Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart

Born Jan 15, 1941

Don Van Vliet was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet widely known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Captain Beefheart.

  • No Hits, No Problem: Captain Beefheart's Major Label Run
    NPR - Mar 31, 2015
  • T Bone Burnett On How He Chooses Music For "True Detective"
    Mother Jones - Jan 24, 2014
  • The True Story Of How Lou Reed Helped Overthrow Communism In Eastern Europe
    Business Insider - Oct 27, 2013
  • Paul Mc Cartney's "Queenie Eye," Plus Chatting With The Rubens' Sam Margin, Sam Phillips And The Swimming Pool Q's' Jeff Calder
    Huffington Post - Oct 25, 2013


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Captain Beefheart.


1941 Birth Van Vliet was born Don Glen Vliet in Glendale, California, on January 15, 1941, to Glen Alonzo Vliet, a service station owner of Dutch ancestry from Kansas, and Willie Sue Vliet (née Warfield), who was from Arkansas. … Read More


1965 24 Years Old In early 1965 Alex Snouffer, a Lancaster rhythm and blues guitarist, invited Vliet to sing with a group that he was assembling. … Read More
1966 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band signed to A&M and released two singles in 1966. … Read More
…  It was followed by their acclaimed debut album Safe as Milk, released in 1967 on Buddah Records. … Read More
Van Vliet did meet McCartney in Cannes during the Magic Band's 1968 tour of Europe, though McCartney later claimed to have no recollection of this meeting. … Read More
1969 28 Years Old Critically acclaimed as Van Vliet's magnum opus, Trout Mask Replica was released as a 28 track double album in June 1969 on Frank Zappa's newly formed Straight Records label. … Read More
1970 29 Years Old Van Vliet used the ensuing publicity, particularly with a 1970 Rolling Stone interview with Langdon Winner, to promulgate a number of myths that were subsequently quoted as fact. … Read More


1976 35 Years Old 1 More Event
In early 1976 Zappa put on his producer hat and, once again, opened up his studio facilities and finance to Vliet. … Read More
1977 36 Years Old Prior to his next album Beefheart appeared in 1977 on the Tubes' album Now, playing saxophone on the song "Cathy's Clone", and the album also featured a cover of the Clear Spot song "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains".
1978 37 Years Old In 1978 he appeared on Jack Nitzsche's soundtrack to the film Blue Collar. … Read More


1982 41 Years Old …  Known for his enigmatic personality and relationship with the public, Van Vliet made few public appearances after his retirement from music in 1982. … Read More
1985 44 Years Old …  His debut exhibition as a serious painter was at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York in 1985 and was initially regarded as that of " another rock musician dabbling in art for ego's sake", though his primitive, non-conformist work has received more sympathetic and serious attention since then, with some sales approaching $25,000.


1991 - 1994 3 More Events
1995 54 Years Old Gordon Veneklasen, one of the gallery's directors in 1995 described Van Vliet as an "incredible painter" whose work "doesn't really look like anybody else's work but his own". … Read More
1997 56 Years Old According to Dr. John Lane, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in 1997, although Van Vliet's work has associations with mainstream abstract expressionist painting, more importantly he was a self-taught artist and his painting "has that same kind of edge the music has". … Read More
2000 59 Years Old …  In 2000, he appeared on Gary Lucas' album Improve the Shining Hour and Moris Tepper's Moth to Mouth, and spoke on Tepper's 2004 song "Ricochet Man" from the album Head Off.


…  In 2003 he was heard on the compilation album Where We Live: Stand for What You Stand On: A Benefit CD for EarthJustice singing a version of "Happy Birthday to You" retitled "Happy Earthday". … Read More
2004 - 2005 2 More Events
2009 68 Years Old 1 More Event
Exhibits of his paintings from the late 1990s at both the Anton Kern and Michael Werner Galleries of New York City received favorable reviews, the most recent of which were held between 2009 and 2010. … Read More
He is credited for naming Tepper's 2010 album A Singer Named Shotgun Throat.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.