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Primus is an American genre-defying band, which sucks. It was founded by cannabis spokesman and addict Les Claypool, whose idea was to write "'creative' music and a failed attempt at copying "Rush"  . In strong contrast to other bands, Claypool the bass player serves as the band's frontman. As a result of this however, all other instruments are mixed to be quiet so that his playing is most prominent. This is not a problem, as Claypool being an exceptional banjo-player-turned-bassist has mastered many bass techniques, such as slapping, and nothing else.
Due to many people's opposition to music where the guitar is nearly inaudible and the bass is at the front of the mix, an anti-Primus club, Primus Sucks!, exists. It consists of several vegetarians, the American Pet Association, Comedy Central, the Fishermen's Club, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, James Hetfield, and the entire Muslim community. "Primus Sucks!" is actually the official catchphrase of the band, invented by Claypool so that critics' complaints lose all meaning - as a result, the "Primus Sucks!" club consists of many devout fans who simply ended up at the wrong place. This is a fine example of Claypool thwarting critics' attempts at foiling his success.
edit 1984–88: Formation as Primate
In 1984, when Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died under suspicious circumstances, guitarist and former school chum Kirk Hammett encouraged his old friend, a Les Claypool, to play his part. Claypool didn't get the job due to an argument that broke out over his demands to turn the band into a funk act. Metallica frontman James Hetfield denied Claypool's pleas, claiming they would never do such a thing as alienate their fan base and change their image. Hetfield later remarked that "Claypool was too shitty to play in Metallica" and "He should do his own thing", which made Les very sad. Les decided to get revenge, and started to make new friends to form his own, much-better-than-Metallica band.
Surprisingly, Claypool DID find friends; a guitarist named Todd Huth and a drum machine named LinnDrum. LinnDrum, unfortunately, exploded when they tried to make it imitate the sound of a hammer (by hammering it until it learned to, which it, unfortunately, never did). Lucky for them however, Claypool's old friend Vince "Perm" Parker had just gotten out of
prison the army and wanted to play drums!
Finally with an actual living drummer, the three men of power known as Primate were ready to take the world by storm!...this would have to wait, however, as another group with a similar name called The Primates got their panties in a twist and threatened to sue for obviously ripping them off unless they changed their names. Now aware of all the political bullshit, the three men of power changed their name to "Primus". However, when Parker heard the new, horrible band name he had a heart attack and died. He was replaced by a new drummer; Peter Libby, who unfortunately wanted to play something a liiiittle bit more normal, and so was replaced by Tim "Curveball" Wright...who in turn was almost immediately replaced by Jay "Jayski" Lane.
edit 1989–90: Frizzle Fry
After this long game of musical chairs, Primus recorded a demo called Sausage, which was named after Claypool's huge love of sausages. Unfortunately, Lane got sick from all the sausages he ate, and had to quit. So the band found a replacement for him in Bryan "Brain" Mantia. By this point however; Huth lost his mind, thought he was a chicken and flew away. Now with no guitarist in the band and Mantia being side-lined by a freak foot accident, Claypool replaced himself with no one and left the band. He planned to join his old band, Blind Illusion, but then he heard of this one guy who was ex-possessed and knew how to play the guitar! Les was so excited, and hired that man; Mr. Larry "Ler" LaLonde IV and reformed the band with another new member; one Tim "Herb" Alexander who was bald and could play the drums a bit.
On Christmas Day 1989, instead of spending time with their respective families, the band recorded their debut album Frizzle Fry; featuring such mega hits like "You Can't Kill Michael Malloy", "Sathington Willoughby" and "To Defy", AND with a music video featuring Kirk Hammett for a split second, Primus's popularity "skyrocketed" and thus, they were ready to sail the seas of cheese.
edit 1991–92: Sailing the Seas of Cheese
With the "success" of Frizzly Cheddar Fries, Primus headed out to the Atlantic Ocean on a teeny little boat for a fishing trip, hoping to gain some inspiration for their next album. Sadly, the band entered the "Seas of Cheese," where it learned the ways of fighting off conformity, to be what they want to be, to have their front man be the main guy with his big, stupid voice and slap happy bass, and for the guitarist to just make a bunch of noise that sounds like a cross between a cat getting stepped on and a pig getting a rim job. And what about that drummer? I can't even remember his name. Josh, right?
