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Primus’ Les Claypool Talks Failed Metallica Audition and ‘Green Naugahyde’

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Primus has finally laid down a new record for the first time in over a decade titled  ‘Green Naugahyde’. Frontman Les Claypool sat down to talk about the new album and ended up recalling his 1986 audition for the thrash metal giants Metallica.

Les Claypool and Kirk Hammett were friends in high school so when Metallica’s legendary bassist Cliff Burton passed on, of course Kirk contacted his friend from school who was a bass player. Les recounts the experience in his latest interview with Rolling Stone:

“I just thought it was my buddy Kirk’s band. I wasn’t really following metal; for me, metal was the old Judas Priest and Scorpions records we used to listen to at high school. So when I went in and there was this kind of air of royalty to these guys from their caretakers, it was a little strange. It made me realize, ‘Maybe this is a bigger thing than I thought’. It was extraordinarily loud – I remember Kirk telling us to turn down. We played ‘Master of Puppets’ and For ‘Whom the Bell Tolls’. I didn’t know the intro of For Whom the Bell Tolls was on the bass – they were waiting for me to start it and I was just looking at them. I think that’s when James Hetfield knew. Well, they knew I wasn’t the guy when I walked in the door. They were all in black. I had two different-colored tennis shoes on, skater pants and a blond mohawk. There’s a reason I didn’t get the gig.”

Claypool went on to talk about Primus’ new album, the new/old drummer, and the reason for the band’s hiatus:

“The end of the Nineties was an unhappy Primus camp. I hit a creative stagnation that wasn’t helping us forward, and the personal elements, it just was time to stop…Larry LaLonde [Guitarist] was very passionate about doing Primus again. Unfortunately, Tim Alexander [Drummer] wasn’t as passionate. It was still the element of this creative stagnation . . . so the notion of Jay Lane [Original Drummer] coming in and playing with us again [was a welcome idea]… him coming back has just breathed life back into the project. We did some touring, and we decided, “Let’s go make a record,” because we were creating things on the road…I do see this new album as something we can easily play in its entirety. It has that flow to it, just like Frizzle Fry was. To me, it’s like a film. I have a feeling that whether it’s some small venues or pre-tour shows, we’ll probably end up playing the album in its entirety.”

‘Green Naugahyde’ is set for release September 13th.

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