(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Suck On This, 6.5/10
Frizzle Fry, 8/10
Sailing The Seas Of Cheese, 7/10
Pork Soda, 7/10
Sausage: Riddles Are Abound Tonight, 6/10
Holy Mackerel: Present Highball With The Devil, 5/10
Tales From The Punchbowl, 7/10
Brown Album, 6/10
Antipop, 5/10
Claypool: The Big Eyeball In The Sky (2004), 6/10
Claypool: OF Whales And Woe (2006), 6/10
Green Naugahyde (2011), 4.5/10

Mixing demented novelty tunes and goofy instrumental workouts, Primus seemed to emulate Frank Zappa's versatile and iconoclastic irreverence. Frizzle Fry (1990) was typical of their capricious art: like an amusement park, it was a combination of rollercoaster rides, comedy shows, relaxing strolls and childish games. The changes in speed, mood and fashion were as abrupt as virtuoso, thanks to the inventions of bassist Les Claypool (one of the all-time greats), to the quirkiness of former Possessed guitarist Larry Lalonde, and to the monumental support of drummer Tim Alexander. King Crimson-ian instrumental convolution was offset by funny lyrics and a self-demystifying attitude. The intellectual puzzles became popular songs on Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (1991) and Pork Soda (1993), when the fusion of heavy-metal, funk, jazz and music-hall reached an almost mechanical efficiency. The trio's sonic exploration in Tales From The Punchbowl (1995) was more adventurous, but also highlighted the limits of the pop format.
Full biography
(Translated from the Italian by Nicole Zimmerman)

A stubbornly alternative group, alien to the commercial route, immune to the lure of compromises, heir of the "freak" philosophy and ethics, and representative of the genealogical line of "neo-freaks" inaugurated by the Butthole Surfers - that's Primus. Created by bassist and vocalist Les Claypool, Primus was a bright spot among the rock groups of the early 90's. Each track was like a stylistic puzzle; the group had few predecessors as their style resembled progressive-rock (from Frank Zappa to Rush) but had the feel of hard-core. Listeners can hear echoes of Minute Men and Black Flag, but the smooth progression between tones was anything but punk. Claypool grew up in the Bay of San Francisco, CA, associating with the Rhythm & Blues as well as Jazz circuits in the area before ending up in a group called Primates, which was formed in 1984 with his friends. When Claypool met guitarist Larry Lalonde, musical veteran with 3 albums under his belt with the group Possessed, the formation of a dark-metal band was obscured. Under the influence of drummer Tim Alexander, the group changed its name to Primus and its sound to an intellectual punk-metal. The groups lyrics immediately endeared them in the hearts of their fans; for the lyrics were paradoxical and comical and even had a funky rhythm.

Suck On This (Prawn Song, Jan. 1990) was recorded live in 1989 to capture the energy of the group. The instruments played awkward, bare harmonies and sobbing rhythms. All together, it was too shaggy and quivering to stand out so they moved closer to Jazz (like moving from King Crimson to Soft Machine) and could have passed for Pere Ubu and the Butthole Surfers, while borrowing ideas from Yes and Rush. Claypool's singing was the unifying element of the free-for-all jamming, but it was this jamming that gave the music its ultimate meaning - using their abilities: highly creative ideas, dissonant orgies, blaring improv, and psychotic accelerations. If the irreverent and hateful metal-funk of John The Fisherman, Jellykit, and Harold Of The Rocks was the genre in which it was easiest to discover them, then they would be made great in the iconoclastic fantasy of the mutated blues in Groundhog's Day (Zappa-style), the vaudeville comedy of Heckler (Weill-style), the psychedelic raga of Pressman (Pink Floyd style), and the overwhelming drunken revelry of Pudding Time (Beefheart style), ending in the wild and delirious pow-wow of the title track; a summary of their inspirations. There was a place for everyone in their composed puzzle but in reality for no one: in the end, the work could not be less of an imitation of other groups/styles.

Frizzle Fry (Caroline, Feb. 1990) was the group's first studio recorded album, which presented Primus with a heavy-metal sound. The mixture of sounds turned out to be a happy one because the aggressiveness was moderated by an almost "freak" humor (the lyrics barely touching surrealism) as well as some catchy refrains. At the same time, Claypool was put in the spotlight as one of the greatest rock bassists of all time. Tracks like To Defy The Laws Of Tradition and The Toys go Winding Down, although not with the speed and fury of heavy-metal, retained their explosive energy. The humorous vein of their work leaked out from gag-songs like Too Many Puppies, which were in some ways related to the songs of David Thomas: powered by an incalculable rationale, but also devastated by the violence of thrash. These types of tracks had satire like that of Zappa within thick and tragic contexts of instrumental scores that were anything but ironic and were sung with the anger and sarcasm typical of punk.

The group produced a more simple and professional style on Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (Interscope, 1991), despite the no less acrobatic work at the bass. Once again comical scenes were used to conquer alternative radio: from the rhyme of Here Come The Bastards, worthy of early Zappa, to the "modern dance" style of Pere Ubu in Sgt Baker. With multiple grafts from jazz-rock, funk, and hip-hop came Jerry Was A Race Car Driver, which demonstrated a more scholarly equilibrium of elements and arrangements greater than imagined. The heavy-metal components were always in waiting and came out in improvs under the form of electric boards from the bass but they were always a metaphorical heavy-metal that referenced something else. Tracks like Eleven and Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers were mini-concerts of rhythms and vocalizations of a grotesquely primitive "heaviness". The limits of this style of savage, hedonist revelry were run over by "industrial" nerves above all in Is It Luck. The sound of Primus never became just one sound, never self-indulgent, not even extremist. It was a very evolved form of internalization of sound and what that sound had to represent. Every track finished different from the one before it and so it was with every album. The lyrics had an unusually relevant role. At times the songs were constructed around them, as in American Life, with their pressing, ritualistic crescendo and noise counterpoint on guitar; and in Fish Or, the long jazz-gothic-psychedelic excursion that crowned the album. The album sold about a half million copies and catapulted Primus to the avant-garde of alternative rock for college radio.

Pork Soda (Interscope, 1993) perhaps signaled the apex of their search for sound and an equilibrium between the various components (lyrics, melodies, and rhythms) which was surprisingly a success of classification also. The group was all too aware of their worth and of their innovations. Primus lost its spirited spontaneity, its naive impulse, and the fresh improv that it had at its beginning. The group became just a pretext to debate on the existence of their own music. In the syncopated din of songs like My Name Is Mud as well as in the spectacular metamorphosis of long instrumental jams like Hamburger Train, Claypool demonstrated that he was now a composer of serious music, although he masqueraded as a high school comedian. The drunken singing, the dissonant phrasing, the crooked tempos, and graceless combinations all camouflage the actual dramatic and complex instrumental scores. Claypool was at the climax of his writing, directing, and arranging abilities; at the same time the electricity and "heaviness" of the sound grew to create new, rough, manly rhythms for bass and guitar. An example of this contradiction in their sound can be heard in the slovenly but precise Bob, which followed in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones with a very alienated and slow sound, including a pair of wrong notes in place of the riffs by Richards. The grotesque remained the strong point that was expressed through novelty (the excellent Welcome To This World, a joining of the crackling blues of Slim Harps and decadent cabaret of Kurt Weill or the oriental lit of The Air Is Getting Slippery, a fair-ground ragtime), embellished by dissonance and roughness, or that indulged in demented pantomime (another imitation of Pere Ubu such as Nature Boy or the satirical-horror portrayed in Mr. Krinkle). The group was redefined by its dark humor which was more like a maniacal version of a parody: Pork Soda was a fresco of contemporary society spoiled by an infernal malignancy. In this sense, it was a concept album and it was not by chance then that the group members were likened to the soundtracks for animated cartoons. Although overly convoluted, the sound of the album was, however, a point of arrival for Primus. Claypool was no longer an amateur that tried to entertain a handful of youth post-hard-core but an expert that maintained a more vast and demanding audience. The album consecrated the group as one of the institutions of the new rock.

