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Don Van Vliet


The Michael Werner Gallery in New York has confirmed Don Van Vliet's death, 16 December 2010 in California due to complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. The gallery represents his work. Van Vliet was probably best known as a musician touring under the name Captain Beefheart. His album "Trout Mask Replica," was released in 1969  with His Magic Band and remains his most acomplished record. 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 high school friend from the desert town of Lancaster, Calif."Record producers have always been certain that Don Vliet was just a hype away from the big money," according to a 1970 profile in Rolling Stone. "But Beefheart stubbornly continues what he's doing and waits patiently for everyone else to come around."By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a role model for subsequent generations of musicians. His music is cited as an influence on the rise of punk, post-punk and new wave. Beefheart is also claimed as a kindred spirit by free jazz musicians and avant-garde classical composers. In the 1980s, Van Vliet 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.

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Don Van Vliet Memorial Gallery

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