Les Claypool

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Les Claypool
Claypool to wiki.jpg
Claypool performing in July 2011
Background information
Birth nameLeslie Edward Claypool
Also known asColonel Claypool
Born (1963-09-29) September 29, 1963 (age 55)
Richmond, California, U.S.
Origin El Sobrante, California, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • author
  • director
  • actor
Years active1979–present
Associated acts
Website www.lesclaypool.com

Leslie Edward Claypool (born September 29, 1963) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer, author, director, and actor. He is best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, primary songwriter, and only continuous member of the rock band Primus. His playing style on the bass is well known for mixing tapping, flamenco-like strumming, whammy bar bends, and slapping.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Primus (band) rock band from the United States

Primus is an American rock band based in San Francisco, California, currently composed of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander. Primus originally formed in 1984 with Claypool and guitarist Todd Huth, later joined by drummer Jay Lane, though the latter two departed the band at the end of 1988. Featuring LaLonde and Alexander, Primus recorded their debut Suck on This in 1989, followed by four studio albums: Frizzle Fry, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda, and Tales from the Punchbowl. Alexander left the band in 1996, replaced by Bryan "Brain" Mantia, and Primus went on to record the original theme song for the TV show South Park and two more albums, Brown Album and Antipop, before declaring a hiatus in 2000.


Tapping is a guitar playing technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being tapped onto the fretboard, with either hand, as opposed to the standard technique of fretting with one hand and picking with the other.


Claypool has also self-produced and engineered his solo releases from his own studio, Rancho Relaxo. In 2006, a full-length feature film, Electric Apricot , written and directed by Claypool, was released, as well as his debut novel South of the Pumphouse . He wrote and performed the theme songs for the adult animated television series Robot Chicken and South Park .

South of the Pumphouse is a 2006 novella by rock musician Les Claypool. The book can be described as a tragic tale containing themes of family, racism, drugs, and misconceptions. The book describes the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, and the fishing areas they have to offer. The novella was published by Akashic Books and is also available on the Amazon Kindle store.

<i>Robot Chicken</i> 2005 American stop-motion animated comedy television series

Robot Chicken is an American stop motion sketch comedy television series, created and executive produced for Adult Swim by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. The writers, especially Green, also provide many of the voices. Senreich, Goldstein, and Root were formerly writers for the popular action figure hobbyist magazine ToyFare. Robot Chicken has won an Annie Award and six Emmy Awards.

<i>South Park</i> American animated sitcom television series

South Park is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and developed by Brian Graden for the Comedy Central television network. The show revolves around four boys—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick—and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town. Much like The Simpsons, South Park uses a very large ensemble cast of recurring characters. It became infamous for its profanity and dark, surreal humor that satirizes a wide range of topics towards a mature audience. Parker and Stone developed the show from The Spirit of Christmas, two consecutive animated shorts. The latter became one of the first Internet viral videos, ultimately leading to South Park's production.


Early years

Leslie Edward Claypool was born September 29, 1963, [2] in Richmond, California, and was raised in El Sobrante, California, in a working-class family of auto mechanics. Claypool decided to become a bass player, pursuing the instrument from the age of fourteen. Claypool has cited Larry Graham, Chris Squire, Tony Levin, Roger Waters, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, Geezer Butler, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, John Paul Jones, and the Residents as his musical influences. [2] [3] Notably, Claypool has lifted much of his vocal style from the Residents. He went to school with and was a friend of guitarist Kirk Hammett, later of Metallica fame. Before forming Primus, Claypool learned various blue collar trades and worked as a carpenter. [4] [5]

Richmond, California City in California, United States

Richmond is a city in western Contra Costa County, California, United States. The city was incorporated on August 7, 1905. Located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, Richmond borders the cities of San Pablo, Albany, El Cerrito and Pinole in addition to the unincorporated communities of North Richmond, Hasford Heights, Kensington, El Sobrante, Bayview-Montalvin Manor, Tara Hills, and East Richmond Heights, and for a short distance San Francisco on Red Rock Island in the San Francisco Bay. Richmond is one of two cities, the other being San Rafael, California, that sits on the shores of San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay simultaneously.

El Sobrante, California Census-designated place in California, United States

El Sobrante is a census-designated place (CDP) in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 12,669 at the 2010 census.

Larry Graham American bass guitar player

Larry Graham Jr. is an American bass guitar player and singer, both with the psychedelic soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, and as the founder and frontman of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as "thumpin' and pluckin' ".

In 1986, after the death of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, Hammett encouraged Claypool to audition for Metallica as Burton's successor. In Metallica's Behind the Music , Claypool said that he jokingly asked the others if they wanted to "jam on some Isley Brothers tunes" during the audition, a reference to his little experience in the thrash metal scene. Metallica frontman James Hetfield remarked that Claypool was not offered the job because "he was too good" and "should do his own thing". In a 2014 interview with Boing Boing, [4] Claypool said that Hammett had given him a copy of Ride the Lightning (1984) which he enjoyed, but overall "wasn't a big metal guy"0:27 and "didn't realize how big [Metallica] were, to tell you the truth"0:45 until he arrived at the audition. In retrospect Claypool admitted "I wasn't the right guy" and characterized himself as a "weirdo" and furthermore believed that Hetfield was "being nice" in saying Claypool was too good for Metallica.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

Cliff Burton American musician, member of Metallica

Clifford Lee Burton was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the bass guitarist for the American band Metallica from December 1982 until his death in September 1986.

<i>Behind the Music</i> television series

Behind the Music is a documentary television series on VH1. Each episode profiles and interviews a popular musical artist or group. The program examines the beginning of their career, their road to success and the hardships they may have encountered.


Claypool at Bonnaroo in 2002 LesClaypool.jpg
Claypool at Bonnaroo in 2002

Primus began as "Primate" in the mid 1980s, with Claypool on bass, Todd Huth on guitar, and various drummers, most notably Jay Lane, though Huth and Lane left shortly thereafter to pursue other projects. Claypool replaced them with guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander.

Todd Richard Huth is an American guitarist. He is best known as an original member of the band Primus, along with bassist/lyricist Les Claypool.

Jay Lane American musician

Jay Lane is an American drummer from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a founding member of Furthur, as well as the Golden Gate Wingmen with John Kadlecik, Jeff Chimenti, and Reed Mathis. Bob Weir's RatDog, Scaring the Children with Weir and Rob Wasserman, Jay's Happy Sunshine Burger Joint, and the hip hop/jazz fusion band Alphabet Soup. He was one of the first drummers of Primus, playing with the band for around eight months in 1988 and later rejoining the band from 2010-2013.

Larry LaLonde American musician

Reid Laurence "Larry" LaLonde, also known as Ler LaLonde, is an American musician best known as the guitarist for Primus, a position that he has served since 1989, where he is known for his experimental accompaniment to the bass playing of bandmate Les Claypool. Previously, he played guitar for the groups Possessed, Blind Illusion, No Forcefield, and the Frank Zappa tribute band "Caca". He also has collaborated more recently with artists such as Serj Tankian and Tom Waits.

Claypool is considered to be the leader of the band, as well as the driving force behind its blending of funk with other genres. Claypool frequently utilizes the slap-bass technique, prominent in funk music, and is the only member of Primus who comes from a funk background. Because of Claypool's strong funk influence, Primus is often described as "thrash-funk" or funk metal, [6] [7] [8] [9] though Claypool dislikes these labels, stating: "We've been lumped in with the funk metal thing just about everywhere. I guess people just have to categorize you." [1] [10]

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter is often sympathetic to liberal social issues and often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Funk metal is a fusion genre of funk rock and alternative metal which infuses heavy metal music with elements of funk and punk rock. It was prevalent in the mainstream during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as part of the alternative metal movement. The genre has been described as a "brief but extremely media-hyped stylistic fad".

From 1989 to 2000, Primus was one of the most unusual bands to gain significant mainstream airplay, headlining Lollapalooza in 1993, appearing on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1995, and even appearing at Woodstock '94, where they performed their Pork Soda hit "My Name Is Mud" and were consequently pelted with mud by the audience, much to the band's displeasure. [11] In 1991, the band was featured in the movie Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey , performing "Tommy the Cat" live. Claypool and Tom Waits first recorded on each other's records in 1991 and have continued to do so since. In 1997, Primus was asked to play and record the theme song for the animated television show South Park . In 1999, he allowed Activision's use of the song "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" in the popular video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater . Primus went on hiatus in 2000.

In mid-2003, Claypool reunited with former Primus drummer Tim Alexander and guitarist Larry LaLonde to record a DVD/EP called Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People . In October of the same year, the band embarked on a two-month tour in which two sets were performed per show, the second set consisting of their 1991 release Sailing the Seas of Cheese being performed in its entirety. Primus continued touring into 2004, performing their 1990 release Frizzle Fry as their second set, as documented on the DVD Hallucino-Genetics: Live 2004.

On October 17, 2006, Primus released both their first greatest hits album, They Can't All Be Zingers , and their third DVD, Blame It on the Fish , subtitled An Abstract Look at the 2003 Primus Tour De Fromage. The band toured in 2006 on their Primus: The Beat a Dead Horse Tour 2006, and played at a small number of festivals in 2008.

In 2010, Alexander, who had left the band for the second time due to lack of interest, was replaced by Jay Lane, who had not played with the band since 1988. The band subsequently resumed touring after the free June 2010 Rehearsal was released later that year, and a studio album, Green Naugahyde , was released in 2011.

In 2013, Lane left Primus for the second time to focus on his other band RatDog, who were coming off hiatus at the time, and was replaced again by Alexander. Primus' eighth studio album, Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble , a re-imagining of the soundtrack from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory , was released in October 2014.

In 2017, Primus released The Desaturating Seven , a bedtime story based on a group of rainbow eating goblins. They then began a tour with Mastodon through most of 2018.

Solo work

Holy Mackerel

In 1996, Claypool produced, engineered and released a solo album, "Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel presents" Highball with the Devil . Claypool is credited with bass, drums and vocals on several tracks as well as guitar. Also on the album are Mark "Mirv" Haggard, Adam Gates, Jay Lane, Joe Gore, Charlie Hunter and Henry Rollins. The accompanying tour included Haggard and Gates on guitars with Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums. It was announced during the Holy Mackerel tour that Mantia had been chosen to become the next Primus drummer.[ citation needed ]


In April 2000, Claypool collaborated with Trey Anastasio (of Phish) and Stewart Copeland (of the Police) to form a supergroup called Oysterhead. Claypool and Anastasio had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate. Each had a mutual interest in playing with Copeland who had been a rock idol of their teen years. Plus, Claypool and Copeland already had an established friendship. Oysterhead were originally intended as a one time performance during Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Though timid of the band's sudden and surprising popularity they eventually decided to record and tour. [12] They released one studio album, The Grand Pecking Order , and toured before disbanding in 2001. They re-united in 2006, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. In 2015, Aux TV listed Oysterhead among "the 11 worst supergroups", calling the project a "funk-metal clusterfunk of bad taste" that was only "slightly worse" than Claypool's similar 2002 project, Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. [13]

The Frog Brigade

In May 2000 Claypool formed Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, an experimental rock group. Claypool was asked to put together a band for the Mountain Aire Festival in Angels Camp, California. The band "of the most incredible guys (he) could possibly find" debuted that Memorial Day weekend and played a number of other festivals including moe.down. [12] Originally he was going to call the band "Les Claypool's Thunder Brigade". Claypool states:

I originally was going to do the two drummer thing with Herb and Jack Irons, so I was gonna call it the Les Claypool Thunder Brigade. Michael Bailey from Bill Graham Presents said to me that it may sound a bit too heavy for the Mountain Aire crowd and to perhaps try something a little different that had to do with the event itself. Since it was home of the Calaveras County Frog Jump... hence the Frog Brigade and then it evolved into Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. [12]

The Primus hiatus allowed him to return to his musical roots, playing songs by bands such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and the Beatles. Claypool has called the Frog Brigade his "mid-life crisis band". From a set of October shows recorded at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Claypool released two Frog Brigade live albums, one being a cover of Pink Floyd's Animals . The line-up included Todd Huth, Eenor, Jeff Chimenti, Jay Lane, Skerik and Claypool.[ citation needed ]

The Frog Brigade is also noted for Claypool's being accepted into the jam band scene. [14] Live Frogs Set 1 won "Best Live Album" at the second annual Jammys. Jay Lane and Jeff Chimenti are both members of Bob Weir's band Ratdog. Claypool performed with the Rat Brigade when opening for Ratdog once in 2000 and again in 2007. [15] The Rat Brigade includes Claypool, drummer Lane and keyboardist Chimenti, with guest appearances by saxophonist Kenny Brooks and Bob Weir. Claypool also guested on the Ratdog sets in 2000, 2006 and 2009. [16]


In 2002 Claypool released a studio album of the Frog Brigade, Purple Onion . Musicians on multiple tracks for Purple Onion include Warren Haynes (Gov't mule) Eenor, Mike Dillon, Skerik, Jay Lane, Ben Barnes and Sam Bass (Dillon and Skerik were both from Critters Buggin while Barnes and Sam Bass were from Deadweight). This album includes "Whamola" which later appeared as a remix for the theme of South Park Season 10.


Also in 2002 Claypool collaborated with guitarist Buckethead, Parliament-Funkadelic/Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and former Primus drummer Bryan Mantia under the name Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains (stylized "C2B3," which is to be pronounced as "C Squared, B Cubed"). Their concerts pushed the improvisational envelope by preparing no material and not rehearsing beforehand. At one of their shows they prepared sandwiches onstage for the audience to eat.

C2B3 re-united in 2004 to record The Big Eyeball in the Sky , an album with equal parts instrumental and vocal songs. The band began an 18-state tour of the US on September 24, 2004. Aux TV was dismissive of Claypool's effort, [13] but when the tour landed back in Northern California where Claypool lives, the local press gave a very positive review. [17]

The album features only one guest, the childlike multi-instrumentalist Gabby La La (noted as Gabby Lang on Les Claypool's Frog Brigade's Purple Onion) on vocals and sitar. She also opened on every show (sometimes to scathingly negative reviews) during the 2004 tour as a solo act with sometimes members of C2B3. Claypool also produced and performed on Gabby La La's first album, Be Careful What You Wish For... . Gabby La La is the first artist Les has signed to his label since Charlie Hunter in 1993. He has performed select shows with her (including the 2005 Bonnaroo Music Festival) and added her to his then new touring band, Les Claypool & His Fancy Band. The 2005 Fancy Band line-up also included Skerik, Dillon and Lane.

At the end of 2005, Claypool released 5 Gallons of Diesel , a video retrospective of all of his work away from Primus.


Electric Apricot

Claypool's first attempt at a feature-length film, Electric Apricot: Quest For Festeroo , was shown on various film festivals in the late spring of 2006. The movie is a spoof of the jam band scene centered on the fake band, Electric Apricot, in the mockumentary tradition of This Is Spinal Tap . [18] The group performed low-key shows in the California area (most recently High Sierra Music Festival) for the filming of the movie. The members of the band are characterized as Steve Hampton "Aiwass" Trouzdale (Adam Gates) on bass and vocals, Steve "Gordo" Gordon (Brian Kehoe) on guitar and vocals, Herschal Tambor Brillstien (Jonathan Korty) on keyboards and vocals, and of course Lapland "Lapdog" Miclovik (Les Claypool) on drums and vocals. The film debuted on March 15. During a question and answer session at the Tiburon Film Festival where the film debuted Claypool said that the yet unreleased DVD would have an accompanying soundtrack CD. The film has won other awards as well including Best Feature (audience choice) at the Malibu Film Festival. Claypool also said that the band would possibly perform a few select shows, but a tour is unlikely as Adam Gates has a job at Pixar which makes touring difficult. Other cameos in the film include Arj Barker, Dian Bachar, Seth Green, Warren Haynes, Mike Gordon, Matt Stone, Sam Maccarone and Bob Weir.

Of Whales and Woe and the Fancy Band

On May 30, 2006, Claypool released a solo album, Of Whales and Woe , with guest appearances by Skerik, Mike Dillon and Gabby La La. This album includes the song "Robot Chicken", which is the theme song of the popular Adult Swim show of the same name. His son Cage and his daughter Lena even make a special appearance on the song "Back Off Turkey". The release was followed by a tour of the U.S. with the following lineup:

  • Les Claypool – bass, vocals
  • Skerik – sax
  • Mike Dillon – vibraphone, percussion
  • Gabby La La – sitar, theremin
  • Paulo Baldi – drums

This lineup is called Les Claypool's Fancy Band and did national tours in both 2006 and 2007. A live DVD, Fancy , recorded from the 2006 tour was released in 2007. The audio track includes a mix of both soundboard and taper recordings. A song from the album, "One Better", was used in National Lampoon's TV: The Movie in a fight scene between Preston Lacy and Lee Majors.

South of the Pumphouse

Claypool's first book, South of the Pumphouse , was released on July 1, 2006, by Akashic Books. Copies of the book were sold during Claypool's 2006 tour of U.S.A. following the release of Of Whales and Woe . The book is a dark, clever tale of brothers, murder, drugs, and fishing, and it has been likened to the work of Hunter S. Thompson. Claypool gave his first interview about the book on May 11, 2006.


Besides touring in the Summer of 2007 nationally with the Fancy Band, Claypool performed that October with a version of the band, dubbed the Fancy Trio. The trio consisted of Les, Skerik on saxophone, and Mike Dillon on drums, vibraphone and percussion. They played at The Echo Project, an inaugural ecologically minded 3-day festival in Fairburn, Georgia on the Boukeart family farm. The set was similar to that of the Fancy Band's tours, culling from Les' solo and Frog Brigade albums, as well containing a cover of "One Step Beyond" by Madness and teases of other songs, including several Primus tunes, throughout their improvisational jams.

Claypool in 1998 Primus copenhagen 1998 (cropped Les).jpg
Claypool in 1998

For many years Claypool has done a New Year's Eve show at The Fillmore in San Francisco. More recently the New Year's Eve show has been an Annual New Year's Eve Hatter's Ball featuring a hat contest. December 31, 2007, was the 3rd such annual event.

In 2008 a United States tour spanned from February 29 to April 5. It kicked off at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina and ended at The Warfield in San Francisco. The 2008 tour was a quartet featuring Claypool, Dillon, Skerik and Baldi.

During the year Claypool also performed several shows with Primus at festivals across America and Canada.

Pig Hunt is a film directed by James Isaac released in 2008. Claypool contributes previously unreleased material and plays the role of "The Preacher". [19] [20]

Les composed several songs for the Wii game Mushroom Men , released in December 2008.

On December 31, 2008, Les rang in the New Year with his annual New Year's Eve show. It was at the San Francisco Opera House with Zappa Plays Zappa sharing the bill and playing first.

Les was also a judge for the 7th annual Independent Music Awards. His contributions helped assist upcoming independent artists' careers. [21]

Playing an upright bass at Ottawa Bluesfest, 2009 Les Claypool @ Bluesfest 2009.jpg
Playing an upright bass at Ottawa Bluesfest, 2009

Les' second solo album, Of Fungi and Foe , was released on March 17, 2009. The album consists of expanded material of the music from the Mushroom Men game, as well as the Pig Hunt motion picture, and features a guest appearance by Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz. [22]

In 2009, Les toured with Matisyahu, performing as a 'double-feature' set, as well as appearing together on stage.

In March 2010 Les went to tour in Europe with English trio HOT HEAD SHOW for the first time in his solo career and played a few concerts in Italy, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

On March 28, 2010, Les performed a rendition of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" for their induction into the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame. [23]

From May 2010 to July 2013, Claypool toured extensively with Primus, alongside Larry LaLonde, and the return of former Primus drummer, Jay Lane. On September 6, 2012, a new side project was revealed as an acoustic band called Duo de Twang. [24] Featuring Les Claypool and originally Marc Haggard. After two shows, Haggard was replaced with Bryan Kehoe. Both guitarists play together in the associated band M.I.R.V.

On September 25, 2013, it was announced Jay Lane had left Primus to rejoin the Bob Weir group, RatDog . His replacement was declared to be Tim Alexander. Claypool and Dean Ween are currently working together for a reality TV show called Musishermen, and Duo de Twang is preparing for the release of their debut album, Four Foot Shack. [25]

On February 4, 2014, Duo de Twang released their debut album Four Foot Shack and began touring in late February. [26] In the last part of the 2014 Spring Tour, Primus's drummer, Tim Alexander, had a small heart attack which rendered him unable to play. Luckily instead of canceling the September shows, they were able to use their close friend Danny Carey for the late shows. [27]

On January 19, 2016, it was announced that the Claypool Lennon Delirium, a collaboration between Claypool and Sean Lennon, would debut at Bonnaroo 2016. [28] Claypool has spoken fondly of the collaboration, stating, "Sean is a musical mutant after my own heart. He definitely reflects his genetics – not just the sensibilities of his dad, but also the abstract perspective and unique approach of his mother. It makes for a glorious freak stew." [29]

On March 21, 2016, it was announced that the duo would release their debut album, entitled Monolith of Phobos , on June 3, 2016. [30]

On May 31, 2016, he was featured on the Death Grips song "More Than The Fairy". [31]

Other media

Claypool was a special guest star in a Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode with the most number of celebrities on Cartoon Network in 1996.

Personal life

Claypool lives near Occidental, California, with his wife Chaney Claypool, their son Cage Oliver Claypool, and their daughter Lena Tallulah Claypool. His home is called Rancho Relaxo, after a Simpsons episode where Marge gets sent to a spa of the same name. He records most of his music at his home.

Claypool is famous for his wacky sense of humor and overall eccentric personality. He is also known for his cannabis use, [32] and is quoted as saying, "Please don’t throw your shit at me... unless that shit resembles a bag of marijuana." [33] [ unreliable source? ] Although his love for marijuana was public knowledge, it is alleged he had grown tired of smoking it for a brief period between 2003 and 2004. He is quoted saying "wine over weed" [34] by an unidentified source during an unaired taping of Fly Fishing the World in late 2004.

Claypool is an avid fly fisher, and appeared as a special guest on a 2004 episode of Fly Fishing the World filmed in Idaho and a 2005 episode filmed in Quebec. Both episodes are available on the extras section of 5 Gallons of Diesel . He stated in an interview that he loves the sea but hates surfing as he has heard stories from friends of many dangerous incidents that have happened to surfers.

Starting in 2007, Claypool began a wine-making project (for personal use) that turned into a boutique business. Claypool Cellars makes wines from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley. The wines have names based on his music like "Purple Pachyderm" and "Pink Platypus". [35]

June 12, 2018 was declared "Les Claypool Day" in Cincinnati, Ohio by mayor John Cranley. The declaration was presented to Claypool during Primus' show that night at the Riverbend Music Center by members of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation alongside Claypool's friend, influence, and Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins. [36]


1988 Blind Illusion The Sane Asylum
1988 Primus Sausage (demo)
1988PrimusSucking Songs (demo)
1989NovPrimus Suck on This (live album)
1990FebPrimus Frizzle Fry
1991MayPrimus Sailing the Seas of Cheese
1992MarPrimus Miscellaneous Debris (EP)
1993AprPrimus Pork Soda
1994AprSausage Riddles Are Abound Tonight (1988 Primus line-up reunion)
1995MayPrimus Tales from the Punchbowl
1996AugLes Claypool and the Holy Mackerel Highball with the Devil
1997JulPrimus Brown Album
1998AugPrimus Rhinoplasty (EP)
1999Apr Buckethead Monsters and Robots (Claypool features on and co-wrote 6 of the 13 tracks)
1999OctPrimus Antipop
2001Apr Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade Live Frogs Set 1 (live album)
2001JulColonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade Live Frogs Set 2 (live album)
2001Oct Oysterhead The Grand Pecking Order
2002SepThe Les Claypool Frog Brigade Purple Onion
2003OctPrimus Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People (EP/DVD set)
2004Sep Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains The Big Eyeball in the Sky
2006JunLes Claypool Of Whales and Woe
2006OctPrimus They Can't All Be Zingers (greatest hits compilation album)
2008Mar Electric Apricot Quest for Festeroo (soundtrack) (Claypool features on and co-wrote 5 of the 12 tracks)
2009MarLes Claypool Of Fungi and Foe
2010AugPrimus June 2010 Rehearsal (EP)
2011SepPrimus Green Naugahyde
2014FebLes Claypool's Duo de Twang Four Foot Shack
2014OctPrimus Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble
2016JunThe Claypool Lennon Delirium Monolith of Phobos
2017AugThe Claypool Lennon Delirium Lime and Limpid Green
2017SepPrimus The Desaturating Seven
2018AugBeanpole - All My Kin
2019FebThe Claypool Lennon Delirium - South of Reality

Guest appearances

(Claypool on bass unless otherwise noted)

1992 – Tom Waits Bone Machine (on the track "Earth Died Screaming")
1994 – Firehose Big Bottom Pow Wow (in discussion on the various "spiel" tracks)
1994 – Rob Wasserman Trios (on the tracks "Home is Where You Get Across" and "3 Guys Named Schmo")
1996 – Alex Lifeson Victor (on the track "The Big Dance")
1998 – Jerry Cantrell Boggy Depot (on the tracks "Between" and "Cold Piece")
1998 – Metallica Garage Inc. (banjo on the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover "Tuesday's Gone")
1998 – Bloem de Ligny Zink (vocals on the track "Capsule")
1999 – Tom Waits Mule Variations (on the track "Big in Japan")
1999 – Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Live On (on the track "Oh Well")
1999 – Limp Bizkit Significant Other (vocals on the hidden track "The Mind of Les", bass and vocals on the outtake "Hell of a Band")
1999 – Phonopsycograph Disk Live @ Slim's / Turbulence Chest (additional bass on 8 of the 12 tracks)
2002 - Fishbone - Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Friendliest Psychosis of All (bass on track 1)
2002 – Gov't Mule The Deep End, Volume 2 (bass and vocals on the tracks "Greasy Granny's Gopher Gravy" and "Drivin' Rain")
2003 – Gov't Mule The Deepest End, Live In Concert (bass and vocals on the tracks "Greasy Granny's Gopher Gravy" and "Drivin' Rain")
2004 – Tom Waits Real Gone (on the tracks "Hoist That Rag", "Shake It" and "Baby Gonna Leave Me")
2004 – Jack Irons Attention Dimension (on the Pink Floyd cover "Shine On You Crazy Diamond")
2005 – Adrian Belew Side One (on the tracks "Ampersand", "Writing on the Wall" and "Matchless Man")
2005 – Gabby La La Be Careful What You Wish For... (bass and percussion throughout)
2005 – Mat Callahan A Wild Bouquet (on the track "I See the Light")
2006 – Adrian Belew Side Three (on the tracks "Whatever" and "Men in Helicopters v4.0")
2006 – Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards (on the track "On The Road")
2008 – Zach Hill Astrological Straits (on the track "Astrological Straits")
2009 – Vinyl Fogshack Music Volume Two (on the tracks "Jelly James Jam", "Le Colonel", "Benthos" and "Le Colonel Part Deux")
2011 – Hank Williams III Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town (on the tracks "Ghost to a Ghost" and "With the Ship")
2011 – Tom Waits Bad as Me (on the track "Satisfied")
2013 – Beats Antique - A Thousand Faces: Act 1 (bass and vocals on the track "Beezlebub")
2016 – Death Grips - "More Than The Fairy"

Soundtracks and compilations

1991 – Guitars that Rule the World (promo for Guitar World magazine, featuring the original track "Filet of Soul" by Alex Skolnick with Claypool and Brain)
1993 – Radio 501 (promo for Levi's jeans, featuring the original track "Can't Live Without" by Claypool, Jay Lane & Rob Wasserman)
2002 – NASCAR: Crank It Up (promo for NASCAR on Fox, featuring a cover of the Commander Cody track "Hot Rod Lincoln" recorded by Claypool)
2002 – Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002 (live album, featuring the Les Claypool's Frog Brigade track "Locomotive Breath")
2002 – Bonnaroo Vol. 2 (live album, featuring the Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains track "Number Two")
2004 – Concrete Corner: October Sampler 2004 (featuring the Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains track "Junior")
2004 – Never Been Done (soundtrack, featuring the Les Claypool's Frog Brigade track "David Makalaster")
2004 – Not In Our Name (benefit compilation album, featuring the Les Claypool's Frog Brigade track "David Makalaster II")
2006 – Barnyard (soundtrack, featuring the original track "Hittin' the Hay" by North Mississippi Allstars with Claypool)
2008 – Pig Hunt (soundtrack, featuring the original tracks "Goblins in the Forest", "What You Lookin' At Boy?", "Boonville Stomp" and "Male Organ-Grinder")
Television show theme songs
2005–present – Robot Chicken : seasons 1–4 ("Robot Chicken", released on Of Whales and Woe , 2006)
2006–present – South Park : seasons 10–16 (mashup of "Whamola" by Les Claypool's Frog Brigade and "South Park Theme" by Primus)
Video game soundtracks
2008 – Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (original tracks)


1991 – Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, features Les Claypool performing with Primus. [37]
1992 – Kung Fu Rascals, directed by Steve Wang, features Les Claypool as Sheriff of Ching Wa County.
2002 – Rising Low (Documentary on Allen Woody, directed by Mike Gordon)
2002 – Various Artists – Live from Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002 (featuring Les Claypool's Frog Brigade and Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains)
2003 – Gov't Mule The Deepest End, Live In Concert
2005 – Les Claypool – 5 Gallons of Diesel
2007 – Les Claypool – Fancy
2008 – Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo (Rock- mockumentary feature film)
2011 – A Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story (Documentary on Mark Sandman)


Claypool playing the Whamola at The Rave (Milwaukee, WI). 20060614 - claypool playing the whamola.jpg
Claypool playing the Whamola at The Rave (Milwaukee, WI).



See also

Related Research Articles

Tim Alexander musician, songwriter

Timothy W. "Tim" Alexander is an American musician best known as the drummer for the rock band Primus. Alexander played on Primus recordings from Suck on This to Tales from the Punchbowl, before leaving the band in 1996, only to rejoin in 2003 for the EP Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People. Alexander left the band for the second time in 2010, to rejoin again in 2013. Alexander is hailed frequently for his "polyrhythmic" playing.

<i>Frizzle Fry</i> 1990 studio album by Primus

Frizzle Fry is the debut studio album by the American rock band Primus. The album was recorded in December 1989 and released on February 7, 1990.

<i>Purple Onion</i> (album) 2002 studio album by The Les Claypool Frog Brigade

Purple Onion is the only studio album by The Les Claypool Frog Brigade, released on September 24, 2002. It followed two live releases by the band, and is the first release of the Frog Brigade's original compositions. While the Brigade regulars are consistent on much of the record such as Jay Lane, Eenor Wildeboar, Skerik and new percussionist Mike "Tree Frog" Dillon, many special guests appear on the album as well. Guests on multiple tracks include Ben Barnes and Sam Bass. "D's Diner," a tribute to a Sebastopol, California restaurant, features sitar player Gabby La La in addition to the triple-bass onslaught of Claypool, Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) and Lonnie Marshall. Warren Haynes adds slide guitar on the "Buzzards of Green Hill" and Fish Fisher guests on "Whamola." "Whamola" was a live show staple named after the unique instrument Les employs—a one-string bass played with a drumstick. The song later appeared as a remix for the theme of South Park Season 10. "Barrington Hall" is a tribute to the UC Berkeley student housing known in the 1960s-1980s for counterculture. Purple Onion was released on vinyl for the first time on November 24, 2009.

Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains (C2B3) was an experimental rock supergroup featuring bassist Les Claypool, guitarist Buckethead, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia.

<i>Live Frogs Set 2</i> 2001 live album by Colonel Les Claypools Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Live Frogs Set 2 is the second set of live recordings by Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, released on July 24, 2001. The album is a complete performance of the Pink Floyd studio album Animals. It is introduced at the end of Live Frogs Set 1 as "more Pink Floyd than any human being should ever withstand", as the band's version of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" comes to an end.

Oysterhead band

Oysterhead was an American rock supergroup featuring bassist Les Claypool of Primus, guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish and drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police, with both Claypool and Anastasio providing vocals. The style and sound of the band is a collaborative eclectic mix of alt-funk fusion.

Colonel Les Claypools Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade is one of many musical projects involving Primus bassist Les Claypool. The original band was formed in summer 2000 and consisted of: Les Claypool, Todd Huth, Jay Lane (drums), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), Skerik (saxophone), and Eenor Wildeboar. Les Claypool has described their sound as, "It's kind of a King Crimson meets Pink Floyd meets Frank Zappa type thing."

<i>Live Frogs Set 1</i> 2001 live album by Colonel Les Claypools Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Live Frogs Set 1 is a live album by Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, released by Prawn Song Records on 10 April 2001. It is composed of songs recorded during the 8-9 October 2000 shows the Frog Brigade played at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, the second part released as Live Frogs Set 2. It is primarily composed of originals by the various side projects of Claypool and his fellow band members but also includes two cover songs.

Prawn Song Records

Prawn Song Records is an independent record label owned by Les Claypool of Primus. The name and logo are a parody of Led Zeppelin's label Swan Song Records.

<i>Sausage</i> (band) album

Sausage was a short-lived alternative/funk rock band featuring a reunion of the 1988 lineup of the San Francisco Bay Area band Primus. They released the album Riddles Are Abound Tonight in April 1994 through the Interscope Records imprint Prawn Song Records.

<i>Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo</i> 2006 film directed by Les Claypool

Electric Apricot: Quest For Festeroo is a mockumentary film by Primus lead-man Les Claypool, featuring himself as well as others using pseudonyms. The band Electric Apricot played occasional shows in 2004 and 2005, unannounced, in the California area for footage. The Electric Apricot also made an appearance at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX in 2007. The movie has been screened at film festivals internationally, including the Bonnaroo Music Festival and The Raindance Festival in London.

"My Name Is Mud" is a song by the American rock band Primus and is the first single from the 1993 album Pork Soda. The lyrics are written from the point of view of a blue-collar man, Aloysius Devandander Abercrombie, who has killed his friend after an argument and is now trying to bury him. The song samples the line "Where are you goin' city boy?" from the film Deliverance.

Skerik American musician

Skerik is an American saxophonist from Seattle, Washington. Performing on the tenor and baritone saxophone, often with electronics and loops, he is a pioneer in a playing style that has been called saxophonics.

Whamola musical instrument

The Whamola is a bass instrument used in funk-jazz styles of music. The name is a portmanteau of whammy bar and viola.

<i>Of Whales and Woe</i> 2006 studio album by Les Claypool

Of Whales And Woe is a solo album by Les Claypool, the bassist/vocalist of Primus. The album was released on the May 30, 2006. The album features Skerik, Mike Dillon, and Gabby La La (multi-instrumentalist). "Back off Turkey" also features Les' children, Cage and Lena. The track "Iowan Gal" is a love song for his wife, Chaney Claypool.

Les Claypool's Fancy Band was a lineup of musicians on tour with Les Claypool from 2005 to 2007. The band consisted of Claypool on bass, Skerik on tenor and baritone saxophone, Mike Dillon on vibraphone, marimba, tabla, cuíca and percussion, Gabby La La on sitar, ukulele and theremin and Paulo Baldi on drums. The Fancy Band's first appearance was 2005. They toured nationally in 2006 promoting the album Of Whales and Woe. They toured the early Summer of 2007 with the release of the DVD Fancy.

<i>Green Naugahyde</i> 2011 studio album by Primus

Green Naugahyde is the seventh studio album by rock group Primus, released by ATO Records and Prawn Song on September 12, 2011 in Europe, and on September 13, 2011 in the United States. It is the band's first album since 1999's Antipop, and features their first new material since 2003's Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People EP. It is the only Primus album to feature Jay Lane on drums, as he left the band in September 2013.


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