As much difficulty as I have getting into Trout Mask Replica, I still love the crazy genius of Captain Beefheart. After all, he does the vocals on one of my absolute very favorite songs of all time, Willie the Pimp. His deep, seedy voice gives the song the dirty color it needs. He and Zappa were friends since their teen years and collaborated often.
He was never a commercial success, always making his way under the radar as this interview shows. Perhaps to his surprise, his work has been a huge influence on the punk movement: bands like the Clash and the Minutemen, and artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and the White Stripes (who have covered some of his songs). Beefheart himself (real name Don Van Vliet) now lives a quiet, secluded life away from any spotlight. He was a bizarre, childlike, fascinating prodigy.