Since 1988, Claypool also played in the group Sausage, with Jay Lane on drums (who also played with the Charlie Hunter Trio) and Todd Hut on guitar (who also played with Porch). Their first album, Riddles Are Abound Tonight (Interscope, 1994), was a vain exercise in conceptual funk-rock. The brief Prelude To Fear referenced early Primus and was unruly and metallic. But, Riddles Are Abound Tonight, with its funky metallic sound and neurotic recitation, seemed new wave, and the thick, dark tumult of Here's To The Man was played like a meeting between Steve Albini, Lydia Lunch, and Sonic Youth. Temporary Phase was a long trance with a strong syncopated beat, almost dubs, on which the group pasted casual, conversation like lyrics. In the track that most resembled a song, Toyz 1988, there were echoes of the progressive-rock of Art Bears. The trio was satisfied to have laid out a set of mostly refined sounds (the long Shattering is no more than blabbed by a dissonant guitar over trotting country-western rhythm). From this point of view, the apex was perhaps represented by the instrumental jam Recreating, a little masterpiece of assimilation of noises (helicopter, electric saw, siren) in an improv jazz serenade. If the entire album was at this level, it would have been a masterpiece of avant-garde jazz-rock. The work confirmed, however, another time of crisis for Claypool, who seemed uncertain about which path to take.

One would need a river of ink to create a written analysis of the musical art of Claypool. He was satisfied dishing out a work of pure avant-garde in Tales From The Punchbowl (Interscope, 1995). Three long tracks, almost instrumentals, gave a measure of sophistication to the rhythm and harmonics of the group. In Professor Nutbutter's House Of Treats, Lalonde made the atonal riff flow with the transcendent feel of Robert Fripp, Claypool made his chords reverberate in a hypnotic and mechanical manner, and the monumental playing by drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander crowned the track. The same dark atmosphere, the same listless rambling, but more tension and a psychedelic crescendo form Southbound Pachyderm. The nervous jamming in Over The Electric Grapevine fails, perhaps the victim of over-thinking. There were, however, improvised structures in continuous movement anchored only to the counter-melodies by the bass.

Now for the clownish side of Primus. Novelty was found in Wynona's Big Brown Beaver, conducted like a square dance; they also produced De Anza Jig which sounded like it was meant to be played by a marching band, and the carnival Hellbound 17 1/2. There was much less playing and more presenting the past in the funk track Del Davis Tree Farm, and the absurd songs Year Of The Parrott and Glass Sandwich. The bass by Claypool towered over the rest of the music with a tempo one finds on guitar (or on the organ of Keith Emerson), denouncing a cult personality that was harmful to their music. The listener wanted the preponderance of improv, recordings faithful to live performances, the true sound of the group, the paradoxical harmonies, because at this point Primus sounded more like Phish.

Les Claypool And The Holy Mackerel was given credit for Present Highball With The Devil (Interscope, 1996), the first solo album by the enigmatic bassist and vocalist from Primus (who here played both the guitar and drums). Several of these tracks were free-for-all, casual Rhythm & Blues jams with his friends. The brief and melodious Running The Gauntlet and the surf-rock Hendershot did not have much in common with Claypool's past. They were too self-indulgent to listen to.

Claypool was as unpredictable as his music. He had just become reputable in the ears of his critics and immediately he ruined his reputation with the most trivial and accessible album of his career: Brown Album (Interscope, 1997). Naturally his class and that of Lalonde (who was always more visible) remained intact but there was little substance behind this album. The problem with songs like Shake Hands With Beef and Golden Boy (those in the more classic funk style) was that they were limited to repeating the riff (as elegant and elaborate as a riff can be). The few conceptual tracks, Bob's Party Time Lounge and Arnie, get lost in the disorganized uproar of ideas. The heart of the album remained, on the other hand, elsewhere: in the Mussolini-like rally of The Return Of Sathington Willoughby, underlined by a martial/industrial pace (with Dadaist chirping on the guitar); in the music-hall pace of Fisticuffs and Puddin' Taine; in the grotesque ska style of Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread; in the speed-metal circus style of Coddingtown; and in the ramshackle rumba of Kalamazoo. This was vaudeville pure and simple. Like albums of the minor period of Zappa, this was an album that stood almost exclusively on wit within the lyrics and music. The drummer, Brian "Brain" Mantia (ex-Limbomaniacs and Bootsy Collins) substituted for Tim Alexander.

