[alert_box type=”info”]Written by Robert Palmer, from the 30th November 1980 New York Times[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet, who is better known as Captain Beefheart, writes some of the knottiest, most extravagantly off-center music ever played on amplified instruments. One can remember earlier Beefheart concerts and be familiar with his recordings and still be unprepared for the sheer physical impact of two or three electric guitars, bass and drums hammering out rhythms that seem to trip over themselves in perfect unison, and of Mr. Van Vliet declaiming helter-skelter in a voice that veers edgily from a falsetto hiccup to a buzz-saw rasp. Captain Beefheart has been writingRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the 22nd September 1982 edition of The New York Times.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet, who is better known as Captain Beefheart, is still in the forefront of rock’s avant-garde, more than 15 years after the release of his first album. Although he has polished his music and changed the personnel of his Magic Band a number of times since the mid-1960’s, the broad outlines of his style were already in place the first time he entered a recording studio. They include fractured rhythms; dislocated country blues riffs; disjunct melodies and passages of counterpoint that sometimes recall Stravinsky; extravagantly gruff singing and croaking, andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the 28th September 1980 edition of The New York Times[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band probably would have been an anomaly had they burst on an unsuspecting world anywhere, at any time. Ironically, the Captain, whose real name is Don Van Vliet, grew up in Southern California and put together his first magic band in Los Angeles in the mid-60’s. Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and other future pop icons were singing folk music and their own sensitive ballads at the Troubadour, the Ash Grove offered pure folk and blues, and the Birds were setting Bob Dylan’s folk songs to rock-and-roll rhythms.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From the 18th December 1985 New York Times[/alert_box] A painter whose first one-man show in New York runs through Saturday at the Mary Boone Gallery, 417 West Broadway, may be better known to music-lovers than to the art world. The prestigious gallery, which has represented David Salle and Julian Schnabel, has a show of eight large, boldly colored canvases by Don Van Vliet, the composer, saxophonist and harmonica player who has been making records since the 1960’s as Captain Beefheart. The style of such paintings as ”Eye Whine” and ”Gum at the Bottom of the Grocery” will be familiar to owners of the albumsRead More →