The Claypool Lennon Delirium reinterpret classic tracks from Pink Floyd, King Crimson, the Who and Japanese psych-prog act Flower Travellin' Band on their upcoming covers EP, Lime and Limpid Green, out August 4th.
The four-track set, previously issued for 2017 Record Store Day, will be available as a limited-edition run of 3,000 on clear vinyl with green and double-mint splatter.
The duo, composed of Sean Lennon and Primus' Les Claypool, previewed the EP with an eye-popping clip for their version of Flower Travellin' Band's 1971 epic "Satori." Director Koichiro Tsujikawa pairs Claypool's elastic bass and Lennon's menacing guitar riffs with a hallucinatory claymation landscape of brains, marching fingers and floating eyeballs.
Lime and Limpid Green – which follows the group's debut LP, 2016's Monolith of Phobos – compiles studio versions of cover songs the Delirium have performed onstage over the past year. In addition to "Satori," the track list also includes the Who's abrasive 1966 oddity "Boris the Spider," Pink Floyd's 1967 freak-out "Astronomy Domine" and King Crimson's 1969 prog landmark "In the Court of the Crimson King." The Delirium looked backward through rock history not only to flesh out their set lists, but also to reflect their mutual love of experimental music.
"I think the genesis of this band began with Les and I listening to old records together and feeling like our universes were uncannily intertwined," Lennon tells Rolling Stone. "We were both feeling and hearing something that we wanted to do that was deeply inspired by those people who were the most peculiar in their time, like Syd [Barrett]. Since we only had one album as a band, we wanted to add songs to the live show that would illustrate and elaborate upon what the Delirium were all about."
Claypool, who's set to release a new Primus album this fall, adds, "The thought was to play songs that we hadn't interpreted in the studio prior. Most of these tunes were played extensively live, so they had time to evolve and develop their own greasy little personalities."
Their aim for the cover tunes was to epitomize what Lennon calls "our band's persnickety peculiarities."
"Satori," the five-part title-track from Flower Travellin' Band's second album, is the EP's clear left-field selection. Claypool says he'd never heard of the band until "Sean dropped them onto [his] lap." He adds, "I was pretty much sold once I heard the name of the band because, coincidentally, I originally wanted to name my band Primus that ... except I would have had added the word 'Banana.'"
But the cover took on a more personal meaning for Lennon. "'Satori' was a kind of spiritual journey of the motherland from my perspective," he says. "I just wanted to do something for Japan since they had been suffering since the tsunami. The least I could do is give a nod to my people and say 'Hey, remember we're fans of your music.' (He also notes that his mother, Yoko Ono, had known the band personally at one point.)
While the duo are quick to distance themselves from a defining genre label, they swiftly acknowledge their prog-rock influences. Lennon points to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Egg and Gentle Giant; Claypool, who performed at Rush's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, calls the band's 1978 opus, Hemispheres, "one of the greatest albums ever."
"I said that 25 years ago," he adds. "And the punk-oriented international press threw rocks at my head."