[[quoteright:333:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/captain-beefheart_custom-e687671b2bd839c4dbb1cfd2d76ff98b7ec906b6-s6-c30_2798.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:333:The Captain, wearing his [[SharpDressedMan signature 60s dress]].]]

->"''With pop hits provin' unlikely, Captain Beefheart retreated to a cabin to shout at his band for months on end. The result was'' '''''Music/TroutMaskReplica.'''''"
-->''Webcomic/ScaryGoRound, [[http://scarygoround.com/sgr/ar.php?date=20070801 on the man himself.]]''

->''I may be hungry, but I sure ain't weird...''

Captain Beefheart was the stage name of American [[AvantGardeMusic avant-garde musician]] and painter Don Van Vliet (1941-2010, born Don Glen Vliet); a friend, collaborator, and sometime-rival, of contemporary Music/FrankZappa, who he'd known since high school. As the leader of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, a band with a constantly shifting membership, he released a dozen albums to highly varied critical review; with ''Music/TroutMaskReplica'' often considered his magnum opus. His highly mutable style incorporated elements of [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly Blues, Psychedelic Rock, Jazz, Rock and Roll, and experimental compositions]] and is sometimes seen as OutsiderMusic.

Though never achieving the (marginal) commercial success enjoyed by Zappa, despite their musical similarities, Van Vliet is considered to be highly influential across many genres, with numerous musicians citing him as a major influence -- some examples being punk rock pioneers Music/SexPistols and Music/TheClash, Music/TomWaits (whose career can be easily separated into pre- and post-introduction to Beefheart), Music/SonicYouth, The Music/RedHotChiliPeppers, Music/PJHarvey, Music/TheWhiteStripes and Joan Osborne. He's also well-known for the mythology he created around his band and persona; with most of [[SmallNameBigEgo his comments]] to the media deliberately bearing little connection to the truth, or often reality in general.

As usual, you can find the basics at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Beefheart That Other Wiki]].

!!Albums:
* ''Music/SafeAsMilk'' (1967)
* ''Music/StrictlyPersonal'' (1968)
* ''Music/TroutMaskReplica'' (1969)
* ''Music/LickMyDecalsOffBaby'' (1970)
* ''Music/MirrorMan'' (1971, recorded 1967)
* ''Music/TheSpotlightKid'' (1972)
* ''Music/ClearSpot'' (1972)
* ''Music/UnconditionallyGuaranteed'' (1974)
* ''Music/BluejeansAndMoonbeams'' (1974)
* ''Music/BongoFury'' (1975) (with Music/FrankZappa)
* ''Music/ShinyBeast'' (1978)
* ''Music/DocAtTheRadarStation'' (1980)
* ''Music/IceCreamForCrow'' (1982)
* ''Music/BatChainPuller'' (2012, recorded 1976)

