Stewart Copeland Opens Oysterhead; Les Claypool Brings Rat Brigade

Stewart Copeland, former drummer for the legendary rock band The Police, was in New York last Tuesday for the premiere of the new romantic comedy “Boys And Girls,” which Copeland scored.

While there, Copeland talked with the MTV Radio Network about his recent New Orleans gig as a member of Oysterhead, an impromptu outfit comprised of himself, Primus’ Les Claypool, and Trey Anastasio from Phish, a project that grew out of Copeland producing a track for Primus’ most recent album, “Anti-Pop” (see “Claypool, Copeland, Anastasio To Unite For Show” ).

“I only jammed with Primus for a couple of hours,” Copeland said, “because I was really raw at the time, and I hadn’t seen my drums in about two years. But then I produced a track and hung out with
them for a while. Then
later on, Les called up and said, ‘Hey, let’s do a gig with Trey Anastasio, the Phish guy.’

“I live up in my ivory tower, and I’ve never heard of anybody. I’ve never heard of Primus, let alone Phish, but they tell me they’re huge. So we went into a rehearsal room while Primus was on tour, passing through Vermont. We said, ‘Hey, look, that’s where Phish lives.’

“So I flew over and I realized that Phish owned the state of Vermont. Each member of the band has their own county of the state, y’know. [Laughs] So they’ve got this barn that they’ve set up for band life, and I went and jammed with Trey and Les, and Jesus, the kid can play guitar.”

“Of course, we all know about Les and the bass,”
Copeland continued, HREF="/sitewide/utils/playmedia.jhtml?clip=/mtv/news/real/o/oyster000615.rm">“and it actually turns out to be one hell of a group. And it’s called Oysterhead. We played this show in New Orleans, and we were all real excited, because the tickets sold out so fast — in 13 minutes, 3,000 tickets. Then it turned out on eBay, they were being pirated for $2,000. I couldn’t believe it, so I looked it up myself, and there it was: actually $2,135 [per ticket].”

Despite the success of the New Orleans show, it doesn’t look like Oysterhead will be performing or recording together anytime in the near future, even though the thought did cross Copeland’s mind.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is easy, this makes sense, this is a no-brainer,’” Copeland said. “There’s only two problems: one is Primus, and the other
is Phish. [Laughs] My two bandmates
in Oysterhead have got day jobs, they’ve got groups. I’ve got a day job, too, but at least I can pick my schedule.

“Phish have just started their world conquest tour, and we’re not gonna see Trey for nine months. So I figure our plan is to take the stage with Oysterhead every five years.” [RealAudio]

You can hear new music from Copeland on the soundtrack to “Boys And Girls,” which was released last week. The film, which contains even more music from Copeland, opens nationwide on June 16.

In related news, Les Claypool will be debuting a new project, The Rat Brigade, at the Gathering Of The Vibes concert festival, set for June 23-25 in Bridgeport, Connecticut (see “Jam Bands And More For Gathering Of The Vibes” ).

The Rat Brigade also features former Primus drummer Jay Lane and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards.
The fledgling
band is scheduled to play on June 24 in between sets from Ratdog and Moe.