Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang plays State Theatre Jan. 8.
ST. PETERSBURG – Primus frontman Les Claypool will bring his acoustic project Duo De Twang to the Tampa Bay area Wednesday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m., at State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
One of the busiest men in the industry, Claypool is pulling double duty this winter, playing dates with his primary band Primus even as he heads out on the road with one of his many side projects – an acoustic ensemble known as Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang. Duo De Twang is all about musical deconstruction. According to ATO Records, the group’s upcoming album is “just one vocal, one bass, one guitar and a basic beat supplied by stomping on a mini-tambourine-doohickey.” Unlike Primus, DDT focuses more on the Americana/rootsy side of things – as heard throughout the band’s debut recording, “Four Foot Shack.”
Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang will release “Four Foot Shack” on Feb. 4.
According to a press release from ATO Records, Claypool somehow managed to find time to partner with his old buddy, Bryan Kehoe, to found DDT. Kehoe has been involved in several past Claypool projects. He also was one of the main actors from Claypool’s hilarious jam band mockumentary, “Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo.”
Claypool explains the formation of DDT in the press release.
“I was asked a year before last to put together a project for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco,” he says. “So I thought, ‘I’ll do a little duo thing,’ and I originally thought, ‘Well, Mike Dillon, he can bang on some stuff, and I can twang away on my dobro bass.’ Then I got to talking to Mirv, and he ended up doing it. But then he couldn’t continue on, and I still really enjoyed it – it was a great thing. We did a couple of shows, so I got a hold of my old buddy, Kehoe, who I’ve known since high school, and it kind of just turned into he and I sitting there in front of the campfire, playing hillbilly versions of my songs and some other people’s songs. And drinking. It’s an intimate thing – you sit there and hobnob with the crowd, and play a couple of tunes … and do some more hobnobbing.”
Audiences can expect the State Theatre performance to be one the most laid back, charming, and fun performances they’ll ever witness.
“My son and I went on a camping trip up to Kernville this last year and we brought my twang bass and his banjo and at night we’d sit around the campfire with the dog and twang away,” Claypool explains. “It was one of the greatest times of my life and I thought, hell, I need to do this on stage.”
Claypool summoned up a little Hollywood magic and some backwoods ingenuity to set the scene for the tour.
“We now have two guys sitting around the campfire, having a couple of beers, playing tunes,” he says. “We are literally sitting around the campfire – it’s more of a hang than a show. So, bring your s’mores and wieners.”
Claypool and Kehoe mix traditional tunes and popular covers as well as adaptations of Primus classics – all of which are usually barely recognizable when compared to the original versions. The album track list includes everything from “Battle of New Orleans” and “Stayin’ Alive” to “Man in the Box,” “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver.”
“A lot of it is just stumbling across it,” explains Claypool about the songs that were chosen to be “twang-ified.” “You’re twanging away, and then all of a sudden, something just comes out. And then you laugh about it … or you don’t. And then you move on. There are tons of songs that we’ve stumbled across, and these ones just happened to be the ones that stuck.”
Leslie Edward “Les” Claypool was born in 1963 in Richmond, Calif.
Claypool – singer, lyricist, bassist, multi-instrumentalist and composer – is best known for his work with the alternative rock band Primus. His mastery of the electric bass has brought him into the spotlight with his funky, creative playing style. According to a biography provided by the Windish Agency, Claypool mixes finger-tapping, flamenco-like strumming, and a Larry Graham-like slap technique to develop his own unique style. He has earned respect as one of rock’s premier bass talents, becoming an influence for younger bassists in recent years.
Claypool has also self produced and engineered his solo releases from his own studio “Rancho Relaxo.” In 2006, he released the full-length feature film “Electric Apricot,” which he both wrote and directed. The same year, Claypool also published his debut novella, “South of the Pumphouse,” through Akashic Books.