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!! "Lick my tropes off, baby!":
* AmbiguousDisorder: It was later revealed that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
* AnimalMotifs: Beefheart liked referring to exotic animals in his lyrics.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Beefheart was infamous for playing around with words, even during interviews.
* AvantGardeMusic: The genre in which the original blues artist Beefheart ended up in.
* {{Blues}} The genre in which the eventual avantgarde musician Beefheart started off.
* CreatorThumbprint: Vliet was said to have enjoyed candy a lot, which led to the writing of "Abba Zabba" and "Kandy Korn".
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: A shining real life example.
--> From TheOtherWiki: ''"While playing "Electricity" for a warm-up performance at the Mt. Tamalpais Festival in 1967, Beefheart stopped the song, straightened his tie, and walked off the stage, landing face flat into the grass. He later claimed that he saw that a girl in the audience turned into a goldfish."''
* DoubleEntendre: "Low Yo Yo Stuff" has lyrics that seem to refer to ADateWithRosiePalms.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In his case, more like Early Installment Normalcy. His debut single "Diddy Wah Diddy" is fairly straightforward blues-rock and even managed to get a lot of Top 40 airplay on the West Coast.
* EmbarrassingNickname: Zappa claimed in ''Literature/TheRealFrankZappaBook'' that Beefheart's nickname was a reference to Don's uncle, who enjoyed praising his own penis in the presence of Don's girlfriend and compared it to a "beefheart". Don himself always denied the story.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Beefheart said his second album "Strictly Personal" was victim of this, though he only said this after it failed to become a commercial success.
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: Zappa and Beefheart went to high school together. They met when Zappa's parents had moved to Lancaster, California. Being eccentric people with a shared love for blues music, free jazz and avantgarde classical music brought them together.
* FishEyeLens: Used on the album cover of "Safe As Milk".
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Beefheart was a lover of animals and put a lot of animal imagery in his songs.
* GenreBusting: ''Trout Mask Replica'' pretty much redefined the limitations of rock music.
* HarshVocals: He cultivated this as his primary vocal style. Nowhere near his normal voice.
** Early in his career his voice was based on Music/HowlinWolf, but by the time of ''Doc At The Radar Station'' and ''Ice Cream For Crow'', he had fully switched to screeching his vocals rather than singing them. This was a result of both heavy smoking and his developing illness (Multiple Sclerosis, which would eventually kill him). His last recordings, poetry readings from the 90s and early 2000s, are painful listening; his voice just got worse thanks to the MS.
* HurricaneOfPuns: Beefheart enjoyed making puns in his lyrics.
* IAmTheBand: Van Vliet was pretty much the only permanent member of the band. The duration of membership for the rest of the band depended on how much tolerance they had for his abuse. John "Drumbo" French was one of the relative constants, playing with the Magic Band during their ''Trout Mask Replica'' period and returning to service during the Captain's brief early 80s comeback.
* IncrediblyLongNote: After the line "Mr. Zoot Horn Rollo hit that long lunar note and let it float" in "Big Eyed Beans From Venus" from "Clear Spot".
* InHarmonyWithNature: Beefheart loved nature and animals so much that he referenced them often in his music. In "Wild Life" (''Music/TroutMaskReplica'') he decides to go and live with the bears up in the mountains. In "Grow Fins" ("The Spotlight Kid") he even grows fins and goes in the water again. "Blabber and Smoke" ("The Spotlight Kid") has an environmental message. "Apes-Ma" (''Music/ShinyBeast'') is a plea against caging animals.
* {{Jerkass}}: Guitarist Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo) and drummer John French (aka Drumbo) have described the Captain as this, especially during the ''Trout Mask'' era. While Vliet did partake in composing the songs, it was usually left to the band to give whatever he wrote some sort of shape, after which they would spend days on end rehearsing while Vliet went off gallivanting. When the album was released, Vliet would take credit for arranging the music without acknowledging the output of the other members.
** As good as ''Trout Mask Replica'' and ''Lick My Decals Off, Baby'' were, it's better not to think about [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trout_Mask_Replica#Background what he put his bandmates through during the recording sessions.]]
** At least one argument between him and John French ended with the latter ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lick_My_Decals_Off_Baby getting thrown down a flight of stairs]]'', and while recording ''The Spotlight Kid'' he once threw guitarist Bill Harkleroad into a dumpster.
** Upon first becoming friends, Zappa found Beefheart's habit of staying in his room listening to R&B records, eating leftover food and screaming at his mother to bring him a Pepsi funny, leading him to later write a song mocking Beefheart named "Why Doesn't Someone Get Him a Pepsi?". It appeared on ''Music/BongoFury'' and was substantially reworked later to become "The Torture Never Stops".
* LongTitle: Van Vliet was fond of these; and has at least one or two on nearly every album. Some of the most notable are "I Wanna Find a Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have to Go", "Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish", "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains", "A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond", and "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee".
