Claypool Lennon Delirium letting loose at Nelson Ledges
The legendary Bernie Worrell talks musical stew-making, collaborating with Claypool, and healing in advance of this weekend's freakout for the ages.
At this point, I'm just counting down the hours until it's time to pack up and head to Nelson Ledges Quarry Park.
This Friday, June 17, that splendidly beauteous space, nestled in not-too-far-away Garrettsville, Ohio, is welcoming virtuoso bassist Les Claypool (a master most noted for -- but in no way limited to -- his Primus fame) and multi-instrumentalist Sean Lennon (yes, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and a wildly talented musician himself) as they present the newly-unhinged Claypool Lennon Delirium.
Like I've said before, it's sure to be a freakout for the ages.
The ferociously rockin' Dean Ween Group will be there, too, along with other bands and -- get this -- a planned very-special guest appearance by legendary keyboardist, composer, and all-out musical genius Bernie Worrell.
Having gone public with his diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Worrell (best known for -- but in no way limited to -- his pioneering work with Parliament Funkadelic and Talking Heads) is planning on being at the Ledges and sitting in with the Claypool Lennon Delirium as long as his health permits.
"Bernie is any musician's musical hero," Lennon told me in a recent over-the-phone interview prior to a Delirium show in Asheville, N.C. "He's the greatest of all time. We're all really sad he's sick. The whole world is. If I ever had the chance to play with him, I could retire and be happy. ...I'm just a huge fan."
Here's hoping this weekend provides that chance -- for Lennon and Claypool, for Worrell, and for everyone there. Either way, though, Worrell's life's works, and his indomitable life-force, will be celebrated by a whole lotta music-loving freaks.
The beyond-amazing Worrell was kind enough to take some time to chime in on a little conversation with me earlier this week. Here's what he had to say:
Ryan Smith: Your impact and influence on the sound of modern music -- from funk to jam to jazz to rap to rock and everything in between -- cannot be overstated. That said, talk a bit about what you endeavor to bring to the table, so to speak, during any given musical conversation.
Bernie Worrell: Short and sweet, and a lot of different ingredients ... a stew, a pie, a pudding, a potpourri -- the world.
RS: You've worked somewhat extensively with Les Claypool previously [on the Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains project]. What, to your mind, is the attraction, or the sonic glue, if you will, that brings players of his and your calibers together? What makes it work, and work so well?
BW: It is definitely sonic -- it is in the air. It is a vibration -- sonic play-phonics. Bernie-onics. Les is one of the primary reasons [it works so well], because I'm a bottom man and love the bass, and Les inspires me when I play with him. One of the things that attracted me [to collaborating musically] was his tone and his sound -- so .. sonic.
RS: The good people at beautiful Nelson Ledges Quarry Park tell me you are a most treasured, and honored, part of their extended musical family. Tell me a bit about your take on that venue, its vibe, and the things it brings to the burgeoning live-music/festival scene in this part of the country.
BW: I think [Nelson Ledges] is one of the necessary natural venues, needed not in just that area, but worldwide. It's a healing place, a vortex, and one example of the good partnership with mother nature and music.
Here's to that place, and nature and music, healing you, Bernie.
For tickets, directions, and more information about what's happening at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park this weekend, click here.
To check out the Claypool Lennon Delirium's amazing debut LP, Monolith of Phobos, click here.
And to find out more about the genius work of Bernie Worrell, and the ways you may be able to help him receive the best medical care available, click here.
Ryan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can follow him on Twitter @ryanmsmithplens.