Friday, December 17, 2010

RIP Captain

Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, dead at 69
- from the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Musician and artist Don Van Vliet, who performed a complex brand of experimental rock under the name Captain Beefheart, died Friday. He was 69.

The Michael Werner Gallery in New York confirmed Van Vliet's death in California due to complications stemming from multiple sclerosis. The gallery exhibits his paintings.

Van Vliet was probably best known for the album "Trout Mask Replica," which was released in 1969 by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.

The album's angular, dissonant take on blues rock and Van Vliet's growling, surreal lyrics put him outside the mainstream, but staked his place in rock history.

Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked "Trout Mask Replica" number 58 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was produced by fellow experimental rock pioneer Frank Zappa, a high school friend from the desert town of Lancaster, Calif.

"Record producers have always been certain that Don Vliet was just a hype away from the big money," according to a 1970 profile in Rolling Stone. "But Beefheart stubbornly continues what he's doing and waits patiently for everyone else to come around."

By shunning commercial success and a more accessible sound, Van Vliet became a role model for subsequent generations of musicians. His music is cited as an influence on the rise of punk, post-punk and new wave. Beefheart is also claimed as a kindred spirit by free jazz musicians and avant-garde classical composers.

In the 1980s, Van Vliet turned full-time to art. He painted in a raw, expressionistic style and showed his acclaimed work widely even as he withdrew from the public eye.

He is survived by his wife of more than 40 years.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Big In Texas

We've got a new reason to celebrate around the tonebender shop these days. Scott Davis and Bonnie Whitmore, the guitarist and bassist for Hayes Carll, singer/songwriter extrordinaire from Houston, are playing tonebender instruments out on their tour this December.

They graciously agreed to run the telecaster and P-bass through the paces, beat 'em up a little, and experiment with our tone. We're hoping to get some reviews to post here, you know we'll put 'em up, good or bad.

Scott is playing the tonebender single humbucker-sized P90 equiped telecaster with the single volume knob only setup option through a Fender Twin. Bonnie is playing the tonebender DarkStar equiped P-bass through a GK400/Mesa 15 rig.

So far the results appear to be good. Here's a little sample for y'all from their appearance last Friday on Imus In The Morning on Fox Business Network.

More to follow as we get it.