Musician Captain Beefheart dies at 69
Musician and artist Don Van Vliet, who performed a complex brand of experimental rock under the name Captain Beefheart, died Friday. He was 69.
The Michael Werner Gallery in New York confirmed Van Vliet's death in California due to complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. The gallery exhibits his paintings.
Van Vliet was probably best known for the album Trout Mask Replica, which was released in 1969 by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. The album's angular, dissonant take on blues rock and Van Vliet's growling, surreal lyrics put him outside the mainstream, but staked his place in rock history.
Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked Trout Mask Replica number 58 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was produced by fellow experimental rock pioneer Frank Zappa, a school friend.
By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a role model for subsequent generations of musicians. In the 1980s, he turned full-time to art. He painted in a raw, expressionistic style and showed his acclaimed work widely even as he withdrew from the public eye. He is survived by his wife of more than 40 years.