Les Claypool, Billy Strings, Stewart Copeland & Others Share ‘Zelensky: The Man With The Iron Balls’ Single

Sean Ono Lennon and Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hütz and Sergey Ryabtsev also appear on the track issued in support of Ukraine.

By Andy Kahn Apr 20, 2022 10:20 am PDT

Les Claypool of Primus, Billy Strings and Stewart Copeland of The Police are among a group of musicians who recorded the song “Zelensky: The Man With The Iron Balls.” Others appearing on the track issued in support of Ukraine include Claypool’s The Claypool Lennon Delirium cohort Sean Ono Lennon, as well as Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hütz (who was born in Ukraine) and Sergey Ryabtsev (who is from Russia).

Hütz and Claypool began working on the song on the night of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Proceeds from the single will go to Nova Ukraine, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.”

“As soon as Russian aggression broke out, Les and I connected to address the catastrophe ASAP,” Hütz stated. “We jumped on creating affirmative music that calls for unity and pays respect to the real doers in Ukrainian defense – such as President Zelensky, who demonstrated previously unheard-of stamina and heroism. The reoccurring chant in the song, ‘Revolution of Dignity,’ honors the 2014 Maidan Revolution, which resulted in the removal of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and lead to Russia’s military intervention against the people of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and the start of the Donbas War – part of the broader Russo-Ukrainian War. It is our way to show that heavyweights like Les, Stewart, Billy and Sean stand with people of Ukraine and the country’s sovereignty from the very start of Russian-led terror.”

Claypool and Copeland are also members of Oysterhead, along with Phish’s Trey Anastasio. Strings and Claypool have recently been seen together – in the studio and fishing – on social media.

“The night of the invasion, I was dining with close friends of mine from Poland who were hosting their family visiting the US from their town, which is 50 kilometers from the Ukraine border,” Claypool said. “Needless to say, they were stressed and concerned about what was happening in their homeland. After a few vodka shots of solidarity, I started texting with my buddy Eugene from Gogol Bordello to get his perspective and insight. In that vodka-laced dialogue, we started mutually praising Zelensky for his surprisingly epic display of courage. ‘Zelensky has balls of steel!’ we agreed. It was then that we decided that some freaky, ‘East meets West’ art needed to be thrown that way.

“After a couple weeks of file trading with Sean Lennon, Stewart Copeland, Eugene Hütz, and Sergey Ryabtsev, a visit to my studio by my buddy Billy Strings, as well as some enthusiastic rhythmic claps from local supporters of Ukraine, we now have a recording to help rally support for a bullied country and a David vs. Goliath-type man who stood up for their liberty, freedom and homeland.”

“Zelensky: The Man With The Iron Balls” features Claypool on bass and vocals, Copeland on percussion, Strings on acoustic guitar, Lennon on guitar and vocals, Hütz on acoustic guitar and vocals and Ryabstev on violin. The song was written by Claypool and Hütz and the accompanying video was created by Cage Claypool. Watch/listen below:

The musicians posted this message in the video’s description:

To show your support for Ukraine, please send in video clips of you, your friends, colleagues, children, pets, favorite ventriloquist dummy, or anything else you may deem appropriate or wonderfully inventive, clapping along to the song, “Zelensky: The Man With The Iron Balls.”

It doesn’t have to be high production — just use your phone, video camera, or old Bolex, send the footage to ironballs@primusville.com. Let the world know that you will no longer stand for this rampant “bully mentality”, and that you support the man and people who refuse to let their liberties be undermined.

Help the people of Ukraine by donating to https://novaukraine.org

Additionally, Starting Friday, April 22, those who donate to www.fandiem.com/ironballs will automatically be entered to win an all-expense-paid trip to attend the South Park 25th Anniversary Concert featuring Primus and Ween at Red Rock Amphitheatre near Denver on August 10.

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