Synthesis recently conducted an interview with PRIMUS singer and bassist Les Claypool, who talks about their latest album “Green Naugahyde”, legacy, another album and even going fishing.
Green Naugahyde came out last fall and you toured off it extensively. Do you notice the current tour speaking to a new audience as well as old fans just basking in Primus’ rebirth?
You know, I’m getting a sense we’re seeing our numbers increasing…there’s definitely an energetic vibe to what’s going on, a lot of younger people, which is surprising. A lot more women in the audience [laughs], which is surprising. We’ve been getting some juice off this “Lee Van Cleef” single and video; Howard Stern came out and was raving about it a little while ago, so there’s a tangible buzz about what we’re doing right now and it feels good.
So you’re noticing younger Primus fans being created?
Younger than me.
What now? We all want to assume you’re gonna keep putting out new music.
There’s a lot of talk—not exactly sure what we’re doing next. We’re touring through the rest of the year, so we’re keeping pretty busy. But you know me: I’ve got 50 pots on the stove at all times, just a matter of which one gets pulled up to the front burner. Right now the old Primus pot’s boilin’ away and we’re having a good time with it.
I have to say that I admire the fact that Primus is still Primus. Twenty-five-plus years has a way of changing most bands, but Primus is just as weird and fucked up now as when Frizzle Fry dropped.
Well, we’ve had the carrot waived in front of our face many times. “If you work with this producer and you do this you can get on the radio more and you can do that and you can be a little more palatable to certain demographics,” and it’s always been a hard pill for me to swallow. We tried it a little bit on the Antipop record, we did some compromising, and it’s my least favorite record that we’ve made. So when it came time to do this, I said, “Hey, let’s continue to do like we did in the old days and that’s make things that get our juices flowing.”
I mean, we’re the ones that have to out and play it every night. I remember running into a band years ago that was very, very, very, very popular, and all the musicians in the band except for the one guy that wrote this one particular song, haaaaated playing their hit. It was just this poppy, dribbling, syrupy thing, and these guys were all pretty intense musicians, and they have to play that song the rest of their lives. It took me a long time to even play The Beaver [“Wynonna’s Big Brown Beaver”]. Now The Beaver’s back in rotation ‘cause it’s fun to play, but for a while there it was a prickly pear.
I’m just hoping we can get Merle Haggard out to one of these shows. I’ve never played Redding before and I’d sure love to meet old Merle. He’s definitely a hero. I used to spend a lot of time just east of there in Hat Creek and Old Station and the Lassen area when I was a kid.
Used to go up there and do some fishing?
I come from a long line of auto mechanics, and we didn’t go to Hawaii and places like that for our vacation. We went camping up at Burney Falls and those places. We stayed in my step-dad’s old army tent that he stole when he was in the military back in the late-‘60s; ate K-rations and shit like that.
The rest of the interview can be read here.