You might call the Claypool-Lennon Delirium a match made on Mars.
Les Claypool, the fleet-fingered bass guitar thumper and singer, is known for fronting weirdo alt-funk-metal trio Primus and collaborating with artists like Trey Anastasio of Phish and Stewart Copeland of The Police. Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, has charted a similarly avant-garde path with projects like his psychedelic rock band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (the GOASTT).
“Basically, we each had an interest in things that were a bit obscure, a bit odd, a bit off-center,” Claypool tells The Post of the common ground that galvanized the duo. “I think more than anything, it was just he and I jamming backstage on acoustic instruments and all of a sudden interesting things happening. I think that’s what put the spark in my noggin as far as, ‘Hey, come out and let’s throw some pasta at the wall and see what sticks.’”
Those backstage jams during a Primus tour with opening act the GOASTT planted the seed for The Delirium, which put out the debut album “Monolith of Phobos” in 2016, followed by “South of Reality,” released this past February. The Delirium is touring in support of the sophomore album and will perform at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday.
The songs on “South of Reality” are an ode to the bizarre life of Jack Parsons, the Jet Propulsion Library scientist and occultist. The album hearkens back to heady progressive rock of the ’70s like King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd and Rush.
“I didn’t do Dungeons & Dragons, but I sure listened to a lot of it, you know what I mean?” Claypool says with a laugh. “For a young fellow, it was magical hearing Robert Plant sing about Mordor and whatnot. That was exciting, so I think that’s what we found compelling about the early art rock stuff of the ’70s.”
Saying he and Lennon have grown to be “like brothers,” Claypool notes how “casual” and “modest” the younger of John Lennon’s two sons is despite “the obvious different upbringing he had compared to me and most humans I grew up with.”
Asked if his partnership with Lennon has changed his perspective on The Beatles or John Lennon, the bass player says, “It’s pretty much like going behind the scenes of Disneyland.”
“You see how a lot of the stuff works, but it also takes some of the mystery out of it, which is wonderful — not that it takes the magic out of it, because The Beatles are the f–kin’ Beatles,” Claypool shares. “But it’s pretty spectacular to hear a lot of these tales and hang out with his mom. Those are things I would never dream I would be doing, but it seems like such a casual thing now.”
Claypool said he dedicated more time on this album’s title and artwork than any other previous of his releases, noting the key role album covers played during his formative years.
“You know how many joints I rolled on Sean’s dad’s face?” Claypool says, singling out the “Sgt. Pepper’s” cover. “It was the perfect surface to twist one up. Album covers were a very big part of our experience back then. You’d dote on them for hours on end while listening to the music. That’s the wonderful thing about the resurgence of vinyl is you have that tactile experience again.
“And I hope that we’ve taken advantage of it to the point where people are rolling joints on our faces.”