Tuesday, December 21, 2010
17 December 2010 saw the passing of one of modern musics true innovators. Don Van Vliet, better known by his stage name Captain Beefheart led his humorously surreal “Magic Band” through a series of 12 albums that, although achieving little commercial success, managed to influence everyone from Frank Black to Simpsons creator Matt Goering. According to legendary DJ John Peel, “If there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it's Beefheart.“
Van Vliet had been living in near isolation since retiring his Beefheart persona in 1982, preferring to focus on his expressionist paintings and sculpture.
It was announced by the Michael Werner Gallery on Friday, 17 December 2010, that Van Vliet had died at a Northern California hospital, aged 69. The gallery stated him to be "a complex and influential figure in the visual and performing arts," and "one of the most original recording artists of his time". The cause was named as complications from multiple sclerosis.