Primus

by James Bonisteel


Primus are simple odd. Primus are a trio from the bay area made up of bassist/ vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry Lalonde and drummer Tim Alexander (who as recent left the band to seek other adventures in life). We didn't have much time to talk to them as you could probably tell, but we tried to make the best of it.



RAD
Have you played on more than one Lollapalooza tour?
Les
Well, theoretically you are only supoosed to do one. But I see Soundgarden's coming back. But Lollapalooza's a little bit different this year, Perry Farrell's not involved with it--it's just big. It's turned into a big thing.
RAD
Most of your songs are a bit comical & scary both, and in most of your songs do you like to poke fun at people?
Les
Oh, I tend to poke fun at just about anything that comes along. A lot of my life is based in satire and humor. We liketo have a good time. We like to tease each other and tease others, and take things with a grain of salt or sugar. My philosophy is, "Laugh as often as you can." It's good therapy.
RAD
What was the first song ever to stick in your mind Les?
Les
There were so many...I mean, my favorite album as a kid was 'The Jungle Book' soundtrack. I had all that stuff, like the 'Mother Goose' record.
RAD
When as a band did you actually meet and form?
Les
A couple of months ago.
RAD
My, you have done well for being around for a couple of months. Did you meet in the San Francisco Bay area?
Les
Yeah. We were all on the same softball team, actually it all kicked of about ten years ago with me and this other guitarist Todd Huth, we went through millions of drummers. After four years Todd got married and had a couple of kids and I ended up playing with a heavy metal band called Blind Illusion, with Larry. We got together and hooked up with Herb the drummer, 'cus we kinda like him.
RAD
Have you toured a lot in Europe?
Les
Probably more than we would like to.
RAD
Why, don't you like it over there?
Les
It's okay. Just pretty grueling. It's not like we're going on vacation to Europe together or anything. It's more work than play.
RAD
Are you pretty big in Europe?
Les
Parts of it, yeah.
RAD
What or who has inspired you for your music?
Les
That would have to be elvis. God bless Elvis!
RAD
And if wasn't around, who would it be?
Les
An Elvis impersonator.
RAD
Out of all the songs you've ever written, which one is your favorite?
Les
They're all my children, I love them equally.
RAD
Every single one?
Les
Oh I'm sure there's a few that stick out now and then, but it's a very relative thing. Some songs have become popular and you play them and play them because people want to hear them and you get a little tired of them. so you let them sit for a while and then some time goes by and - well, like we just worked up some songs that we used to play a lot and we hadn't played in ages and now it's fun to play them again.
RAD
So you are going to be playing a lot of older stuff when you're on tour?
Les
Uh yeah, we tend to mix it up quite a bit anyway, but we have dug into some stuff we haven't played for years.
RAD
Which album do you think has made you "big"?
Les
We've yet to make that album.
RAD
You think so?
Les
I don't know. What's big?
RAD
Well, I guess when people started noticing you outside of your hometown.
Les
You mean, when did we start making money?
RAD
Yeah.
Les
Well, it's really hard to say.
RAD
Okay, how about when did you buy your tour bus?
Les
We don't own this bus. We rent it. It's less of a headache because if you own it, you have to deal with the maintainence. And then when you're not touring, what do you do with it? We had a motor home on our first couple of tours. It was a nice motor home when we started. It wasn't afterwards. It was like it wasn't even the same motor home when we were done with it.
RAD
Out of all the bands you have ever toured with, who is your favorite?
Les
Fishbone. They're our friends.
RAD
I saw you at Lollapalooza and you played a Led Zeppelin cover.
Les
We did? I don't remember that.
RAD
I could have sworn you played "Kashmere".
Les
Oh, that was of a bastardization of a small portion of "Kashmere". One day I was playing my upright bass and I kind of figured it out.
RAD
I thought it was really good! But you guys don't normally do a lot of covers, do you?
Les
We tend to, and it's the story of my life, do little portions because we're too damn lazy to learn the whole thing.

And with the short time we had on the bus with Primus it was fun & educational, these people are very strange, but that is what Primus is all about, just being strange. We jumped off their bus watched their show which was by far excellent to see and said goodbye to them. It was sad and we cried a lot! Well, not really, but like I have said before that makes for a better ending, emotional and stuff.
Copyright 1996, Rational Alternative Digital