I remember during the Behind the Music episode on Metallica, they look at the auditions for a bass player after Cliff Burton died in 1986. Naturally, everyone imaginable showed up to try and land the prestigious gig including their fellow Bay Area musician Les Claypool. Unfortunately for Claypool, his audition was depp-sixed when he asked if Lars, James, and Kirk wanted to jam out on some Isley Brothers tunes. Thus began Les’ search for a scene to belong to. After that, he played with a thrash band, formed the alt-quirk-rock combo Primus, disbanded it, then recorded a live version of Pink Floyd’s Animals. Around this time, he started floating into the jam band scene, where he was free to “jam out” and noodle to his heart’s content as the happily paying audiences were too baked to insist that he get back to actual songs. And he’s remained there ever since, recording and performing in a variety of ensembles.
But Claypool isn’t just a musician. From the beginning of Primus, he was always involved with the visual elements of the band, going on to direct several videos and direct-to-video material for the band. A couple of years ago, he decided to get into the feature film biz by doing a mockumentary on the jam band scene. The film, Electric Apricot: Quest For Festaroo, was finished in 2006 and he’s been showing it at a festival here and there. It’s a straightforward rip of This is Spinal Tap, as it follows a fictional jam band that’s pretty much just as delusional and rambling as Nigel and the gang, and Claypool guest stars as the band’s drummer. But while you might think this thing would simply float onto home video like a patchouli cloud, National Lampoon has other plans.
The brand is getting back into theatrical distribution, and they’ve decided to purchase Claypool’s flick and rebrand it with the National Lampoon Presents… moniker. While they want this to go theatrical, future theatrical shots bearing their brand will be self-financed and produced. Still, if that’s the case, why grab a limited appeal pic like this for a first shot? I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve checked out the lengthy trailer over at the film’s website, and there’s nothing distinctive about this that would seem to merit that sort of attention from any brand, even one currently as lowly as National Lampoon. Hell, feel free to jump over there right now and see for yourself.