However, a reputable source claims that the band never even left the dock. Instead, they merely dropped acid and stared at the sun for 2 weeks straight, which is why they're now all blind. Renaming themselves The Three Blind Mice (and then quickly changing their name back to Primus when they realized it was The Three Blind Mice was an even worse name), they went about to record their sophomore effort. Although the album already contained such hits as "Grandad's Little Ditty", "Los Bastardos" and the epic follow up to "Sathington Willoughby"; "Sathington Waltz", the band insisted on making music videos for some of their lesser, non-hits like "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "Tommy the Cat". MTV however, wouldn't bother playing them, or at least not when anybody would be watching their stupid channel. Their next genius idea to get recognized was to record a five song EP of cover songs named Miscellaneous Debris, ranging from the bold (The Meters, The Residents, XTC) to the bland (Peter Gabriel, The Police, Pink Floyd). Both the album and the EP combined sold a total of 6 copies, each release bought once by the band members' mothers, who all felt sorry for their unsuccessful sons.
edit 1993–94: Pork Soda
In 1993, Primus released their third album, Pork Soda, which was Les's statement against Coca Cola's refusal to make his plea of pork tasting soda. The album was much darker than their previous efforts, dealing with subject matter such as gays, rude abuse of belts and people painting their couches burgundy with a "Goddamn sprinkler". The band claimed that all the cheesy stuff on the previous album had made them sombre and that they would now do porky stuff. What next? Punchy stuff?!
Although success had eluded the band up to this point, and would continue to do so for years to come, they finally found some success with the single "My Name is Mud". It was during a time where lesser known bands were getting airplay on the radio and MTV, in the wake of the humongous success of that one, smelly grunge band from Seattle. And so Primus managed to sneak by despite their lack of talent, flannel and unappealing sound and appearance. In the video, Claypool does his take on the film Deliverance and admits to "kiss[ing]" a friend of his "up-side the cranium [with an] aluminum baseball bat". Many fat people are seen lounging in a sauna and a skinny dude (rumored to be the infamous Bob C. Cock) take mud baths and drink what appears to be an illicit substance made out of pigs. More people would have been outraged over the objectionable content of the lyrics and video had more of them cared. Fortunately, just enough people paid attention to make Primus a success (of sorts) and thus videos were also made for "DMV" (at MTV's request, thus making it shitty) and "Mr. Krinkle" (featuring many of the bands old friends, including good ol' Brainerd), but once again, nobody cared.
That same year, Primus appeared at the 1994 Woodstock Festival of Peace, Love and Venereal Diseases. It proved to be one of their most memorable live shows they had ever done, and included notable moments such as ending the show with Claypool throwing mud around the stage and pouring it into their amplifiers, calling people 'sonsabitches' (whatever that means) and leaving the stage after having a bowling ball thrown at him, nearly taking his damn head right off of his body. Following this incident, the band decided to go on a brief hiatus and to start a few side projects that lasted barely a year, which had such thrilling names like "Sausage", "Caca" and "Laundry".
edit 1995–96: Tales from the Punchbowl and Alexander's departure
After wasting an entire year playing around with side projects and themselves, the band settled down to record their fourth full length studio album, Tales from the Punchbowl. Like those that came before it, the album totally rocked, but all anybody wanted to talk about was the big hit song about Winona Ryder's vagina. Ryder's then boyfriend Dave Pirner of Minnesota rockers Soul Asylum took offense to the song and threatened to beat Claypool up. Claypool scoffed at this statement, and replied: "What is he, some kind of a jerk off? I'm, like, 7 ft. tall, he couldn't kick my ass with one arm tied behind his back! Oh, and I totally did it with his girl too, HAHAHAHAA, fuck you."
Although the band was on top of the world once more (or so they thought), their camraderie soon took a nose dive as Claypool ventured off once again to record his first solo album "Highball with the Devil". Embarking on a tour with long time friends Adam Gates, Mark "MIRV" Haggard, and Brian "Brain the Beaver Stain" Mantia, shows during that tour consisted solely of people throwing shit at the stage and cries of "Where's Ler?!?!?!".
Feeling that his talents were being put to waste, Alexander departed in 1996 and went on to play with a couple of acts that nobody has ever heard of. Claypool and LaLonde were despondent. After years of maintaining a solid lineup, the band spiraled into a depression that lasted a fortnight. Fortunately, there was another. Yes, a special, little guy that WOULD have stayed a member of the band had he not broken his leg trying to recreate the bike crash scene from Pee-wee's Big Adventure years ago. Yes, Mr. Brain Mantia was still available, and had been waiting for years to join Primus. Sitting alone in his room, banging away at his tiny drum kit from the morning to the evening, occasionally being interrupted by his doting mother, Mantia had been honing his craft in preperation for the day that his good buddies Les and Ler would call him and ask him to join. And that day finally came for the psuedo-Mexican. And then they recorded a song for some TV show that didn't even feature his mad, wicked drum skillz at all.
edit 1997–98: The Brown Album
The Brown Album, named after the color brown, was a monumental undertaking for Primus. Now with new drummer Bryan "Brain Aneurysm" Mantia in the lineup, some adjusting was in order, if you know what I mean (heh heh heh....?). Converging at Les Claypool's own home, dubbed "Rancho Relaxo" after a location in an episode of TV's The Simpsons, Primus would spend 6 hellish months attempting to make the record. For one, Les had decided to self-produce the album despite having gone deaf in one ear from all those years of listening to his beloved Rush at full volume despite warnings from his mother. This lead to the record gaining a muddy (ie: shitty) sound as described by the smelly fans (all 3 of them). For another reason, Ler had gotten it into his head that he was some sort of "hippity hopper" and wanted to turn the group's efforts into a rap record after 5 awful weeks of churning out and tossing out song after failed song. Needless to say, his band mates were furious. A neighbor claims that he heard screams coming from the basement one night, an unholy racket similar to that of the sounds known to emanate from famous vocalist Cher. No one knows for sure what occurred that particular night, but it nearly tore the band apart, literally and.....well just literally. Like, seriously. I think they may have even killed a guy too.
In the mean time, fabled guitarist and ventriloquist Buckethead was discovered living in one of the many closets in Claypool's home. Buckethead proved to be a guiding light to the confused band, and set them on the right path. Chowing down on some Kentucky Fried Chicken (and subsequently throwing up into the buckets), and with a renewed vigor, the band set out to record the best damn album that they possibly could. The album begat the video for "Shake Hands with Beef", yet another obvious and tired masturbation joke. This time, the band portrayed a couple of flies playing their stupid song on top of some garbage near a gross, sweaty family with a hot daughter trying to have a barbecue. For the tour, Les decided to grow an afro which seemed to turn many fans off from attending their loud, raucous concerts, and provoked others to yet again throw things up on the stage, prematurely ending many shows.
edit 1999–2000: Antipop and breakup
When Primus started recording their sixth album with Brain as the drummer, their recording company, Interscope Records, started to finally realize how much Primus actually sucked. Interscope tried to fix this by inviting other musicians to co-operate on the album, such as Matt Stone from South Park, James Hetfield from Metallica, and Tom Waits from...Tom Waits. The record company noticed that nothing actually had changed and so Claypool was fired from Primus. Les was only heard once on the song "Natural Joe" where his screams of pain are heard after he was shot in the leg with a machine gun by Eric Klebold moments before he turned the gun on himself and took his own life on that horrible day. The vocals were performed by Les's children, Clay and Claypool Claypool. Les directed and appeared in the video for the song "Lacquer Head", but it was so HORRIBLE AND IMMORAL that MTV ultimately banned the video.