* ManOfAThousandVoices: He had a five-octave pitch range. That's wider than your standard French horn.
** Which means that, yes, that is him doing that weird, high-pitched [[Series/SesameStreet Elmo-like]] voice on "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWNhq0dDr5I Ella Guru]]".
*** It's actually Antennae Jimmy Semens who sings the high part, but Beefheart is also audible during this part.
* MindScrew: Stay off drugs, just listen to his music and your mind will be blown by itself!
* MultipleChoicePast[=/=]ShroudedInMyth: He would deliberately tell a lot of contradictory lies about himself and his life to the press, so nobody's really sure about his real life.
* MoneyDearBoy: After ''Music/LickMyDecalsOffBaby'', the Magic Band's musical output for the next 3 years became more and more conventional in order to make more money, as they were barely making a living off of their previous endeavors. This is especially obvious on the ''Music/UnconditionallyGuaranteed'' and ''Bluejeans & Moonbeams'' albums, [[IWasYoungAndNeededTheMoney which Beefheart later disowned.]]
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly
* NewSoundAlbum: Every album managed to sound similar, yet different at the same time.
* OutsiderMusic: Beefheart was deemed an outsider musician by Irwin Chusid, because of his highly personal and unorthodox way of making music, clearly without any commercial potential.
* ProtestSong: ''Dachau Blues'', which is as screwed up as a protest song as you'd expect it from the Captain.
* ReclusiveArtist: He became practically the epitome of this trope after he quit music to focus on painting. His failing health did not help.
* ScaryMusicianHarmlessMusic: Inverted. As bizarre and dissonant Beefheart's music may sound to the average listener he was actually a playful, innocent man InHarmonyWithNature.
* ShortLivedBigImpact: Beefheart was musically active from 1966 to 1982 and only released a handful of albums before he quit the music industry for the rest of his life. Yet his influence on alternative music is enormous!
* ShroudedInMyth: The lyrics as well as the man himself are subject to legend.
* SomethingBlues: "Dachau Blues" and "My Human Gets Me Blues" on ''Music/TroutMaskReplica'', and "The Smithsonian Institute Blues" on ''Lick My Decals Off, Baby''.
* SpellMyNameWithAThe: He nicknamed one of his bandmates "The Mascara Snake."
* StageNames: Not only for himself, but he also created bizarre stage names for many of his band members, including Zoot Horn Rollo, Winged Eel Fingerling, Rockette Morton, Drumbo, Midnite Hatsize Snyder, and Antennae Jimmy Semens.
* SurprisinglyGentleSong: Beefheart may be known as an avant-garde musician, but he had a soft spot.
** "I'm Glad" on ''Safe As Milk'
*** His album ''Clear Spot'' was characterised by three - "Too Much Time" (a radio oriented motown tribute), "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains" and "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles" (both love ballads).
**** The albums ''Music/UnconditionallyGuaranteed'' and ''Bluejeans & Moonbeams'' took the mood of the three ''Clear Spot'' songs and wrote whole albums in their style, something which wasn't very successful.
***** Harry Irene on ''Music/ShinyBeast''. Surprisingly the song had been around since the late 60s.
* TakeThat: "Beatle Bones N' Smokin' Stones" from ''Music/StrictlyPersonal'' was said to have been written in reaction to Music/TheBeatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "A Day In The Life".
** The reason for this is he didn't like the line "I'd love to turn you on" as he thought it was vulgar of them to say it in a song.
** The kicker? The Beatles ''liked'' his music! They even planned to sign him to their Zapple label before Allen Klein shut it down.
*** Lennon had two ''Music/SafeAsMilk'' Bumper Stickers on a cupboard in his house and was photographed next to them.
** "Ashtray Heart" bashed PunkRock, as the line "Open up another case of the punks" demonstrated. The reason was that Beefheart felt the punks that were influenced by him were flat out copying his style.
* TrainSong: "Click Clack".
* TrainStationGoodbye: "Click Clack"
** Trains show up with some frequency in his work -- "Bat Chain Puller" is another song on the same subject.[[note]]The song is allegedly supposed to imitate the broken windshield wipers on an old Volvo.[[/note]]
* UrbanLegend: Several incredible anecdotes surround Beefheart's life, most of them told by himself.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Beefheart and Frank Zappa.
* WordSaladLyrics: With the exception of two "commercial" albums (which he later [[CreatorBacklash disowned]]), his music practically ''runs'' on this trope.
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--> [[http://scarygoround.com/sgr/ar.php?date=20070730 "Chooglin' booglin' fish eye helicopter..."]]