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Primus Reunite Classic Lineup for ‘Willy Wonka’-Inspired Album

Karl Walter, Getty Images

For fans of Primus‘ classic lineup and/or the 1971 film adaptation of ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ it’s like finding a golden ticket.

Frontman Les Claypool has revealed that he’s reassembled what’s widely regarded as the definitive Primus lineup — Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander — for ‘Primus and the Chocolate Factory With the Fungi Ensemble,’ their first full-length since 1995’s ‘Tales From the Punchbowl.’ The album will be a front-to-back re-imagining of iconic songs from the Gene Wilder classic.

Claypool said you can thank Tim Burton and Johnny Depp for indirectly providing the inspiration. “I think, like a good portion of the planet, we were all pretty put off by the remake of the ‘Willy Wonka’ movie — the Tim Burton version,” he said. “I really wanted to pay homage to a film [1971’s ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’] that was very important to me as a kid and very influential to me musically. So that’s what we did. And as opposed to just going in and recording the songs and playing them the way they are in the film, we twisted them up a bit … twisted them up a lot.”

Claypool admits in a press release that he’s always “in some way, wanted to be Willy Wonka,” and that he’s always hoped to work a cover of ‘The Candyman’ into Primus sets.  “Hell, I’ve been doing the line from the boat ride onstage since the ‘80s: ‘There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going … ‘”

As Rolling Stone reports, there will also likely be a return of the Primus candy bars made by Pennslyvania’s Asher’s Chocolates that have been sold at past shows.

“The tour and the album are solely a marketing tool just so we can sell candy bars,” joked Claypool. “That’s the whole impetus of this entire project. Because the f—ing recording industry rolled over and let this Internet s— all over us. So we had to come up with another income stream, so we’re making chocolate bars because you can’t digitize a chocolate bar — yet.”

Primus will also tour in support of the album following its Oct. 21 release with a highly stylized stage show. “Now we get to sell Primus bars and hang out with demented Oompa Loompas,” said Claypool. “Plus to top it off, it gives me an excuse to wear a purple, velvet waistcoat and brown top hat for the next 18 months.”

Listen to their version of ‘Pure Imagination’ right here:

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