$35 day of show All Ages - 12 and under requires venue approval
In the summer of 1971, Primus’ Les Claypool was a couple months shy of his eighth birthday when David L. Wolper’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory debuted in movie theaters; based on the Roald Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Like many people of a certain age and temperament, the movie became a perennial favorite that Claypool would come back to repeatedly, throughout different stages of his life, taking something different away from it each time.
So it seemed equal parts genius and obvious when he decided to throw a Willy Wonka-themed Primus show on New Year’s Eve last year. During the second set, Primus performed the soundtrack in its entirety. “Of the 23 or so New Years shows, I don’t think we’ve ever had a better combination of elements,” Claypool reflects, seven months later. “It felt good. It felt like we needed to be doing this.”
It felt so good, in fact, that he decided to take Primus into the studio to prepare the soundtrack for an album release. Claypool admits that he’s always, “in some way, wanted to be Willy Wonka,” and, also, that he’s always wanted to work a cover of “The Candyman” — a memorable number from the film’s soundtrack — into Primus sets. “Hell, I’ve been doing the line from the boat ride on stage since the ‘80’s,” then Les sings, ”There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going…”
“Larry Lalonde and I were discussing the next project for the band and one thought I had was to take on some kind of sacred cow and twist it into something of our own. Being that the whole Wonka thing was a massive part of my childhood,” Claypool explains, “It just seemed like the perfect thing for us to sink our teeth into, in part because those tunes are all so strong.”
The project would’ve worked with almost any of Claypool’s diverse musical ventures, but he knew from the start that he wanted to bring Wonka straight to his flagship band. “There’s excitement right now in the Primus world,” he explains. Two years after releasing an album of new material, Green Naugahyde, the Primus machine has a full tank and is running hot. “There’s this reinvigoration here,” says Claypool. Beginning on New Year’s, drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander returned to the lineup, following a three-year hiatus (during which the baton was passed to Jay Lane). Reunited with Claypool and guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, the trio was able to capture the classic Primus sound and honor the spirit of Willy Wonka as seen through Claypool’s H.G. Wells style, creative-vision goggles.