only performed with the express intention of frightening listeners out of their seats," Mike Barnes said. Bluejeans & Moonbeams (1974), the one album they released, has a drastically different, almost soft rock sound on every other Beefheart track. Both musicians were well received; drummer Art Tripp recalled that they "unconditionally Guaranteed" when they heard them. It was as if every song was worse than the one that preceded it." Beefheart later slammed both albums, saying they were "horrible and vulgar" and urging followers who bought them to "take them back for a refund."
The band had completed their European tour by 1975, with further dates in the United States supporting Zappa and Dr. John. Van Vliet is now trapped in a web of corporate hang-ups. At this point, Zappa had started to lend a helping hand, with Vliet having performed incognito as "Rollin' Red" on Zappa's One Size Fits All (1975) and later joining him on the Bongo Fury album and its later support tour. "Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top" and "Man with the Woman Head" are two of the Bongo Fury's most popular numbers. "Debra Kadabra," Vliet's debut track on this album's first album, has 'angular similarity' to the work he would later produce in his next three albums. Vliet also sings "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" and "Muffin Man" and "Muffin Man," harmonizes "200 Years Old" and "Muffin Man," and she also sings on "British Music," as well as plays harmonica and soprano saxophone.
Zappa took on his producer hat and launched his studio equipment and funds to Vliet in early 1976. This was for the development of an album provisionally named Bat Chain Puller. John French (drums), John Thomas (keyboards), and Jeff Moris Tepper and Denny Walley (guitars) appeared in the band. When fate struck the Beefheart camp, much of the album's was finished and some demonstrations had been broadcast. Zappa and his long-time manager/business associate Herb Cohen announced their separation in May 1976. The result was that Zappa's finances and ongoing activities became part of protracted court talks. The Bat Chain Puller scheme was "on ice" and did not see an official announcement until 2012. In Mallard, John Thomas joined ex-Magic Band members.
Beefheart appeared on the Tubes' album Now in 1977, playing saxophone on the track "Cathy's Clone," and the album also included a cover of the Clear Spot song "My Head Is My Only Home If It Rains." In 1978, he appeared on Jack Nitzsche's soundtrack to his film Blue Collar.
Beefheart emerged with this new album, on the Warner Bros label, in 1978. He had rescued himself from a slew of financial difficulties. Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) featured re-workings of the shelved Bat Chain Puller album as well as its original guitarist, Jeff Moris Tepper. However, Richard Redus (guitar, piano, and accordion), Eric Drew Feldman (trombone and air bass), Art Tripp (percussion and marimba), and Robert Arthur Williams (drums) joined him and Vliet. Vliet with Pete Johnson co-produced the album. Members of this Magic Band and the "Bat Chain" pieces will appear on Beefheart's last two albums.
Ned Raggett of Allmusic characterized Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) as "... manna from heaven for those worried Beefheart had lost his way on his two Mercury albums." Following Vliet's death, John French described the 40-second spoken word track "Apes-Ma" as an extension of Van Vliet's degenerative physical condition. Van Vliet's 1976 painting Green Tom, one of many works that will distinguish his career as a painter of note, is included in the album's sleeve.
Beefheart's late revival was aided by Doc at the Radar Station (1980). The music, which had been released by Virgin Records during the post-punk period, was now available to a younger, more receptive audience. In a feature report on KABC-TV's Channel 7 Eyewitness News in which he was dubbed "the father of the new wave." "I'm doing a non-hypnotic music to crack up the catatonic state [and] a primitive genius," Van Vliet said at this time; "I'm doing a non-hypnotic music to break up the catatonic state... and I believe there is one right now." "The Doc at the Radar Station is regarded as the best album of his career, and by others as his best since Trout Mask Replica," "even if the Captain's voice isn't quite what it once was." "Revamping work based on skeletal theories and fragments that may have mouldered away in the vaults if they hadn't been exhumed and converted into fully convincing new material" by Van Vliet's biographer Mike Barnes. Van Vliet appeared on David Letterman's late night television show on NBC and also appeared on Saturday Night Live.
With slide guitar and marimba duties taken up by John French's reappearance, Richard Redus and Art Tripp were destined to this album. On the album "Flavor Bud Living," Gary Lucas's guitar skills are also included.
Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard Snyder, and Cliff Martinez recorded the final Beefheart record, Ice Cream for Crow (1982). This line-up produced a video to advertise the title track, directed by Van Vliet and Ken Schlieber, and cinematography by Daniel Pearl, which was refused by MTV for being "too weird." However, the video was included in the Letterman series on NBC-TV, and it was also accepted into the Museum of Modern Art. During an interview with Letterman about MTV's "I want my MTV" marketing campaign of the time, Van Vliet said, "I don't want my MTV if they don't want my video." Ice Cream for Crow, as well as songs such as its title track, features instrumental performances by the Magic Band, as well as performance poetry readings by Van Vliet. Captain Beefheart lets everything run wild as ever, with good results, according to Raggett of AllMusic. The album was a "last entertaining blast of wigginess from one of the few truly independent musicians in late 20th century pop music, with humor, agility, and style all intact," with the Magic Band "bringing out more choppy rhythms, unexpected guitar lines, and outré arrangements. "The most original and important tracks on the album" are the newer ones, Barnes says, and that it "feels like an hors-d'oeuvre for a main course that never appeared." Goldmine's Michael Galucci praised the album, saying it was "the single most strange entry in Van Vliet's long, strange career." Beefheart's promotional work was as unconventional as he appeared in the 1987 film Grizzly II: The Predator. Van Vliet resigned from music and began a new career as a painter soon after. Gary Lucas tried to convince him to record one more album, but to no avail.
This signed and numbered box set, which was released in a limited edition of 1,500 copies, features a poem by Vliet, Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh, An Anton Corbijn film of Vliet, Vliet's "Redington Sleigh," Vliet-recited poetry, the Anton Corbijn film "Riding Some Yoyo Stuff on DVD, and two art books. One book, Splinters, gives a "scrapbook" glimpse into Vliet's life, from an early age to retirement painting in a gallery. The second, eponymously named book, is packed with art pages of Vliet's work. The first is bound in green linen, the second in black. These colors are interwoven throughout the box, which comes in a green slipcase measuring 235 mm 325 mm 70 mm. An onion-skin wallet nestled inside the package's inner sanctum holds a matching-numbered Vliet lithograph on hand-rolled paper, signed by the artist. The two books are published by artist Ink Editions.
Van Vliet remained interested in visual art throughout his musical career. On several of his albums, he displayed his paintings, many of whom were reminiscent of Franz Kline. Van Vliet published Skeleton Breath, Scorpion Blush, a series of his poetry, paintings, and drawings in 1987.
Van Vliet began to be withdrawn and stopped playing music in the mid-1980s, saying he had become "too good at the horn" and that painting would bring more money. During the Magic Band's 1972 tour of the United Kingdom, Beefheart's first exhibition appeared at Liverpool's Bluecoat Gallery. Standing in front of his stunning black and white canvases, he was interviewed on Granada's regional television. Julian Schnabel, a fan of the artwork on his album covers, begged to buy a drawing from him. Although his debut exhibition as a serious painter was at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York in 1985, his work as "another rock musician dabbling in art for the sake of ego's sake" has received more sympathetic and sympathetic attention since then, with some sales approaching $25,000. Two books have been published specifically dedicated to investigating and analyzing Don Van Vliet's art: Riding Some Kind Of Unusual Skull Sleigh (1999) by W. C. Bamberger and Stand Up To Be Discontinued, a now rare collection of essays on Van Vliet's work. A limited edition of the book includes a CD of Van Vliet reading six of his poems: The Tired Plain, Skeleton Makes Good, Safe Sex Drill, Tulip and Gill. In 1994, a limited edition was released; only 60 copies were printed, with etchings of Van Vliet's signature costing £180.
Van Vliet began a friendship with Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne in the 1980s. Eric Feldman said in an interview later that Michael Werner told Van Vliet that if he wanted to be respected as a painter, he'd better quit playing music, otherwise he'd only be branded a "musician who paints." In doing so, it was said that he had effectively "succeeded in leaving his past behind." Van Vliet has been described as a modernist, a primitivist, an abstract expressionist, and, in a sense, an outsider artist. Morgan Falconer of Artforum confirms that his work is influenced by the CoBrA painters, citing both a "neo-primitivist aesthetic" and further stating that his artwork is influenced by the CoBrA painters. Art critic Roberto Ohrt has also compared the CoBrA painters' paintings to Jackson Pollock's, Franz Kline's, Antonin Artaud, Francis Bacon, Vincent van Gogh, and Mark Rothko, although some have compared his paintings to Jackson Pollock's, Franz Kline, Antonin Artaud, Thomas Bacon, Mark Rothko.
Although Van Vliet's work has links to mainstream abstract expressionism painting, more importantly, he was a self-taught artist, and his painting "has the same sort of edge" as the music does, according to Dr. John Lane, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In comparison to the chaotic, bohemian urban life of the New York abstract expressionists, curator David Breuer's explanation that Van Vliet's rural desert environment makes him a key figure in contemporary art, whose canon work will survive. "I'm trying to bring myself inside out on the canvas," Van Vliet said of his own art. "I'm trying to completely avoid what I think at the moment" and "I paint for the simple reason that I must." After doing so, I get a sense of calm." When asked about his artistic influences, he said no one had influence on him. "I just paint like I paint, and that gives me a lot of power." However, he expressed admiration for Georg Baselitz, the De Stijl artist Piet Mondrian, and Vincent van Gogh; after seeing van Gogh's paintings in person, Van Vliet expressed himself as "the sun disappoints me."
