Friday, July 18, 2008

South of the Pumphouse by Les Claypool

Is it bad that I want to grow up to be like that guy? That guy in question is Les Claypool, one of the most creative and innovative bassists of our time, frontman of such bands as Primus, Oysterhead, Sausage, and the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, and author of the book "South of the Pumphouse" which is, coincidentally, the book I'm reviewing! Isn't it funny the way things work out?
The book opens in the small town of El Sobrante, which was the town in which Les Claypool and Primus Guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde grew up. I'm sorry, I'm getting fanboyish. Anyway, the story follows the drug fueled fishing trip of brothers Ed and Earl, and Earl's bigoted best friend Donny.
I'm going to warn you now, this book is not for the prude. I am a fairly jaded child and some of the things in this book actually made me blush. There are copius amounts of drugs consumed, sex thrown out all willy-nilly (I love that word), and plenty o' violence.
Now that that I've warned you, on with the story. The book's main storyline follows the exploits of the three boys on the boat. Conversation varies wildly between the three, from debate about homosexuality, to scat in a public restroom, but it's Earls drug fueled rampage that shifts the tone of the book from lighthearted, if explicit, conversation, into an extremely morbid tone.
I loved this book. It was well written and strange, and ended on a disturbingly unsettling note. My only complaints are the flashbacks, which often intrude on the story, and the overall length of the book. Around two hundred pages, the book reads pretty quick, especially since you can't put it down. Unless you have no arms.
All in all, this book is a definite must for any fan of Claypool and his work, and a must for those who enjoy dark and unsettling tales. I'd heartily reccomend this to ay stranger passing in the street. Course, they'd all probably think I'm insane.

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