Home Read Albums Of The Week: Primus | Conspiranoid EP

Albums Of The Week: Primus | Conspiranoid EP

The freaky funketeers’ OG lineup cast a jaundiced eye at the world's mental state.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As they gear up for their 64-date world tour A Tribute To Kings, paying homage to prog-rock legends, Rush, Primus have released the three-song EP Conspiranoid, anchored by the epic, 11-minute opening track Conspiranoia. “I’d been itching to record an opus — basically a long, winding, bastard of a song, reminiscent of some of the compositions I cut my teeth (or ears) on, in my music-hungry adolescence,” bassist Les Claypool says. “Conspiranoia was sprouted from a seed I had planted in my notebook a year or so ago — a few lines commenting on the mental state of the contemporary world.”

Tommy the Cat. John the Fisherman. Jerry Was A Race Car Driver. My Name is Mud. Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver. Yessiree, Primus are responsible for some of the most cutting edge and original rock music of the 1990s. And now, the definitive Primus lineup — singer/bassist Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander — are back together and planning on getting the worldwide masses bobbing up and down in unison once more.

Photo by Chapman Baehler.

Although originally formed in 1984, it was not until shortly before the end of the decade that the aforementioned classic lineup was solidified. With most hard rock/heavy metal acts at the time either neatly falling into either “thrash” or “glam” categories, Primus joined a variety of underground bands that refused to be pigeonholed (and by the early ’90s, had fully infiltrated the mainstream) – merging metal, funk, alternative, punk, country, roots rock, and experimental music, along with Claypool’s penchant for witty and often humorous storytelling lyrics.

Building a large and loyal following in and around San Francisco (before going global), Primus kicked things off with a string of releases that are now classic alt-rock titles — 1989’s Suck on This, 1990’s Frizzle Fry, 1991’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese, 1993’s Pork Soda, and 1995’s Tales from the Punchbowl. Along the way, Primus toured with some of rock’s biggest names (Jane’s Addiction, Public Enemy, Rush, U2, etc.), headlined the third Lollapalooza Festival, and issued a variety of crafty videos, which stood out in sharp contrast to the ultra-seriousness of most other video clips at the time.

Alexander exited Primus in 1996, but returned in 2003, in time for an EP/DVD set, Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People, and a sold-out reunion tour, that lasted over the next few years, before the drummer departed once more. But as Claypool got to work on putting together a forthcoming book about the band’s history, Les began longing for the days of when Alexander’s unmistakable and powerful drumming provided the beat. A phone call was placed, a conversation ensued, and the Claypool-LaLonde-Alexander lineup was back in business.

Be forewarned … here they come again!”