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Sad news, Don Van Vliet of Captain Beefheart passed away today at the age of 69.

That's Van Vliet on the cover of the band's ironic Trout Mask Replica, in a photograph that my father took. Growing up, long before I heard Van Vliet's madman growl and the band's avant arrangements, I was always struck by the image. While he stayed a musical recluse since the '80s, Van Vliet's influence can be heard in Tom Waits and countless other performers who grew up with Trout Mask Replica on their turntables.