STORY WRITTEN BY GARY GRAFF
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With his The Ghost of Saber Tooth Tiger still active, Sean Lennon wasn’t necessarily looking to start another band this year.
But the chance to do something with Primus’ Les Claypool — now known as the Claypool Lennon Delirium — was too compelling to turn down.
The new group’s roots go back to 2015, when The Ghost opened some shows for Primus and Lennon — the song of the late John Lennon and Yoko Ono — began jamming with Claypool and company backstage and then joining Primus onstage. “We just kind of got along well and coming up with little song ideas,” Lennon, 40, recalls by phone. “We wound up talking about playing some music together and we both liked the idea.”
Thanks to some “cosmic alignment” the two found coinciding holes in each of their schedules and set to work on an album, “Monolith Of Phobos,” drawing heavily from obscure and underground psychedelic rock influences that each of them favor.
“I think we complemented each other a bit,” Lennon recalls. “He has his own style that’s very strong, and he has his peculiarities as well. And I think I have a melodic, kind of harmonic ear that maybe brings something new to the table for him, so I think there was a good balance.
“It’s been pretty easy and fun. The challenge for me has been just keeping up with the rest of the (band’s) musicianship. This is a shredder band, so it’s hard for me to play, to keep up with them technically sometimes. So I’ve been working on that.”
If Lennon has his way, the Claypool Lennon Delirium will be an ongoing concern. Both musicians continue to maintain busy schedules — Lennon, in fact, is planning a new album for The Ghost and is also producing the next album by Texas psychedelic rockers the Black Lips. But he’s confident there’s more to explore with Claypool and has every intention of doing so.
“It really depends on what Les wants; He’s got a lot going on, too. But I would love to keep doing records with this band,” Lennon says. “There’s a lot of Primus fans at these shows. There’s a lot of just Les Claypool fans, but sometimes we play a Ghost song from my other band and it seems like people know it, so there’s sort of a melting pot, and I think from that we’re building our own audience.”