|Alex St Claire
obiturary as it appeared in the Real Gone section of Mojo 148
(St Claire) Snouffer
Magic Band guitarist Alex St Claire was the original 'Captain Beefheart' until that name became irrevocably associated with Don Van Vliet. Prime mover in getting the band together in late 1964, Alex was musical director and rehearsal organiser in the early years before Safe As Milk. Cool, with a caustic wit, he was well respected.
Alex's blues-based lead and slide work developed into a potent combination alongside Jeff Cotton on the Strictly Personal and Mirror Man albums. Lack of financial success caused him to leave the band in 1968, but he returned for the exhilarating 1973 tour and the lacklustre Unconditionally Guaranteed album.
Apart from involvement in a 1972 album with Denny King, Alex left little recorded legacy outside the Magic Band, although he played the blues bars circuit for many years. More recently, sadly, he'd not been playing at all relying on odd jobs to get by. Despite a couple of spells in rehab he was unable to win his long battle against alcohol.
His body was discovered in his apartment in early January 2006. At the time of writing the exact circumstances of his death are unclear.
Sadly I was restricted to under 200 words by Mojo. I did, however, wrote a much more detailed obituary for the Radar Station
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