Les Claypool celebrates his 58th birthday today. The renowned Primus bassist (among many other projects), singer-songwriter and all-around auteur was born on September 29, 1963 in Richmond, California. Les is one of the best bass players in the game. He utilizes a number of tricky, and sometimes unorthodox, techniques for a bassist including flamenco style strumming, slapping, tapping and chording often enhanced by the use of fuzz and envelope filter effects.
Claypool is also a skilled singer-songwriter whose eccentric personality allows him to pen tunes about a wide variety of equally eccentric characters. Claypool’s ample skillset is on full display in a video capturing Primus’ set at the Rockpalast Open Air Festival in Loreley, Germany on June 22, 1997. Primus would share the stage with a number of notable acts at the festival including Steve Winwood, John Hiatt, Sheryl Crow and Claypool’s future Oysterhead bandmate Trey Anastasio and Phish.
Much like Phish in ‘97, Primus — Claypool, guitarist Larry Lalonde and drummer Bryan “Brain” Mantia — were also at the top of their game and their set at the Rockpalast Festival reads something like a greatest hits album. In fact, seven of the 10 songs from Primus’ festival slot would later appear on the band’s first greatest hits LP, 2006’s They Can’t All Be Zingers.
These include opener and Fizzle Fry (1989) cut “John The Fisherman” as well as tracks from the band’s landmark 1991 album Sailing The Seas of Cheese “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers” — which contained a “Highball With The Devil” tease, the title track to Claypool’s 1996 collaborative album with Holy Mackerel — “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” and “Tommy The Cat.” Rounding out the tunes off Zingers is Pork Soda’s (1993) “My Name Is Mud” as well as “Shake Hands With Beef” and “Over The Falls,” the latter two from the yet to be released at the time Brown Album which would come out just weeks after the Rockpalast play.
To celebrate Les Claypool’s birthday, watch Primus perform at the Rockpalast Open Air Festival in 1997 below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:
Setlist (via Toasterland.com)
Set: John the Fisherman, Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, Jerry Was A Race Car Driver, Shake Hands with Beef, My Name is Mud, Over the Falls, Seas of Cheese, Coddingtown, Tommy the Cat > The Awakening > Tommy the Cat
 Highball with the Devil tease during Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers