Remembering Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart

Th first concert I ever photographed was Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. They played at the Syria Mosque on October 15, 1972. Security was a lot loser back then I was able to get back stage and take a series of images from the wings before I got booted.

I miss those days and fondly remember the Captain standing next to me while the band played. He looked over at me and we exchanged nods and then he made his big entrance in that blue cape. It is a fond memory and I still listen to his music. Rock on Captain, we miss you brother.

I have edited this image using a new set of tools and like this version better is has more clarity and contrast.

To see other images and buy apparel or prints, please visit my commercial gallery.

Captain Beefheart


Post Number One Thousand

On February 2 of 2012 I started this blog with this very same image. This image of Captain Beefheart at the Pittsburgh Syria Mosque is very special to me. It was the first time I was every back stage while a band performed. It was my first color print. I took it during my first year of photography with my first Nikon camera. It was the first image I posted to my commercial online site. It was my first online sale. It was also the first image I ever had stolen and unfortunately has been used on a few bootleg recordings.

I thought it was fitting for repost today. I started this blog as a way to express myself mostly through my images but also through commentary on things I like. I have kept it mostly non political and about my favorite subject; photography. The blog has helped achieve some small success with my novel and other books but I mostly keep posting because I find it enjoyable and challenging.Thanks to all my followers around the world and the people that have purchased my products. Hope you will stay tuned for the next 1000!

To see other images and buy apparel or prints, please visit my commercial gallery.

Zoothorn Rollo with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

Zoothorn Rollo with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

One Year in the Blogosphere

Today I celebrate my first anniversary as a blogger by revisiting my first post from a year ago. Since then I have published 340 posts in twelve categories with 1225 unique tags which have generated 89 comments and over 6000 “likes”. I have picked up 393 followers in 28 different countries not including Facebook friends who check the blog. I published this image first because it was the first image I published for sale on the internet and you can purchase a print as others have on my commercial site by clicking here.

This past year, Don Van Vilet passed on. In 1973 I took this picture from the stage wings right before I was thrown out. It was easier to get on the stage back then but I had no credentials and eventually someone ratted me out. The Band started to play and the Captain was standing next to me waiting for his entrance. I looked at him and he nodded at me and then went on stage and launched in to “Crazy Little Thing”. A magic moment with the magic band.

Zoothorn Rollo with Captain Beefheart an dHis Magic Band

Rockette Morton

One reader pointed out to me that I had misspelled the name of Rockette Morton on my T-Shirt, indeed I had, much to my dismay. Just as bad, I had flopped the image and made him left handed! Well everybody needs and editor, so I stuffed my pride and made the corrections. Here is the new T-Shirt which you can buy at my online store by clicking here.

Rockette Morton T-Shirt and Hoodie

The Magic Band

Captain Beefheart’s best known band was called the Magic band. It was filled with great and conventional musicians like the Captain himself and his high school buddy, Frank Zappa. To be fair, Zappa was only a “guest” but Rockette Morton and Zoothorn Rollo were permeant members of this great ensemble. Click here to buy a Rockette Morton T-Shirt.

Captain Beefheart's Magic Band

Don Van Vilet

Don van Vilet grew up with Frank Zappa in southern California. He was an amazing vocal talent and for decades known best as Captain Beefheart. He was also a consummate painter and artist. This wasn’t something he started later in life, he began painting in high school and exhibiting as early as the 1960’s. This photograph was taken during a concert in Pittsburgh’s Syria Masque in 1973. You can buy a print of this image at my commercial gallery by clicking here.

© Richard Burke 1973-2012

Captain Beefheart...Don Van Vilet