Don Van Vliet, 1941 – 2010

Here’s some very sad news, just in from our California correspondent: the unique, the incomparable Captain Beefheart has succumbed to multiple sclerosis at the age of 69.

Don Van Vliet was sui generis, and though he never rose to the dizzy pinnacle of fame, he was one of the most influential, most visionary, most jaggedly creative musicians of his era. I was lucky enough to see him perform on a few occasions, but I never had a chance to meet him or, as I so fondly hoped might happen someday, to work with him in the studio; a lifelong painter, he had retired to his easel in the California desert by the time I cut my teeth as a recording engineer.

His otherworldy 1969 album Trout Mask Replica altered my musical consciousness forever. I was not alone.

His New York Times obituary is here, and you can read about him at Wikipedia, here.

And here’s some Ice Cream for Crow.

(And for you computer programmers: new significance to 3735928559.)

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