WHERE: State Theatre,

609 Congress St., Portland

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: Sold out

INFO: statetheatreportland.comIF



One thing fans can count on with the return of Primus is that it won’t be a nostalgia trip.

As bassist/singer Les Claypool put it in a 2007 interview with this writer: “I like to re-address it (Primus) when it’s exciting so that we can make sure that what we’re doing is special for those people that it’s dear to. If we just go out because we need to refill the bank accounts, then that’s just kind of lame.”

There doesn’t seem to be anything contrived or rote about the current reunion of Primus. First of all, it marks the return of original drummer Jay Lane (who was in the band only for a year, in 1988), and the group (which also includes long-time guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde) has a new Top 20 CD, “Green Naugahyde.”

This reunion, which comes to a sold-out show at the State Theatre on Sunday, is definitely feeding the part of Claypool that demands to stay creative.

“I think for me, if I am scratching that creative itch, that’s a big itch,” he said in a recent phone interview. “If I’m not being satisfied on a creative level, it’s tough to go out there and really put on that.”

The Primus reunion began gathering steam last year. Ironically, Claypool was skeptical about the idea at first.

“To be honest with you, I wasn’t really that interested in doing it,” he said. “I like turning over new rocks, and it didn’t feel like it was a new rock. But then came the notion of Jay Lane coming back, and we got together and played and it just felt really good, and we were getting along really great. It just felt good. It felt right. We did the (2010) tour and then we said, ‘OK, let’s do the real thing here. Let’s make an album and make a good run of it.’ “

Last year’s tour and this year’s continued activity marks the latest — and because of “Green Naugahyde” — perhaps most substantial Primus reunion yet.

Originally formed in the mid-1980s, the band, with such albums as “Frizzle Fry” (1990), “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” (1991) and “Tales From the Punchbowl” (1995), carved out a singular style built around angular melodies. The band, with drummer Bryan “Brain” Mantia replacing Alexander in 1996, made three more albums before going on hiatus in 2001.

Claypool said “Green Naugahyde” merges a bit of the early Primus sound with newer stylistic elements that haven’t filtered into the previous albums. But Primus fans shouldn’t worry that the new CD will sound unfamiliar, as tracks like “Last Salmon Man” and “Tragedy’s a Comin’ ” fit the group’s idiosyncratic mold.

“The comparison to ‘Frizzle Fry’ is pretty obvious just because that was Jay Lane, a lot of that material was honed in the Jay Lane territory,” he said. “And I also, over the past 10 years, have become way more comfortable with production and my vocals and just different elements that we wouldn’t really have tackled before with Primus but there are also strong elements that Ler has brought in. He brought in actual songs, which he never did before.”

The group’s current tour is a blend of old and new. “It will be a plethora of classic Primus material, and then we’re going to be sneaking in some new stuff,” Claypool said. “It (the setlist) will be different every night, so it kind of goes on what the mood of us personally is and what the crowd is looking like.”

Alan Sculley is a freelance writer.