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Primus, Clutch geared up for at Hard Rock


Les Claypool and Primus played in Reno in 2015. The band plays Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Aug. 17.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Tony Contini

August brings musical magic to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.

Highlighting an event-filled month will be an outdoors concert on Thursday, Aug. 17, featuring Primus and special guest Clutch. Tickets for the show are $40, with music flowing from 8 to 11 p.m. Formed more than 30 years ago, Primus has captured a worldwide fan base off the strength of its early ’90s avant-gard rock hits early and the humor of bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool, the fun guy who wrote the theme song for the cartoon “South Park.”

Tahoe’s longtime fans of Primus will remember the snowy Boarding for Breast Cancer performance at Sierra-at-Tahoe. It was held in the late 1990s, or, for purposes of this story, an El Sobrante Fortnight ago.

“I just remember playing in the sleet and the slush,” Claypool recalled. “I forget who was playing after us but they didn’t want to play. They chickened out. We took the stage. I was worried about getting electricuted. It was actually pretty amazing. It was the most adverse conditions I’ve ever had to deal with but it actually turned out to be a pretty amazing thing.”

Primus High Sierra

Les Claypool stays in the shadows onstage at the 2013 High Sierra Music Festival.  Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

During the show, Claypool threatened to walk off the stage after he dodged a snowball. Later, the power went out, so he played a solo acoustic rendition of “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver.”

One of Claypool’s early bands was called Primate, which might explain why he often wears a monkey mask. Primus hit the big time in the early 1990s with its “Pork Soda” album and the song “My Name is Mud.” It peaked out after the members wore penguin outfits and played “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” on David Letterman, who reportedly was enraged by the display.

Since then, Claypool has had numerous bands and collaborations, but he has continued to revive Primus.

Before a 2009 show at MontBleu, Claypool said, “It’s going to be one of those things where people are going to go, ‘What the hell is going on here,'” he said. “I personally enjoy that reaction.”

Hard Rock’s Vinyl showroom, an intimate indoor concert venue, plays host to award-winning artists, tribute bands, and popular regional acts. This summer’s lineup includes music and more for everyone to enjoy:

  • — Susan Jones and Benjie Wright: Comedy Cage Match winners return at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. Tickets are $20 includes one drink.
  • — Doobie Rock, a salute to the Doobie Brothers tribute band, 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Free admission.
  • — Primus after-party features four bands, including The Watchers and Ol’Goat. $5 with Primus ticket or $10 entry without ticket. Thursday, Aug. 17, 11 p.m. until dawn.

    Located at the front entrance marked by the giant guitar, Guitar Plaza offers outdoor seating and dining all summer long, plus the perfect blend of live and prerecorded music seven days a week. Guests can enjoy free live tribute bands on the balcony stage every Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • — 60s Summer of Love. Saturday, Aug. 5
  • — Summer of 69: A Salute to Bryan Adams Tribute Band. Saturday,  Aug. 19.
  • — Journey Unauthorized. Saturday, Aug. 26

About Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage is an online music magazine that strives to listen to artists and their music.

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