Of Whales and Woe marks the first album release under the name Les Claypool. Though previous "solo" efforts were issued under a variety of monikers, these new recordings are the most self-contained to date. On most of the tracks Claypool provides drums and guitar as well as his usual bass and vocals while band members add instrumental variety (Skerik - sax, Mike Dillon - marimba and percussion, Gabby La La - sitar). The CD includes an assortment of musical styles and also includes Les' theme for Seth Green's hit animated show Robot Chicken that airs on Adult Swim.
The song "Phantom Patriot" takes its name from the 2002 incident where a Richard McCaslin infiltrated the secretive Bohemian Grove campground in California. He was heavily armed and had the words "Phantom Patriot" written on his outfit.