Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band created music that is hard to characterize because it is completely unique. It is most commonly tagged “avant garde-blues,” but if you watch any of the videos posted here I think don’t think the label does Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band justice. They are just too funky.
Throughout their career, the band’s musical direction was tightly controlled by Don van Vliet (1941 – 2010), aka Captain Beefheart. The man was a true artist, committed to the craft of creation. But that dedication, combined with super intense rehearsal regimes and poor salary, led in large part to the break-up of the original Magic Band.
Beefheart reformed a new band of musicians under the name, but left the music industry for good in 1982 to pursue his career as a painter.
Although he and his band achieved little commercial or mainstream critical success, Beefheart sustained a cult following as a “highly significant” and “incalculable” influence on an array of New Wave, punk, post-punk, experimental and alternative rock musicians, most notably Tom Waits and the Residents. Beefheart passed away in 2010 after a long battle with MS. Below I have posted the last video of him. It has nothing to do with his Magic Band, but it is just too great not to post.