When the music world lost Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) last month to multiple sclerosis, they paid him justice in remembrance like none other. SPIN, Rolling Stone, The L.A. Times, MTV, NME and The New York Times all sang the praises of Van Vliet (who in his later years became moreso involved in his painting), his music furiously and delightfully timeless, introducing itself to listeners through its sheer undefinable qualities: in this, was the allure.
Heavily rooted in the blues, but spastic-ly-voiced and lyrically poetic and bizarre, Van Vliet came off as a Joe Cocker protege who decided to take Cocker’s musical style ten steps further. His best-known album was the much-lauded Trout Mask Replica, heavily inspiring modern musicians such as Tom Waits. After his final musical offering, Ice Cream for Crow , Van Vliet shuffled away from the musical spotlight and towards permanent residence as an artist. Van Vliet’s music continued to captivate well past 1982, his visions and trademark unconcerned vocals an incomparable combination musicians have yet to duplicate, even if they might make the attempt to. View work by Van Vliet at the Michael Werner Gallery, which often housed his work.
In the past weeks’ WMSE e-newsletter, you might have heard that WMSE plans to join in on the singing of the praises of Van Vliet, along with the rest this Sunday, January 9th. WMSE Promotions Director Ryan Schleicher writes, “Modern Chamber’s Jason [Weitlispach], with guest and Milwaukee music legend, Victor DeLorenzo, will be taking over Hal’s [Rammel] program this week, turning it into a three hour dedication to the late, great Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart. Beefheart was a true innovator who developed one of the strongest, earliest cult followings in rock music history. Three hours probably isn’t enough time to do his legacy full justice, but it is at least a great start.”
Tune into 91.7 FM WMSE this Sunday from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. CST on The Modern Chamber to listen to all-Beefheart in all his glory, curated by two Milwaukee musicians who know and love his music.
“Alice in Blunderland”
“Nowadays a Woman’s Gotta Hit a Man”
“Long Neck Bottles”