When Les realized that he had been kicked out of his own band and saw that the album had succeeded, he got really depressed and smoked weed for the next 2 years. After he had smoked some more, he realized that he couldn't go on like this. He decided to start his life again. And so he did. Embracing the jam band community, Claypool entered the darkest period of his life.
edit 2003–04: Reunion and Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People
On the unbelievably long break of 3 years, Claypool, as well as the other band members (Ler and Brainy), joined various other groups. Claypool eventually reunited with Bryan "Pinky and the Brain" Mantia and together with guitarist Buckethead and keyboardist and professional rastafarian hat wearer Bernie Worrell formed the four man power trip known simply as Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. This act did not last long however, as Buckethead killed a live cow, as well as Worrell and Brain "Bryan" Mantia during a show while simultaneously playing an hour long guitar solo. This upstaged Claypool in almost every way, which infuriated him enough to break the gig up.
Following this, Claypool decided to reform Primus and came crawling back to Ler and Tim. Together again, they released the EP/DVD Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People, for which the title was inspired by a book written by Ler's son, Frederick Douglas the 5th LaLonde. This was how low Primus were willing to go in their career...hey, it happens to the best of us.
Primus would tour for the next two years, performing the Pizzle Pie and Nailing the Knees of Louise albums in their entirety, while simultaneously playing 10 hour long jams to the delight of the stoned, hippie cretins and to the disgust of others.
Altough Animals featured good ol'Timmy back as the drummer, the EP only had 5 songs, which inspired the band to force as much extra content into the DVD as possible. Unfortunately, the fans weren't impressed with the shitty songs or the equally shitty DVD.
This EP/DVD has often been looked at for how NOT to start a reunion with. It is also the reason why the band went back to sleep in their coffins to wait for "better times", all except for Timmy, who was pissed off at Les and Ler and just like last time, went to go make more music that no one's ever heard of.
5 years later, Claypool awoke from his coffin and started doing some more solo projects, but after releasing an album which included only video game music from a game dealing with killer mushrooms, (Claypool later told the press that it was his son's idea. Yeah right.) he decided that he was now insane enough to do another reunion.
edit 2010–12: Reunion No. 2 and Green Naugahyde
Ler awoke from his coffin some time later, however during his sleep, he had grown a goatee and had morphed into a Dave Grohl lookalike. Horrified by this sudden change, Claypool kicked Ler out of the band. He would land on his feet however, as his resemblance to Grohl was so uncanny, that the members of the Foo Fighters mistook him for the real Grohl and kicked the real one out of the band, thinking HE was the impostor. Ler would go onto to make billions during his time as Dave Grohl, and with his sudden creative spark, wound up writing all of the songs for their album; Sonic Highways. Which were secretly just Primus songs with different lyrics. But nobody noticed.
Things were not going good for the second Primus reunion, however, as upon learning that Timmy wasn't biting this time, and not caring enough to find the other members, Claypool had no other option to save it; to wake the dead.
Claypool would dig up the bodies of Bryan "Brainfart" Mantia and Bernie Worrell and bring them back to life ala a scenario similar to Frankenstein's monster. Ecstatic, Claypool, and the newly reanimated Brain and Worrell recorded the album; Green Naugahyde. During the tour in support of the album, Claypool was hellbent on playing it in its entirety, rather than playing their hits, just like any other good 90's act. Because of this, the album alienated many of the band's core fans, and crowds chanted "Primus Sucks!" louder than ever before. Joining in on the chants were even former members Grohl and Timmy.
Feeling rejected and angry, the reanimated versions of Bryan "Brian" Mantia and Worrell planned to kill Claypool, however, they in turn, were killed by Claypool after he decided to put them, as well as the shitty Primus reunion, out of its misery. And no one could blame him for it.
After this, Claypool decided to hang up his mud covered Carl Thompson bass for good following his experiences during the second reunion. He would later go on to say that doing the reunion destroyed his passion for music altogether. And once again, no one could blame him for it.
