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complete chat transcript (with photos)!

Les Claypool has a unique laugh. A two-syllable high sandy chuckle with a breathy buildup. Like a stick figure in a cornfield under a blue sky at high noon. Incongruous and disconcerting.

Seating himself next to the interviewer with the statement: "well, I'm sittin' here..." crosses arms and legs, smiles affably, and banters with his bandmates and everyone else in this 10x20 ft. freshly painted grey and white dressing room. Around them are ringed styrofoam plates with lunchmeat blanketed by saran-wrap. An empty white blender, a vase of flowers, a pile of old vinyl records of religious and kitschy subject matter are reflected in the wall of mirrors under bright make-up lights. A full set of "King" brand "Cobra" golf clubs, complete with embossed plastic tags reading: "Ler Lalond, Raven Golf Club, Tucson, AZ," leans against the wall.

Everyone squeezes in for the questions coming both in person (in the form of Michael Goldberg of Addicted to Noise) and from people online. Jon Luini, for MediaCast, types away furiously, the only sound in the long spaces between Michael's question and the awaited answer. A pause as pregnant as Claypool's absent wife rests in the air. The photographers' flash goes *foop* sporadically, the videographer crouches with a Sony Hi-8 attached to his face. A guy with a microphone, the illustrious Bob C. Cock and a mysterious man holding only a large tripod alone in the back of the room complete a cramped and eager pack of techno-archivists crouching around the band.

Make sure to take read Addicted To Noise's review of the show!

Les Claypool fields most of the questions and his happy-go-lucky mood is infectious. Soon everyone is laughing. He includes his bandmates in answers to questions posed solely to him. He speaks often of "Ler and me..." and " Tim and me..." or the inevitable: "we're married to each other."

During the interview Les fiddles with a key, a nail clipper and a packet of custom fitted earplugs (with a 15db cut) attached to a laminate hanging from a beltloop on his high, flared blue jeans.

"I'm thinking of naming our baby "Cassius Claypool" but my Mom doesn't like that idea."

"Paul McCartney is a fabulous bass player."

Towards the end Jon Luini deftly redirects the interview to online questions. Poised above a Powerbook 540C plugged into the wallphone jack stolen from the Primus Production office, he reads out fans' statements to the band and types in their replies in realtime. When one person won't let go of the idea that Primus' attendance at "Reggae on the River" is utterly mandatory, David Libby (aka Flapjacks) suggests that it's time to wrap it up.

Primus uses the unique talents of those people of their First Circle. Old friends dominate the clique that creates, mantains and lives the Primus image. Their extended family enjoy each others' company, even under the pressures of touring. The tenor of any organisation is reflected in the character of it's First Circle. These people are embarked on a grand adventure and they are enjoying it.

In the end, after the show is over, the sign on the wall of the dressing room reads: "960 miles to Vancouver, BC and a day off."

Allen Whitman - May 7th, 1996