Primus are getting ready to hit the road again playing Rush's A Farewell To Kings album in its entirety. A combination that's already proved successful when they did it last year. In a new interview with Kyle Meredith, the trio's vocalist and bassist Les Claypool reflected on the preparations for such a seemingly gargantuan performance, but also revealed the band has a documentary in the works. And they've recorded new material
It's clearly a busy time with Claypool also collaborating with other musicians too. "We just recorded some new Primus, I've been working on stuff with Sean Lennon and I'm doing this twang thing with Billy Strings, and at the same time learning Rush songs," says Claypool. "My world is quite diverse these days musically."
This burst of activity follows a period over the pandemic when Claypool admits he was lacking musical inspiration. "It wasn't until after, when things started loosening up… once we started rehearsing the Primus [A Farewell To] Kings stuff, the juices started flowing again," Claypool adds. Now that's continued with new Primus music.
"Basically, what I wanted to do was record one giant song, which we did. But you can't just release one song, so we had to have a b-side. We recorded another song but the first song was so giant that we had to do two [other] songs. So now we're doing a three-song 12-inch single."
And the bassist has sound reasoning for doing this over a full album.
"We didn't have a lot of time to make a full-blown album," continues Claypool. "But also, how many people are open to us playing a full-blown album live these days? We've got the Rush stuff, we've got all our stuff and when you go see a band you've been seeing for many years, often watching them go and play a bunch of new songs isn't necessarily what you [want]. But trickling in a few new songs… that way we can actually play these things live and we're not burying people with all this music they don't know."
Claypool confirmed the long song is 13-minutes in length and is called Conspiranoia. And the band are not just looking forward right now – it looks like there's a retrospective film in the works.
"I played it for my son," reveals Claypool, "And my song has become this pretty amazing sounding board for me lately. In fact he's making the Primus documentary right now."
The musician admitted it was his son Cage Oliver Claypool's feedback about being 'a little preachy' and lacking some of the characterisation that is a trademark of the Claypool's Primus writing, that lead him to rewrite some of the lyrics to the song.
"It's more me, but it took my son pointing that out to do it," admits Claypool. "…I still have things to say but I say it through these characters."
As for the documentary, Claypool confirmed his son was interviewing people to talk about the band for it but there's no sign of a release date yet. Cage Oliver Claypool has previously directed a short film Precious Metals (see below) featuring his father and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.
As far as the new tour is concerned, Claypool is focussed on brushing up on his Rush chops again. And revealed it's one of the few occasions Primus has knuckled down to rehearse.
"People think we rehearse all the time to do all this crazy s*** and we're the laziest band on the planet. We never rehearse. We'll write songs, learn the songs and that's it. We very rarely rehearse and when we do rehearse we play for a little bit, jam around and then drink wine and eat steaks. But for the Rush thing we had to rehearse and we had to rehearse a lot. And actually it was a pretty amazing bonding experience for us.
"We've got this new rehearsal space and the guys came in from out of town and we had to really work hard, because if you're gonna take on Rush you've got to… Rush fans are very, very discerning and we had to do everything as close to the original as we possibly could. Right down to even using some of their instruments."