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Primus on South Park

Primus in typical attire performing at at the Family Values Tour '99.

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" [1] . 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 History

edit Early beginnings (1984-1986)

In 1986, 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.

edit Primate and Frizzle Fry (1986-1990)


Primus on tour in 1989 with Brain on backup in case Tim decided to chicken out, and a man that they held captive for the entirety of the tour.

Surprisingly, Claypool found friends; a guitarist called Todd Huth and a drum machine called LinnDrum. LinnDrum, unfortunately, exploded when they tried to make it imitate the sound of a hammer (which meant that they hammered it so long until it learned to, which it never, unfortunately, did). Luckily Claypool's old friend Vince "Perm" Parker had just got away from prison army and wanted to play drums. They called themselves Primate, but changed their name after a group called The Primates threatened to sue them for obviously ripping them off. Aware of all the political shit, they changed their name into "Primus". But when Parker heard the new, horrible band name he had a heart attack and died. He was replaced by Peter Libby. Libby unfortunately wanted to play something a liiiittle bit more normal, and so he got replaced by Tim "Curveball" Wright, who was then replaced by Jay "Jayski" Lane. Primus then recorded a demo called Sausage, which was named after Claypool's huge love of sausages.[2] Unfortunately, Lane got sick from all the sausages he ate, and so he was replaced by Brian "Brain" Mantia. That was the point when Huth went insane, thought he was a chicken and flew away. With no guitarist in the band and Mantia side-lining from a foot accident, Claypool replaced himself with no one and left the band. He planned to join to his old band, Blind Illusion, but then he heard of this one guy who was ex-possessed and knew how to play a guitar! Les was so excited, so he hired that man, Mr. Larry "Ler" LaLonde. Then he heard of this other guy, who was bald and could play the drums a bit. This man, Tim "Herb" Alexander, was hired on the spot.

On Christmas Day 1989, instead of spending time with their respective families, the band recorded the Frizzle Fry album. Featuring such super hits as "You Can't Kill Michael Malloy", "Sathington Willoughby" and "To Defy", and making a music video with Kirk Hammett, Primus's popularity grew and they were ready to sail the seas of cheese.

edit Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991-1992)

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 Bermuda Triangle and were never heard from again. HA, just kiddin'. Boy, I had you going there for a minute, didn't I? The band instead entered the fabled "Seas of Cheese". It was there that the band learned the ways of fighting off conformity[3]. 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[4] and a pig getting a rim job[5]. And what about that drummer? I can't even remember his name. Josh, right?

However, a reputable source[6] claims that the band never even left dock. They merely dropped acid and stared at the sun for 2 whole 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 they just had sleep masks on the whole time), the Prima Donnas went about to record their sophomore effort. Although the album 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 non-hits, such as "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 was to record a five song EP of cover tunes, 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 each band members mother who all felt sorry for their unsuccessful sons.

edit Pork Soda (1993-1994)


Pork Soda was a very, very dark album.

In 1993, Primus released their third album, Pork Soda, which was Les's statement against Coca Cola's refusal to his plea of making pork tasting soda. The album was also much darker than their previous efforts, dealing with such subject matter 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?![7]

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 "My Name is Mud". It was 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 grudge band from Seattle[8]. Primus managed to sneak by despite their lack of flannel and unappealing sound and appearance. In the video, Les 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[9]) takes a mud bath and drinks 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). Videos were also made for "DMV" (at MTV's request, thus making it shitty) and "Mr. Krinkle" (featuring many of the bands friends, including ol' Brainerd), but again nobody cared.

That same year, Primus appeared at the Woodstock '94 Festival of Peace, Love and Venereal Diseases. It proved to be one of their most memorable live concerts they had ever done, and included such interesting moments 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 head right off of his body. Following this incident, the band decided to go on a brief hiatus to start a few side projects that lasted barely a year which had such thrilling names such as "Sausage", "Caca" and "Laundry".

edit Tales from the Punchbowl and Alexander's departure (1995-1996)

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 The Brown Album (1997-1998)

The Brown Album, named after the color brown[10], 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[11].

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[12]), 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 Antipop and break up (1999-2000)

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[13]. 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 Reunion and Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People (2003-2004)

Primus Stove

This was also included in the album.

