Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, died on Friday from complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. He was 69. His obituary is here. A great blues singer as well as a legendary avant-rock free jazz experimenter, he's best known for the 1969's Trout Mask Replica, produced by Frank Zappa, but his bluesier Howlin' Wolf-influenced debut, Safe As Milk, from 1967, is pretty great, too. Not to mention 1970's Lick My Decals Off, Baby. "Once you've heard Beefheart," Tom Waits once said, "It's hard to wash him out of your clothes. It stains, like coffee or blood."
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