In yesterday’s Wake-Up Video, we celebrated the birth of a cool, sexy blond girl who emerged from the Disney universe to conquer both the screen and the airwaves. Today, we bring out a cake for the person who might just be her cosmic opposite. It’s Les Claypool’s birthday, and the man turns 46 years old today.
Who is Les Claypool? He’s best known as the frontman and spiritual leader of Primus, an unconventional California power trio based around Claypool’s stunning bass guitar style, which brings together funk and metal in bizarre, unconventional ways. The band scored a bit of success in the ’90s alt-rock boom, mostly because that was a time when super weird music got on the radio. Their blips of fame have been odd but consistent: They turned in a memorable, mud-covered performance at Woodstock ’94, scored a video hit with the hypercolor clip for their single “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and the group happened to be available when “South Park” producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone needed a theme song.
Primus went on an indefinite hiatus in 2000 but reformed in 2003 and have gotten back together for brief tours ever since. In the meantime, Claypool kept himself busy with side projects like the jammy Oysterhead (a collaboration with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and Police drummer Stewart Copeland) and the jazzy Frog Brigade, as well as film and video game work. Claypool put out his second solo album this year (it’s called Of Fungi and Foe) and recently wrapped a tour with Matisyahu. He’s always had a stunning visual sense, made clear by the video for “Mr. Krinkle,” which is a single-shot masterpiece that captures all the dark humor that permeated the band’s 1993 album Pork Soda.