In 2009 and 2010, jurors of his paintings from the late 1990s were held in New York. "Evidence of a serious, committed artist," Falconer said in the most recent exhibits. In the late 1990s, it was said that he stopped painting. Anthony Haden-Guest's 2007 interview with Van Vliet showed him to be still active artistically. Because he immediately destroyed any that did not please him, he showed only few of his paintings.
Van Vliet appeared in public for the first time since his release from music. He and his wife Janet "Jan" Van Vliet lived near Trinidad, California, where they became friends. He was using a wheelchair by the early 1990s as a result of multiple sclerosis. His illness was often misdiagnosed. Many of his art consultants and associates regard him as in good health. Some associates of his long-serving drummer and musical director John French and bassist Richard Snyder have reported that by the late 1970s, they had noticed signs associated with multiple sclerosis, including warmth, loss of balance, and stiffness of gait.
One of Van Vliet's last public appearances was filmed in 1993's short film Some Yo Yo Stuff by filmmaker Anton Corbijn, describing it as a "observation of his observations." Around 13 minutes, the film was entirely black and white, with appearances by his mother and David Lynch. Van Vliet's residence in California showed him noticeably depressed and dysarthric, as well as philosophically addressing his life, environment, music, and art. He appeared on Gary Lucas' album "Intuition to Mouth" and Moris Tepper's Moth to Mouth, as well as Tepper's 2004 song "Ricochet Man" from the album Head Off. He is credited with the introduction of Tepper's 2010 album The Named Shotgun Throat.
Van Vliet expressed skepticism and support for environmentalist causes and causes, particularly animal welfare. On several of his later albums, he often referred to Earth as "God's Golfball," and the word can be found on a number of his later albums. He appeared on the compilation album Where We Live: Stand For What You Stand For: A Live Affordance CD for EarthJustice performing a version of "Happy Birthday to You" renamed "Happy Earthday." The track lasts 34 seconds and was shot over the telephone.
Van Vliet died in a hospital in Arcata, California, on Friday, December 17, 2010. Multiple sclerosis problems were identified as a result of multiple sclerosis complications. "Wondrous, little-known... and profound, he was a diviner of the highest order," Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan described his death.
On the day of his death, Dweezil Zappa dedicated the song "Willie the Pimp" to Beefheart at the Beacon Theater in New York City, while Jeff Bridges said "Rest in peace, Captain Beefheart." The December 18, 2010 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live came to an end.
Life in retirement
Van Vliet appeared in public for the first time after his music career. He and his partner Janet "Jan" Van Vliet resided near Trinidad, California, where they had resided. He was using a wheelchair by the early 1990s as a result of multiple sclerosis. His illness was often confused. Many of his art consultants and colleagues believe he is in good shape. By the late 1970s, many collaborators, including longtime drummer and musical director John French, and bassist Richard Snyder, have reported signs consistent with multiple sclerosis, including symptoms of heat loss, loss of balance, and stiffness of gait.
Quite a few of Van Vliet's last public appearances appeared in the 1993 short film Some Yo Yo Stuff by filmmaker Anton Corbijn, which was described as a "observation of his observations." The film, which featured a noticeably aged and dysarthric Van Vliet at his California residence, reading poetry, and philosophically discussing his life, environment, music, and art, was shot entirely in black and white, with appearances by his mother and David Lynch. He appeared on Gary Lucas's album "Invince the Shining Hour and Moris Tepper's Moth to Mouth, as well as Tepper's 2004 hit "Ricochet Man" from the album Head Off. Tepper's 2010 album A Singer Named Shotgun Throat was credited to him.
Van Vliet expressed occasional skepticism about and support for environmentalist causes and causes, particularly for animal welfare. On a number of his later albums, he often referred to Earth as "God's Golfball," and this term can be found on a number of his later albums. He appeared on "Where We Live: Stand For What You Stand On"; a charity CD for EarthJustice. A version of "Happy Birthday to You" was titled "Happy Earth Day" on the compilation album. The track lasts 34 seconds and was caught over the phone.
On Friday, December 17, 2010, Van Vliet died at a hospital in Arcata, California. Multiple sclerosis problems were cited as a result of multiple sclerosis disorders. "Wondrous, little-known... and profound, he was a diviner of the highest order," Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan wrote about his death.
On the day of his death, Dweezil Zappa dedicated "Willie the Pimp" to Beefheart at the "Zappa Plays Zappa" exhibition in New York City, while Jeff Bridges declared, "Rest in peace, Captain Beefheart." At the end of the NBC's Saturday Night Live episode on December 18, 2010.