Thanks to some early leaks, there weren’t a lot of surprises when Conan O’Brien announced the 2016 Bonnaroo lineup. One name that did stick out as unique, however, was something called The Claypool Lennon Delirium. It was something no one had ever heard about before, but as many speculated, the project has been revealed to be a collaboration between Primus’ Les Claypool and Sean Lennon.
The pair came together while Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger was opening for Primus and Dinosaur Jr. on a tour last summer. After a number of backstage jam sessions, Claypool invited Lennon on stage for “Southbound Pachyderm” and was blown away by his face-melting guitar. “I realized that this fella had some chops,” the bassist told Rolling Stone. “Primus was about to take some time off and I was gearing up a new project so I asked Sean if he’d like to come to Rancho Relaxo and see if we couldn’t get some interesting sounds on tape. Next thing I know he’s staying in my guesthouse over the holidays and we’re drinking vino, hunting mushrooms and throwing musical pasta at the walls.”
What ended up sticking was a psychedelic pop sound that borrows lovingly from Primus’ more progressive moments and Lennon’s mother’s sense of experimental rawness. As a first taste of their collaborative efforts, the duo have shared the eight-minute suite “Cricket and the Genie”. The psych rock journey moves from an ominous, sardonic espousals of drugs, to crunchy trip-out, to a creeping harmony that would make Danny Elfman proud. With Claypool on bass, Lennon takes lead and plays every other instrument on the track. Check out the song below.