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Primus’ Les Claypool: I Can’t Do Rage Against the Machine

Karl Walter, Getty Images

Primus have always been masters of whimsical, humorous tunes that move and groove like no other. But, ask bass mastermind Les Claypool, and he’ll tell you there’s a darker tale lying underneath those cheery slap-and-pops and bouncy riffs.

“I’m not good at getting on a soapbox. I can’t do the Zack de la Rocha [of Rage Against the Machine]. It’s not my thing, though I love what he does,” Claypool told Artist Direct. “I’ve never been that guy. I tend to voice my perspectives through these characters. I think it comes from being a Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, and Coen Brothers fan for all these years. You look at the Coen Brothers, and they have these amazing and compelling characters in their films but they’re all dark, tortured… For me, it’s always been easier to write through these characters.”

On Primus’ latest release, the beautifully eclectic ‘Green Naugahyde,’ Claypool says the writing process was far more collaborative than on previous albums.

“Everybody brought in material, and it was like, ‘Wow, I’m not beginning at the starting line. I’m jumping on board down the road after this thing has already got some form of character. I’m here to emphasize that,’” he said. “It’s a different experience for me than planting the old seed. I love that. Larry brought in three or four things. ‘Jilly’s On Smack’ was his as well as ‘Consumption Engine’ and ‘HOINFODAMAN.’ That was great! There a bunch of beats that Jay brought in, and a few of the songs came from those like ‘Eyes of the Squirrel’ and ‘Green Ranger.’”

Thinking of getting your ears on the new Primus album? Check out Loudwire’s CD review.

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