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Music singer and bassit Les Claypool picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Leslie Edward Claypool.
Also known as: Colonel Claypool, "The Man with the Rainbow Bass guitar", Leslie Edward, "The master of four strings".
Born: September 29, 1963 Richmond, California, U.S.
Les Claypool biography (bio):
Leslie Edward "Les" Claypool is a singer/bassist, best known for his work with the alternative rock band Primus. Claypool's mastery of the electric bass has brought him into the spotlight with his funky, creative playing style. Claypool mixes finger-tapping, flamenco-like strumming, and a Larry Graham-like slap technique to develop his own unique style and has earned respect as one of rock's premier bass talents, becoming an influence for younger bassists in recent years.
Claypool was born September 29, 1963 in Richmond, California, but was raised in El Sobrante, California in a working class family with a history of working in auto-mechanics. Les's parents divorced when he was a young child, but he says that he had a decent childhood, citing that he was never abused or severely bullied.
As a teenager, Claypool was turned on to rock legends such as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix by classmate Kirk Hammett (of Metallica fame). After picking up the bass at the age of fourteen and developing his skills in the school jazz band, Claypool played in a local rhythm and blues cover band called the Tommy Crank Band. He was able to develop his slap technique through listening to players like Stanley Clarke and Larry Graham. He also bought his first Carl Thompson bass, his trademark four string bass. (He now owns six, including a multi-wood fretless 6-string called the Rainbow Bass.)
In 1986, after the death of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, Claypool auditioned to play bass for Metallica, playing the song "Master of Puppets" on his bass. In Metallica's Behind the Music, Claypool said that during the audition he wanted the others to "jam on some Isley Brothers tunes", after Lars Ulrich asked whether he's "not really used to playing this kind of music". James Hetfield remarked that Claypool didn't win the job because "he was too good."
He also played for Blind Illusion, a San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal band, where he first played with Larry LaLonde (who had left the band Possessed to join Blind Illusion). With Blind Illusion, he recorded the The Sane Asylum album, in 1988, and then quit along with LaLonde to re-form Primus.
Primus began as Primate with Les Claypool, guitarist Todd Huth and various drummers, most notably Jay Lane, in the mid-1980s, though Huth and Lane left shortly thereafter to pursue other projects. Claypool replaced them with guitarist Larry LaLonde and eclectic drummer Tim Alexander in 1989. Primus began selling out local clubs with their out-of-control live act and irreverent approach to music (their catchphrase was "Primus sucks!").
From 1989 to 2000, Primus steadily became one of the most bizarre bands to gain significant mainstream airplay, headlining Lollapalooza in 1993, appearing on David Letterman and Conan O'Brien in 1995, and even making an appearance at Woodstock '94 where they performed their Pork Soda hit "My Name is Mud" and were pelted with mud (Claypool claims to still have mud in his speakers). Also, in 1997, they were asked to play, and record, the theme song for the animated television show South Park.
In 2000 Primus went on indefinite hiatus. A few months later in October Claypool officially disbanded them.
In late 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, which Claypool described as the first DVD with supplementary music, as opposed to the contrary. The band staged a two month tour in which they performed two sets per show, the second consisting of their 1991 release Sailing the Seas of Cheese in its entirety. They continued touring into 2004, even performing their 1990 release Frizzle Fry in its entirety.
Claypool performed in a one-off Primus gig, with its original lineup (Les Claypool, Larry Lalonde and Tim Alexander), at the Hedgpeth music festival on July 29, 2006 in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Primus performed classic old material, such as To Defy the Laws of Tradition, Groundhog's Day, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver and Harold of the Rocks.
In Mid-August of 2006, a DVD release entitled Blame It On The Fish was added to the listings of Amazon and other online shops. Shortly thereafter, the website The PRP reported that a rumor had surfaced implying that the band was quietly planning a North American tour for November/December 2006.
On October 17, 2006, Primus released both their first greatest hits CD 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.
They Can't All Be Zingers includes 16 digitally remastered songs that span their entire career, including a previously unreleased and extended version of "Shake Hands With Beef", the Tom Waits collaboration "Coattails Of A Deadman", and "Mary The Ice Cube" from the 2003 DVD and EP Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People.
Claypool has let the video game Guitar Hero 2 use the Primus song, "John the Fisherman", one of two songs in the game using the actual recording instead of a cover.
