Don Van Vliet | Captain Beefheart

It is a shame I never got round to writing about this remarkable man before his death on 17th December 2010. I tend to ignore being on trend, but Captain Beefheart, is an iconic exception.

There is a plethora of background on Don Van Vliet, and I am not aiming to reproduce the immense catalogue or history in a short article.

Don Van Vliet | Captain Beefheart

Don Van Vliet | Captain Beefheart

A quick look at the image I have selected of the Cap’n explains much of the status of this indie icon… It was taken in 1972 at the Royal Albert Hall. A time when bands were discovering Rock and Roll and yet, this hugely influential artist was experimenting yet retaining his saxophone.

His use of instrumentation and refusal to ‘conform’ to the Rock and Roll revolution was explosive. Times were very different 40-50 years ago. Of far more importance was his resolute independence of mind. He could have become a Rock and Roll icon, but he even rebelled against the ‘teenage revolution’, determined to utilise his own unique sound and kick against the machine.

A true indie musician and while many current artists believe their influence is from more well known ’60s, ’70s and ’80s artists, they in turn draw their influence from a real heart and soul of music.

I won’t proclaim to know whether he regretted his lack of chart success, but to me, that is not of importance, he is a central pivot and a shining example of the bands I hope to continue showcasing on the indie bands blog.

An icon of indie music

An icon of indie music

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Related posts:

Laura Gibson
Band of the week 10th to 16th June 2012


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  1. [...] would have been easy to pass The Vliets by, on the basis they were cashing in, but that is far from the case. The Vliets from Dallas, USA, are a band I expected to pop up via [...]

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