Saturday, March 21, 2009
Over the course of music history, artists have described their work in many different ways.
Jim Morrison once said, "If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel." Frank Zappa famously referred to each of his guitar solos as 'air sculptures.' Miles Davis was quoted as saying, "I'll play it first and tell you what it is later."
And in 2006, the eccentric lead singer and bassist of Primus, Les Claypool, described the song "Lust Stings" as the scrotum of his first solo album "Of Whales and Woe."
"I think it depends on how you look at the scrotum -- if it's a positive or vile attribute," Claypool says, down the line from a tour stop in Minneapolis. "For 'Lust Stings' it meant that was the song with the most testosterone on 'Of Whales and Woe.'"
With the recent release of his second solo album, "Of Fungi and Foe," it seems the search for the scrotum has begun all over again.
"Which song contains the most testosterone on 'Of Fungi and Foe?' Claypool said. "It would probably be 'Bite Out of Life' because there was a lot of it flying around the room when that song was being created. Granted, it was mixed with alcohol, but as we all know alcohol and testosterone are a lethal combination."
The booze-fuelled recording session in question came when lead singer of the Gypsy punk-rock band Gogol Bordello, Eugene Hutz, stopped by Claypool's home studio.
"He came to stay at my house and we had a pretty wild evening of song and vodka," Claypool said. "The next day we thought, 'Gosh, wouldn't it be fun to go in the studio.' At first it was quite painful because we were both hung over, but then 'hair of the dog' prevailed and we started recording a bunch of nonsense.
"'Bite Out of Life' was one of the nuggets from that recording session."
The majority of "Of Fungi and Foe" came from scores Claypool composed for the Nintendo Wii video game "Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars" and the independent horror flick "Pig Hunt."
No stranger to soundtracks -- having supplied the theme songs for both "South Park" and "Robot Chicken" -- Claypool decided to expand the tracks into a whole album.
"It's a little moodier than my previous stuff," he said. "The foundation for the album is a little more dark and creepy than some of the stuff I've done recently."
In support of the new album, Claypool has set out on the road for the Oddity Faire, a mini-tour with a variety of other musicians, as well as circus and sideshow performers. The only Canadian stop is Tues., Mar. 24 at the Guvernment in Toronto.
"It's kind of like a slice of Burning Man and a slice of Barnum & Bailey all travelling around," Claypool said. "So it's a freak show for the freaks, by the freaks.
"Being that I keep getting dubbed the oddball of my industry, I wanted to put together a collection of like-minded folks who have a similar approach to their music and performance into one evening. If I could have seen The Residents, Captain Beefheart, Devo, Tom Waits and Public Image Ltd. all in one evening back in the day, I would have been very excited."
Posted by Dan Goldin at 4:46 PM