Interview: New Primitives, righteously spiced


There is justice in the world: starting November 29, New Primitives are the Thursday night house-draw at Nye’s Bar & Polonaise Room in Minneapolis. This band wrote the book on powerhouse Afro-Cuban rock. When New Primitives throw down, it’s time to git on up and shake some hips.

Founder Stanley Kipper (vocals, timbales, drums), Javier Trejo (vocals, guitar) and Chico Perez (congas, backing vocals) front the band, fueling a polyrhythmic avalanche. Holding down the rhythm section, Joel “Family Man” Arpin is on traps with Tommy Peterson and Matthew Stevens alternating on bass. Founding member Brian “Snowman” Powers occasionally sits in on sax; lately he’s been tied up wrapping production of New Primitives’ second album American Nomad and finishing Oleta Adams’s new disc. That’s the nucleus: there’s no telling who may sit in at any given gig. Stanley Kipper talked with Dwight Hobbes about what’s been going on with the band.

DWIGHT HOBBES: Maybe some folks who took New Primitives for granted when you were at the Cabooze will show up more frequently this time. What you think?
STANLEY KIPPER: I think people will come around to check us. We have new songs that we are fixin’ to drop. We got something for [our fans]: Music like food, righteously spiced and slow-cooked all day. We are bringin’ it. I have heard a lot of folks like to see us at Nye’s because it’s intimate and everyone is right up next to the music.

DH: Did you tell me the New Prims used to be a regular attraction at Nye’s?
SK: Yes. We were there in the underground for couple of years before the move to the Cabooze.

DH: You guys were going to play the Whiskey A Go-Go in Los Angeles. How’d it come off?
SK: We didn’t go. At the last minute some things popped up, health issues in the band. Don Forte had to cancel everything at the last minute. We are scheduled to go back in March or April of 2008. We will be playing the Whiskey on that trip in addition to a few other shows around LA. The Joint in West L.A., Malibu Inn. Some others.

DH: I caught you at Acadia Café backing up Barbara Meyer with former One World bass-monster Bill Hulett. In fact, the three of you were in One World. How was it gigging together again?
SK: It was a great time. It is nice to reconnect with the Honey Bee. Plus me, him and Barbara have some history together, [which is] very important when it comes to tryin’ to hang with us.

DH: You produced Barbara’s solo album. How did it turn out?
SK: Nice, real nice! Barbara and I worked on the songs for a while before we went in to the studio. Rich Mattson from Ol’ Yeller and Barbara already had one song cut when I came in to work with Barbara on the rest of the songs. We played them like the White Stripes when they were around: just rockin’. That’s the way we cut them. Rich played bass on some of the stuff in the
studio at the same time Barbara and I were cutting rhythm tracks. He was also the guitar player and engineer.

DH: New Prims have been threatening to release a new album since about this time last year. What’s up?
SK: We have fifteen songs that are going to be on the CD. We’ve been getting closer to being finished. I know what you’re thinking…[it’s] for real this time, though. This CD has some of the best work we have done together so far: Family Man, Chico, Jav, TP [Tommy Peterson], Mateo [Matt Stevens] layin’ it down with Snowman Powers at the flight deck. Eric Anderson, on keys, just got back. He’s been out with Atmosphere.

DH: Well, congrats on hooking up at Nye’s. And, I guess, on progress with the new album.
SK: Thanks. I’m sure.