Primus plays Britt Festivals

Les Claypool, right, reunited with drummer Jay Lane, left, and guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde for Primus' "Green Naugahyde" tour.Photo courtesy of Tod Brilliant

Fans won't hear a nostalgic trip down memory lane when Primus performs next week at the Britt Pavilion.

Primus performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 11, at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville.

If you go

Who: Primus

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 11

Where: Britt Pavilion, 350 First St., Jacksonville

Tickets: $48 for reserved seating, $38 for lawn

Call: 541-773-6077, visit the box office at 216 W. Main St., Medford, or see www.brittfest.org

"I like to readdress it (Primus) when it's exciting, so that we can make sure that what we're doing is special for those people that it's dear to," says bassist and singer Les Claypool in a 2007 interview. "If we just go out because we need to refill the bank accounts, then that's just kind of lame."

There doesn't seem to be anything contrived or rote about the current reunion of Primus. It marks the return of original drummer Jay Lane, and the group — including longtime guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde — has a new CD, "Green Naugahyde," in stores.

Primus will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 11, on the Britt stage, 350 First St., Jacksonville.

The band reunion is feeding the part of Claypool that demands to stay creative.

"If I am scratching a creative itch, then it's a big itch," he says during a recent telephone interview. "If I'm not being satisfied on a creative level, it's tough to go out there and really put that on.

"With Jay Lane, he's really good at shooting from the hip," Claypool says. "So we do go off into sort of strange territory every night, and that's very enjoyable. You have to have that little bit of stepping off into new territory, that dancing-on-the-edge — so to speak — element."

The Primus reunion began gathering steam in 2010 and led to a tour that year. Ironically, Claypool was skeptical about the idea at first.

"To be honest, I wasn't really that interested in doing it," he says. "I like turning over new rocks, and it didn't feel like it was a new rock. But then came the notion of Jay Lane coming back. We got together and played, and it felt really good. It felt right. We did the tour, and then we said OK, let's do the real thing here. Let's make an album and make a good run of it."

Formed in the mid-1980s, the rock band carved out a singular style built around angular melodies, Claypool's multifaceted bass playing and lyrics that frequently had an absurdist bent with such albums as "Frizzle Fry" (1990), "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" (1991) and "Tales From the Punchbowl" (1995).

The band made three more albums before going on hiatus in 2001.

Claypool says "Green Naugahyde" merges a bit of the early Primus sound with newer stylistic elements that haven't filtered into the previous albums. But Primus fans shouldn't worry that the new CD will sound unfamiliar, as tracks like "Last Salmon Man" and "Tragedy's a Comin' " fit the group's idiosyncratic mold, and the band's humor remains evident, even in the music of the playful oddity "Eternal Consumption Engine."

"There are also strong elements that Ler has brought in," Claypool says. "He brought in actual songs, which he never did before. Jay Lane, I encouraged him to bring in beats that we could write off of, and he did "… I'd say a good half of the record is stuff that came in independently."

Tickets cost $48 for reserved seating, $38 for lawn. The performance may not be suitable for children. Patrons will not be permitted to bring in outside alcohol for the Primus concert. Wine or beer will be available for purchase inside the gates.

Call 541-773-6077, visit the box office at 216 W. Main St., Medford, or see www.brittfest.org.


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