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December 7-13, 2005

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Even More of Les

Primus chieftain releases paean to solo projects


By Greg Cahill

For fans of quirky thrash-funk and avant-rock guru Les Claypool, Christmas arrived early this year. The Primus bassist and head honcho has just released 5 Gallons of Diesel, a three-and-a-half hour, 25-track DVD that spans a decade of his eclectic solo projects. It is the first-time that the prolific Claypool has chronicled his extensive solo work, utilizing rare live performance footage and a handful of characteristically surreal videos built around Claypool's often nightmarish visions.

The new DVD is just one of several projects, including an upcoming feature film and novel, from the seemingly tireless Claypool, who resides on a patch of Sonoma County that he's dubbed Rancho Relaxo. The DVD collection follows on the heels of two popular Primus videos: the platinum-selling 2003 release Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People and 2004's gold Hallucino-Genetics Live. It contains footage of Sausage, Holy Mackerel, Oysterhead, Frog Brigade, C2B3 (Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains) and assorted other side projects.

Meanwhile, Claypool has written, acted in and directed his first feature film. The music mockumentary, Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo, spoofs the jam-band scene that Claypool helped to create and features cameo appearances by many of the genre's biggest names. The film finds Claypool portraying Lap "Lapdog" Miklovich, the drummer for the fictional jam band Electric Apricot. It is being submitted to the Sundance Festival and a theatrical release (along with a soundtrack album) is planned for next year.

But first, Claypool's debut novel, South of the Pump House (Akashic Books), is due in bookstores in the spring. The story reportedly got its start as a screenplay and revolves around a fishing trip—no big stretch for Claypool, a fanatical fisherman.

And because these impressive artistic feats might be duplicated by a mere mortal, Claypool is back in the recording studio working on a new Primus album, scheduled for release early next year.

Evidently, they don't sleep much over at Rancho Relaxo.

Les Claypool "and his fancy band" perform at the sixth annual Hatter's Ball on Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The show includes a Most Original Hat Contest. The Phenomenauts open the show.

Random Notes

The woefully underrated jazz pianist Alan Pasqua performs Saturday, Dec. 10, at Zebulon's Lounge in Petaluma. All you lost and lonely KJAZ fans can pick up on former KJAZ DJ Dick Conte and his trio at the Petaluma club on Dec. 13.

The Elvin Bishop Band perform Dec. 14 at Mill Valley's Sweetwater Saloon, celebrating the release of Getting' My Groove Back, Marin guitarist Bishop's first new studio album in five years.

Two of the founding members of the Doors, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, along with Cult singer Ian Astbury (a Jim Morrison clone), perform Dec. 15 at the Fillmore under the moniker Riders on the Storm. Manzarek, a new Sonoma County transplant, recently lost a lawsuit by original Doors drummer John Densmore, who challenged Manzarek's right to use the Doors name in concert. Hey, it's still the ultimate Doors tribute band. A new CD, The Doors: Live in Philadelphia '70 has just been released.

Roots and blues fans won't want to miss Louisiana Love Call, a Dec. 19 concert with Maria Muldaur and her Red Hot Bluesiana Band, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Angela Strehli, Roy Rogers, Norton Buffalo, Tom Rigney, Danny Caron, the Gospel Hummingbirds and special guests, all appearing at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. Proceeds benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.


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