Charlie’s Corner: Primus Review

Charlie Singleton, writer

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On Tuesday, May 15, the wacky yet extremely talented Primus came to Nashville for their second time in less than six months. Although I couldn’t make it to the show due to a theology exam the next morning (please note that my theology teacher went to the concert) I am a huge Primus fan. I have listened to them for almost three years, having heard all of their albums at least half way through. Here, I will be discussing what exactly Primus is, how they approach their music, and their best album in comparison to their other work.

Primus consists of three persons, drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and finally bassist and vocalist Les Claypool. Claypool is regarded as one of the greatest bassists of all time by rock and metal standards. While the bass forms the foundation and rhythm of the song, Les Claypool seems to be the lead instrumentalist, almost swapping places with the guitar. The whole persona behind Primus’ music is a goofy yet head banging metal and rock sound, utilizing weird music theory to differentiate their music from the rest. The fast and complex baseline shadowed by abnormal guitar chords while being kept in rhythm with the drums makes their music extremely tight. On top of all that is Les’ comical vocals and singing. Some songs that do a good job exemplifying Primus are “Tommy the Cat,” “John the Fisherman,” “Jerry the Race Car Driver,”  and “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.” Just the song names alone give off the vibe of what Primus is.

Last year, on Sept. 29, 2017, Primus released their latest album “The Desaturated Seven.” Personally, I think it was one of their best albums. Primus’ last couple albums have been sort of like storybooks or children’s novels, but with a really dark twist on them. Before “The Desaturated Seven” Primus covered the soundtrack of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” which was also a great adaptation of merging happy children’s themes with the dark goofiness of Primus. Still, these albums are different than their early content. They aren’t necessarily worse, for they are all great albums with neat concepts, but Primus’ 1991 album “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” portray precisely what Primus is. This album was Primus’ breakthrough work, after being signed by Jimmy Iovine to Interscope Records the previous year. Fans leave this album exalted among rock records.

Overall, Primus is one of those bands you never really hear about until you get into them. Their sound may scare some people off, but it is undeniable that Primus is extremely talented and different from the rest, laying out a charm that most other bands can’t even come close to. From sources who did go to the concert this last week, (Dr. Peper) I heard that their live sound is just as good, and they can even somehow pull of making technical difficulties sound nice. I recommend that first timers listen to “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” and, if you like it, you’ll quickly get into their other great content.

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