Cooking with Claypool
words: Tim Newby
Bass-freak-master Les Claypool wants to dispel a long-believed perception of himself.
“It’s funny because there is this appearance that I am this very productive fellow and I am really not. I definitely do not wake up every day and write a new song.”
He’s a man with his finger in all sorts of pies. He’s fronted a wide-range of bands, from his early Primus and Sausage days to Oysterhead and Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, to his ever changing solo band. He’s even written a book (“South of the Pumphouse” in 2006), and written and directed a movie (Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo in 2006) It is hard not to see Claypool as someone who is not productive.
By: Tim Newby
Photos By: Sam Friedman
“You have to baby pick it,” says producer Chris Bentley.
“I thought I was,” the voice of Kenny Liner, mandolinst for the Bridge, comes over the speakers in the control room. The frustration is clear in his voice.
It is an unseasonably hot day in late March, but The Bridge – as they have most of the month – is holed up at the bottom of a non-descript white building located just outside the Baltimore City limits in Cockeysville, Maryland. The building houses Bunker Recording Studio, the band’s studio of choice and where they have recorded all of their previous albums and are currently working on their new album, Blind Man’s Hill, due out October 21.
Tom Hamilton—lead guitarist for the electro-trance jam band Brothers Past —says he’d never heard Gram Parsons before recording his latest album with his new band, both called American Babies . Given the forthrightness and raw emotional honesty of the tunes contained therein, we can assume that Hamilton isn’t being untruthful. So there must be some cosmic synchronicity at hand, or at the very least a serious case of shared influences. Because when Gram Parsons set out to make his self-styled “Cosmic American Music” the sounds of American Babies are almost surely what he had in mind.
Stanley Clarke is one of the more innovative bass players this world has ever known. He exploded onto the jazz world in 1971, fresh out of the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Arriving in New York City, he immediately landed gigs with bandleaders such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharaoh Sanders, and Gil Evans before running in to a blossoming young pianist-composer named Chick Corea.
When I spoke with Ed Anderson on a spring afternoon, he was at home in Bloomington, Illinois where he called his dog outside to sit with him while we talked. His countrified roots-rock band, Backyard Tire Fire, was at home on break from touring behind Vagabonds and Hooligans, the band’s third studio CD, and third CD to be produced with their hometown buddy Tony San Filippo at Bloomington’s Oxide Lounge.