We just got the sad news that iconic musician and artist Don Van Vliet AKA Captain Beefheart passed away today from complications related to his multiple sclerosis. He was 69. Beefheart’s 1969 double album Trout Mask Replica, produced by Frank Zappa, is considered by many to be his most influential record that twisted, warped and blended rock, jazz and blues into one surrealistic, psychedelic experience. Beefheart never compromised his art or his music an inch. His records were staples of some FM progressive radio stations back in the 70′s, his record deals came and went, and he continued to make some of the most creative, most personal, most chaotic and challenging music. For those who it touched, it had a deep impact on them.
Beefheart was signed to A&M Records in 1966 and one of the first singles he released was “Diddy Wah Diddy.” At the time, Beefheart was doing a promotional run for the single and phoned in to Dick Clark on American Bandstand, where he was interviewed by one of the audience members. The interview lasts the first 50 seconds and is definitely worth a view. It’s a surreal moment in a career from an artist who never ever looked back. In fact, he created a vision and sound of a future that still sounds 200 years older than all of us.