I first saw Primus in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey in 1992. I though they were the worst band I had ever heard. I didn't understand what was going on: There was this skinny, strange looking guy playing some instrument really hard, but I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be metal or what. I guessed there were only two other people in the band: a guitarist of some kind and a drummer. I dismissed them as some sort of freak-metal Anthrax wanna-bes, and didn't even pay attention to what their name was.
About a year later, in late 1993, I was joining a CD club with one of those 8 for 1 deals. I had got all the stuff I really wanted and still had two selections left. I saw there was this band called Primus with an album called Pork Soda that I think I had heard a few people at school talking about. The cover looked interesting, so I figured I had nothing to loose. For my other selection, I was too lazy to scan through the rest of the catalog, so I got Sailing the Seas of Cheese. When my CDs came a few weeks later, I popped in Pork Soda first out of curiosity.
I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. All I really knew was that it was different from anything I'd heard before. I still couldn't figure out where the instruments were, but there was this song called DMV which was the most unbelievable thing I had ever heard. The main melody --I still couldn't understand who was playing it-- was unbelievable, and the drummer was pounding away on the tom-toms, which was very different from anything I had heard in the recent years. There were some other really good songs on the album: Nature Boy, Welcome to This World, My Name is Mud, and then this awesome 8 minute instrumental called Hamburger Train. Although I was in total awe of what I had just heard, I still didn't know if it was good or what. There were lots of these little two-minute instrumentals on the album, which really broke it up in little sections.
It was time to hear Seas of Cheese, so I popped it in. After this little song with what I think was a cello, there was this ominous intro and then this really hard-stomping song called Here Come the Bastards. There was Sergeant Baker, with this really cool groove and then this drifty song called American Life. The fifth song on the album was called Jerry Was a Racecar Driver, and it was the best song I had ever heard. About this time, I took a look in the cover at the credits. As I listened to the song, I still wasn't sure what was going on with the instruments. To me, it sounded like there was a solo and rhythm guitar, along with a bass and drums. But when I looked in the credits, I saw there were only three people in the band: a bassist/singer, a guitarist, and a drummer. And then it hit me:
He was doing the whole thing by himself.
What I though was rhythm guitar was in fact a bass jumping all over
the scale. And he was singing on top of it! I couldn't figure out how he
did it, because I had never heard anything even close to that done on a
bass. This was this weird, off-tempo song called Eleven, which the
singer --Les Claypool was his name-- shouted "I Just Can't Seem to Fit
Into Society!" How true, I thought. Despite the ideal that grunge was rebellious, this music was different, and so much
better than almost anything that had been going on in the last three years.
Later, there was Tommy the Cat, the very song which had nearly made
me puke a year earlier. When I listened to the bass, it just blew me away.
I couldn't believe any human could play that fast. I thought how weird
it was that although the bass was the lead instrument, the guitar still
soloed. There was this really great song called Those Damn Blue-Collared
Tweekers towards the end of the CD, followed by this weird song called
Fish On that started really slow and then turned into a Jam.
Shortly thereafter, I bought Miscellaneous Debris and after finding
Frizzle Fry in a Chicago record store a few months later, Primus
became my favorite band. In 1995, I bought Tales From the Punchbowl
the day it came out, and found Riddles Are Abound Tonight used in
New Jersey. I finally found Suck on This in a Pittsburgh record
store last summer, and finally got caught up. Primus has been my favorite band for over 3 years now, but I still don't
know why. Maybe it's because they have a great bass player and fun lyrics:
something lacking in most music today. I still don't know quite how to
describe Primus, other than simply, "They're Just Different."
My Favorite Primus/Sausage/Les Claypool Albums Are:
My Top 69 Primus/Sausage/Les Claypool Songs Are:
Shortly thereafter, I bought Miscellaneous Debris and after finding Frizzle Fry in a Chicago record store a few months later, Primus became my favorite band. In 1995, I bought Tales From the Punchbowl the day it came out, and found Riddles Are Abound Tonight used in New Jersey. I finally found Suck on This in a Pittsburgh record store last summer, and finally got caught up.
Primus has been my favorite band for over 3 years now, but I still don't know why. Maybe it's because they have a great bass player and fun lyrics: something lacking in most music today. I still don't know quite how to describe Primus, other than simply, "They're Just Different."