claypool lennon delirium

“My own son was a bass player,” says Claypool, “and he switched from bass to banjo because he got tired of people saying, ‘Oh you’re Les Claypool’s son, hmmm …’ And that’s on a very small scale compared to what Sean has to deal with.” Photo by Douglas Mason

The psychedelic torchbearers lock themselves in the studio, play all the instruments, and open a treasure chest of effects to form a band and make an album.

At first thought, pairing Les Claypool with Sean Lennon doesn’t make sense. Claypool is the mad genius behind Primus, a thumb-thumping bass god, and an idiosyncratic stylist. His aesthetic sensibilities were formed in a galaxy light years away from Lennon’s song-centric, multi-layered, colorful universe. You wouldn’t think to put them together. But when you do … wow. Like chocolate and peanut butter, coffee and cigarettes, or Bob Dylan and electricity, their disparate worlds merge in a Vulcan mind meld. It’s an obvious why-didn’t-I-think-of-that collaboration—organic and natural.

And their music—retro, ’60s-era psychedelia with a twist—flows with obvious synergy. It’s a fresh concoction and a unique blend, but doesn’t obscure the personalities of its coleaders. In part, that’s because Claypool and Lennon have a lot in common. “Sean keeps talking about how we’re bonded by fashion … or lack of,” Claypool says. “We’ve become very good friends. I think a fundamental element of becoming good friends with somebody is the notion that you appreciate similar things.”

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