I’ve recently started listening to Primus a little bit more, and their genre is one that I haven’t exactly been really given my ears to in the past. It’s almost indescribable, and even they can’t even place a specific name to it either; they’ve previously been comically labeled as “thrash-funk meets Don Knotts, Jr.” to “the Freak Brothers set to music.” Even Les Claypool, the colorful, eccentric frontman for the band, who I’ll talk about later, described their music as “psychedelic polka.” Whatever you want to call them, there’s one title that suits them perfectly. Introducing, “funk metal.”
Not one of the most popular songs that they’ve released; in fact, it’s one of their most recent releases within the past couple years. If you want the true, classic sounds of Primus, listen to “My Name Is Mud”, “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”, and “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver” just to name a few. I know what you could be thinking: “What kind of odd names for songs are those?” Trust me, I’ve contemplated the same thing. Ever since I’ve first encountered them on Guitar Hero II with the game featuring their song, “John the Fisherman,” I was mildly impressed. Lately, I’ve been coming back to old music I’ve heard on soundtracks in video games and this is one that I just happened to come across.
Now this is my favorite song by Primus.
If you look into Les Claypool’s playing style, you’d be amazed at his skills. His mix of tapping, flamenco-like strumming, whammy bar bends, and slapping gives the band their melodic sound. That’s what fascinates me the most: his musical ability to play so intricately and lead the band as its voice.
Other bands who came about in the same era as Primus will probably overshadow them. But look at today’s bands who came about because of Primus: Korn, Limp Bizkit, Muse and Incubus. I always love hearing about today’s bands’ different influences. In fact, now that I think about it, I hear a little bit of Primus in Muse’s song “Panic Station.” Give a listen to Primus if you’re interested in them. They may not an iTunes Top 10 appearance in today’s day and age, but it’ll definitely give you a new perspective on the origin of their genre.