This past Friday, December 17th, music lost a psychedelic rock idol. Captain Beefheart of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band (real name: Don Van Vliet) died at age 69, after a 20 year battle with multiple sclerosis.
The iclonoclastic front man (with or without his Magic Band) inspired going on three generations of musicians, with heavyweights like The Pixies, Nirvana, Tom Waits, Slash, and Beck citing him as influence. His signature combination of funk, blues, rock, and absurdist humour has been covered in the studio by the likes of The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Sonic Youth and XTC. The band he fronted also inspired another of the greatest psychedelic-rock outfits in history: Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
|And if you've inspired Muppetry, you've led a full life.|
Captain Beefheart will forever be an icon of a too-brief golden age when rockstars were eclectic, otherworldly showmen and never worried about being grounded or accessible.
Rest In Peace, Captain. I hope you and Frank Zappa are dropping acid and writing music in rock-and-roll heaven.
Since Monday is cover day around these parts, we'll do two from Captain Beefheart and cover versions from the bands he inspired: