Category: Primus

Primus – Sailing the Seas of Cheese

ARTIST: Primus               220px-1991_Sailing_the_Seas_of_Cheese

TITLE:  Sailing the Seas of Cheese

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION: #116 US, #100 UK

SINGLES: Jerry Was a Race Car Driver (#23 US Alternative), Tommy the Cat, Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Here Come the Bastards, Is It Luck?

LINEUP: Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, Tim Alexander

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First major label album finds Primus still mining the same vein – odd time signatures, impressive bass work, weird lyrics and subjects – but with less of an element of surprise or inspiration.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Primus was the thinking man’s proggy metal punk funk band of the 90’s, and to first hear them is quite the rush. This, their first major label effort, doesn’t pull any punches. It goes for the weird and difficult with some success.

The structure is similar at times to Frizzle Fry, with a few interludes and intro and exit pieces thrown into the mix. What happens here, though, is that after the brilliant “Tommy the Cat”, the album grinds to a halt with a couple of long, laborious songs to end things.

Yes, it’s impressive that they do a song in 11/8, and that Claypool can play and pluck at the same time, and they, no doubt, could do Rush or Zappa justice. What they don’t have, in the end, are the consistently strong songs that made their first studio album a joy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” has been in several video games, which should surprise no one..

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A new mix, a couple of new-ish live cuts.

GRADE: B: I wish I liked this more. I am just as impressed by their playing and the inventiveness of the music, but the beginning and ending of the album aren’t that great.

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Primus – Frizzle Fry

ARTIST: Primus 220px-Primus-Frizzle_Fry
TITLE: Frizzle Fry
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: #153
SINGLES: John the Fisherman, Too Many Puppies, Mr. Knowitall
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Those are probably the ones non-fans may have heard
LINEUP: Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, Tim Alexander
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mixing together styles ranging from punk, funk, new wave and prog, the trio’s studio debut is an enjoyable musical stew.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Les Claypool is, by all standards, a musical genius. Not only is he a master of the bass guitar, using a very unique funk-slapping technique that also plays chords with his bass at times, but he writes songs that pull from all of his influences. Settling on a lineup of like-minded musical adventurers, he propelled Primus to the forefront of alternative rock in the early 90’s on the back of this album.

Claypool’s songs are offbeat, at times wacky and always complex in meter and structure. There are a lot of things going on here. LaLonde weaves guitars throughout, allowing Claypool to carry the songs bedrock on his bass, while Alexander’s drums power throughout keeping tabs of whatever rhythm and time the song is in.

A few cuts stand out over the rest, and if you don’t have a quirky or adventurous world view Claypool’s antics and vocals may wear on you. For the rest of us – it’s a fun album!

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Many of the guitar melodies were written by former guitarist Tim Huth.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with one bonus track

GRADE: A-: I played this album a lot in the 90’s and once you get what they were doing you will as well.

Primus – Suck on This

ARTIST: Primus Primus-Suck_on_This
TITLE: Suck on This
YEAR RELEASED: 1989
CHART ACTION: No
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Most all of them made it onto Primus albums, and a lot of you all bought them.
LINEUP: Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, Tim Alexander
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Unique metal/funk band’s debut is a live one, and it works not only to show off their prowess and chops, but gives us all a glimpse of their organic fan base.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A live debut album? That’s risky. But not with Primus. This was a great intro into the band, and showed the energy and fun that Primus has on stage.

Most all of the album songs wound up on Primus’ studio debut, and almost all wound up on a Primus album proper. Still, it’s great to hear them live and this rather much proves, in case there was any doubt, the Claypool and company actually can pull off what they do on their records on stage.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band borrowed $3,000 from Claypool’s dad to finance the album. Money well spent.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but you can get it with their studio debut Frizzle Fry if you must.

GRADE: A- : It’s a greatest hits live of Primus, before they became hits.