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Primus and Les Claypool Get the History Treatment in New Book

Over the Electric Grapevine: Insight into Primus and the World of Les ClaypoolWith his band, Primus, bassist Les Claypool not only helped bring alt-rock to the world in the early 1990s, but also infused the music scene with tunes that were fun, funky, experimental, and one of a kind.

The group’s influence is significant, making it the perfect subject for a book. And now one has arrived — Over the Electric Grapevine: Insight into Primus and the World of Les Claypool.

The book is an oral history with a wealth of previously untold stories and unseen photographs. And the interviews are plentiful — more than 50 of them, with Claypool, Rush’s Geddy Lee, and Phish’s Trey Anastasio, who said, “At Phish practice, we used to listen to Sailing the Seas of Cheese… [Les] is the most unique bass player.”

Other musicians interviewed include The Police drummer Stewart Copeland, who also played with Claypool and Anastasio in Oysterhead; My Morning Jacket bassist Tom Blankenship; Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, who went to high school with Claypool; Mike Watt, bassist for the Minutemen, fIREHOSE and the Stooges; Robert Trujillo, Metallica bassist; and legendary singer/songwriter/producer Tom Waits.

Greg Prato, who composed the book in affiliation with Primus, has written for magazines like Rolling Stone and written a number of rock books, including Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music and Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets.

The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

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I remember seeing Primus at the Nightbreak on Haight St back in March of 1990 when Primus was just getting big – I think Frizzle Fry was just released. I just moved to SF & thought I was a pretty good bassist, but I was blown away by Les Claypool playing – it was unlike anything I had ever seen – I remember wondering if every bassist in SF was that good.

There were some great funk metal bands back then – Limbomaniacs, Psychefunkapus… before slapping in metal became illegal in the late 90’s.