Don Van Vliet (better known as Captain Beefheart) has died of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69.
Captain Beefheart recorded a series of avant garde albums with The Magical Band from the late 1960s into the early 1980s before he retired from music to concentrate exclusively on painting which proved to be a more lucrative venture.
Beefheart’s best known work was the double album Trout Mask Replica which was released in 1969 on Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label. It sure isn’t easy listening but it’s not nearly as weird as Tim Buckley’s Starsailor (especially the title track) which was released on Straight Records the following year.
Nevertheless, Beefheart not only marched to his own drummer but conducted his own orchestra as evidenced by these rare interviews he did with David Letterman in the early 1980s.