Nov 292010

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Bonnaroo Music Festival has worked hard to build up its reputation as a haven for experimentation of all types. Many attendees would consider it a disappointment to travel all the way to Manchester, TN on a hot June weekend and not experience something totally weird and trippy. Musically, this philosophy finds its realization in the yearly tradition of the Bonnaroo SuperJam, which brings together odd pairings of artists just for the hell of it.

For lovers of covers, the 2008 SuperJam is especially noteworthy. New York City Gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello joined Primus bass-master Les Claypool for a set consisting entirely of songs by the peerless Tom Waits. But wait, there’s more! Metal-head Kirk Hammett of Metallica fame joined this already-crazy pairing for three songs.

As it turns out, Gogol Bordello’s unique stylings lend themselves very well to the untraditional songs of Waits. Claypool’s bass is perhaps a little more restrained than usual, but the air of Primus eccentricity he carries with him really compliments the atmosphere of the event. Kirk Hammett certainly adds…something to the mix. It’s a truly unusual performance, but undoubtedly this kind of peculiar mash-up is precisely what festival organizers had in mind when they conceived SuperJam in the first place.

If you want to get in on this experiment (and you should!), sample three of the tracks below: “I’ll Be Gone,” “Just the Right Bullets,” and “Big in Japan” (featuring Mr. Hammett). If you like what you hear, head on over to the Live Music Archive and download the whole thing for free, then let us know what you think!

MP3: Gogol Bordello and Les Claypool – I’ll Be Gone (Tom Waits cover) (Live at Bonnaroo 2008)
[audio: DownloadThis/WaitsSuperjam/IllBeGone.mp3]

: Gogol Bordello and Les Claypool – Just the Right Bullets (Tom Waits cover) (Live at Bonnaroo 2008)
[audio: DownloadThis/WaitsSuperjam/JusttheRightBullets.mp3]

: Gogol Bordello and Les Claypool ft. Kirk Hammett – Big in Japan (Tom Waits cover) (Live at Bonnaroo 2008)
[audio: DownloadThis/WaitsSuperjam/BiginJapan.mp3]

Download the whole thing at

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  3 Responses to “Download This: Gogol Bordello and Les Claypool Jam through Tom Waits at Bonnaroo”

Comments (3)
  1. Well, Gogol Bordello sounds like a natural choice for this sort of thing, and Les’s involvement isn’t really surprising given that he’s collaborated with Tom before, but Kirk Hammett is a bit of a shocker… and the fact that it WORKS: even more so!

  2. Also: I want to see a proper album develop out of this. Not just a jam session set to tape like a lot of Claypool’s collaborations, but a full album. They could have Stewart Copeland on drums and use members of Leonard Cohen’s touring band for session work. I just want to see how this whole thing would turn out!

  3. Just noticed how old this is… damn. Still hope they might get back together for something!

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