Yesterday we gathered some of the tributes paid to the late Captain Beefheart (aka Don Van Vliet) following his sad passing last week. But further artists influenced by Vliet have been speaking about his life over the past couple of days, including Simpsons creator Matt Groening and Tom Waits.
“Back in my formative years, my buddies and I were looking for the furthest limits in pop music,” Groening said, in an interview for the LA Times. “We loved avant-garde jazz, and we loved the blues, and Captain Beefheart melded them in a way that no one else has ever done, with the vocal techniques of on top of these crazy, angular songs.”
“He was like the scout on a wagon train,” Waits wrote in an email. “He was the one who goes ahead and shows the way. He was a demanding bandleader, a transcendental composer (with emphasis on the dental), up there with Ornette [Coleman], Sun Ra and Miles [Davis]. He drew in the air with a burnt stick. He described the indescribable. He’s an underground stream and a big yellow blimp.”
Groening had previously booked a version of the Magic Band (sans Vliet) to play an ATP event in Long Beach in 2003, and the influence of the singer over Waits’ angular mashing of rock and blues tropes is clear to see. Vliet’s hold over the music world, despite an absence of almost 30 years since the release of Ice Cream for Crow in 1982, is likely to be felt for quite some time yet.
[via LA Times]