We are saddened to report that Don Van Vliet better know as Captain Beefheart passed away at a California hospital due to complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69. Van Vliet a long time friend of progressive rock pioneer Frank Zappa was also a giant in the genre.
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band had limited commercial successes with their third release Trout Mask Replica which was produced by Zappa. the album was ranked fifty-eighth by Rolling Stone in their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” Unfortunately for Don Van Vliet Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band would never see the critical acclaim Frank Zappa received over the years.
Fortunate for us Don Van Vliet’s Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band paved the way and influenced a generation of musicians. Bands like Primus, The Residents and The Black Keys have been strongly influenced by the Southern California artist as have Frank Zappa’s own offspring Dweezil and Amphet.
Dead at 69? That seems like one last tongue in cheek wink from the Captain. So it is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to a friend we never met. Still one that touched many of us deeply. Sleep well Captain Beefheart and tell Frank we said hi.