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Les Claypool
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  ....I had the pleasure of interviewing bassist extraordinaire and Primus frontman Les Claypool. He always has been an artist of many styles, with the ability to play metal with Ozzy Osbourne one minute and jam with Phish's Trey Anastasio the next.
.....With his new band Frog Brigade, Claypool seems to be exploring his broad array of musical stylings even more so. There are few musicians as distinctive as Les Claypool. Whether playing with Primus or such side project as Sausage and his solo band, the Holy Mackerel. His latest side band, Les Claypool's Frog Brigade -- which features members of Sausage, the Holy Mackerel, Rat Dog, and Tuatara -- isn't especially Claypool-ish. Where Primus and Sausage are groove-driven hard rock bands, the Frog Brigade is decidedly looser, more jam-oriented, and (thanks to the presence of sax and keyboards) more soulful and funky.
.....The CD set list features tunes by Sausage and the Holy Mackerel as well as covers of Pink Floyd and King Crimson . Frog Brigade consists of guitarist Todd Huth (who worked with Claypool in Primus and Sausage), drummer Jay Lane (Sausage, Rat Dog), keyboards Jeff Chimenti (Rat Dog), saxophonist Skerik (Tuatara) and guitarist Eenor. The seven-track album will feature covers of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," King Crimson's "Thela hun Ginjeet," as well as some songs from Sausage's eponymous album.
....And the next record is coming out in July and it's called "Fly Frog Set Two" and it'll be Pink Floyd Animals in it's entirety from start to finish.

Q: Last time I caught you was the day before New Year's Eve at Arco in Sacramento when you opened up for Red Hot Chili Peppers .
A: Was that a couple of years ago?
Q: Yeah. It was a great show. You were at the Bammies that year too. So, I was listening to your new CD Live Frogs-Set 1, It's really good. A lot of jamming going on there guy.
A: Yeah.
Q: When you get together with the guys like this and you're making up some songs, are you incorporating what you were doing when you were jamming, or was there any kind of set program there?
A: I mean, you know there's sort of rough perats that are set by the tunes and these guys are all known for their musicianship, and their ability to freeform and jam. So you know, with a band of six guys and by the time everybody takes their little solo of themselves within the tune, it becomes a 14 minute song. So, that's sort of the nature of the beast. ... from not being on a major label anymore. Being able to do it myself and put out something that by all rules, I'm not supposed to be putting out. So that's a 70 minute record and it's 7 songs long.
Q: Was there a lot of improvisation in the making of this CD?
A: ..A considerable amount of improv. And you'll never hear that again.
Q: Was there any particular goal with Frog Brigade when you started out?
A: Basically, we ... I put this project together and we did some touring and that's ... we did two sets a night and the first set being what ever tunes we jammed on, which at this point became the first record, or a version of it became this record. And the next record is coming out in July and it's called "Fly Frog Set Two" and it'll be Pink Floyd Animals in it's entirety from start to finish.
Q: So, you'll really fascinated with animals?
A: Well Animals was you know, one of my favorite records of all time - we just decided to do it.
Q: You have your own label called Prawn Song Records. Have you had anybody sign on this label beside yourself?
A: I have in the past, but I'm not signing any acts these days. I'm really not interested in that. It's pretty much a label just to release my stuff. I've got enough things to do without worrying about other people's projects. I just wouldn't be able to give them enough attention. When you sign a band, it's a big responsibility, you have to put a lot of time and effort and resources into working a record properly. Otherwise, you're just not doing your artist justice. So, at this point, you know maybe sometime down the road, I need to build this label with just the stuff I'm working on.
Q: I was looking at your bio. You did some animation screenwriting?
A: I've got a couple of screenplays out there. I've got some flash stuff. I think the bio's a little flattering. (Laughter). It might be a little padded. I've always ... a lot of the cartoons and whatnot that are on my website are things that I've done. Just a doodler. Like my son, he's 5 years old. He draws all the time.
Q: This new CD sounds creative and like you guys are just having a really good time.
A: I mean that's what it's all about. I've reached a point in my career where I just want to enjoy myself musically. If I'm going to play music, it's got to be just fun; otherwise I'd rather stay home and play with my kid.
Q: Did you just work with some members of Phish recently?
A: Yeah. Trey, Anastasio, and Stuart Copeland. We just finished recording a record called Oyster Head.
Q: Nice combination. You seem to collaborate with a lot of people. Does it bother you that most radio stations don't play these long jam songs?
A: They weren't ever intended to be on the radio. That has nothing to do with the radio. I mean I've go a song on the radio now that's been in the top 20 for 10 months - a tune we did with Ozzy Ozborne, so I get plenty of radio time.
Q: You're right. That's a very appropriate song, especially with the OzzFest coming around. So what's the feeling of your Primus fans on this new CD?
A: For the most part they're all pretty excited about it. Definitely the level of musicianship is pretty high, so something to be excited about if you're into that sort of thing.
Q: With the Live Frogs CD, did you incorporate the lyrics later after you got some of the songs down.
A: Well, a lot of the songs are some tunes that are our older tunes from either Holy Mackerel or Sausage Days. Those are old records that I've done. Some of our cover tunes.
Q: Most of your songs are kind of like a jazz fuse/mixture ?
A: It's popouri.
Q: Do you feel like you're kind of reinventing music.
A: Not really. Yes I am (laughter). What the hell does that mean. No. I do what I do. This is my thing.
Q: You have a real creative edge . You've have the guys with masks. You have the different kind of music. Did you know all these musicians before, or did some of them have to audition for the band?
A: I've pretty much known them all.
Q: Do you plan to get back together with the other guys from Primus - do that route again?
A: Maybe some day. There's no plans of it at this point.
Q: So you start to touring with Phil Lesh?
A: I'm doing a handful of shows with Phil. I'll be doing a tour that sort of bounces in and out of the Phil Lesh tour.
Ok thank you for an insight of your music
A: Thank you Randy

By Randy Cohen

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