The world has lost another mad genius today. Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, passed away at the age of 69. Best known for his groundbreaking musical work that melded blues, free jazz and art-rock lunacy. Van Vliet's career included poetry and graphic art, as well. Sadly, Rolling Stone magazine and our sister paper LA Weekly both confirmed the news.
Van Vliet was born in Glendale, CA and grew up in Lancaster. He met outsider Frank Zappa, and the two formed an intense bond over music and art. Zappa would encourage Vliet to record as Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, and he produced their classicTrout Mask Replica
, which was named 58rd Greatest Album of All Time by
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. He would continue his maverick musical career through the early-1980s, when he retired the band and persona to concentrate on art.