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Latest Primus lineup finds future in its past

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Primus singer, bassist and leader Les Claypool has been through nine members during the group’s 27 years. But the latest lineup, which features longtime guitarist Larry LaLonde and 1988 drummer Jay Lane, has sent Primus back to the future.

“We’re playing quite a bit of old stuff as well as quite a bit of new stuff,” Claypool, 48, says. “With Jay back, it’s sort of natural to pull out a lot of the old ‘Frizzle Fry’ stuff (from 1990) and the really raw stuff from those first couple of records. We delve pretty deep into a lot of the original, old Primus material, which people really like — and so do we.”

But, as Claypool notes, the current trio also has “quite a bit of new stuff thanks to “Green Naugahyde,” the first new Primus album in 12 years. Primus did play live during that time, but Claypool also used the break in the all-star groups Oysterhead and Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, as well as with the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade.

He also write a novel, “South of the Jumphouse,” and wrote and directed a trippy feature film “Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo.”

And all of those, he says, had some degree of influence on Primus when the group returned to the studio.

“Being away from Primus and doing all these other things and expanding my horizons as a creative person is good,” Claypool says. “People ask me all the time, young people, to give them some advice, and I just say, ‘You gotta play. You gotta play with as many people as you can. Play keg parties, birthdays, whatever you can.

“I know so many people who just sit in their rooms and play ... but you’ve got to get out there and interact and have musical conversations with people and live life. All of that stuff is just fodder for more creativity.”

Primus performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $35. Call 734-668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

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