Captain Beefheart is one of American music’s true originals. Born of the blues, his music was transmitted by the self-taught, untutored bandleader-vocalist-saxophonist-harp player to the young, often terrified members of his Magic Band. His unprecedented style incorporated Delta slide guitar, free jazz saxophonics, cripplingly askew rhythms, and spoken-word eruptions. His sound, which challenged sidemen and listeners alike, never attracted more than a fervent cult. But his off-kilter music has influenced a gallery of acolytes that includes Pere Ubu, Public Image, Ltd., Tom Waits, Devo, and PJ Harvey, to name only a few.
He was born Don Vliet in Glendale, Calif., on January 15, 1941, to a Helms Bakery delivery truck driver and a... Read More