Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade
Fresh from his recent success with Oysterhead (which also features Trey Anastasio of Phish and Stewart Copeland, formerly of the Police), Primus main man Les Claypool continues to broaden his horizons with another musical alliance, the Les Claypool Frog Brigade.
“Purple Onion” released in September 2002 is the first ever Les Claypool Frog Brigade studio recording, Les’ first all original solo project since Primus. While the Brigade regulars are consistent on much of the record (eenor, Skerik, and new percussionist Mike “Tree Frog” Dillon), many special guests grace the album as well. “D’s Diner” features sitar player Gabby Lang in addition to the triple-bass onslaught of Claypool, Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) and Lonnie Marshall (Weapon of Choice). Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Phil Lesh) handles guitar on the psychedelic hillbilly stomp of “Buzzards of Green Hill” and Fish Fisher (Fishbone drummer) guests on “Whamola,” a live show staple named after the unique instrument Les employs — a one-string bass played with a drumstick. Original Frog drummer Jay Lane (Ratdog, Sausage) appears on four songs, while Bay Area monster Dean Johnson also makes an appearance.
Bassist extraordinaire, vocalist and songwriter are just a few of the roles Claypool has taken on over the years with Primus. Producer, video director, cartoonist/animator, screenwriter, record label owner, and interactive design artist are all part of the panoply of talents and interests this unique multimedia adventurer has explored. Claypool has always kept his musical hands wet outside the Primus waters with side projects including Sausage (featuring Jay Lane of Rat Dog) and Les Claypool & the Holy Mackerel (which included the talents of Jay Lane, Charlie Hunter, and Henry Rollins). His playing can also be heard on albums by Tom Waits, Rob Wasserman, Alex Lifeson of Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains), and the Gov’t Mule release “The Deep End, Volume 2”.
Two live Les Claypool Frog Brigade CD’s were released in 2001 on Les’ own Prawn Song Records label, “Live Frogs Set 1” and “Live Frogs Set 2”. While “Set 1” contains versions of originals and covers, “Set 2” is a complete performance of the Pink Floyd classic album, “Animals”. Musicians included in this recorded line-up of the Les Claypool Frog Brigade included Todd Huth on guitar (Primus, Sausage), drummer Jay Lane (Sausage, Rat Dog), and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (Rat Dog, Pharoah Sanders). “Set 1” received the Jammy Award (Jambands.com awards) for best live album of the year.
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