Archive for the ‘Praxis’ 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…)


Read Full Post »

 oct6SOUNDTRACK: LIMBOMANIACS-Stinky Grooves (1990).

limboSo this album was a favorite of mine in college (amazingly you can’t find very much about it online–I kind of assumed it was huge, but apparently only in my head).  Why does it fit here?  Because the drummer, Brian “Brain” Mantia is who replaced Tim Alexander on Primus’ next few albums.

The Limbomaniacs album is a big stupid funk rock album that is absolutely college age appropriate (if not terribly sexist).  It’s about sex, butts, porn, poop and getting funky.  You can’t play any of the songs on the radio: “Butt Funkin’,” “Porno” (which has a good riff) “That’s the Way” (which is much more vulgar than I realized) or “The Toilet’s Flooded” (with a great big ….).

The biggest surprise about this album , which is clearly kinda dumb fun, is that it attracted such big names to it. It was produced by Bill Laswell and has vocals from Bootsy Collins and sax from Maceo Parker.  This record must have come out before you had to pay for samples, because they seem to be sampling everything, most of it to good use–2001, Blade Runner, William S. Burroughs and Public Enemy.

Probably the best songs on the disc are the ones that are a bit cleaner (like they emphasized the music over the lyrics) “Maniac” with some good horn samples and quotes from Network, is fun and funky–catchy as anything and still sounds good.  “Free Style” is a fun dancey song (with a sax solo from Parker).  “Shake It” is also a fun song (to me it sounds like a college party–although I guess kids these days don’t listen to funk rock).

“Pavlov’s Frothing Dogs” has extensive samples from a William S. Burroughs story, which works interestingly well.

The little you can find out about them online suggests that the band was well-respected musically (but quickly disbanded after a lot of local success).  I find these songs to be rather simple in structure and performance so it seems hard to imagine them inspiring anyone.  And yet, Laswell is involved and immediately started using Brain on drums in his “supergroup” Praxis.  (The Limbomaniacs also introduced Laswell to Buckethead who was a friend) and Buckethead is in Praxis as well.

I more or less know what happened to everyone in the band.  Mirv, the guitarist went on to form M.I.R.V., but I’m not sure what happened to Butthouse the singer.  This album is a totally time capsule for me.  And the little voice at the end of “The Toilet’s Flooded” made me laugh like I was 20 years old again.

[READ: January 9, 2014] “Story, with Bird”

It’s fun to read a two-page story from time to time.  This story felt quite elliptical–a lot happened, but all in a rather quick way.

As the story begins, we know the couple’s relationship is about to end.  As a last ditch effort at staying together, they decided to give up drinking–but it didn’t really work (obviously).

The bird in the title is a bird which flew into their house.  She tried to attack it to get it out, but he used the more pacifist approach of turning off the lights and leaving the windows opened so the bird could leave on its own.  They fought about who was right, but his way did work. (more…)

Read Full Post »