According to The Associated Press, musician and artist Don Van Vliet, who 
performed a complex brand of experimental rock under the name CAPTAIN 
BEEFHEART, died Friday. He was 69.

The Michael Werner Gallery in New York confirmed Van Vliet's death in 
California due to complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. The gallery 
exhibits his paintings.

Van Vliet was probably best known for the album Trout Mask Replica, which was 

The album's angular, dissonant take on blues rock and Van Vliet's growling, 
surreal lyrics put him outside the mainstream, but staked his place in rock 

Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked Trout Mask Replica number 58 on its list 
of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was produced by fellow 
experimental rock pioneer FRANK ZAPPA, a high school friend from the desert 
town of Lancaster, CA.

"Record producers have always been certain that Don Vliet was just a hype away 
from the big money," according to a 1970 profile in Rolling Stone. "But 
Beefheart stubbornly continues what he's doing and waits patiently for everyone 
else to come around."

By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a 
role model for subsequent generations of musicians. His music is cited as an 
influence on the rise of punk, post-punk and new wave. Beefheart is also 
claimed as a kindred spirit by free jazz musicians and avant-garde classical 

In the 1980s, Van Vliet turned full-time to art. He painted in a raw, 
expressionistic style and showed his acclaimed work widely even as he withdrew 
from the public eye.

He is survived by his wife of more than 40 years. 



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