The first and biggest question that must leap to mind is "Why has Primus done another EP of cover tunes?" The answer is relatively simple.
A handful of years ago, Primus recorded and released an EP called Miscellaneous Debris. Its intention at the time was to assemble a collection of tunes that could be used as B-sides for various singles and /or overseas releases. But Primus, not being a "singles" type band, these tunes were subsequently released as one unit. Something to fill the void between albums. Ironically, Miscellaneous Debris has gone on to be a favorite amongst fans as well as among the band members themselves. The recording of a new EP gave us the chance, or excuse for that matter, to go into the studio and have a bit of fun. And, once again fill that void by giving fans a little extra something between albums.
Rhinoplasty was recorded in February of 1998 in an old chicken ranch one hour north of San Francisco. Prairie Sun Studios, this environment proved to be a perfect backdrop for this particular project. We had become familiar with Prairie Sun while working with Tom Waits on a couple of different projects over the past several years. Another key element to this project is the collaboration with producer/engineer Toby Wright. Toby and I had hit it off well while recording the Jerry Cantrell record in the Summer of 1997. Rhinoplasty started out as an EP of a handful of cover tunes. With the addition of two live tracks and some interactive material, it has as much or more content as most full-length LPs but with an EP price. More PRIMUS for the buck. Following is a list of the songs on the album along with some information about each tune.
Scissorman - XTC Scissorman is from the album Drums and Wires. It is the second tune we've covered from this particular album, the first being Making Plans for Nigel which appeared on the Miscellaneous Debris album. Ironically, when we toured with U2 a few years ago Bono told me that PRIMUS reminded him of XTC. I took it as a large compliment.
The Family and the Fishing Net - Peter Gabriel The Family and the Fishing Net is my favorite Peter Gabriel tune. I had the pleasure of seeing Gabriel perform the song two nights in a row at the Greek Theater in Berkeley during the 1984 Security Tour. They were the two most amazing shows I've ever seen.
Silly Putty - Stanley Clarke The thing that impressed me most about Stanley was, unlike a lot of other virtuoso players of his time, Stanley had an incredible groove. Silly Putty is a prime example of that. We took the tune, sped it up a bit, substituted guitar parts for keyboard parts and added some phenomenal turntable work. This tune features the infamous DJ Disk. DJ Disk founded The Invisible Scratch Pickles and is known as "the Jimi Hendrix of the turntable".
Amos Moses - Jerry Reed Amos Moses was the first 45 I ever bought with my own money. My attraction to tunes that tell a tale may very well have started here. Amos Moses is a great character and Jerry tells the story well.
Behind my Camel - The Police I've always wanted to cover a Police song. We've jammed on several of their tunes but Sting's vocal parts are, to say the least, a bit too challenging for me. An instrumental seemed the logical option to choose. Brain plays exceptionally well on this tune.
Too Many Puppies - Primus We spontaneously jammed this out in the studio. It's sort of a dark evil twin to the original version. I didn't really think much would come from it but after Toby Wright wrapped his head around it, the song became one of my favorites on the record. Too Many Puppies was the first PRIMUS song I ever wrote. It was written in 1984.
The Thing That Should Not Be - Metallica In my opinion, The Thing That Should Not Be is Metallica's heaviest tune. We first learned this tune so we could play it at The Bottom of the Hill with our good friend Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) on vocals. When we went in to record the other tunes we thought, what the hell, let's do that Metallica track. The vocals were a bitch.
BONUS TRACKS: Tommy the Cat & Bob's Party Time Lounge - Primus These two tracks were recorded live on New Year's Eve 97-98 at the Kaiser Auditorium. Folks around the Bay Area know that PRIMUS does a New Year's show every year and this particular event was quite special. The evening closed with Bob C. Cock dressed as Satan riding out on the back of a Harley that was driven by Turk the Executioner. Flanked by dancing devil girls and enhanced by an overload of pyrotechnics, PRIMUS, with Bob on lead vocals, launched into Devilman by White Zombie. It was a glorious moment.
So that's it in a nutshell. Look for the new EP-Plus by PRIMUS in your local grocery store this summer. Until we meet again, may the force be with you. Or at least in your immediate proximity.
Les Claypool, "Head Primus Guy"