Primus | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Primus 

Les Claypool: bassist/fisherman extraordinaire

Pin It
Favorite
click to enlarge Primus
  • Primus

It’s hot in Albuquerque, N.M. The a/c is blasting in Les Claypool’s hotel room; Deadliest Catch is on TV. The bassist extraordinaire loves reality television—about fishing, at least.

However, he has his own fishing disaster story. When Primus broke big in the early ’90s, the Northern California three-piece was touring with Rush. During a San Francisco stop, Claypool offered to take Rush’s bassist, Geddy Lee, out ocean fishing. Lee agreed.

Claypool’s fixer-upper Sea Ray blew a fan belt halfway across San Pablo Bay. So, there he was, leopard-shark fishing but stranded with his childhood hero for seven hours until they got a tug out.

“I think about all that I’ve done on the ocean over the years, and I’m surprised I’m still around. We’ve done some pretty stupid shit,” says the avid fisherman. “You don’t realize it when you’re young. You’re invincible.”

It was the same musically. “There’s this sort of don’t-give-a-shit attitude that comes with youth. We never thought we’d be on MTV or the radio, so we didn’t even try. We just did our thing,” Claypool says. Once fame struck, he adds, the desire grew for more.

However, it’s come full circle. “I think we’re at the point in our careers now that we just don’t think about or expect [fame and notoriety]. There’s a certain liberating element to that,” he says.

Looking back on nearly 30 years, Primus’ music has certainly evolved, but their latest, Green Naugahyde (2011) hearkens back to those early days, circa Frizzle Fry. It comes 12 years after Antipop (1999), a time when Primus lost their musical drive, aspirations and confidence, Claypool says. “We were reaching the end of our creative rope. The well was just dry, so we just started sucking mud,” he says with a laugh.

So they went on hiatus, a break Claypool says led to a personal musical renaissance. “I’ve gotten to play with incredible musicians, and I’ve stretched myself more than I have ever have,” Claypool says. “To come back to Primus, it’s been extraordinarily refreshing. We’ve been reinvigorated.”

It shows with the 12 gems on Green Naugahyde, written with drummer Jay Lane, who played with them before their 1989 debut album. Lane “gives the new material a lot of bounce” like the first albums, and that has kept both the band and fans excited for this tour.

“It is nice to be able to go out, do what you love and come home with your tanks full of crab—to use a Deadliest Catch metaphor,” Claypool says with a laugh.

PRIMUS
Rail Event Center
235 N. 500 West
Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.
$36

Twitter: @AustenDiamond

Pin It
Favorite

Tags:

More by Austen Diamond

Latest in Music

  • Any Requests?

    Some tweaks to Cheap Trick's setlist—which hasn't changed in about three years.
    • Aug 23, 2017
  • Strength

    Provo filmmaker Russ Kendall on his documentary about The Alarm's Mike Peters.
    • Aug 16, 2017
  • Sweet Home Utah

    Tony Holiday drops a new EP of homegrown blues magic.
    • Aug 9, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

‚Äč

Readers also liked…

  • Deconstructing Puzzle

    Dada's 1992 debut asks many questions, provides one answer.
    • Feb 15, 2017
  • Blood Brothers

    Brothers behind Fictionist to debut musical retelling of Civil War story
    • Feb 3, 2016

© 2017 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation