Primus Time

by Shayne Charlesworth

Taken from dB20 #221, April 5-18, 2000.

San Franciscan's Primus have entertained the alternative masses for over a decade now with their musical oddities, and conducting an interview with guitarist larry LaLonde is nearly as silly and offbeat as some of the band's musical and lyrical subject matters, adding just that little more to that unpredictable mystique the band convey. At the tail end of another US tour, LaLonde seems happy, but somewhat exhausted. "I'm in Las Vegas now, and we just finished our tour, so today I'm just gonna do nothing at all. I geuss I'm just looking forward to going home; a bit of peace and quiet is the main thing. In a couple of weeks we go over to Australia, and we usually have a lot of fun there, anyway." Primus have toured Australia on a constant basis since the mid 'nineties, including the Big Day Out and Alternative Nation. After such incessant touring, one might assume the whole touring thing has become a little jaded, but he's pleased to be visiting Australia again, with Victoria's Offshore festival a welcome item on his agenda. "I geuss I do get a little sick of touring at times, but we always have a real good time in Australia. When we have time off there's always something real cool to do. One time we went to a wildlife sanctuary, and we checked out some of the beaches, which is great. The thing is: sometimes we have a fair amount of time off, and other times we haven't. It's just a matter of getting time to do stuff."

LaLonde replaced Todd Huth in Primus in the late 'eighties after leaving seminal - metallers Possesed. The only other line - up change has been the replacement of drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander by ex Praxis/Godflesh stoolsman Brian 'Brain' Mantia Two years ago.

They've realeased seven albums, 'Antipop' being the latest.

"I remember when we were looking to get signed the Chili's were getting incredibly popular and a lot of majors were looking to sign the next big thrash funk band or something" LaLonde reminices, "We talked to all these labels but Interscope seemed the coolest for us. So we ended up opening for U2, which was weird. It was pretty odd that stage, playing in football stadiums; it was hard to tell if anyone liked us at all, because a lot would be arriving when we got onstage, but I geuss it was a real experience. "Sometimes I why anyone listens to us in the first place. Every record we've made I've sat back and thought , this is it, no one's gonna understand it, but they keep on selling." Primus have traditionally recorded most of their releases at bassist/vocalist Les Claypool's Rancho Relaxo studio's with Les or the band producing themselves. This time they recruited engineer Oz Fritz and overseer and mixer Toby Wright, and a large array of guests and guest producers.

"The pat few records have been a bit all over the place," LaLonde admits.

"This time we brought in Toby in, and it was about honing the songs down as much as possible before going to tape. There's a lot of people we admire who did stuff, like Tom Waits, Tom Morello(Rage Against the Machine) and Stewart Copeland(ex Police drummmer) did one too. Matt Stone (South Park co - creator) produced a song that just came out of us just drinking one night. We also have a song called Eclectic Electric which Jim Martin (ex - Faith No More) and James Hetield (Metallica) plays on. The major thing was having a producer in Toby Wright who added a bit of spark to it."

"We called the album 'Antipop'; thee irony of it is that it's almost impossible for us to write a pop song. We'd like to; in the US we don't get much airplay and we're not at all a singles band. Sometimes I think it'd be great to write a three minute pop song but it just doesn't work that way for us. I geuss we'll just have to put up with it."

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