Gruppo testardamente alternativo, estraneo alle rotte commerciali, insensibile alle lusinghe dei compromessi, massimo erede della filosofia e dell'etica freak, e massimo esponente della linea genealogica "neo-freak" inaugurata dai Butthole Surfers, i Primus del bassista (e cantante) Les Claypool sono uno dei fari della musica rock al principio degli anni '90. Ogni loro brano e' innanzitutto un rompicapo stilistico. Il gruppo ha pochi precedenti, perche' la loro musica assomiglia al progressive-rock (da Frank Zappa ai Rush) ma ha il piglio dell'hardcore. Si sentono echi di Minutemen e Black Flag, ma il portamento dei Primus e` tutto fuorche' punk.

Claypool crebbe nella Baia di San Francisco, frequentando i circuiti del rhythm and blues e del jazz prima di finire in un complesso rock, i Primates, formati nel 1984 con un gruppo di amici. Quando Clayton incontro' il chitarrista Larry Lalonde, reduce da tre album con i Possessed, oscura formazione di "dark metal", e il batterista Tim Alexander, la formazione cambio` nome in Primus e il sound in un punk-metal intellettuale. A guadagnargli subito le simpatie dei fan furono le liriche, paradossali e comiche, e poi, quando i Red Hot Chili Peppers divennero delle star, anche il ritmo funky.

Suck On This (Prawn Song, jan 1990) e` un album registrato dal vivo nel 1989 per catturare l'energia del gruppo. Gli strumenti prediligono timbri sgraziati, le armonie sono spoglie, i ritmi singhiozzanti. L'insieme e' troppo ispido e fremente per avere dei precedenti salienti, ma vi confluiscono le lezioni del rock progressivo piu' vicino al jazz, dai King Crimson ai Soft Machine, passando per i Pere Ubu e i Butthole Surfers, ma anche rubando idee a Yes e Rush. Il canto di Claypool e' l'elemento unificante di questo "jamming" spesso gratuito, ma e' il jamming, non il canto, a dare il senso ultimo della musica, con le sue potenti sgroppate, i suoi spunti altamente creativi, le sue orge dissonanti, i suoi improvvisi picchi di volume, le sue accelerazioni psicotiche.
Se il metal-funk truculento e irriverente di John The Fisherman, Jellykit e Harold Of The Rocks e' il genere a cui e' piu' facile ricondurli, a renderli grandi e' la fantasia iconoclasta da cui scaturiscono le mutazioni blues di Groundhog's Day (alla Zappa), il comico vaudeville di Heckler (alla Weill), il raga psichedelico di Pressman (alla Pink Floyd) e il baccanale travolgente di Pudding Time (alla Beefheart), fino al pow-wow sgangherato e delirante della title-track, summa di tutte le loro ispirazioni. Nel loro composito puzzle c'e' posto per tutti, ma in realta' per nessuno: alla fine l'opera non potrebbe essere meno epigonica.

Frizzle Fry (Caroline, feb 1990), il primo vero album in studio, presenta i Primus con un sound piu' heavy-metal. La miscela si rivela particolarmente felice perche' le tinte aggressive sono moderate da un umorismo quasi freak (le liriche lambiscono la scrittura automatica del surrealismo) nonche' da qualche ritornello orecchiabile. Al tempo stesso Claypool si mette in luce come uno dei piu' grandi bassisti rock di tutti i tempi.
Brani quali To Defy The Laws Of Tradition e The Toys Go Winding Down, pur non avendo la velocita' e la furia dell'heavymetal, ne conservono la carica esplosiva. La vena comica trapela da canzoni-gag come Too Many Puppies, che e' in qualche modo parente dei quadretti piu' folli di David Thomas: altrettanto alimentata da una razionalita' incalcolabile, ma in aggiunta devastata dalla violenza del thrash. Satire come quella di Mr Knowitall non sono meno caustiche di quelle di Zappa, ma usano un contesto denso e tragico di partiture strumentali tutt'altro che ironiche e sono cantate con la rabbia e il sarcasmo tipici del punk.

Il gruppo sfodera uno stile piu` elementare e professionale su Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (Interscope, 1991), nonostante le acrobazie del basso non siano meno spettacolari. Sono ancora una volta le scenette comiche a conquistare le radio alternative: dalla filastrocca di Here Come The Bastards, degna del primo Zappa, alla "danza moderna" in stile Pere Ubu di Sgt Baker. Innesti multipli di jazzrock, funk e hip-hop come Jerry Was A Race Car Driver, dimostrano un sapiente equilibrio di elementi e una cura per l'arrangiamento molto maggiore di quanto si potrebbe pensare.
La componente heavymetal e' sempre in agguato, e viene fuori all'improvviso sotto forma di bordate elettriche del basso, ma e' sempre un heavymetal "metaforico", che si riferisce a qualcos'altro: brani come Eleven e Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers sono mini-concerti di ritmi e vocalizzi di una "pesantezza" grottescamente primitiva. Il limite di questa maniera sono i selvaggi baccanali edonisti investiti di nevrosi "industriale", su tutti Is It Luck.
Il sound dei Primus non diventa mai una maniera insistita, non e'per nulla auto-indulgente, non e' neppure estremista: e' una forma molto evoluta di interiorizzazione del suono e di cio' che quel suono deve rappresentare. Ogni brano finisce per essere diverso dai precedenti, e cosi' ogni album.
I testi hanno un ruolo insolitamente rilevante. Talvolta la canzone e' costruita attorno ad essi, come per esempio in American Life, con il suo incalzante crescendo ritualistico e il contrappunto di rumori di chitarra, e in Fish Or, la lunga escursione "jazz-gotico-psichedelica" che corona il disco. L'album vende mezzo milione di copie e catapulta i Primus all'avanguardia del rock alternativo per le radio dei college.

Pork Soda (Interscope, 1993) segna forse l'apice della loro ricerca timbrica e il raggiunto equilibrio fra le varie componenti (liriche, melodiche, ritmiche), e sorprendentemente fu anche un successo di classifica. Il gruppo e` fin troppo conscio del proprio valore e delle proprie innovazioni. Persa la gagliarda spontaneita', l'impeto naif, la fresca improvvisazione degli inizi, i Primus sono diventati un manuale di pretesti per dissertare sull'essenza della loro stessa musica.
Tanto nel baccano sincopato di canzoni come My Name Is Mud quanto nelle metamorfosi spettacolari di lunghe jam strumentali come Hamburger Train Claypool dimostra di essere ormai diventato un compositore di musica seria, anche se mascherato da liceale mattacchione. Il canto ubriaco, i fraseggi cacofonici, i tempi sbilenchi, gli accostamenti sgraziati mimetizzano in realta' complesse partiture strumentali certosinamente sceneggiate. Se il leader e' al culmine delle sue abilita' di autore, direttore e arrangiatore, al tempo stesso l'elettricita' e la pesantezza del sound sono cresciute per effetto dei nuovi timbri rudi e virili di basso e chitarra. Esemplare di quella contraddizione in termini che e' il loro sound, trasandato ma precisissimo, e' Bob, nei panni di Rolling Stones molto alienati e rallentati, con un paio di stecche al posto dei riff di Richards.
Il grottesco rimane comunque il loro forte, che si esprima attraverso novelty (l'eccellente Welcome To This World, un incrocio fra il blues scoppiettante di Slim Harpo e il cabaret decadente di Kurt Weill, o la litania orientale di The Ol' Diamond Black Sturgeon, o The Air Is Getting Slippery, un ragtime da fiera), infiorettate di dissonanze e di pressapochismi, o che indulga nella pantomima demenziale (un'altra imitazione dei Pere Ubu come Nature Boy, o il ritratto satirico-horror di Mr Krinkle). Il black humour del gruppo si qualifica sempre piu' come una variante maniacale della parodia: Pork Soda e' un affresco della societa' contemporanea viziato di una malignita' infernale. In tal senso e' un album concept, e non a caso i membri del gruppo l'hanno paragonato alle colonne sonore dei cartoni animati.
Anche troppo arzigogolato, il sound di questo disco segna comunque un punto di arrivo. Claypool non e' piu' un amatore che tenta di divertire un pugno di ragazzi post-hardcore, ma un intenditore che intrattiene un pubblico molto piu' vasto ed esigente. L'album consacra il gruppo fra le istituzioni del nuovo rock.

