Les Claypool is a freakishly talented musician. There's no debate about that. As leader of the alternative-universe, jam band oddballs Primus, Claypool's bass playing is nothing short of awe-inspiring, his nimble fingers moving at the speed of light with purpose and strength. And then there's his warped sense of humor, sort of a cross between Dr. Demento and Weird Al.
The question is, does that artistry translate to the discipline of film?
First, the music news regarding Claypool: on May 29, Claypool will release his first solo live concert DVD Fancy on Claypool's own Prawn Song label. Culled from his summer 2006 tour, Fancy features a cadre of longtime Claypool colleagues, including saxophonist Skerik and multi-percussionist Mike Dillon (both from Garage a Trois and Critters' Buggin'). In addition, Claypool is joined by Cake drummer Paolo Baldi and multi-instrumentalist Gabby La La. Most of the material comes from Claypool's 2006 album Of Whales and Woe. The bulk of the rest is taken from 2002's Purple Onion and 1996's Les Claypool and the Holy Mackeral: Highball with the Devil.
That's big news, but it's nothing compared to the other bombshell dropped by Claypool Inc., namely the film directorial debut of none other than Claypool himself. Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo is the movie, and it's being touted as a comic look at the weird underbelly of the jam band scene. The press release says think Ricky Gervais's BBC comedy "The Office," not Spinal Tap, although it is a mockumentary.
Tour information is available at www.prawnsong.com and www.lesclaypool.com. Claypool will be on tour starting May 23 in Minneapolis and winding up July 14 at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, Va.