Archive for the ‘Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains’ Category


eyeballAfter touring with Primus for a bit, Les met up with Buckethead, Bernie Worrell, and Brain at the 2002 Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival. Worrell, Brain and Buckethead were there to perform with Bill Laswell as Praxis, but Laswell was not able to play.  So Claypool invited them to jam with him and the Bucket(head) of Bernie (Worrell) Brain(s) was formed.

This is another fun jam band for Les with jamming credentials (Bonnaroo and all).  But the biggest change to the overall sound is the addition of Bernie Worrell on funk keyboards which adds a radically new dimension to Claypool’s music.  And Claypool plays along accordingly.

The disc opens with keyboards! (even a song that’s all about Buckethead opens with keyboards).  The verses are carnivalesque while the chorus are funky with Les’ wild bass and some good keyboards from Bernie.  Even though the guitars from Buckethead are great they don’t really stand out amid the music—there’s no room for showing off in this bunch (although his solo at 4:30 is pretty groovy).  I love the riffs (keys) at 3:00, it’s a great section and could have easily been a whole song.

I find that the more I enjoy the jamming music that Les creates the less I enjoy his vocals/lyrics.  It seems like his songs get limited when he starts using conventional (sic) verse chorus structure.  So I love the chorus that he sings on”Thai Noodles,” but the verses just don’t seem to fit with the interesting music going on.

“Tyranny of the Hunt” has an interesting weird riff, but the real highlight of the disc is “Elephant Ghost.”  I have complained that many of Les’ songs have been too long, but in this case, 11 minutes is just about right for this lengthy groovy jam.  It’s got the kind of melody that doesn’t grow tired after a few minutes and the soloing is really great.  It actually feels a lot shorter than some of his 6 minute songs.

“Hip Shot From the Slab” and “Junior” have that redneck kind of thing that Les has been playing with.  The backing vocals on “Slab” are a nice bright contrast, but I feel like he’s really getting hung up in this darker style of music lately.  “Scott Taylor” is another great instrumental.  I love that the main riff is a keyboard riff–and man is it a good one.  “The Big Eyeball in the Sky” is an anti-televsion song.  “Jackalope”is  a bouncing bass heavy instrumental.  It is the least fun of the three.  “48 Hours to Go” is a little dull, but the disc ends with the interesting “Ignorance is Bliss.”  This is a great change of pace with a cool violin/fiddle sound and good vocals.

Even though Claypool is ostensibly the leader of the band, I like these songs best when he take a backseat and lets the other guys shine.

[READ: January 21, 2015] “Savage Breast”

Now this was a weird little story.

It opens with a woman saying that the day was ordinary aside from her headache.  She was supposed to go to a party that night but didn’t feel like it.  So she took a nap instead.

But when she woke up she found out that the room she was in was not her own, but rather her childhood bedroom.  Everything was exactly as she remembered it–all details perfectly in place, including the view out the window and the clothes in the closet (which were her childhood clothes but still fit her).  Weird, right?  But even weirder was the fact that the other person in the house with her was a beast–a big hairy beast.  And yet, as she got nearer and nearer she realized that the beast was actually her mother–it acted like her, lay like her and behaved like her, even if she was totally covered in fur.

In fact, when her “sister” beast comes home, she acts exactly the way her sister did when they were kids.  And when her “father” beast comes home after work, he has the exact same drink that her real father always had.  It’s like a crazy flashback to her childhood, except that everyone is a beast.  (more…)


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