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Interview:
Willy Wonka gives Primus its mojo for latest album and tour
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Primus leader Les Claypool "had this notion for awhile of taking on a sacred cow."

His choice -- Roald Dahl's iconic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and, more specifically, the songs from the 1971 film adaptation "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," released earlier this month as "Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble."

"It was a big part of my childhood," Claypool, 51, says of the book and film. "The music's fantastic, the imagery is fantastic. It was very progressive for it's time, I think, especially for a kid's film. Roald Dahl definitely had a dark element to his writing, and that appealed to me."

The project coincided with the return of drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander to Primus' lineup for the first time since the mid-90s, and it also combines the Primus trio with players from one of Claypool's other bands, the Fungi Ensemble. "I really wasn't sure if it was going to be a Claypool project or a Primus project," Claypool says. Once Tim came back into the fold it just made sense to kind of keep Primus going and combine elements of (the Fungi Ensemble) and Primus -- which might ruffle some people's feathers, but I think it turned out great."

Claypool says the album was "a very easy, comfortable project. It flowed very well, which was good." And Primus has sweetened the pot with a line of Wonka-style candy bars that it introduced at its annual New Year's Eve show and now includes items named after some of the band's songs -- including a Pork Soda bar with bacon flavoring and pop rocks.

"We thought it would be great to have some chocolate to sell and dole out -- it would certainly make sense," Claypool explains. "It's just something we started doing for fun and it's actually kind of taken off. If we did a project about airplanes I'm not sure chocolates would fit in that motif, but it certainly works for this."

Primus

Monday, Nov. 3. Door open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $36.50-$60

Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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