CAPTAIN BEEFHEART'S Harpo's Detroit 1980 Concert Recording to Be Released
Much to the excitement of Captain Beefheart fans worldwide, on April 28th Gonzo Multimedia will be releasing on CD a rare live recording of the Captain in concert at Harpo's in Detroit, Michigan on Dec. 11, 1980! Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 - December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band (1965-1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. Beefheart was also known for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians, and for often constructing myths about his life.
During his teen years in Lancaster, California, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste and formed friendship with Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically collaborated. He began performing with his Captain Beefheart persona in 1964 and joined the original Magic Band line-up, initiated by Alexis Snouffer, in 1965. The group drew attention with their cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy", which became a regional hit. It was followed by their acclaimed debut album 'Safe As Milk', released in 1967 on Buddah Records. After being dropped by two consecutive record labels, they signed to Zappa's Straight Records. As producer, Zappa granted Beefheart unrestrained artistic freedom in making 1969's 'Trout Mask Replica', which ranked 58th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 1974, frustrated by lack of commercial success, he released two albums of more conventional rock music that were critically panned; this move, combined with not having been paid for a European tour, and years of enduring Beefheart's strict discipline, led the entire band to quit. Beefheart eventually formed a new Magic Band with a group of younger musicians and regained contemporary approval through three final albums: 'Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)' (1978), 'Doc At The Radar Station' (1980) and 'Ice Cream For Crow' (1982).