Monday, December 20, 2010

Obituary: Captain Beefheart

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, NirvanaTom 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:


  1. This is a very, very cool blog and it's now among my favorites. Thanks.

  2. Wow, thanks Max.
    Over the last two months, my computer desktop photos have been three Max Dalton prints and one photo of Bob Dylan. So I appreciate it.

  3. Back to back, it's hard to judge the covers and the Cap'n originals. The White Stripes give "Party of Special Things" that Detroit edginess that is missing from the original, and given that it was about that time when Captain Beefheart was going toward the era where he compromised, the White Stripes version is arguably better.

    Yet, "Grown So Ugly" is so vastly different between Captain Beefheart and the Black Keys straight juke joint vision of the song, it's almost two different songs. Yet, those twinkling last few seconds of electric madness makes the original sound more appropriate of the blues. It's a tough call on that one.

    Great tribute, Shuffleupagus.

    That's right, the Mascara Snake. Fast and bulbous.

  4. @electriccomicbook
    At the risk of seeming lazy in the typing/opinions department, I have to say that I concur with everything you just typed.

    Damn you're good.


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