Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade – Live Frogs Set 1 – Review

Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Live Frogs Set 1 (Prawn Song)
by Craig Regala

Primus bass (etc.) player puts together a chops-heavy unit to really get after the goofus/progressive/jazz/third stream/funk/metal/surf fusion. Guys who dig polyrhythms, 32nd notes, modal scales, and lightning-fast guitaring will really go for this. The King Crimson and Pink Floyd covers signify heavily. Claypool recorded a different Floyd tune, “Have A Cigar,” on a Primus covers EP years ago and has stated the next Frog Brigade recording will include Floyd’s Animals nose to tail. Should you give a fuck? Sure. The exploratory nature of players interacting anchored by a tune is a fine thing and is how music as music grows. Much like the Allman Brothers in their cultural circle, or the SST band Gone in theirs, this itches the jazz bone without “being” jazz. When there’s noodling, it’s fat, fast, and ends up somewhere: Generally back to the tune/hammerhook/sax break/hellacopter noise or the end.

This thing was recorded live and sounds great. The non-covers are from an earlier Prawnsong/Claypool affiliated band – Sausage – who were pretty much Primus before Primus, and a couple by The Holy Mackerel, a band named for the fact that three(!) of the members are somehow distantly related to Roman Catholic Popes. The conspiracy starts now, people. I find Claypool’s “voice” – both his throat and his bass – often weaves an overbearing presence into the proceedings. But it’s his thing and the other guys can’t be pushed around musically, so it doesn’t ruin the deal. So, if you, the discerning consumer, were to put together an aesthetically sound H.O.R.D.E. tour, it would be these guys, King Crimson’s Double Quartet, P-Funk Allstars, Henry Threadgill’s Very, Very Circus band, that massive Hawkwind/Pressurehed thing that toured in the early ’90s, and one of those English “festival” bands I can’t ever remember the name of.
(3470 19th St. San Francisco, CA 94110)