Friday, 7 October 2011

Captain Beefheart: The Biography

Captain Beefheart: The Biography
Mike Barnes
Omnibus Press

Previously available in hardback this book has now been re published in paperback. Sadly of course the Good Captain died in 2010 but I am sure that he never bothered himself about what people wrote or thought about him. Don Van Vliet was a strange individual although an artist that commanded a massive cult audience right the way through his life and there are some out there I am sure who wished that he would come back to music and recording again.

This book is a fascinating read and while no matter how many times I try I still cannot get into Trout Mask Replica I found reading about Captain Beefheart and that particular period of his career incredibly interesting and who knows maybe I am destined never to get into Trout Mask Replica I have to admit a fondness for the guy who ploughed his own totally unique and individual furrow in music and his story is a compelling one.

I was also interested to find that despite what many thought sometimes was random was actually all very much from the mind of the man. Don certainly knew what he wanted and more importantly he also knew what he didn’t want.

Personality clashes did however seem to dog the man both with his dealings with Frank Zappa and The Magic Band who are probably as famous as Captain Beefheart and while Don himself didn’t collaborate in any way with Mike Barnes on this book over the five years it took to research and write many others connected with Don van Vliet did so we do at least have the angle from members of the Magic Band like Bill Harkleroad and Alex St Clair and Gary Marker all of whom had their run ins with the Good Captain.

If you are a fan then I guess this book is indispensible but even if you are not a fan per se or like me have no understanding of Trout Mask replica you can still find much of interest in the man who was Captain Beefheart!

You can buy the book directly from Omnibus Press here:

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