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Does Les Claypool "groove in the pocket"?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jamestown94west, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. I was responding to an ad by a band looking for a bassist. I was trying get them to tell me what they wanted out of their bassist. The reply I got was "blues/funk/jazz". So I followed that up by asking if they were looking for a technically proficient, versatile bassist, and they said, "yes, groove in the pocket, like Les Claypool".

    Can someone explain what that might mean? I'm very familiar with Primus, but I wouldn't consider Claypool a groove in the pocket type player.

    I don't want to badger this guy with questions, so I thought I'd ask here.
  2. sevdog


    Mar 2, 2008
    Sounds like they want you to be able to slap, have big feet, and wear funny hats.
  3. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    So you say your band doesn't know the first thing about basses, bass technique and bass players?

    Imagine that.
  4. Yeah, Claypool isn't exactly a pocket player. Man's funky as Hell, but I wouldn't apply the words 'groove' or 'pocket',
  5. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Claypool is very groovy and in the pocket IMO, but he can and does step outside of it whenever he wants to. If your definition of pocket or groove is playing a root on the 1 and a 5th on the 3 for 5 minutes, then no he isn't.
  6. show up wearing this:

    Then say, 'is this enough groove pocket for ya?'
  7. I'm not real sure I'm going to show up at all...I haven't commited to anything yet, I'm not sure I would be a good match for this band.
  8. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    He plays in the pocket when it's appropriate. That is he is capable of it, for sure.
  9. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I think he grooves hard during guitar solos in Primus ( well prior to their last CD ) and in his solo project and the last Primus CD it is all about the groove but an unconvientional groove.
  10. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Ummm... yes. Yes he does... hmmm... 'Tommy the Cat' anyone?
  11. FunkyMcNasty


    Dec 4, 2010
    Yeah, IMO most of his playing is in the pocket except for the more abstract stuff. Most of their tunes are built on his steady bass lines, no matter how funky they are.
  12. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Seeing as how Claypool started out as a drummer, I can safely say he grooves in the pocket and is very solid rhythmically.
  13. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Les is in the pocket for sure.....but it is a big pocket not a restrictive one.

    When i go to see Les, or someone with similar abilities, and they played simple pocket lines i would feel cheated, i watch these people because they can do what others cannot, they have extended capabilities on their instrument that is great to watch and hear.
    Could Les play play a Sly and the Family Stone song, of course he could, but so can most players, i want to see him play something most cannot, i want to see him push his abilities not sit safely within them.:)
  14. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL


    It's the same reason I listen to Sheehan, or LaRue, or Anthony Crawford... I WANT to hear something EXCEPTIONAL, something more than 1 - 4 for 4 minutes. Anyone can play Sly and the Family Stone, or the VAST majority of other musical acts. I want to hear Claypool and others do what others cannot - that doesn't make it "wanking off" (as some here have derisively called Sheehan's playing with Winery Dogs, for instance) it makes it above the ordinary and ASTOUNDING. Sure Sheehan could play it straight like 99.9% of every other bassist in the world if he wanted, so could Claypool - but they wouldn't be the giants that they are.

    (not intentionally hijacking the thread, just SO glad to see someone give credit that SHOULD be given to some monster players like Claypool who are not standard, "groove" or "pocket players")
  15. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
  16. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I dig his singing!

    He did quote his dad who said "Les, you can't sing for **** but you sure can play the hell out the bass"
  17. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    How can someone be "funky", but not "groove"? :eyebrow:

    "Pocket" doesn't have anything to do with how many notes you play, or how simple your playing is. It means playing with a good rhythmic feel.

    And yes, Claypool plays in the pocket, all while slapping, tapping, and white-boy rapping. :D

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