Les Claypool, Sean Lennon to perform together at Greenfield Lake

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A mutual respect--and a little free time--led Sean Lennon and Les Claypool to team up on a side project. The result was a 10-song album and supporting tour that will make a stop in Wilmington this summer. Courtesy photo.
A mutual respect – and a little free time – led Sean Lennon and Les Claypool to team up on a side project. The result was a 10-song album and supporting tour that will make a stop in Wilmington this summer. Courtesy photo.

Two musical giants who recently merged into an unlikely powerhouse are bringing their beautifully bizarre sound to the local stage.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – a collaboration between Les Claypool and Sean Lennon – will make a stop in Wilmington on Thursday, June 9 to play Greenfield Lake Amphitheater as part of a nationwide tour in support of an upcoming full-length album. Tickets for the local show, presented by 98.3 FM The Penguin and Huka Entertainment, go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday.

Claypool is best known as the quirky and charismatic Primus frontman with a penchant for popping and slapping the bass. He met Lennon, the soft-spoken singer and son of the iconic Beatle, while on tour together last summer. The successful combination of Primus with Lennon’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, a stripped-down, trippy psych-pop outfit reminiscent of the peace and love era, inspired the musicians to team up.

“Sean is a musical mutant after my own heart,” Claypool said. “He definitely reflects his genetics – not just the sensibilities of his dad but also the abstract perspective and unique approach of his mother. It makes for a glorious freak stew.”

What emerged from the match is the forthcoming “Monolith of Phobos,” a 10-song journey into the wonderful and weird world of space rock the pair penned and recorded in just six weeks.

It wasn’t exactly what either had originally had in mind. With Primus on a planned break in 2016, Claypool was working on a reunion of Oysterhead, his supergroup with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland of The Police. But, he said, “the planets just wouldn’t align” for that effort.

“I don’t like sitting around, so when Sean said he didn’t have plans for this next year, we started kicking around the notion of making an old-school, psychedelic/prog record,” he recalled. “Next thing I know, he’s staying in my guesthouse, drinking my vino and banging on my drums.”

Through some cheeky wit, the two share a sincere fondness for each other’s instrumental prowess.

“I told Les that I was Neil Diamond’s nephew. I think that is what really sold him on the idea of working with me,” Lennon joked.

All jokes aside, “Monolith of Phobos” reveals the duo’s mutual admiration, an admiration that allowed them to stray from their core instruments.

“Usually I play the drums and percussion on my records but Sean has such a different feel than I do, it just made more sense for him to man the kit on most of the tunes on this project…His drumming is like a cross between Ringo and Nick Mason. But I think folks will be most surprised by what a monster guitar player he is, especially when you prod him a bit,” Claypool said.

“It’s been an honor and a challenge playing with someone of Les’ caliber,” Lennon added, “but luckily the gods of Pinot Noir shone favorably down and granted us a bundle of devilish tunes about monkeys, outer space and sexual deviancy.”

The Claypool Lennon Delirium’s “Monolith of Phobos” is slated to be released later this spring or early summer, with a corresponding tour kicking off in Orlando, Florida on June 4.

Advance tickets to the Greenfield Lake show start at $35 and can be purchased through the Concerts tab on Port City Daily’s homepage.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.