Yesterday was the 69th birthday of Don Van Vliet, better known to sonic freaks and general weirdos everywhere as Captain Beefheart, the leader of a Magic Band and carver of one of the most unusual musical mythologies ever. He also managed to charm Frank Zappa, influence a startling array of folks - ranging from The Clash to Matt Groening to Joan Osbourne to Tom Waits - AND reimagining the blues in a post-LSD world. The Captain and his coconspirators made aggressive strangeness a virtue and unearthed boogie in the oddest of places. No one - seriously, no one - ever conjured lyrics or delivered 'em in such a perversely compelling way as Beefheart. Though retired from music since the early '80s, Vliet remains a notable fringe figure in the painting world, and his musical legacy will endure as long as there are ears and switched-on brains unafraid of what's lurking in the deep brush.
We plug in our birthday salute with a late '60s TV broadcast that even in the era must have come across as very peculiar as it crept into American living rooms.
Next, a rough, funky assault on a Beefheart favorite from French TV in 1980.
She's Too Much For My Mirror" and Human Gets Me Blues" done up in a nasty, crossroads raw style.
Oh, to have scored a ticket to this Letterman taping!
A nifty snapshot of the Captain and his Magic Band at this long running Dutch music festival.
Oddest beach party band ever! This clip is from 1968 in Cannes, France.
Monster guitarist Gary Lucas offers insights on working with Beefheart.
Oh yeah, he's still a child of the 1960s!
We wrap with some fast, befuddled blues to help shake you up proper. Happy birthday, Captain. Long may you sail!
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