Don Van Vliet, January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010
There is no way I have the verbal acuity to express the depth of my feelings about the life, music and passing of Don Van Vliet, “Captian Beefheart”. Tom Waits’ quote pretty much says it all for me.
It is impossible for me to overstate the influence he has had on me. Simply put; within the context of my life and consciousness there is no Bonzer I have ever shaped that is separate from Beefheart. The sound he created is infused in my genes. As Tom Waits says, “He’s gone and he won’t be back,” but as ‘The Captain’ says in the song Kandy Korn, “be reborn.” Creativity, the joys of observation, and reverence for all living things will be sparked and reborn in all those who truly ‘feel’ his music and words.
Since 1970 he has been a part of me, completely infused. When we saw him at the Roxy in 74-75 I remember sitting right in front on the stage with Malcolm, Dr. Robert, Charly, and the rest of the Bonzer Gang. Charly brought a pad and pens to draw pictures of the Magic Band. During intermission we handed the Captain a stack of Charly’s drawings. His reply – ‘Thanks you for your presents, and your presence.’
Well, same to you Captain, ‘Thank you for your presents, and your presence.’ He shined like a million suns, now he’s gone. Somebody light a god damn match!
Here are a couple pictures of the famed ‘Beefheart Board,’ a 6’4″ eggy shape with original artwork by Cliff Collinge inspired by the song “Kandy Korn.”