Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Music: Les Claypool

Lush bass lines weaving around the groovy sax and vibraphone interplay, while entrancing and exotic vibrations from a sitar add spice to the mix. Amidst such rich and exciting music that provides as much nourishment for the brain as it does the ears, enticing one to just stand and take it all in with pleasure, my eyes all of a sudden focus in on the unexpected sight of... moshing. Well, considering the musical history of Les Claypool and the variety of folks who like his stuff, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us That was what I experienced near the end of last Wednesday's performance by Les Claypool & His Fancy Band at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. Despite having to sidestep the sudden development of a mosh pit about a foot or two in front of me, I had a great time and left thoroughly impressed with the Colonel's current lineup. The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey had a stellar opening set as well, and I'll get around to bloggin' about them sometime soon.

Since moving on with his own musical odyssey, Les Claypool has expanded his repertoire beyond Primus and embarked on quite a few fulfilling projects. He was a part of a brief project called Oysterhead with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland of The Police. He has also put together a funk band of sorts called Col. Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains with Brain (from Primus) on drums, the enigmatic Buckethead on guitar, and the legendary Bernie Worrell (of P-Funk fame) on keys. I don't have any songs to offer from these groups right now, but I'm sure that you can find samples somewhere on the interweb if you're interested in searching them out.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us My favorite post-Primus Claypool project is The Fearless Flying Frog Brigade. The band members aren't always the same, but two of the regulars who play alongside Claypool in this band are saxophonics wizard Skerik and percussionist Mike Dillon (both from Critters Buggin'). Les has released one studio album with this band, and the following two songs can be found on it.

ALBUM: Purple Onion (Prawn Song, 2002)
Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade - Buzzards of Green Hill (featuring Warren Haynes on guitar)
Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade - Up On The Roof

The group that I saw last week, which was dubbed The Fancy Band, is a variation of the Frog Brigade featuring Skerik, Mike Dillon, Jay Lane on drums, and Gabby La La on sitar and electric ukelele. The name seems appropriate, I guess, since this lineup is a bit fancier than the standard Frog Brigade lineup, especially with the presence of Ms. La La. The following three songs are from the concert I attended last week, and are from an audience recording, which is why the sound quality is not as good as what you'd expect from an official release. They do sound pretty good though.

7/20/05 Royal Oak, MI
Les Claypool & His Fancy Band - David Makalaster
Les Claypool & His Fancy Band - Whamola
Les Claypool & His Fancy Band - Riddles Are Abound Tonight


Blogger Isis said...

Thanks for the Frog Brigade tip, freeman. I like!

8:20 AM  
Blogger molo said...

Thanks a lot Freeman.
Second perfect mp3 post i catch, after the David Grisman one.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Isis said...

Question: I have listened to Primus here and there, but never owned an album. Which one would you first recommend? Second?

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Sunni said...

Ooooh! I gotta catch up with Les -- thanks for the reminder, Freeman.

Furious, if I may answer ... here are the three Primus albums I'd suggest. Each is quite good in its own way -- I suggest listening to the samples available deciding the order of acquisition yourself.

2:01 PM  
Blogger freeman said...

If it's Primus that you're interested in, then I'd say that Sunni is the person to turn to for info.

The only Primus album I have is Pork Soda, which is a good one.

4:33 PM  
Blogger dragon of seraxya said...

I'd have to give Pork Soda high marks as well, though Sailing the Seas of Cheese is the more classic Primus album, and it's great as well. Even so, Brown Album would probably be the most accessible, and contrary to what I've read many places, this album is very good as well. I can't really tell you which to buy first, though.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Trane said...

i'd have to say frizzle fry is good place to start. 'traditional' electric rock sound, as opposed to later, more 'primussy' stuff. john the fisherman might be the greatest song ever.

8:38 PM  
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11:23 PM  

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