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 though; after an incident where Buckethead killed a live cow, as well as Brain "Bryan" Mantia and Worrell on stage while simultaneously playing an hour long guitar solo, Claypool chose to break up the gig because, as he described it; it upstaged him in almost every way, which infuriated him.

Because of this, Claypool reformed Primus and reunited with 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 4th Lalonde. This was how low Primus were willing to go in their career...hey, it happens to the best of us.[14]

Primus toured for two years, performing only the Pizzle Pie[15] and Nailing the Knees of Louise albums in their entirety during the second part of their setlists, 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 Claypool to force extra content into the DVD as much 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 into their coffins again to wait for "better times"[16], 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 new solo projects, but after releasing an album which included only video game music 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 begin another reunion.

edit Reunion No. 2 and Green Naugahyde (2010-2012)


Ever the innovators, Primus attempted to travel on a hennepin crawler for their 2011 tour. Unfortunately, the band quickly became tired of pedaling the damn thing and many dates were cancelled.

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 him out of the band. 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 batted an eye.

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 the Primus reunion; to wake the dead.

As such, Claypool dug up the bodies of Bryan "Brainfart" Mantia and Bernie Worrell, and after reenacting the creation of Frankenstein's monster, they were aliiiiiive once again. Ecstatic, Claypool, and the newly reanimated Brain and Worrell recorded the album; Green Naugahyde. However, during this tour, Claypool was hellbent on playing the new album in its entirety, rather than playing their hits, just like any other 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, it was during that time however, that Claypool decided to put them, as well as the shitty Primus reunion out of its misery, and killed them. And no one could blame him for it.

After this, Claypool stated in an interview with some website that he would be hanging up his mud covered Carl Thompson bass for good following his experiences during the second reunion, and that doing it destroyed his passion for music altogether. And once again, no one could blame him for it.

Claypool briefly came out of retirement a year later, to record the theme song to Seth Green's 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, however, he has never commented on this.

edit Reunion No. 3 and Primus & the Chocolate Factory (2014-present)

In 2014, during the Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary tour, the real Dave Grohl, now a crazy homeless man, jumped on stage during one of their concerts, and tackled Ler and shaved his goatee. After everyone there realized that they were really listening to the guitarist of one of the worst bands ever conceived, everyone except for Ler's face were than melted off. After this, Ler skedaddled out of the venue. This is also how the Foo Fighters became no more.

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. To support the album, the band embarked on a third reunion world tour where they played the album in its entirety during their second set. During the tour, 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 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 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 throwing shit at them, and flipping the bird.

edit Members

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 had an own family company, Claypool's Claypools, but Les wasn't very excited of it. He always dreamed of being a great fisherman and to change his name to John (Claypool lately told in the interviews that he had always liked the name "John"), altough his mom always told him to stop dreaming stupid things. Les got very mad and made a fishing rod from the lumbs 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 to understand joy of bass raping playing and that's the reason why he...plays...bass...

Larry "Ler" LaLonde - Ler (bastard banjee boy) is the guitarist of for 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 tender 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 friendship with Claypool that would last for decades. Ler's guitar playing style includes making kooky sounds with his guitar that don't even sound much 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 Snowblind.

Tim "Herb" Alexander - Tim "Herb" Alexander 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 Tim beats anyone, anywhere and anytime.

edit "Sources" and Notations

  1. Pat Mabals, SPIN Vol. 23, Issue 4, "I thought I told you to shut up!", the Les Claypool interview that wasn't, 2007
  2. It's not what you think, get the fuck out of here, you pervert.
  3. Corroding it, if you will. Heh heh heh, see what I did th-no, no you don't. I'm sorry :(
  4. See Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode #206, Ring of Terror.
  5. See a therapist, there's something wrong with you, you friggin' weirdo
  6. My uncle
  7. hint hint
  8. or wherever
  9. The C is for Cock!
  10. The Art of Felching: My Life in a Gimp Suit and Why I Am the Way I Am, Bob C. Cock, 2006
  11. Brain's diary that I found while digging around through his trash, Brain, circa 1997
  12. Hey, don't blame me for that one, I stole it from Neil Hamburger!
  13. Adolf Hitler's 110th birthday
  14. No it doesn't
  15. Not to be confused with Pinkie Pie
  16. Clay Jones, Some stupid magazine Vol. 1, Issue 1, "Remember Primus? Neither do we, HAHAHAHA!", 2008
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