Beanpole: All My Kin
According to Les Claypool, in the late‘80s and early-‘90s, he and fellow Primus member Larry LaLonde recorded an album under the name Beanpole with Adam Gates and Derek Greenberg of the band The Spent Poets. Legend has it that Claypool played the album for Primus’ distributor in the ‘90s, with the hopes of getting it released—but the opposite happened. They were so turned off that the relationship dissolved. Fast-forward two decades. Claypool played the album for Sean Lennon while on the bus touring for their duo, The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Lennon was hooked and decided to release it on his own label.
So what does a lost Primus side-project sound like? Beanpole’s All My Kin is a concept album with wild turns around every moment. It follows the path of Chicken Boy and his family, through a thoroughly funky and weird trip. The music certainly sounds like it was cut from the ‘90s Primus cloth—angular guitars mix with funky rhythms on tracks like “Cousins,” which details various family members, some who wet the bed, some who died in paper sacks. The song “Sponge Boy” could be a theme song for a circus sideshow freak. And the lone number to break the four-minute mark, “Pumpkin Pickin’ Time,” is a Zappa-esque ode to the fall fruit, where it’s simply declared that “pumpkins make the world go round” and “pumpkins are tasty, just give ‘em a try.” It’s easy to believe the mythology surrounding All My Kin —this is a fantastical, surreal album that you could never imagine taking off in any form. But for anyone following Primus and Claypool, it fits right into their worlds.