Past Primus: Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade returns with two exhibits at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

Les Claypool has been certainly one of music’s most distinguished creatives since his band Primus exploded onto the rock scene within the early ’90s. Due to his distinctive method to the bass, singing and songwriting, Primus has continued to face out—and has impressed an entire period of bass-led rock and steel songs.

However Claypool has refused to be a one-trick pony, and has led or been part of no less than 11 totally different initiatives. Bands Sausage, Oysterhead and Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang have featured new spins on Claypool’s signature sound—and Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, which was first shaped in 2000, is again with a semi-new lineup and a tour, kicking off with exhibits on Tuesday and Wednesday, Could 16 and 17, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

“Frog Brigade began as a result of Primus was on what we referred to as a hiatus, but it surely mainly was only a noncommittal means of claiming, ‘We’re breaking apart and hoping we’re going to get again collectively sometime,’” Claypool stated throughout a latest cellphone interview. “Out of concern, I loaded all my favourite musicians into an RV that I had purchased, and drove up and down the coast taking part in songs—and no Primus songs. We determined to sort out Pink Floyd’s Animals. It simply sort of turned a factor, after which we made the document (Purple Onion) … and it type of turned this legendary, mystical factor.”

After 1999’s Antipop, the members of Primus had been getting fed up with the music scene and referred to as it quits. Frog Brigade was Claypool’s first foray into performing and recording with out the “security internet” of Primus, and the brand new enterprise helped him perceive that followers favor music over all else.

“(Frog Brigade) instilled the notion in me that I can exit and play music and never need to depend upon what was the scene on the time, which was up to date music with folks sporting crimson baseball caps backwards, leaping round and worrying about how they give the impression of being,” he stated. “It was extra about your method to your instrument, which was very refreshing.”

Claypool described this era as a “considerably scary time.”

“Once you’re in a band that’s fairly in style, after which hastily, you’re not taking part in anymore, it may be very daunting, and an intimidating and fearful factor, particularly when you could have younger kids, and you’ve got mortgages to pay,” Claypool stated. “… To do that was a fantastic aid for me. It was a fantastic confidence-building factor for me, and it was simply extremely enjoyable. Frog Brigade could be very pricey to me.”

When Primus was nonetheless thriving in 1996, Claypool launched Highball With the Satan beneath the title Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel. It was mainly a solo album, with all the things however a handful of guitar, drum and vocal tracks carried out by him. The album options songs which can be bouncier and extra eclectic than the heavy-hitting tracks on Primus data. The identical could be stated about the one studio launch from the Frog Brigade, 2002’s Purple Onion.

“I all the time stated that these (songs on Highball With The Satan) had been songs I wouldn’t inflict upon the fellows in Primus,” stated Claypool. “(Purple Onion) was mainly a continuation of that. It was me going within the studio and simply sort of throwing pasta on the partitions and bringing in musicians to suit varied components, versus writing music with or for particular musicians. It was my self-indulgence.”

Purple Onion took Highball’s garage-band demo-tape sound and threw it by means of quite a lot of results and manufacturing strategies. It options an experimental Claypool toying with unusual sounds, distinctive lyrics and even a brand new instrument referred to as the Whamola (as memorialized on the observe “Whamola.”)

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“Tom Waits had (Purple Onion) down as certainly one of his Prime 20 data, in order that’s fairly superb unto itself,” Claypool stated. “All music, whether or not you’re a listener or a participant, represents a slice of your life, and people had been fascinating and enjoyable instances for me. It was loads of experimentation, and it was a fantastic interval of development for me. I loved immensely making that document, and all these data, truly, as a result of it was Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, then it was Frog Brigade, after which it was Les Claypool, after which folks referred to as it the Fancy Band—so it’s simply all mainly my stuff.”

Earlier than the return of the Frog Brigade, Claypool did a couple of exhibits along with his latest challenge, an all-improv group dubbed Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz.

“To me, Bastard Jazz is simply such a aid,” Claypool stated. “We don’t rehearse; we simply present up and begin taking part in. We don’t even know what key we’re going to be in. It’s a really, very liberating factor. I very a lot take pleasure in doing that. Each from time to time, you’ve bought to do one thing like that, and I’m certain after I do it for some time, I’ll wish to go do one thing else. Luckily, I’ve loads of tributaries I can paddle up and down. Selection is the spice of life; it retains you waking up within the morning and retains you going.”

Two Frog Brigade members from the early ’00s are returning for this new tour: Skerik on saxophone, and Mike Dillon on vibes, marimba and percussion. The brand new members embody earlier Claypool collaborators Sean Lennon (Claypool Lennon Delirium) and Paulo Baldi (Les Claypool’s Fancy Band), in addition to Harry Waters, son of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

Identical to the unique Frog Brigade tour, this new tour will function the band performing Pink Floyd’s Animals entrance to again.

“I’d all the time stated if I ever had a keyboardist, I wished to play ‘Pigs,’ as a result of it was certainly one of my all-time-favorite songs,” Claypool stated. “We began studying ‘Pigs,’ and I stated, ‘Properly, shit, perhaps we should always be taught the entire document, after which we don’t want a gap band.’ In order that’s what we did.”

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Once you hearken to Claypool do Animals, you’ll be able to actually hear how Roger Waters had an affect on Claypool’s vocal method. It’s an vital album to many, Claypool included; he stated honoring the album takes “loads of self-discipline.”

“In case you’re going to cowl it, until you’re going to bastardize it, you’ve started working,” he stated. “(Primus) simply practiced the entire Rush Farewell to Kings, and that was an insane quantity of labor, however we needed to do it the right means. We couldn’t simply go in and Primus-tize it. There’s a specific amount of reverence that you just take once you method one thing like that, particularly one thing that’s so vital to so many individuals.”

When Frog Brigade was touring greater than 20 years in the past, the band pulled out some fascinating covers, performing tracks from the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and the Beatles. Maybe we are going to see some new covers on this present tour?

“A whole lot of (what we cowl) is: What do we predict we will pull off, or what will we stumble throughout that we discover fascinating?” he stated. “There’s a sure restrict to what I can sing, and singing and taking part in bass on the similar time is usually difficult relying on what the half is or what the distinction to the components are. A whole lot of it’s simply fiddling round, after which if it sounds good, ‘Hey, let’s pursue that.’ If it doesn’t, we transfer on to one thing else.”

Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade will carry out with Fishbone at 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Could 16 and 17, on the South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, 15 Freeway 50, in Stateline. Tickets begin at $72. For tickets or extra data, go to