Jam on Some Isley Brothers


Two of my favorite bands growing up were Metallica and Primus. One of my first concerts was seeing Metallica play the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia and I was hooked. At the same time, I was learning to play the bass guitar, and wanted to play as well as Les Claypool, the lead singer and bassist of Primus. (One can have extraordinary dreams!)

Being a big fan of both bands, my interest was piqued when I found out that Les Claypool had once had the opportunity to jam with Metallica as they auditioned new bass players after the death of Cliff Burton. Les famously tells the story of asking the members of Metallica (of thrash metal fame) if they wanted to “jam on some Isley Brothers?” The ridiculousness of the question was not lost on Claypool as he tells the story.

This is where the road diverged with Claypool going on to front other jam bands with more eclectic tastes. Metallica would go on to become the biggest metal band in the world. But I often wondered what would have happened if they had the opportunity to play together more.

I imagine that the two entities would have broadened each other’s horizons a little bit more. I often think about “jamming on some Isley Brothers” as a way of thinking differently about something.

Maybe the jam session that day would have stretched everyone’s thinking.

Maybe boundaries would have been broken.

Maybe the jam session would have led to a miraculous piece of music that we weren’t ever able to hear.

Maybe, just maybe, the Metallica-Les Claypool collaboration on “Shout” would have been an all-time number one hit.


You should consider “jamming on some Isley Brothers.”

Find the thing that you’ve never done before or considered doing, and make it a part of your experience.

Try something that challenges you, and makes you take on a new perspective.

What do you say? Wanna Jam on some Isley Brothers?




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