Claypool briefly came out of retirement a year or so later, at the request of Seth Green to record the theme song to his show; Robot Chicken. It is rumored that the song and opening sequence was based off what happened when he brought Bryan "Insert Something Associated with Brain Here" Mantia and Worrell back to life, he has never commented on this, however.
edit 2014–present: Reunion No. 3 and Primus & the Chocolate Factory
2014 would be the home for two separate tragedies in Primusville; as during one of the shows of Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary tour, the real Dave Grohl, now a crazy homeless man, jumped on stage, and attacked Ler and shaved his goatee, hoping to show the world who he really was. After everyone there realized that they were in fact listening to the guitarist of one of the worst bands ever conceived, everyone except for Ler's faces melted off. Inspiring Ler to skedaddle out of the venue before the police came. This is also how the Foo Fighters disbanded.
Also in 2014, Tim suffered a mild heart attack, and pulled through surgery. It was during this time that the lineup of Les, Larry and Tim reunited once again. And, after Tim fully recovered, the band recorded a cover album of the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack with one of Les' shitty backing bands.
The band would then embark on a third reunion world tour where they would also play the album in its entirety. For the band, it was like nothing had changed. The crowd still chanted "Primus Sucks!" at them, and stoners still came to their shows just to hear "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and the "South Park" theme song live. There were also some new prolific additions to the Primus Sucks club; such as Gene Wilder, Roald Dahl's widow, Tim Burton and angry and upset Foo Fighters fans.
Yes, it was good to be home for Les, Larry and Tim.
edit The Future
Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Tim Alexander are said to be immortal gods. Even at the astonishing ages of 487, they will still be rocking the free world with their polyrhythmic playing for years to come. And people will still be flipping the bird and throwing shit at them.
Colonel Les "Leslie" Claypool - Les Claypool is the bassist and the lead singer of the band. He also likes nachos and drinks coke.
Les was born in California to a little potter family. His parents owned their own company, Claypool's Claypools, but Les wasn't very fond of it. He always dreamed of being a great fisherman and to change his name to John (Claypool has lately said in interviews that he had always liked the name "John"), although his mom always told him to stop dreaming stupid things. Les got very mad and made a fishing rod from lumps of clay. Unfortunately, the fishing rod broke one day and so he made another one, this time from his cat, Tommy. Claypool found out that Tommy the Fishing Rod made funny noises if you hitted it. This made Claypool understand joy of bass
raping playing and that's the reason why he does it today.
Larry "Ler" LaLonde - Ler (bastard banjee boy) is the guitarist of the band. He started life immediately out of the womb as a heavy metal rocker type, joining the proto-death metal band Possessed in 1984 at the wee age of 16. After rocking the Bay Area for years, Possessed split and LaLonde joined Primus, replacing founding member Todd Huth and starting what would become a beautiful relationship with Claypool that would last for decades. Ler's guitar playing style includes making kooky sounds with his guitar that doesn't even sound like a guitar, but more like a chicken being choked, if you know what I mean (heh heh heh).
His favorite Black Sabbath song is N.I.B. because he once covered it.
Tim "Herb" Alexander - Herb is the person who plays drums in the band. There have been other drummers who have tried to take his place but they don't deserve to be mentioned because Herb beats anyone, anytime, anywhere.
edit "Sources" and Notations
- ↑ Pat Mabals, SPIN Vol. 23, Issue 4, "I thought I told you to shut up!", the Les Claypool interview that wasn't, 2007
- ↑ It's not what you think, get the fuck out of here, you pervert.
- ↑ See Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode #206, Ring of Terror.
- ↑ See a therapist, there's something wrong with you, you friggin' weirdo
- ↑ My uncle
- ↑ hint hint
- ↑ or wherever
- ↑ The C is for Cock!
- ↑ The Art of Felching: My Life in a Gimp Suit and Why I Am the Way I Am, Bob C. Cock, 2006
- ↑ Brain's diary that I found while digging around through his trash, Brain, circa 1997
- ↑ Hey, don't blame me for that one, I stole it from Neil Hamburger!
- ↑ Adolf Hitler's 110th birthday
- ↑ Except it doesn't
- ↑ Not to be confused with Pinkie Pie
- ↑ Clay Jones, Some stupid magazine Vol. 1, Issue 1, "Remember Primus? Neither do we, HAHAHAHA!", 2008