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Les Claypool & The Holy Mackerel

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

Fnally the title track
calling kyle, the jew
speed balls with the devil
side projects like md.45
Weed rules
mojo420mojo
woohoo!!!!!!
love les and primus. fav band in the world.
rashex
music for t3h d3m3nted XD
gypsylt
Les is my hero even if he does suck
PRIMUS SUCKS, in a good way Of course
never boring
bayareabaybe e
Stuck on the roof again with a south bound Pachyderm is pointless unless you are tommy the cat's racecar driver named jerry, who is herold.s 2nd cousijn.
theresaparin i
Les is more.Has anyone ever hear of El Sobrante?
Yes, it was Jerry who drove so god damned fast. And of all the bands I've seen in concert, Primus remains the only one who is BETTER in concert than the recording studio! Les is amazing. Seriously, who else could play a 2X4 like he does! BTW for those Primus fans who aren't up to speed... Primus Sucks is a compliment but Les doesn't really like it...
primus sucks..
PRIMUS SUCKS! is actually a compliment! if you like primus that much
travelealone 6 9
no suck all rock!
I agree with Tyler, they are weird, kida suck, but rock balls.
carpenter.st e p h e n
They are awesome.
PRIMUS SUCKS!!!=) but they rock
The residents are also awesome
Skinny was born in a bathtub
les is better than flea. les is also the frontman. flea is a good bassist but les headed the show
ruthtinsaye
still they "suck" so bad, the best6 bass player since flea wtf
Primus Sucks! Primus Sucks! Gotta love em. Most original band in ages IMHO.
Electric Apricot!
omfsitsjames
totally most excellent!
are they gonna make another album? an' hey, dkdunn27, you're the first person I have ever heard say that they didn't even like Primus! I've heard "It's okay" and "It's listenable" but never, ever, heard anybody say "This band sucks!"! An' plus, this ain't even Primus! It's just the same singer! Jeez, I know i'm rude but, jeez.
freakin les claypool does it again!
pure greatness!!
moonluke85
This is probably mt fav work by Les Claypool besides just good ole primus especially the song highball with the devil. that high up bass line is what made me want to be a bass player in the first place, and a damn good one too :D
Primus sucks.
Yea Claypool's one of the greats
I beleieve that it was Jerry who was a race car driver. He drove so goddamn fast!!
Les Claypool is the sexiest man alive.
jockellsteph e n
Iv'e seen them several times THEY ARE AWESOME!!!!! Johnny was a race car driver!!!!!! !
i just cant wait for him to head line a tour. THATS what would be great
Les is a great man with creativity beyond belief...see this man live! My jaw dropped and I have been a huge fan ever since.
very nice

www.ipodlinu x . c o m
I Play a 3-string Bass with a Chicken leg, but then I ate the chicken leg...so I dunno.

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