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Les Claypool Keeps It Casual With Duo de Twang

Les Claypool
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Les Claypool is venturing into the world of bluegrass with his band Duo de Twang.

Claypool is best known for his role as lead singer and bassist of the rock group Primus, which started in 1984. He began Duo de Twang for a one-off performance at the 2012 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco with his friend, guitarist Bryan Kehoe.

The move seemed odd to many Primus fans, but Claypool tells Billboard that it was a natural fit for him musically.

“When it came time to do this, it felt pretty natural,” he says. “As far as the hillbilly stuff, I grew up listening to it — more subjected to it, by choice. Working in the garage on my bike, my stepdad was always out there drinking his can of Buckhorn with the radio going and playing what he called the Okie station. It just washed over me … So when it came time to do this, it seemed natural.”

Duo de Twang released its first album, ‘Four Foot Shack,’ in February. The record features Primus songs as well as covers of the Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive’; and two songs from Alice in Chains, all recorded with a bluegrass twist.

“It’s a great release for me, and it’s so casual,” Claypool says. “Even the show is less like a show and more like a hang. We come out and sit around a campfire and usually have a cocktail or two and drink and talk and tell jokes with the audience and play a song every now and then.”

Claypool says that the low-key nature of the band leaves him open for other projects, including a potential Primus recording of their version of the ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ soundtrack. The band have been in the studio, but no release has been announced.

Next: Is Traditional Country Music Dead?

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