Captain Beefheart: the Biography

by Mike Barnes.

Stupendous biography of rock music's greatest genius.

Captain Beefheart

This is a great book, which told me far more than I already knew about my greatest music hero. Barnes's well-researched biography of Captain Beefheart (Don van Vliet) takes us through the great man's life and music, killing myths, analysing tracks, and entertaining us with anecdotes:

[T]he Magic Band were wrenching tonality out of the rock music tradition. They too came upon an atonal chasm and were obliged to jump in. Van Vliet might, for example, crash both hands on the keyboard, producing a ten-note chord that he demanded be played on guitar. The fact that the instrument only has six strings wasn't always accepted as an adequate excuse.

Barnes is clearly a huge Beefheart fan.

Aren't we all?

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