Guess what, weirdlings? Today’s our second anniversary! What’d you get us? That’s okay…your “presence” is better than any “presents.” (Don’t you hate when people say that?)
We like to mark this annual milestone in TWBITW’s continuing quest for blogosphere domination by giving props to a classic weird band…you know, one of those acts that’s been around for so long and enjoyed so much success that people tend to take their weirdness for granted. Last year, for our first anniversary, we gave up the funk for Parliament-Funkadelic; this year, we’d like to tip our big brown beaver hat to Primus, a band that after more than 20 years together continues to be the gold standard when it comes to freaky, funky, Zappa-inspired experimental rock.
Primus actually has a new album coming out next month called Green Naugahyde, their first in over a decade. Spin is previewing the first single, “Tragedy’s A-Comin'”, and it sounds pretty much exactly how Primus have always sounded: a jazz/funk/rock jam held together by Les Claypool’s trademark slap-bass and mumbly, sing-speak vocals. They’re nothing if not consistent.
If it’s hard to describe the Primus sound (“thrash-funk meets Don Knots” is probably our favorite), it’s even harder to explain what makes them weird, exactly. They do dress a little quirky; they definitely make bizarre videos; and Claypool does things with his bass guitar that it was never meant to do, bending notes with a whammy bar, using all sorts of distortion pedals, and slapping out polyrhythms that would reduce the thumbs of mere mortal bassists to hamburger in a matter of minutes. But really, it all just comes down to the fact that Primus’ music, for all its obvious influences—Frank Zappa, King Crimson, the Residents—sounds like nothing else except Primus.
That said, those videos are awfully damn weird, too. By now, even your grandmother has probably seen the clip for “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver“—so even though it is indeed awesome, we’d like to share this less famous but equally bizarre, single-take video for “Mr. Krinkle” off 1993’s Pork Soda. Yes, someone was doing single-take music videos long before OK Go ever came along. Watch and learn, kids.
- Primus: Back on the road. Still in 3D.
- You could win the Primus video contest and $5,000. Maybe. Stranger things have happened.
- Primus: Now in 3D
- Primus official site
- Primus on MySpace
- Primus on Facebook
- Prawn Song Records site (Les Claypool’s label)
- Les Claypool official site
- Les Claypool on MySpace
- Club Bastardo (Primus and Les Claypool merch site)
- Claypool Cellars (Les Claypool’s boutique wine label)
- Primus’s catalog on Amazon.com