How This Artist Turned The Music World Upside Down

Les Claypool is the bassist and frontman for Primus, a band that gained popularity for its unique sound in the early 90s. His passion for strange music made him a pivotal musician in his time, and he still creates music to this day.

Here’s what Les Claypool has taught the music world.

1. He proved that you don’t need training to play music.

Les Claypool is not an average bass player by any means. Because he was self-taught, he plays the instrument in a unique way that previously hadn’t really been explored. He relies heavily on hammering the frets and slap bass, which, while common in funk, hadn’t really been used much in alternative rock.

He likens his bass playing to fly fishing, another skill he taught himself, and he claims that anyone can master any skill if he sets his mind to it.

2. When he didn’t fit in, he made his own sound.

One of the most interesting music stories involving Les Claypool was his audition for Metallica. When they lost their bass player, Kirk Hammett reached out to Claypool to audition for the role. He showed up not knowing how popular they were or much about metal in general, and they turned him down because he was “too good.” or as Claypool recounts it, “too weird.”

Claypool found success despite this turn by pursuing his own sound and style.

3. He never stopped experimenting.

Primus still releases the odd album here and there, but Les Claypool is constantly joining up with different musicians and touring with a new sound. He plays strange instruments and composes unique genres, all unlike anything he had done before.

Most recently he toured with John Lennon’s son, Sean, and played the stage at Outside Lands. The group was a trip, and in a way, it wasn’t anything new because this is just one of his handful of bands.

Les Claypool proved that in the music world, the strange thrive. He paved the way for the odd world of alternative. Any person can pick up an instrument and make sound with it, and with enough drive, become successful.

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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s playing the bass.

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