Les Claypool Talks Primus & the Chocolate Factory: "Expect Lots of Chocolate"


Les Claypool has been the driving force behind funk-metal outfit Primus since 1984. In that time, he has also written a book, South of the Pumphouse, directed a film, Electric Apricot, and become synonymous with the sounds of animated TV shows Robot Chicken and South Park. Now he's remade the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory soundtrack.

Considering his penchant for the bizarre yet playful, it is no surprise that Claypool's had a lifelong fascination with Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka character and Gene Wilder's cinematic interpretation. This obsession eventually spawned a Chocolate Factory-themed New Year's Eve concert, and then Primus' eighth studio album, Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble.

We recently got the chance to chat with Claypool in advance of Primus' show tonight at the Peabody Opera House. The topics of conversation included golden records, the power of "Candyman" and of course, chocolates.

Abel Folgar: You are an incredibly busy man. You've worked in film, written a book, and scored TV shows. What do you do to relax?

Les Claypool: I float around in the ocean pursuing fish and I raise my kids.

Before we talk about the new album, let's discuss your other work, like Sausage, which I saw back in '94 when you toured with Helmet and Rollins Band, and I remember it being an incredibly fun show. How do you separate your signature sound with Primus from the other projects that you've been involved with?

Well, it's very much like having conversations with different people. You know, when you're conversing with folks, you have your perspective and a timbre to your voice, you have your way of communicating, and it's very similar with music. The musicians who you work with are going to determine what the musical conversation is going to be about. But as a conversationalist, you're going to have your input and you're going to have your imprint on that conversation, based on your perspective.

So you know, it's not that much different than any interaction that you as a journalist would have interviewing various artists or various personalities. You're going to have your style, your approach, and the response you get from those individuals is going to tailor how you react.

Continue to page two.