TRINIDAD, Calif., Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Accolades poured in Saturday for Don Van Vliet, the avant-garde rocker known as Captain Beefheart, after his death in Northern California at the age of 69.
Van Vliet died Friday of complications from multiple sclerosis while living and working as a successful painter in the small town of Trinidad, according to Gordon VeneKlasen, a partner in the New York gallery where Van Vliet often showed his paintings.
There was no immediate word on memorial services; however Van Vliet was never forgotten by music critics and rock historians. His eccentric album with the Magic Band called "Trout Mask Replica" is considered a classic.
The New York Times said Saturday that Captain Beefheart's music career, which stretched from 1966 to 1982, put together a unique body of work that had a strong influence on the punk and new wave generations.
Van Vliet had little in the way of formal musical training, but he fell in with fellow Southern Californian Frank Zappa in the 1960s, adopted the name Captain Beefheart and with the Magic Band. The Times said his singing style resembled blues great Howlin' Wolf: "a deep, rough-riding moan turned up into swooped falsettos at the end of lines, pinched and bellowing and sounding as if it caused pain.
Van Vliet quit the music business in 1982 after releasing "Ice Cream Crow" and devoted his time to his painting while living a reclusive lifestyle.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Dead: Captain Beefheart.
RIP Zig Zag Wanderer... From UPI: