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Les Claypool

The most original rock bassist to come along in the '90s was unquestionably Primus' Les Claypool. With his oddball sense of humor and funky playing, Claypool took his varied musical influences and created an invigorating and completely inventive style. The Les Claypool story begins on September 29, 1963, when he was born in Richmond, CA. As a teenager, Claypool met fellow student Kirk Hammett (yes, the Kirk Hammett of Metallica fame), who turned him on to such rock acts as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and Led Zeppelin. It was around this time that Claypool took up the bass, influenced by the likes of Rush's Geddy Lee, Yes' Chris Squire, and Paul McCartney. Although Hammett asked Claypool to join a band he was in, he opted for another group in his high school, progressive metallists Blind Illusion, while broadening his musical horizons by playing in jazz and swing bands. Upon discovering such fusion and funk bass greats as Stanley Clarke and Larry Graham around this time, Claypool began incorporating "slapping" into his playing technique.

After graduation, Claypool played in a local cover band, the Tommy Crank Band, which specialized in blues, R&B, funk, and mainstream rock hits. Playing several sets a night almost every night of the week, he sharpened up his improv skills, and after a short while, there wasn't a musical style that he couldn't pull off convincingly. It was while with Tommy Crank that Claypool bought his first Carl Thompson piccolo bass (after seeing Stanley Clarke play one), an instrument that would become his trademark. It was around this time (early to mid-'80s) that Claypool began demoing his own original compositions, which would become the impetus for Primus. Originally called Primate, Primus consisted of guitarist Todd Huth and drummer Jay Lane in addition to Claypool, who also contributed vocals (in a strange sing-speak style, almost akin to a narrator) in addition to bass. Although the trio instantly created an underground following in the San Francisco area, Primus was put on hold when Huth left and Claypool returned to Blind Illusion (whose sound now resembled a thrash metal band), and appeared on the group's lone album, The Sane Asylum, on Combat Records.

His return to Blind Illusion didn't last long, but he met a kindred musical spirit in BI's guitarist, Larry LaLonde. By 1989, a new Primus lineup was formed -- Claypool, LaLonde, and new drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander -- and not long afterward, their first album was issued, the live set Suck on This. The album caused such a buzz with college radio that the independent label Caroline signed the group, resulting in the reissue of their debut and their sophomore effort, 1990's Frizzle Fry, while the trio toured with such bands as Jane's Addiction and 24-7 Spyz. 1991 proved to be an even better year for the group, as their major-label debut (for Interscope), Sailing the Seas of Cheese, reached gold status a year after its release, as the trio opened for such varied artists as Public Enemy, Anthrax, U2, Fishbone, and Rush.

Primus scored a surprise Top Ten hit with 1993's Pork Soda (and subsequent headlining spot on that year's Lollapalooza festival tour), solidifying the band's status as quirk rock's undisputed kings, as more hit releases followed throughout the decade and new millennium: Tales from the Punchbowl, The Brown Album, Rhinoplasty, and Antipop, as well as the theme song to TV's South Park (Claypool also tried his hand at directing the band's videos). In addition to his Primus duties, Claypool has always had time for side projects -- Sausage (a reunion of the original Primus lineup), Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel (Highball with the Devil), the Frog Brigade (Live Frogs, Purple Onion), and Oysterhead -- as well as guesting on albums by other artists (Buckethead, Jerry Cantrell, Victor, Limp Bizkit, Tom Waits, Rob Wasserman). He released Of Whales and Woe in 2006, the first project solely credited to the man himself. In 2012, Claypool teamed up with guitarist Bryan Kehoe to form Les Claypool's Duo De Twang, with the pair releasing an album of twangified originals and covers, Four Foot Shack, which was released early in 2014. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Just seen them at syracuse landmark one of the best shows I've seen put on
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ALL I CAN SAY IS CAN NOT WAIT 4 : 4/28/2015 PRIMUS LIVE PEORIA IL.
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Potato
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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Woah...thou has been ripped to Les Claypool, what next?
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The one and only...Les Claypool the god head.
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Turning keys and creeping
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Straight up OG....LES brings the funk in any project he's in..To play with him takes a lot of talent too.
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pop that s**t HOMEBOYEEE.. FUK EM THAT TRYLES*SLUV
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aaron.hobson 2 0 9 9 2
Just saw duo de twang in louisville great show
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You sucks balllls. .. les is the man...
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Cash is the man!!! You don't know 2 your talking about.
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I hope Tim "herb" Alexander gets well soon.
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What about the fancy band .
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nicko252008
Les Claypool is a Bass GOD
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Don't get me wrong
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Seriously
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He is Fuckn Bullshitin awesome!! Really,reall y fuckn awesome! Follow me if you agree
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Mike Kay, I completely agree.

Anyway, Fungi and Foe is my personal favorite album by Les, including his other bands. Second place is Tales From the Punchbowl by Primus.
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So glad he didn't get the Metallica job.
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Floatin in the ocean nullifies the pain. Fish on it might be a surgeon or a big ol fat halibut.
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How does the bio completely miss the brilliant work that he has done with Buckethead?
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Where the lyrocs
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Never heard this one before. But it kicks butt!
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Shadow its called primer 29
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nick.acree
PRIMUS SUCKS
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Primus sucks= we want to see an encore performance
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IMMA GONNA GIVE YOU ONE BETTA
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Primus Sucks!
I am still mad at him for making us listen to Johnny Cash's new album like 3 times in a row one year at bonnaroo while he was finishing watching the Deads set. We wanted to see the rest of the dead after waiting through an absolute downpour for them to start but we left early to make sure we did not miss the start of Primus only to have him tell us he watched the whole set, you b**tards.
My favorite was when he yelled at someone to put out their cigar at the vic! C2B3 was the sick
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Greatest ever
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Les claypool rocks I have seen him live at happy and Harriets from last year he is a bad a** base player
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Love it
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Need a question answered,I heard a song I'm about 60% sure les claypool sings but no idea what's its name is,it was on a movie and almost all the songs on there were by him,anyway the word go "dam* that's shi**y wine,tastes like butter and beaver brine,but if you fill my glass another time I'm sure it'll begin to taste just fine"that's all I got cuz it cut out,anyone recognize it? Me and a friend have a bet to see who can find its name first cuz it was so odd
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Just when I thought Mr. Claypool couldn't get anymore awesomerest, he has to go and prove me wrong. Damn you and your ingenious, tasty riffs!!!!
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Primus Sucks!
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Primus Sucks
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Don't read this because it actually works. If you start retarded chains like this one that pressure gullible people, it will continue. However, if you are intelligent and stop posting these stupid comments, you will live until you die. Now that you have started, don't stop. Post this onto every single song on Pandora to stop people from doing this. This is so scary because it actually works!
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Pick your poison, Gus!
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vanderzyde
Good for those days when you are sick of all mainstream bass lines...
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Les Claypool you are the best bass player EVERRRRRRR! Love you!
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PRIMUS SUCKS! ESPECIALLY LIVE...B**TA R D S !
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Primus SUCKS! TIm "Herb" Alexander, Larry La Londe, and Les ...The only way to go
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did claypool make i want money ?
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Amongst the gods of bass
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PRIMUS SUCKS! xD Can't wait to see these f**kers live! They're gonna suck so much I'll piss everywhere.
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Ready to see Les again...come to Tennessee soon :> really magical show if you've never seen PRIMUS before...goo o o o o you'll love it, haven't seen a bad show yet.
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wow ... sheer genius !
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@Bobby:
They didn't miss any, they're just under each proper band name. For example: Claypool & Flying Frog Brigade, Claypools' Holy Mackerel, etc...
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I like how the only similar artists are Claypool too lol. Only Claypool can be like Claypool
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What's Herb's backround before Primus?
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