Captain Beefheart’s Death Mourned On Twitter

Linda Perry, Penn Jillette, Akron Family and more remember late avant-garde icon.

Avant-garde artist Captain Beefheart was given a heartfelt e-sendoff by several celebrity fans after he died Friday (December 17) at age 69.

After news of the passing of Beefheart, who was also known as Don Van Vliet, circled the world, a range of high-profile tweeters took to the social-networking site to type tributes to the late Magic Band leader and music game-changer.

Former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman and singer/songwriter Linda Perry wrote, “Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band … RIP January 15 1941 – December 17 2010.” She also included a link to the melancholic doo-wop track “I’m Glad” from the 1967 album Safe as Milk.

Comedian and illusionist Penn Jillette tweeted, “Captain Beefheart has died. Another inspiration & hero gone. He’s been painting, no music for a while, but I still listen all the time.”

Beefheart was close to childhood friend and fellow artistic original Frank Zappa, whose children shared tender missives via Twitter in the wake of his passing.

“Just heard about Captain Beefheart. Sad day indeed,” Diva Zappa tweeted.

“R.I.P. Captain Beefheart…sad day,” Zappa’s son Ahmet wrote, before tacking on his favorite memory of the late artist. “Best Captain Beefheart moment. I was on the phone with him a few years ago and he asked me ‘what about a platypus in a briefcase?’ Love!”

Since Beefheart’s entry into music and art more than four decades ago, his genre-melding approach has influenced a new generation of folk/pop appreciators and freak-flag wavers, many of whom paid tribute to the star on Twitter.

“R.I.P. Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. We wish you safe passage and return,” indie collective Akron Family tweeted.

“RIP DVV, my mum got me into you when i was 15. Lx,” read a message posted on Scottish band Camera Obscura’s Twitter account that included a link to “Call on Me.”

Experimental upstart Zola Jesus tweeted about how Beefheart’s music is still making an impact and being shared among young artists, writing, “Gave my brother my old, worn down copy of Trout Mask Replica before I moved as a thank you to introducing me to his music when I was far too young. Nothing he did was a mistake, there were no accidents in his music. Only sheer invention, passion… dear god, why does the world keep losing such important people? Who will fill their shoes? My heart is heavy for you, Don Van Vliet!”

Share your memories of Captain Beefheart in the comments.