Dal 1988 Claypool suona anche nei Sausage, con Jay Lane alla batteria (anche nel Charlie Hunter Trio) e Todd Hut alla chitarra (anche nei Porch). Il loro primo e unico album, Riddles Are Abound Tonight (Interscope, 1994) e` un esercizio un po' vanesio di funk-rock concettuale. Il breve Prelude To Fear rimanda ai primi Primus, sregolati e metallici, ma Riddles Are Abound Tonight, con il suo funky metallico e la sua recitazione nevrotica, sembra un reperto di new wave, e il denso e oscuro maelstrom di Here's To The Man suona come un incrocio fra Steve Albini, Lydia Lunch e Sonic Youth. Temporary Phase e` una lunga trance con un forte battito sincopato, quasi dub, su cui sono incollati brani-conversazione casuali. Nel brano che piu` assomiglia a una canzone, Toyz 1988, riecheggia persino il progressive-rock degli Art Bears. Il trio si accontenta per lo piu` di disporre sul tappeto sonorita` raffinate (la lunga Shattering non e` che blaterio di chitarra dissonante su un trotto country & western). Da questo punto di vista l'apice e` forse rappresentato dalla jam strumentale Recreating, un piccolo capolavoro di assimilazione dei rumori (elicottero, sega elettrica, sirena) in una serrata improvvisazione jazz di gruppo. Se tutto il disco fosse a questo livello, si tratterebbe di un capolavoro del jazz-rock d'avanguardia. L'opera conferma piu` che altro il momento di crisi esistenziale di Claypool, incerto fra le tante strade che gli si aprono dinanzi.

Si versano fiumi di inchiostro per analizzare l'arte di Claypool. Claypool li accontenta scodellando un lavoro di pura avanguardia come Tales From The Punchbowl (Interscope, 1995). Tre lunghi brani quasi strumentali danno la misura della sofisticata alchimia ritmica e armonica del trio. In Professor Nutbutter's House Of Treats Larry Lalonde fa grondare riff atonali con il piglio trascendente di un Robert Fripp, Claypool fa riverberare i suoi accordi in modo ipnotico e meccanico, e il lavoro monumentale alla batteria di Tim "Herb" Alexander corona i loro duetti. Stessa atmosfera noir, stesso svolgimento sconclusionato, ma con in piu` una tensione e un crescendo psichedelico, per Southbound Pachyderm. Fallisce invece il jamming nervoso di Over The Electric Grapevine, forse vittima di un eccesso di cerebralismo. Sono comunque strutture improvvisate in continuo movimento, ancorate soltanto alle contromelodie del basso.
Venendo al lato faceto dell'operazione Primus, la novelty di turno e` Wynona's Big Brown Beaver, condotta come una quadriglia, ma le fanno da spalla il De Anza Jig per banda dell'Esercito della Salvezza e quel carnevale di stravaganze di Hellbound 17 1/2. Molto minori suonano invece i reperti del passato, il funk di Del Davis Tree Farm, le canzoni dell'assurdo Year Of The Parrott e Glass Sandwich. Il basso di Claypool sovrasta il resto della musica come un tempo si faceva con le chitarre (o con l'organo di Keith Emerson), denunciando un culto della personalita` che e` nocivo alla musica.
Vuoi per la preponderanza dell'improvvisazione, vuoi per la registrazione fedele alle esibizioni dal vivo, vuoi per la predilezione per il sound di gruppo, vuoi per le armonie paradossali adesso i Primus sembrano piu` prossimi ai Phish che al funk-metal.

A Les Claypool And The Holy Mackerel e` accreditato Present Highball With The Devil (Interscope, 1996), primo album solista dell'enigmatico bassista e cantante dei Primus (che qui suona anche la chitarra e la batteria). Parecchi di questi brani sembrano jam di rhythm and blues con amici del sottoscala. La breve e melodica Running The Gauntlet e il surf-rock di Hendershot non hanno molto in comune con il suo passato; The Awakening e` invece troppo simile al suo passato. Troppo auto-indulgente per essere anche ascoltabile.

