Don Van Vliet

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Don Van Vliet

Don Van Vliet , born as Don Glen Vliet and known as Captain Beefheart (January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) ), was an American rock musician and painter originally from Glendale, California. His musical work was performed accompanied by a band called The Magic Band, which was active from the mid-60s to the early 80s. Van Vliet mainly directed the band and played the harmonica and, occasionally, the saxophone and keyboard, so amateur and influenced by the free-jazz. His compositions were characterized by strange changes of time, changing rhythms, dissonances and surreal lyrics. Van Vliet was characterized by the almost dictatorial treatment with which he treated his musicians and his enigmatic relationship with the public.

Captain Beefheart joined the newly formed Magic Band in 1965, from which he quickly became leader. His first musical references revolve around blues and rock, but little by little, renamed as Captain Beefheart & amp; His Magic Band, adopt a more experimental approach. In 1969, his most acclaimed and critically acclaimed album, Trout Mask Replica, produced by Frank Zappa, is now recognized as a breakthrough and influential masterpiece in the evolution of contemporary rock music. Van Vliet published several albums more throughout the 1970s, but his group underwent several changes of training and had little commercial recognition. Towards the end of the decade, Van Vliet established a new group of young musicians, publishing his last three albums between 1978 and 1982, which received a very positive assessment almost unanimous on the part of the music critics. Van Vliet’s legacy is of a poor commercial balance, despite the fact that he has devoted followers. However, his influence on later punk and new wave music and other genres has been described as “incalculable”.

Since the end of his musical career (around 1982), Van Vliet made some appearances in public, preferring a quiet life in his house in the Mojave desert (California), concentrating on his facet as a painter. His interest in art goes back to his childhood, in which he showed talent for sculpture, and his work, which has been described as “neo-primitive-abstract-expressionist”, has received international recognition. In 2003, some former members of The Magic Band reformed the group, with which they recorded albums and toured from 2003 to 2006.

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