Magazine article Guitar Player

Techniques: Les Claypool on the Making of the Big Eyeball in the Sky

Magazine article Guitar Player

Techniques: Les Claypool on the Making of the Big Eyeball in the Sky

Article excerpt

A savvy music journalist always knows when to shut up and let the artist do the talking. And describing the demento-rock aggregate known as Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains--the outfit responsible for The Big Eyeball in the Sky [Prawn Song]--is definitely best left to album producer, whack conceptualist, and virtuoso bassist Les Claypool.

"This is a traveling, over-sized sock-puppet show spawned by the characters of a Tobe Hooper film, and scored by Danny Elfman on bad acid," reports Claypool. And there you have it.

CCBBB was born from a Loose "who's here?" strategy when an MIA Bill Laswell tanked a Praxis gig at the 2002 Bonnaroo Festival. The remaining musicians--Claypool, guitarist Buckethead, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia--opted to just step onstage and jam.

"It was really incredible--you could feel the chemistry," says Claypool. "So when we decided to make this record, we listened to a tape of the Bonnaroo show, and we picked out some of the riffs we played. I originally thought the album would develop into an instrumental thing, but, all of a sudden, we started banging out these little songs. We pretty much hammered away for five days, and then mixed it."

Recorded at Claypool's Northern California studio, much of Eyeball was tracked live with Mantia sequestered in a separate building that used to be a small game room, and Claypool, Buckethead, and Worrell sitting by a vintage API 2488 console in the guesthouse/control room. …

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