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Tales From the Puchbowl Due Soon
Primus Release Vinyl "Punchbowl"
Insult To Primus & The Group's Fans
We Want Primus' "Big Brown Beaver" On
Primus' Tales From the Punch Bowl Due Soon
Monday April 10
Les Claypool and
Larry "Ler" Lalonde seemed pleased as punch (get it?!) when ATN dropped in to their
Northern California studio last week. Their killer new album, Tales From the Punch Bowl,
is completed and set for an early June release, and group is taking off in two days for an
Australian tour. But it was a little surprising to find two members of the trio (Tim "Herb"
Alexander was not around) working rather feverishly on the album's cover. Searching the
studio, Claypool found a mock-up of a cover. It depicted a picture of a wooden boat with
a small wooden figure known as Captain Shiner standing on it. "Boring," said Claypool.
The group had jettisoned that cover, so now the duo were using a Hi-8 video camera to
grab images of a cowboy hat, banjo, and other objects that happened to be lying about the
studio, attempting to come up with something inspirational. When Claypool showed us
one completed image of three rather mysterious Primus-like characters rising from the sea,
planning something diabolical, we encouraged him to use it as the cover. We haven't heard
yet if our suggestion was taken seriously, or if they started laughing in a crazed manner
after we departed. Note that the album is a monster. Not only is it superior to the group's
fine previous effort, Pork Soda (which sold a hefty half million copies in the US), but it
will probably stand as the strangest album released by a Top 10 rock band this year. After
a half dozen listenings, we thing it's simply smashing.
Primus Release Vinyl "Punchbowl"
Saturday May 27
Eddie Vedder's championing of vinyl finds support from our favorite
weirdos, Primus. The group's new album, Tales From the Punch Bowl has been released
as a two record set with different cover art than the CD. The cover for the LP
(reproduced here) appears in the CD booklet, but we have to say that the full-size vinyl
version is damn cool. Interscope Records president Jimmy Iovine told ATN on Friday that
he loves the album, and thinks it's going to sell at least a million copies. "They've got a hit
on this one," Iovine said. He was referring to the first single, the superb "Wynona's Big
Brown Beaver." The Primus guys have completed the video for that song, which, as ATN
told you some weeks ago, finds them made up to look extremely bizarre. When we caught
up with Primus at ATN chief photographer Jay Blakesberg's studio recently, we almost
didn't recognize Tim "Herb" Alexander, who had shaved his head. Lookin' good, Tim
Saturday May 13
Primus leader Les Claypool is directing the group's first video for a
track off Tales From The Punch Bowl (due June 6), a killer piece of primal Primus called
"Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" (no, we didn't ask Les if it has anything to do with
Wynona Ryder). Claypool is having himself, Tim "Herb" Alexander and Larry "Ler"
Lalonde fitted with prosthetics to turn themselves into toys. They're being assisted by the
special effects team of Steve Johnson and XFX (yes, they did the Duracell commercials).
The Primus guys will become cartoon caricatures of themselves. Claypool and Lalonde are
working on computer animation that will be incorporated into the video. The group was
hanging out at ATN photographer Jay Blakesberg's San Francisco studio last week, being
photographed and checking out ATN on one of the studio computers. They liked what
they saw (or at least that's what they told us). Lalonde, who has been on-line for some
time via AOL, now has his own direct Internet account and is avidly cruising the Net;
Herb should be on-line shortly and Les doesn't need to consider such petty things as
Config PPP and ISDN. He's naturally connected to the Source (how else could he come
up with all those strange ideas and concepts that fuel Primus). The group is expected to
begin their world tour in July. We'll keep you posted.
Insult To Primus & The Group's Fans
Monday May 1
It looks to us like the Los Angeles Times needs to jettison one of its
critics, namely Lorraine Ali. First this aging critic admits in print that she doesn't get
Guided By Voices (we guess she didn't get the Beatles or Nirvana either, right?), while
dissing the band for their physical appearance. Now in a move to seem hip, she's insulted
both Primus and the group's fans. In Saturday's L.A. Times Ali offers up "Four reasons
why Lollapalooza's main stage... will be even better than last year's..." Did anybody ask?
In any case, one of Ali's reasons is "It features none of the bands that played Lollapalooza
'93. Primus? Come on. "We have to wonder if Ali ever actually listened to a Primus album.
No, we don't mean simply letting a Primus CD play within earshot, we mean really
listened. Does she think that, say, Green Day have it over Primus? Or L7? Or the Beastie
Boys? We groove on all of those bands, and Primus too.
Primus, in fact,
are the most experimental band to ever go Top 10. Their albums are deep, both musically
and lyrically. Their fans are devoted to the group's offbeat humor and left-field sensibility.
All of that has obviously sailed right over Ms. Ali's head. We think she's too busy listening
to Cypress Hill albums. Note to Lorraine Ali: How about listening to a slightly more
current rap group, say The Roots? Meanwhile, Primus' brilliant new album, Tales From
the Punch Bowl is coming soon. Don't ignore it.
We Want Primus' "Big Brown Beaver" On MTV!
MTV has relegated Primus' video for "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" to
the late shift. The video is only being shown after midnight, on"Alternative Nation."
According to an Interscope Records video promotion man, MTV's "Standards and
Practices" committee felt the video, or at least the title of the video, conveyed a sexual
double entendre, and thus was not suitable for viewing by minors during the daylight
hours. Before this decision
was made, the video had been reviewed and the group was asked to make two edits. First,
the line "...and he candied up his nose" had to go. Next, the word "smell," as in
"Recognize that smell? Smells like seven layers" was history. Primus made the edits. A
source familiar with the situation said the group was surprised that after the edits, MTV
then chose to relegate the video to a total of 4 or so plays a week after the midnight hour.
We understand that Les Claypool himself took pen in hand and wrote a letter that was
delivered to six MTV execs. We don't know what the content of the letter was, other than
some kind of attempt to get MTV to reconsider. One source told us that "the band has
attempted to clarify why the video is not being played during the day--and to make it clear
that the concept is fun and harmless and not meant to embarrass anybody." Apparently the
effect of the letter, sent in mid-June, was that the weekly video rotations were upped to
10. Meanwhile, "The Box" is airing the unedited version of the video, and it's that
channel's #2 rock video at the moment. We think it's rather hypocritical of MTV to be
keeping the video out of daytime rotation due to it's content, while running T & A shows
like "Miami Grind," Aerosmith videos that show balding old men lusting after teenage
girls, a video that has a young woman removing her panties, Kennedy wearing black
panties and a bra under a see-through dress and the Alanis Morissette video, in which,
despite an edit, you can still hear her sing "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?"
Come on guys, what's the problem with "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver"? Couldn't be that
some female movie star complained about it. No, MTV would never let a star push it
around, would it? Neither MTV president Judy McGrath nor anyone at the Primus office
were available for comment.