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Absence makes Primus’ heart fonder

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Primus band members, from left, Larry "Ler" LaLonde, Jay Lane and Les Claypool are back together after four years.

Primus band members, from left, Larry “Ler” LaLonde, Jay Lane and Les Claypool are back together after four years.

C. Taylor Crothers

Les Claypool, bassist/founder of Primus, said returning to the band after four years has been fun.

"So far it's been spectacular," he said by phone from Cleveland. "We're all having a good time making sweaty music for sweaty folks."

He thinks the time off was good for the band.

"I think you always have to step away from stuff every now and again just to get a perspective," he said.

Still, when first approached about a reunion, Claypool didn't want to do it.

"To be honest with you, I really had no interest in doing it," he said. "What happens is every few years we get together and do it for three weeks as a nostalgia thing, and then all go our separate directions.

"I wasn't interested in that. I like opening new doors. I like going to new terrain, blazing new trails, turning over new rocks, whatever metaphor you want to use."

New things weren't happening with Primus. "It became apparent to all of us that we needed to change things up," he said.

Well, a change happened.

Original drummer Jay Lane has rejoined Claypool and guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde.

"(That) brought an element of excitement," Claypool said. "We're writing new material. We're doing songs we haven't done in many years, and there are some songs we've never performed live before. We're looking forward now as opposed to (being) the retrospective band we have been in the past several years.

"You only have so much time on the planet, and you want to keep moving forward. Why keep rehashing over old things just for money?"

Primus has been reinvigorated.

"I haven't rehearsed this much with the band since Frog Brigade (another Claypool band) took on Pink Floyd's 'Animals,' " he said. "When you do something like that you're all fired up and ready to go."

However, that didn't mean there was an urgency to get back on the road.

"Some offers came down the pipe, and we had an opportunity to do this thing with Gogol Bordello," Claypool said. "It's tour season. It's time to be on the road. So it was either be on the road with this band or with one of my other bands. This was the one that was exciting to me, and I'm sure it was fun for Ler.

"I think more than anything, the whole principle of all the things I do is to scratch my itch," he said. "That was one reason I didn't want to do Primus (anymore). It was like parents getting back together for the kids. And that's not healthy for anyone.

"I have other projects that scratch my creative itch. Now Primus is one of those entities that scratched my itch. For a long time it was not. And I'm not trying to be disrespectful to the music and the musicians, but it was one of those been-there-done-that things.

"I think absence makes the heart grow fonder to an extent."

If you go…

What: Primus, Gogol Bordello

Where: The Rail Event Center, 235 N. 500 West

When: Aug. 13, 7 p.m.

How much: $36

Phone: 801-467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

e-mail: scott@desnews.com