Les Claypool: Eccentric Bassist Would Rather Be Fishing
If Primus bassist Les Claypool had a bumper sticker on his car, it most likely would read: "I'd rather be fishing." As much as Claypool likes to create strange and esoteric music, he also loves heading out on the water and zoning out.
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"Generally, when I'm fishing, I'm not really paying much attention to anything but fishing," he says in a recent interview. "That's sort of the nature of it, to let go of all the other stuff. Everybody has their avenue to zen, be it jogging or yoga or whatever . . . masturbating. One of the most pleasant and relaxing things for me is to hop on my boat and go 40 miles out into the ocean and chase tuna around or stand in some river somewhere and flip a fly around. I enjoy that. It calms me and puts me in that space where I don't think of everything but that."
But Claypool admits songs -- some about his gilled friends -- do creep into his head. Other musical ideas get bandied about as well, like his latest musical incantation aimed at turning down the volume by going acoustic: Duo de Twang. Assisted by guitarist Marc "Mirv" Haggard, the duo plays acoustic versions of songs from Primus and Oysterhead, (possibly Col. Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, too), freshly penned originals and classic country songs such as Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans."
Dressed in Wild West-style bowler hats and vests, the duo has a throwback look and the inkling of vintage sound simply via instrumentation. But even when playing acoustic, the tall, lanky lyrical (albeit twisted) sage typically overflows with high-energy, funky, progressive bass lines, managing to keep it just weird enough to satiate his determined fan base.