Since his earliest mud-slinging days with punk/funk outliers Primus, forever frenetic bassist Les Claypool has had a knack for finding the next new twang. With a reconfigured Primus taking time off after blistering 2015 shows in support of its illuminating take on the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory soundtrack — and Oysterhead, his mega-watt power trio with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and Police drummer Stewart Copeland, not an option — he reached out to Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Lennon was a bit of a musical journeyman before he hit a groove in 2013 with his intrepid folk-pop duo The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, which served as opening act for Primus' summer 2015 tour. Finding good vibrations, Claypool described Lennon as "a musical mutant after my own heart." The two forged a bond at Claypool's California home as they charted new sonic territory conceived as throwback prog rock. The results are The Claypool Lennon Delirium and the mind-melding Monolith of Phobos, released in June. The album hits heights beyond description, with "Cricket and the Genie" featuring Claypool's haunting electric bass pushing a relentless undertow below cascading waves of Lennon's pulsing drums, trippy guitar and bizarro-pop vocals. Emotional urgency informs the soaring and catchy "Boomerang Baby."
With a touring band including the Beastie Boy's Mark "Money Mark" Nishita on keys and Paulo Baldi on drums, the Delirium's live show delves into covers of King Crimson and classic Primus. As plans for a New Years Eve triple-bill attest, Claypool and Lennon dig the compound of their chemical reaction.