Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big Eyed Beans From Venus

Some folks like the syrupy smarm of Kenny G - just why I don't know! Mr. Blogmeister likes Captain Beefheart.

Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, merged protean elements from a dozen musical genres and collaborated with the brave musicians of his Magic Band to create brilliant, uneasy, startling, seething, challenging, jagged, complex, melodic while cacophonous, polyrhythmic, powerful and most of all, original music from 1965 to 1982; at that point he abandoned the pothole-filled roads of showbiz - in the Captain's words, "there ain't no Santa Claus on the evening stage" - to pursue a less stressful (and very likely much happier) career as a visual artist.

The Revenant Records five-CD Beefheart box set, Grow Fins, compiles amazing aural artifacts while including a 112 page history of The Cap'n And The Magic Band which is better and stranger than fiction.

Here's the excellent 1997 BBC documentary on this innovative auteur of paint, pencil and sound.

We shall close with a few paintings by Mr. Van Vliet. The same imagination, boldness and originality rampant in his music animates his work on canvas. There's a approach to color unlike anyother visual artist.

1 comment:

paul etcheverry said...

From Frank John Hadley's excellent, well-researched and informative Grove Press Guide To Blues On CD.

"Unconventional to the nth power, Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) constructed a gnostic blues world where Howlin' Wolf curls Salvador Dali's moustache and Little Walter espouses dadaism. Of the two early-1970s albums juxtaposed here, The Spotlight Kid most interestingly turns twelve-bar music on its head with Beefheart's multi-octave son-of-Wolf voice, his pixilated lyrics, his marvelous Chicago-style harp, and his specially instructed Magic Band's asymmetrical rhythms. Not to say the second heartfelt blues travesty, Clear Spot, scrimps on the quirky 'low yo yo' either. "-- © Frank John Hadley 1993