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Four questions with Primus’ Les Claypool

Les Claypool leads Primus into The Joint on June 22.
Photo: Robert E. Klein
Chris Bitonti

Primus went 12 years between albums. What motivated you to record 2011’s Green Naugahyde?

There’s always that “What are we doing next?” when I look at all the pots on the stove. I got to talking to Ler [guitarist Larry LaLonde], and he was very anxious to do it, so we got together and played with [drummer] Jay Lane, and it just felt good and sounded amazing. [But] I didn’t want to do another nostalgia tour; if we’re gonna tour, we need to make a record.

The Details

Primus with Fishbone
June 22, 9 p.m., $31-$35.
The Joint, 693-5222.

You’re playing with Fishbone in Vegas. You’ve toured with Slayer. You’ve toured with Portugal. The Man. What do you think it is about your music that allows for such flexibility?

Well, when we toured with Slayer it was with the Ozzfest, and Sharon [Osbourne] was very hesitant about putting Primus on the bill. But we did it, and it ended up being great. We’ve always been that band that you can’t really get under your thumb—nobody knows what the hell to call us. We opened for U2 back in the day; we’ve opened for Rush, Jane’s Addiction … tonight Gogol Bordello is opening for us. I personally like to bring pretty obscure bands out with us. Not knocking Slayer, but when it’s my choice of bands that open for us, they tend to be pretty eclectic.

The concept of working-class America runs through a lot of Primus’ catalog. What about that inspires you?

I come from a long line of auto mechanics. My dad was a mechanic, my step-dad, my uncles, my grandfather were all mechanics, and I grew up in semi-rural suburbia. We were trained to be worker bees. Most of the guys I knew in high school went on to work at Standard Oil. I [also] tend to have a soft spot for old cars.

What do you drive?

I’ve got a big yellow truck and a green bronco, in various stages of repair or disrepair. It’s a little bit like Sanford and Son around my house.


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