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Les Claypool's Frog Brigade

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

excellent cover!
Great cover of this Pink Floyd Classic !
he has,col. clapools big bucket of bernie brains.
claypool needs to team up with buckethead
robertgrimm9
Promise at allgood religious experience
Primus sucks
Wow. This is neato
@natsirtenal : I have to agree about King Crimson, awesome band!
Primus freaking rocks!
minus1970
primus sucks!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
I love this version of "Pigs"!
Omg I LOOOOOOVE YOU PRIMUS!! You guys are way too kick a**!
natsirtenal
If you love primus you will have 2 give props to 1 of the bands that helps create them .give King Crimson a try it will blow your mind. but remember they broke barriers and most do not wish their walls to be taken down.
fen_yon
for those who don't get it... Primus Sucks!
kochillin420
If you haven't seen Primus 3D, it's a must
joeeagle13
Saw him several times seas of cheese. Pork soda. Mackrels.... always awsome. Never the same. Who else had the balls skill to cover an entire Floyd album? All hail the one footed stompin bass man. Thank god he blew off metallica.
joeeagle13
Open a can of pork soda... and cheers to les. Fantastic originality. . . . what a freak! LOVE WHAT U DO LES!
amye45
i'm in love with a freaky bass slappin man
Comin to my town in Nov!
Hey atleast they have a sense of humor.
They are Primus and I gotta tell you guys... They suck!!!
HOW DO I GET PANDORA TO ONLY PLAY PRIMUS AND ALL OF LESS CLAYPOOLS STUFF ON MY PRIMUS CHANNEL? IDONT WANT RATM OR TOOL ON THERE THEY HAVE THEYRE ON CHANNEL
threegibblet s
keep n music correct talent will always win
keep on sucking primus !!!
No mention of da gabby lala...
JK Pandora, Love youuuu
@Pavon: Yeah but then lazy Pandora would have to get bios on all of his separate bands and that would just be too much work
Matthew, you need a little education: true Primus fans know that "Primus Sucks" is a term of endearment for this band....Chri s was right: Primus Sucks!
Chris Ramirez you suck...les is a gifted musician, obviously you suck not the other way around..if cant a maste bassist like Les then just go on to mexico
bubbalicous7 4
primus sucks!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! !
would love to jam with this guy... always enjoy playing with funky bassists!
you f**king ROCK!!!!
musical mad genius, incredibly talented & an amazing frontman. Les puts on a great show, whoever he is playing with. would love to see primus get back together & tour. how many instruments can this man play?? thank you for years of stellar music, the bass will never be the same
j.wasil
this song can also be found on Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel Highball With the Devil another great album
renedayhoff
What if his name was Les Geinpool ???
HAPPY B DAY LES!
pavon
It would be nice if this bio gave information about this specific side project(Frog Brigade), rather than a generic bio of Les Claypool.
Primus Sucks
jnewton1172
yeah i saw primus at the vibes(bridge p o r t , Connecticut, it was freakin awesome!!! Hope he comes back next year.
saw primus in KC twas the best show EVER!!!!
Les Claypool is GOD!!
Heh, My Buds Say I Have A Hero Complex With Les Claypool. I Admire His Technical Skill, And Genuinely Like Almost All Of His Songs. Is That Enough To Justify A 'Hero Complex'?
getting ready for their upcoming show at santa barbara bowl sun 08/15!!! primus sucks!!!
the tits man
all of his offshoots are just as fabulous!!
i love highball with the devil~ holy mackrel
ruthtinsaye
saw primus at red rocks, it was the best show i have ever seen in my life wtf it was awsome never again will there ever be a bass player like him again how amazining, best show ever. Les Claypool "sucks".
does it get better?
balls
hells yeah. straight up rock
just pure awesome!!!
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