There are supergroups, and then there are super groups. Though it was short-lived, Colonel Claypool’s Bucket Of Bernie Brains was one of the greatest musical congregations ever.

From 2002–2004, lucky fans got the opportunity to see guitarist Buckethead, bassist Les Claypool, drummer Brain (aka Bryan Mantia) and keyboardist Bernie Worrell join forces for some serious experimental fusion. The band formed at the first-ever Bonnaroo in 2002, meeting backstage and bonding over a festival jam session. The band name features contributions from all four members, and their one-of-a-kind concerts featured no rehearsals or planning. Improvisation at its purest.

The group eventually hit the studio in 2004, recording The Big Eyeball in the Sky and promoting it with a fall tour. At the time, Claypool called the tour “a traveling, oversized sock-puppet show spawned by the characters of a Tobe Hooper film and scored by Danny Elfman on bad acid.”

In honor of the late great Bernie Worrell, on the anniversary of his death in 2016, we felt compelled to share some great footage from the band’s May 3rd, 2003 performance at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans, LA. Watch below.

Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains – State Palace Theater – New Orleans, LA – 5/3/03

[Video courtesy of FunkIt Blog]

Les Claypool had some kind words to say in the wake of his passing, posting this message on Facebook:

RIP Bernie Worrell. You are truly missed.

[Originally published 6/24/18]