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.