Claypool burst into the public consciousness as part of the early 90’s alternative scene with his band Primus, a group that didn’t fit the angst marinated mainstream then, and still doesn’t now. Known for lighthearted and eccentric lyrics, Claypool himself garnered a reputation as one of the best bass players alive. Seriously, have that conversation in any bar in any town in America, and tell me his name doesn’t at least get mentioned.
The band cracked radio and Mtv with songs like “My Name Is Mud”, “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers”, and “Winona’s Big Brown Beaver” – that were being found on colorful albums with titles like Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Frizzle Fry, or Tales from the Punch Bowl. As we speak the band is preparing a new album to be released in October called Primus and the Chocolate Factory, where they cover all the music from the 1971 film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
But Claypool has never been content to settle in an artistic safe zone where he isn’t pushing some kind of avant garde musical boundary. He has had countless side projects with which he’s toured, including: Les Claypool & The Holy Mackerel, Colonel Les Claypool’s Flying Frog Brigade, Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, as well as a number of solo projects and guest appearances on other artists’ albums. He even formed a short lived supergroup, Oysterhead, the bass oriented funk-metal band featured Trey Anastasio of Phish on guitar, and Stuart Copeland of The Police on drums.
All of this said, it should be no surprise to any of us that Les Claypool returned earlier this year with a new side-project called Duo De Twang. Teaming up with his old friend and guitarist for the band M.I.R.V., Bryan Kehoe – the two explored (or perhaps invented) the genre of psychedelic bluegrass while recording their debut album called Four Foot Shack. On the record the duo covers classic songs from artists as varied as Jerry Reed, The Bee Gees, and Alice in Chains – while reimagining several of Claypool’s compositions spanning his entire career and countless side-projects.
Duo de Twang will be performing tonight at Mercury Ballroom. The show starts at 8:00 PM and tickets are $30.