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18 December 2010

“The way I keep in touch with the world is very gingerly, because the world touches too hard.”

If the short, sentimental, uninformative docupoem about him by Anton not embedded up there then look for it here. “The difference between art & music…” he says in the documentary, well, it’s different forms of drowning. Am I right? Probably not. Because Captain Beefheart aka Don Van Vliet didn’t so much confound expectations as deny they were even possible…

    “Don van Vliet, alias ‘Captain Beefheart’, is one of the most influential, misunderstood, talked about, admired, copied, treasured, loved and quoted musicians and yet he is still an obscure and mysterious artist. His quite abrupt artistic transformation from working with a microphone to a paintbrush in 1982 and his consequent move from the desert to the ocean meant even less direct contact with the outside world than before. Subsequently there is very little information about Don from this time onwards and this short black-and-white film made in 1993 is an unique opportunity to see and hear this unique man. The film is approximately 13 minutes long, directed and photographed in black and white.”

But please don’t mistake Captain Beefheart for being an uncommercial artist. In fact, they were so commercial they once made one:

Before you go, you might want to read why in the New York Times’ obituary. O captain! My captain! More rambling after the jump!

From the NYT Obituary

    “Don demonstrated artistic talent before the age of 10, especially in sculpture, and at 13 was offered a scholarship to study sculpture in Europe, but his parents forbade him. Concurrently, they moved to the Mojave Desert town of Lancaster, where one of Don’s high school friends was Frank Zappa.”

The Community Function!

And remember when Letterman was craaaaaaazzzy? It used to be you could show paintings on network television!

Finally here is Beefheart, sounding particularly American. In France.

And then a fatter version of the same.

Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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