new-york

Don Van Vliet

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

Captain Beefheart, a.k.a. Don Van Vliet, first made a name for himself during the brief, interminable psychedelic era of the late ’60s. While most psychedelic music was little more than polluted blues or rock ’n’ roll with “special effects,” the music of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band was and remains truly original, built from a unique sonic and verbal viewpoint. The comparisons made by critics to Beefheart are as amusing as they are instructive: he is seen as the heir of Delta blues, the successor of Igor Stravinsky, the culmination of Dada, America’s answer to the Peking Opera . . . he is all of the above and none.

In 1971, Beefheart made a promotional video for the album Lick My Decals Off Baby. Intended to be the first television commercial for a pop record, it was rejected by numerous television stations in California and was never aired. To promote his new album, Ice Cream for

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