Les Claypool

The most original rock bassist to come along in the '90s was unquestionably Primus' Les Claypool. With his oddball sense of humor and funky playing, Claypool took his varied musical influences and created an invigorating and completely inventive style. The Les Claypool story begins on September 29, 1963, when he was born in Richmond, CA. As a teenager, Claypool met fellow student Kirk Hammett (yes, the Kirk Hammett of Metallica fame), who turned him on to such rock acts as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and Led Zeppelin. It was around this time that Claypool took up the bass, influenced by the likes of Rush's Geddy Lee, Yes' Chris Squire, and Paul McCartney. Although Hammett asked Claypool to join a band he was in, he opted for another group in his high school, progressive metallists Blind Illusion, while broadening his musical horizons by playing in jazz and swing bands. Upon discovering such fusion and funk bass greats as Stanley Clarke and Larry Graham around this time, Claypool began incorporating "slapping" into his playing technique.