Les Claypool's Frog Brigade at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Wednesday (July 11), 8 pm. $26.50. 416-870-8000.
colonel les claypool is barkingdown the horn from Berkeley, California. The Primus bassist (he says they're on hiatus), on tour with his Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, is 90 minutes away from playing with former Grateful Dead guitarist and present-day Rat Dog front man Phil Lesh.Too bad that's a pair-up Torontonians won't get to see when Claypool leaps into town for Wednesday's show at the Phoenix. But the Colonel, quick on his feet as always, thinks of a way to rectify the situation.
"I'm trying to get Geddy Lee of Rush onstage, or maybe Alex (Lifeson), to play with a tortilla chip."
Claypool's live gig raids are just part of his scheme to gather new recruits for his ruthless brigade. They're also a way to promote his new disc, Live Frogs -- Set 1.
Released on his own label, Prawn Song, the live recording from a San Fran gig last October is full of bass-heavy jams in Claypool's definitive slap-happy, wacky style.
Live Frogs -- Set 2, due out July 24, is a note-for-note cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 classic album, Animals.
Obviously, he appreciates rock history. This tour treats listeners to the Frog Brigade's rendition of "space," a cosmic instrumental journey the Dead used to trip fans out with during their shows.
"Why not?" he demands. "Everybody likes space. I think the Les Claypool perception of space is probably quite different from most people's. It's this spontaneous mind meld."
When the colonel's on shore leave from his frog-minded missions, he leads Oysterhead, a three-man group that also includes Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. That collaboration began at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in May 2000 at an event that mushroomed to wild proportions.
By word of mouth, that night's Oysterhead tickets were sold out in 12 minutes. The demand was so high, they were auctioned off on e-Bay for up to $2,000 U.S., and heavies like über-director Francis Ford Coppola showed up in the crowd.
"It was just a frenzy. I guess it was the (artist) lineup, and people were excited by that. I thought we were going to play a club somewhere, and we played this theatre that just went nuts."
After completing his North American assignment with the Frog Brigade, he'll attempt an Oysterhead tour and is thinking about his other musical projects, Sausage and Holy Mackerel. So what's with all these bizarre names?
"Everybody's doing these short names. You've got Stain and Tool -- all these little one-syllable names. I just thought Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade would be a good contrast to what's out there."@@@@@