Les Claypool on Guitar Players

December 1, 2008

Larry LaLonde (Primus). Larry’s got a very unique approach and sound. He tends to be very angular in his playing, he has great tonality, and he’s very textural. He’s got a big thumbprint. You hear him and go, “That’s Ler!”
Buckethead (Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains). Buckethead is probably practicing as we speak because that’s what he does. He’s always sitting around wiggling his fingers. He has a great groove, which is surprising because it’s very rare to find that combination of shredding technical ability along with an incredible sense of time. A player who can put those traits together is very powerful.
Trey Anastasio (Oysterhead). Antipasta is a fabulous player. Some people have baggage about Phish—either pro or con—but he’s a very underrated player outside of the jam world. He’s got an incredible ear, and a great sense of tonal space—where to play and where not to play. Playing with Trey is like having a very interesting conversation. There’s a lot of great give and take, and he’s very tasteful.
Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule, Frog Brigade). Warren Haynes is a monster. He’s one of the better guitar players on the planet. He lives his life playing music, and you can really tell. And his slide playing is phenomenal. He played on “Buzzards of Green Hill” from my Purple Onion CD. I rolled the song twice, and his second pass was perfect all the way through.
Bryan Kehoe (Frog Brigade, Electric Apricot). I’ve known him since high school, and he’s always been the Sam Kinison of guitar. He’s this ball-of-fire, intelligent, humorous guy with a bit of a devil-may-care attitude. He’s very good at shooting from the hip. Sometimes his playing is almost comical. I’m a firm believer that all players’ personalities are reflected in the way they approach their instrument. Like Kehoe’s character Gordo says in Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo: “It’s in the fingers!”

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