ON JULY 13, Sean Lennon sat in a suite at Las Vegas' Mirage Hotel & Casino with his mother, Yoko Ono. Several suites away were Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison's widow and son, Olivia and Dhani Harrison.
They were united for the 10th anniversary of Love, Cirque du Soleil's tribute to the Fab Four. The young Lennon, 40, is never wearied by the rush of Beatles' events that his life is and will always be. "Being able to support my mother - a cool mom at that - is something I'm lucky to do. There is only us to claim this legacy," Lennon said.
"No matter what else I do with my life," Lennon said, proudly ebullient on that afternoon to be the son of Yoko and John, "I'm a fanboy of theirs."
What Lennon is doing with his life is pretty cool, too, from the surreal but blunt sights and sounds of the Claypool Lennon Delirium - his magnetically melodic collaboration with Primus leader/bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool. Their debut recording, Monolith of Phobos, and a stylized live show bring the team to the Fillmore Philadelphia on Wednesday.
"What do I want in a collaborator? To tango," Lennon said with a laugh. He reckoned that in his career, spontaneity and instinct have guided his choices in musical partners. "That probably goes for my personal life, too. If I was more organized, perhaps I would have a list of things needed in a person, look for them and check them off."
Lennon's gutsy psychedelic the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (his band with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl) had just released 2014's Midnight Sun when he got a call from Claypool's Primus people for a slot as tour opener. When Lennon met Claypool, his instinct kicked in.
Along with a shared love of complex psychedelia and the Monkees' Head, the two look alike. They wear stylized glasses, military tchotchkes, three-piece suits, and big hats. Though Claypool is happy to hear anything positive in relation to his clothing choices ("My daughter does not think that I am very fashionable"), Lennon is gleefully taken aback.
"That's funny, because until we started playing together, I never knew," Lennon said. "Then one day I looked at photos, and, wow - I was shocked - we have the same tastes in wardrobe."
The duo have a shared musical taste but are different enough to make Monolith of Phobos gorgeously complex, yet melodically rich and accessible. Their separate quirks cancel each other out and create a sound more linear than they might have separately.
"Sean has strong beauty - a great voice, a good ear, and uniquely melodic chord progressions," Claypool said. "I thought that would be a nice complement to the barnacle-laden hull that is my musical catalog."
Claypool was familiar with Lennon's earlier musical work and thought it contained interesting compositional elements. "Obviously, he's got his father's DNA but equally obvious is his mother's DNA, with an abstract view of music, to be sure," Claypool said.
Lennon said the way Claypool works - fast and dirty - is similar to how his mother creates. "It's a great pace that Les creates at as it forces you to come up with decisions," Lennon said. "I've produced several of my mother's albums, so I'm used to that. I tend to labor or overthink things in my own music."
The pair traded parts, each singing and writing lyrics. "It was very much a tag-team system, a best-of-both-worlds scenario," Lennon said.