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COLONEL CLAYPOOL'S BUCKET OF BERNIE BRAINS

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains picture
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains biography
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, also known as C2B3, is an experimental rock group formed at the 2002 Bonnaroo Festival. The group included bassist Les Claypool (also a member of Primus, Les Claypool's Frog Brigade and numerous other projects), guitarist Buckethead (also associate with numerous other groups, as well as a solo career), keyboardist Bernie Worrell (mostly known for his work with Parliament Funkadelic), and drummer Bryan ?Brain? Mantia (Primus, Buckethead's band, etc.). Due to Bill Laswell not being able to play at the festival with his band Praxis (the group which Buckethead, Worrell and Mantia were originally supposed to be playing with), the musicians were left likely not being able to play at all at the festival. Once Claypool heard this, he invited them to play a set with him. The group didn't have any sound check, practice, or line-up; nonetheless, they managed to be a big hit at the festival. Because of the unexpected interest, the group decided to play together for a while longer and see what happened. Initially, they only formed in order to play some improvisational live sets. They played several sold out shows in the Bay area, and eventually decided that they needed to record something.

Originally, the band planned to release a live album, but soon enough they realized they wanted to make a ?real? album, so to speak. So they went into the studio to record their only official studio album, The Big Eyeball in the Sky, in 2004. Often enough, the tracks had to be recorded as a single take, as Worrell suffers from arthritis. Nevertheless, the music turned out incredibly well. The album features both longer, more avant-garde instrumental tracks and shorter songs with vocals, most of which commented on the social and political state of the country at the time. It was released on Claypool's record label, Prawn Song. The group toured supporting the album, after which they disbanded. During the tour, the band took a page from King Crimson's book, making soundboard recordings available to purchase online.

Biography written by Jon Hilty (SaltyJon)

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3.15 | 14 ratings
The Big Eyeball in the Sky
2004

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 The Big Eyeball in the Sky by COLONEL CLAYPOOL'S BUCKET OF BERNIE BRAINS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.15 | 14 ratings

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The Big Eyeball in the Sky
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Colonel Claypool's (Les Claypool from 'Primus') Bucket (Buckethead) of Bernie (Bernie Worrell from 'Parliament-Funkadelic' and 'Talking Heads') Brains (Bryan 'Brain' Mantia from 'Primus', 'Guns n Roses', 'Godflesh')' is the name of another supergroup headed by Mr. Claypool. The band is also known as 'C2B3'. Their only album to date is 'The Big Eyeball in the Sky' and is the band's homage to the experimental, non-commercial music of 'The Residents' and 'Frank Zappa'. That's quite an impressive vision. Gabby La La also provides background vocals for two of the tracks. She has worked with Claypool previously on two of her solo albums and also in 'Les Claypool's Fancy Band'.

'Buckethead' is the first track, named after you know who. It starts with calliope/circus style keyboards. A guitar heralds in Claypool's signature vocals about the amazing guitarist. There is plenty of Buckethead's ripping guitar and Worrell's organ solos throughout the track and it is everything you would expect, with a mostly Primus feel to it. 'Thai Noodles' starts off with the unique bass sound of Claypool and heavy drums. The music is more complex this time around with a tricky rhythm and silly lyrics. Bass and organ stand out on this track. 'Tyranny of the Hunt' starts with a cool guitar riff and sets the pace for the track. There is a great funk vibe in this one, and it will definitely please Primus fans. The FZ inspired lyrics really show through on this one, so be warned: sensitive ears will be offended.

'Elephant Ghost' is the first instrumental of the album and clocks in at 10 minutes. It is a great departure from the previous tracks in that it is more experimental and jazz oriented. There are several processed effects going on under everyone taking part in this great track. The keyboards are slick and snazzy. The guitar is being plucked in a frenzy, but keeping with a more smooth sound than a heavy sound. It does get heavier later however. This is an excellent jam track that at times is reminiscent of the 'Phish' vibe with enough structure to keep you alert throughout.

'Hip Shot from the Slab' has rather simple repeating lyrics featuring Claypool and Gabby singing strange vocals and a heavy bass line. It gets quite frantic as Buckethead is free to improvise as it goes along. 'Junior' is another great Primus sounding track with more silly lyrics and crazy instrumentation. Buckethead and Worrell give the band a more unique sound that reminds you that this is still different from Primus, but Primus lovers like myself will still love this. 'Scott Taylor' is another instrumental that starts with that circus music vibe, but soon erupts into a nice Heavy Progressive Rock sound drenched with guitar and keys.

'The Big Eyeball in the Sky' features a cool chorus with both Les and Gabby singing rapid fire. There are some great instrumental effects going on throughout. This is followed by another instrumental called 'Jackalope'. This one is quite bass heavy with cool organ on top of everything. Heavy funkiness prevails. '48 Hours To Go' is a song about and against the Bush Administration and their hunger for oil and war. Buckethead gives another ripping guitar solo in the middle and there is still plenty of hard bass. 'Ignorance is Bliss' ends the album with another song with piercing anti political/religious lyrics. This one is less funky and more progressive.

Any Primus fan will be happy with this album, but even if you are not necessarily a Primus fan, there is a good chance that you will like it anyway, especially if you like the hard driving progressive rock of Buckethead or the funkiness of P-Funk. There is so much going on in this, and the overall vibe is heaviness. There are a few minor weaknesses in some of the middle tracks, but the instrumentals are amazing and since I love Primus and Les Claypool, I come away feeling mostly satisfied. Great album!

 The Big Eyeball in the Sky by COLONEL CLAYPOOL'S BUCKET OF BERNIE BRAINS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.15 | 14 ratings

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The Big Eyeball in the Sky
Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains Eclectic Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Primus Les Claypool's side project with one-time Guns N'Roses guitarist Buckethead, drummer Brain (from the same Primus) and P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Strange album.

If you want to imagine what the music is presented there, just think about Zappa's atmosphere, transferred to modern time, filled with endless guitar solos, metal-funk and indie-rock of Primus, crazy jams and social edged hip-hop vocals. Music is complex ( but it often looks as complexity in the name of complexity) and chaotic. Some separate moments are interesting, but in whole all this mixture sounds as punk-funk-indie-jamming-chaotic-twisted-revolution.

I can try hard and understand this music, but I will hardly like it. Something on the very border zone of progressive music ( and I like Zorn's Naked City , so it is not my conservative taste). Album for avant-prog lovers who are bored by regular avant till death ( or Madness ex-fans with present love to hardcore).

Still 2,5.

Thanks to evolutionary_sleeper for the artist addition.

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