Today Adam provides us with a primer on Primus…
Primus is an American rock band based in San Francisco, California. The band consists of three extremely talented individuals: Jay Lane on drums, Larry “Ler” LaLonde on guitar, and Les Claypool as bassist/lead vocalist. Primus originally formed in 1984 with Les Claypool, Jay Lane, and guitarist Todd Huth. Four years later, Huth would leave the band to be replaced by Larry “Ler” Lalonde on guitar, and Jay Lane would also temporarily depart, being replaced by Tim “Herb” Alexander. The first studio album put out by Primus was Frizzle Fry. It was from this point on that Primus gained a dedicated following as well as a reputation for their innovative sound.
Primus’ musical style is difficult to define right off the bat. That is one of the things that makes their music so compelling. They have been labeled as alternative rock, funk rock, experimental rock, and stoner rock, just to name a few. Les Claypool is arguably one of the best bass players in rock music. He alternates his playing style in numerous ways. Whether it’s a heavy-sounding slapping riff, or a smooth melody, which is commonly reserved only for guitar players, Claypool certainly displays his talent for his instrument to the maximum in each Primus album. When you add the contributions of Larry “Ler” Lelonde’s quirky-sounding psychedelic guitar riffs and the impeccable drum skills of Jay Lane (or Tim “Herb” Alexander when he was in the band), Primus become a power trio. Each member contributes equally to the unique sound of the band.
After they released Frizzle Fry, Primus began touring relentlessly. They took a break from playing shows for a while to release their second album in 1991, Sailing the Seas of Cheese. This is arguably the album that best defines Primus’ music style. Les Claypool’s vocals are funny and even downright childish at some points, but it is this aspect that adds to the humor of the band, which is also another Primus trademark, along with their clear musical talent. It was on Sailing the Seas of Cheese that Primus put out their first single, “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver,” which is a song about a professional speed car racer who gets drunk one night and dies in an accident.
Their next two albums, Pork Soda and Tales from the Punch Bowl, were also widely accepted in the rock music industry. Songs like “My Name is Mud,” “DMV,” and “Wyonna’s Big Brown Beaver” all became singles and helped Primus continue on their successful path. As of this day, Primus has released seven albums. They still play tours and Les Claypool also works on different side projects of his own. Fans can do nothing but hope that Primus continue making good music and enjoy the work they put out.