“If there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it’s Beefheart,” “I heard echoes of his music in some of the records I listened to last week and I’ll hear more echoes in records that I listen to this week.”Â John Peel
It seems odd to feel compelled to write in tribute to someone who stopped making records when I was 11 years old, but normal rules never applied when referring to Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart. A quick check of his Wikipedia entry lists the musical genres he worked in as follows:
Experimental rock, blues, blues-rock, avant-garde, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, protopunk, surrealist, outsider
although anyone familar with his work will find even this sprawling list inadequate to describe the Captain’s work, mainly but not exclusively encapsulated on 12 studio LP’s recorded between 1966 and 1982 after which he did what so many of his 1960′s contemporaries failed to do and decided that he had said all he wanted to say and retired from music to become a respected artist.
In this sense, this is the second time that we’ve lost him and I always felt that the blow of his eventual demise would be cushioned by the fact that as a “Beefheart fan-boy” (in the immortal words of Tez Burke) I had long since resigned myself to not hearing any new music from the great man.