Claypool e` tanto imprevedibile quanto la sua musica. Si era appena riabilitato alle orecchie dei critici, e subito si rovina la reputazione con il disco piu` banale e accessibile della sua carriera: Brown Album (Interscope, 1997). Naturalmente la classe sua e quella del chitarrista Larry Lalonde (sempre piu` in vista) rimangono indiscutibili, ma c'e` poca sostanza dietro gli sketch di questo disco. Il problema di canzoni come Shake Hands With Beef e Golden Boy (quelle nel loro piu` classico stile funk) e` che si limitano a ripetere pedestramente un riff (per quanto elegante ed elaborato il riff possa essere). I pochi brani concettuali, Bob's Party Time Lounge e Arnie, si perdono in un frastuono disordinato di idee. Il cuore del disco sta, d'altronde, altrove: nel comizio mussoliniano di The Return Of Sathington Willoughby, sottolineato da un passo marziale/ industriale (con pigolio dadaista di chitarra), nel passo da music-hall di Fisticuffs e Puddin' Taine, nello ska grottesco di Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread, nello speed-metal da circo equestre in Coddingtown, nella rhumba sgangherata di Kalamazoo. Questo e` puro e semplice avanspettacolo.
Come certi album del periodo minore di Zappa, questo e` un disco che si regge quasi esclusivamente sul wit dell'accoppiata testi/musica.
Il batterista Brian "Brain" Mantia (ex Limbomaniacs e Bootsy Collins) e` subentrato a Tim Alexander.

The EP Rhinoplasty (Interscope, 1998) contains covers and two lengthy tracks: the 8-minute Tommy the Cat and the 7-minute Bob's Party Time Lounge.

Guests of honor abound on Antipop (Interscope, 1999), an even too loose and casual reprise of their career's stylistic highlights, peaking with the nine-minute jam of Eclectic Electric. The news is that Primus return to their original demented-rock format after flirting with mildly-witty commercial funk. Laquerhead, The Heckler, The Final Voyage Of The Liquid Sky, and the closing waltz of Coattails Of A Dead Man open no new doors, but show the band's class. The limit is that it sounds like a retired-firemen's sunday-afternoon barbeque.

Frog Brigade is another Les Claypool side project, although Love Frogs (Prawn Song, 2001) contains mainly material that was already released by previous Claypool bands.

Claypool later joined Oysterhead.

Primus' EP Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People (Interscope, 2003) does not even come close to the magic of the classic period.

Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains is Les Claypool on vocals and Bass, Buckethead on guitar and Bernie Worrell on keyboards, and Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums. The freenwheeling progr-rock and funkadelia The Big Eyeball In The Sky (Prawn, 2004) peaks with the 10-minute instrumental jam Elephant Ghost.

Les Claypool's OF Whales And Woe (Prawn Song, 2006) is the kind of eccentric collection that one expects from Claypool: eclectic witty vignettes that seem to thumb their noise at all possible cliches of popular music.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Gianluca Mantovan)

L'EP Rhinoplasty (Interscope, 1998) contine cover e le lunghe Tommy the Cat (otto minuti) e Bob's Party Time Lounge (sette minuti). Antipop (Interscope, 1999), con molti ospiti d'onore, riprende in modo fin troppo sciolto e casuale i loro vertici stilistici, culminando con la jam di nove minuti Eclectic Electric. I Primus ripropongono il loro formato demented-rock originario dopo il flirt con il funk commerciale di media arguzia. Laquerhead, The Heckler, The Final Voyage Of The Liquid Sky e il waltz di chiusura Coattails Of A Dead Man mostrano classe senza dire alcunche' di nuovo. Ricorda purtroppo il vigile del fuoco pensionato alle prese con il barbecue la Domenica pomeriggio. Frog Brigade e' un nuovo progetto collaterale di Les Claypool nonostante Love Frogs (Prawn Song, 2001) contenga materiale perlopiu' pubblicato dalle sue band del passato. Successivamente Claypool s'uni' agli Oysterhead.

L'EP dei Primus Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People (Interscope, 2003) non si avvicina alla magia del periodo classico. Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains consta di Les Claypool per voce e basso, Buckethead alla chitarra, Bernie Worrell alle tastiere e Bryan "Brain" Mantia alla batteria. Il prog-rock a ruota libera e la funkadelia The Big Eyeball In The Sky (Prawn, 2004) culminano con i dieci minuti di jam strumentale di Elephant Ghost. Les Claypool pubblico' Of Whales And Woe (Prawn Song, 2006), eccentrica raccolta tipica del personaggio: "vignette" eclettiche ed argute che paiono motteggiare ogni possibile cliche' della musica popolare.

Clayton reformed Primus with drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Larry LaLonde and released Green Naugahyde (2011), that contains Jilly's on Smack and little else of note. (Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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