Captain Beefheart

January 15, 1941
December 17, 2010
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Don Van Vliet , best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart, was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist. Sometimes collaborating with his teenage friend Frank Zappa, Van Vliet's musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums between 1964 and 1982. His music blended elements of blues, free jazz, rock, avant-garde composition, idiosyncratic rhythms, and surrealist wordplay with his wide vocal range, commonly reported as five octaves. Known for his enigmatic persona, Beefheart frequently constructed myths about his life and was known to exercise an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians.Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste during his teen years in Lancaster, California, and formed a mutually useful but volatile friendship with Zappa.

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