Sean Lennon's Chimera label is unearthing lost music from Beanpole, a demented recording project featuring performances from Primus members Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde, and Derek Greenberg and Adam Gates of Geffen-signed alt-pop group Spent Poets. All My Kin, featuring recordings from between 1984 through the late Nineties, is due on August 31st.
"The idea behind Beanpole was to give musicians a chance to have fun in their studios without the pressure of having to produce tracks that were commercially viable," Greenberg tells Rolling Stone. The result of their experiments are 15 completely warped rock songs that sound like the Residents guest-appearing on Hee Haw.
"To get the vibe of recording a Beanpole song, you have to place yourself in a secluded farm valley full of mutant hillbillies trying to recreate melodies that were found on a broken record of Disneyland ride music," LaLonde tells Rolling Stone.
"Musicians were encouraged to perform on instruments that they had not mastered," says Greenberg. "Musicians were not given much opportunity to learn their parts before the record button was pressed. Since the musicians knew they could not provide a polished performance, they were uninhibited by the need to demonstrate anything other than a modicum of competence. Mistakes were encouraged. Proper recording and mixing techniques were generally ignored."
According to Greenberg, Claypool originally attempted to release the Beanpole album on his Prawn Song imprint, a short-lived Mammoth Records sister label that released a handful of projects by Primus pals and ex-members like M.I.R.V., Porch and Alphabet Soup
"This effort was rejected by Mammoth Records and – from my understanding – Les' Prawn Song label was dropped from Mammoth Records as a result," says Greenberg.
Greenberg says his reaction was "shock and disbelief" when he heard Lennon wanted to release Beanpole's music. "I asked him why he wanted to release this collection of weird recordings. His answer? He liked Beanpole. And that was very gratifying to know."
Hear "Farmer Loved an Onion" below.