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Primus

PrimusWith a Big Day Out main stage appearance fast approaching for Primus this Sunday, February 2, at Arena Joondalup, Les Claypool tells SHANE PINNEGAR he has “a lot of pots on the stove.”

Just in time for their Big Day Out visit, Primus are newly reunited with drummer, Tim Alexander, a member of the band from 1989-1996, and then 2003-10, and those periods remain a favourite with many Primus fans.

Les Claypool says he’s settled back in nicely. “We did our big annual New Year’s show with him a few weeks back, and it went really well. He’s in a great place these days, so it’s great to have him back,” laughs the bass player and singer of one of the most alternative of the ‘90s alternative bands.

That New Year’s show – which featured a wild, Willy Wonka-themed stage, with band costumes and Oompa Loompas, was tagged Primus And The Chocolate Factory – Claypool says they might take it on the road one day.

“There’s talk of doing that in the future,” he explains. “It’s something that’s being discussed… maybe next time around.”

Claypool jokes that the band prepared for their Australian assault by “doing lots of push-ups, drinking some wheatgrass juice, getting all fit,” adding more seriously that, “I write a different setlist every night. We’ve got a lot to choose from, so who know?”

Tantalisingly, Claypool says now that Alexander is back and fitting in well, new material could be on the cards later on this year.

“It’s not been that long since he’s been back,” he says, “but when we get together, there’s been some creative juices spilling out around the room. The whole notion of all of us is to continue moving forward. I don’t like to just sit and be nostalgic about things, so I’m sure we will be coming up with some new material and bringing it forth in the next year or so.”

Considered a guru of the bass guitar, Claypool has collaborated with many other artists, and likens his playing to communicating on a human level.

“I’ve been playing my instrument for so long, it’s an extension of my, like, communication – it’s like having a conversation,” he explains. The more you want to interact with different people, with different perspectives, the more versed you are going to become as a conversationalist, and I think that’s exactly the same as an instrumentalist as well.

“You learn from everybody you play with, even people who aren’t necessarily overly skilled, you learn by their shortcomings, or by helping them, or whatever. It’s all communication, it’s seeing different perspectives, different approaches – there’s no one way to skin the cat, so seeing and experiencing and playing with all these different people, all it does is help you grow.”

There’s never a dull moment in Claypool’s life, it seems, with talk persisting about a reunion of his early 2000’s band Oysterhead with The Police’s Stewart Copeland and Phish’s Trey Anastasio; an acoustic hillbilly album from his Duo De Twang outfit, and a pilot fishing TV program filmed with Dean Ween.

“Oh I got some dull moments,” he counters, “just never a non-busy moment!”

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