I want to make mention that one of my central artistic influences passed away yesterday. Don Van Vliet, who recorded under the name Captain Beefheart, died from complications of multiple sclerosis in a Northern California hospital at the age of 69. There are plenty of obituaries on the net that detail the facts and fictions of his life and art. I’m not going to go into that here; instead I want to just try and explain why his work meant so much to me.
Yes I dug his records, his voice, his lyrics, his paintings and poetry; but it was really his central stance that most inspired me. All his art was a reaction to what he saw as the dehumanization of people and the destruction of the natural world by modern society. That’s the way I see it too, and all my art, even the mainstreamy stuff, has been informed by that same observation and belief. The fact that there was someone out there making that uncompromising point through his creative output as I was growing up made a huge difference to me.
Thank you, Don!