Leslie Edward Claypool was born September 29, 1963, in Richmond, California, and was raised in El Sobrante, California, in a working-class family of auto mechanics. Claypool decided to become a bass player, pursuing the instrument from the age of fourteen. Claypool has cited Larry Graham, Chris Squire, Tony Levin, Roger Waters, Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney, Geezer Butler, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke, John Paul Jones, and the Residents as his musical influences. Notably, Claypool has lifted much of his vocal style from the Residents. He went to school with and was a friend of guitarist Kirk Hammett, later of Metallica fame. Before forming Primus, Claypool learned various blue collar trades and worked as a carpenter.