Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don Van Vliet is dead. Long live Captain Beefheart!

Don Van Vliet
Don Van Vliet  1941 - 2010

Composer / Recording Artist / Painter / Iconoclast / Inspiration / Don Van Vliet is dead. Long live Captain Beefheart!

When people ask me the name of my band, and I tell them "Chicago Mike's InterGalactic Brother & Sisterhood of Big Eyed Beans", they're usually caught by surprise and occasionally inquire where the name comes from. The long answer can be found below. The short answer is Don Van Vliet.

Mr. Van Vliet (née Donald Glen Vliet), along with members of his aptly named "Magic Band", made some amazing records under the name Captain Beefheart, recorded a few exciting collaborations with Frank Zappa, and succeeded magnificently in blowing my musical mind. His album "Clear Spot" was a constant soundtrack during frequent road trips with Todd Freeman from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to my very first "real" recording sessions in Paducah, Kentucky in the late '80s. Deepest thanks to Todd for turning me on to Captain Beefheart. You changed my life.

On "Clear Spot" appears a song entitled "Big Eyed Beans From Venus". When I began performing in Illinois with Little Red Babyface Kaplan in 1999, we adopted this song title as the name of our little acoustic duo. Since then, the band has grown into a world-wide rock'n'soul orchestra boasting 69 members scattered across the globe, divided up into regional franchises: Big Eyed Beans From Venus in Chicago, Big Eyed Beans From FUFMO in Utah, Big Eyed Beans From Fryslân in the north of Holland, and Big Eyed Beans From Veneto in northern Italy. Collectively, they comprise Chicago Mike's InterGalactic Brother & Sisterhood of Big Eyed Beans.

You can hear a short clip of our chosen theme song at and learn more about invidividual Beans.

Thank you Don Van Vliet for living your life walking the path of an artist, sharing your unique vision with the world, and inspiring me in so many ways. You didn't just push the envelope, you deconstructed it and folded it into an origami tsuru! The world is not quite as colorful today.

Wikipedia - Don Van Vliet / Captain Beefheart - Don Van Vliet's obituary

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