15 years ago, the one-of-a-kind collaboration between Les Claypool, Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland graced us with their otherworldly jams. While all of Oysterhead has expressed interest in exploring the group once again, it has yet to matriculate. In a new interview with Jambands about The Claypool Lennon Delirium, bassist Les Claypool gets into that subject and more.
The interview reveals once again that Claypool was hoping to reunite Oysterhead, but instead wound up working with Sean Lennon after his band, Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, opened up for Primus on tour. The Delirium has been a big hit in 2016, releasing their acclaimed Monolith Of Phobos album and touring extensively behind its psychedelic vibes.
However, older jam fans can’t help but wax poetic about Oysterhead. In the new interview, Claypool says, “Oysterhead was part of the reason that I did this project. Primus was taking a year off because it had been going strong for five years and I was trying to fire up the old Oysterhead machine. Anyway, the schedules weren’t aligning. There I was during the tour, hanging out with Sean when I said, ‘Hey I’m looking for new work to do this year. What are you doing?'”
The interview circles back around to Oysterhead once more, with Claypool going deep into the band’s origins when asked about the evolution of the jam scene:
I have seen the jam scene kind of floating in and out of me. I’m doing my thing with this group of individuals and that group of individuals. When I first got offered that Superjam in New Orleans, not even knowing what the hell it meant, I called Trey [Anastasio of Phish] because I was like, “Oh, he’s a jam guy.” He said he would do a project with Stewart Copeland and me. I think that was him saying, “I don’t really want to do this but if we get Stewart Copeland, then I’ll do it.” I remember going to do the first Oysterhead gig thinking, I’ll just jam on this stuff, let’s not do any of our songs. I think we did one or two covers and they were sort of last minute. Stewart was even worse than me, he was like, “What are you talking about? We’re just gonna jam.” So when we realized, “Wow, there are people out there that like that.”
We used to do that just hanging out in the garage all the time. Just sit with some friends; pack a bunch of shit into the garage, and that was what you did. That really opened my eyes to the notion that, “Hey, there are people out there that want to see you dance on the edge and just see if you can fall off or not. Or just see how gracefully you do fall off, and theoretically land again.” For me, when people would say the “jam” thing, I’d think, “That’s the Dead…and Phish,” not knowing all this other stuff. I knew Galactic because they’re friends of mine, and going into that whole world of seeing different bands. Now it has evolved so much more, I mean we’re talking ancient times now. I mean 2000 and 2001, it doesn’t seem like it, but that’s a long ass time ago. Most of the time, I don’t even know who the hell is who. I see these people at festivals and say, “Oh, that’s cool.” But most of the time I’m fairly oblivious to what’s going on.
We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the return of Oysterhead, but the Delirium is not a bad consolation prize! Check them out performing “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Southbound Pachyderm,” here. You can also watch a great Oysterhead video from 2001, below.