Blame It On The Fish: An Abstract Look at the 2003 Primus Tour De Fromage contains live footage from the band's 2003 reunion tour, interview segments and behind the scenes footage. The DVD includes a 70 minute feature film and 90 minutes of bonus material, including a 30 minute mockumentary about the band in 2065. Blame It On The Fish is directed by Matthew J. Powers, who directed Never Been Done, a documentary about Jon Comer.
In November 2006 commenced Primus: The Beat A Dead Horse Tour 2006. It was completed the following December.
After the announcement of Primus' hiatus, Claypool formed Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, an experimental ensemble in the vein of The Mothers of Invention. The band debuted at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and played a number of other festivals including moe.down. When Primus officially disbanded it allowed him to return to his musical roots, playing songs by bands like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and the Beatles. Claypool has called the Frog Brigade his "mid-life crisis band." In addition to two live albums (one being an exact cover of Pink Floyd's Animals), the Frog Brigade has released one studio album, 2002's Purple Onion.
In 2000, Claypool collaborated with Trey Anastasio (of Phish) and Stewart Copeland (of The Police) in jam-rock project Oysterhead. They were originally intended as a one off project, but they eventually decided to pursue it. They released one studio album, The Grand Pecking Order, and toured before disbanding in 2001. They re-united for one performance at the 2006 Bonnaroo Music Festival.
Claypool also collaborated with virtuoso guitarist Buckethead, funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and former Primus drummer Bryan Mantia under the name Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains ("C2B3"). 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 members 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. The album features only one guest, the child-like multi-instrumentalist Gabby La La (noted as Gabby Lang on Les Claypool's Frog Brigade's Purple Onion) on vox 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.... He has also performed select shows with her (including the 2005 edition of the Bonnaroo Music Festival and has added her to his new touring band, Les Claypool & His Fancy Band (also featuring Skerik on saxaphonics, Mike Dillon on percussion, and Jay Lane on drums). Gabby La La is the first artist Les has signed to his label since Charlie Hunter in 1993.
At the end of 2005, Claypool released 5 Gallons Of Diesel, a video retrospective of all of his work away from Primus.
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 Spinal Tap. The band was originally rumored to include Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Ratdog on guitar, but those rumors were slowly put to rest after their first low-key show. 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 go by the assumed names (real identities in parenthesis) of Steve Hampton 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 and received praise from fans of Les Claypool as well as winning Best Comedy. No DVD release date has been announced, but during a Q+A session at the Tiburon Film Festival where the film debuted Claypool said that the film would indeed 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, AKA Electric Apricot bassist Steve Hampton Trouzdale, has a job at Pixar which makes touring difficult. Electric Apricot's website can be found here.
On May 30, 2006 Claypool released a solo album, Of Whales and Woe, with guest appearances by Gabby La La, Skerik, and Mike Dillon. This album includes the song "Robot Chicken", which is the basis of the name and theme song of the popular Adult Swim show. 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; Gabby La La - sitar; Paulo Baldi - drums; Skerik - sax; Mike Dillon - marimba. This new lineup is also known as Les Claypool's Fancy Band.
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 recent 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 to The Book Standard, on May 11, 2006. South of the Pumphouse is currently in its fifth printing.
Claypool is currently on a solo tour in support of Of Whales and Woe. The first show took place on May 24 in Minneapolis. The tour will last through August. Claypool is set to play this year's High Sierra Music Festival.
Occasionally, Claypool also performed with "The Rat Brigade" when opening for Bob Weir's band Ratdog. The Rat Brigade includes drummer Jay Lane and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, with guest appearances by saxophonist Kenny Brooks and Bob Weir. Known performances of The Rat Brigade include the 2000 and 2007 "Gathering of the Vibes" festival. The 2000 GOTV included a full Rat Brigade set with Les and Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir. The 2007 GOTV included a Les solo set followed by a Rat Brigade mini-set with Weir and the Ratdog set. During each of the performances of Rat Brigade, when guitarist Bob Weir is introduced to the crowd it is as "Mr. Edward Van Halen". On both years, Claypool also guested on the Ratdog set.
He lives near the village of Occidental in Sonoma County, CA with his wife, Chaney Claypool, his son, Cage Oliver Claypool, and his 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. He is famous for his wacky sense of humor and overall very eccentric personality. He has recently been very open about his liberal politics and his dissatisfaction with current president George W. Bush, as he supported Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.
Claypool is an avid fisherman and even appeared as a special guest on a 2004 taping of Fly Fishing the World filmed in Idaho and a 2005 taping in Quebec, Canada. Both episodes are available on the extras section of 5 Gallons Of Diesel.