Published on October 11th, 2014



Primus | Credit Chapman Baehler

Les Claypool’s distinct bass playing, an amalgam of ‘70s disco/funk, progressive and primal rock, has lent itself well to the early style of alternative metal that his band Primus, now in its 30th year, helped define. With the unfortunate timing of the alternative rock explosion of the era, Primus found themselves lumped in the category but were able to enjoy critical and mainstream success. Their first album, the hastily recorded lo-fi venture Suck on This can be considered one of the leading forces at that crux in metal history that opened the doors of appeal for nü and groove metal to thrive in. But while that may be true of the history of the band, Primus’ biggest asset has been the professional musicality of the band as a whole.

Beyond the realm of the band itself, Claypool has amassed an enviable CV: novelist (South of the Pumphouse), director (Electric Apricot, a mockumentary in which he also stars), solo musician, guest musician and for two different TV-viewing generations, he has become synonymous with South Park and Robot Chicken. As the only constant through the band’s history, all of these forays have inadvertently become part of the collective mythos. Personally, his short-lived band, Sausage, was part of a very memorable concert-going experience when they opened for Rollins Band and Helmet at Bayfront Park in 1994.

PRIMUS_FILLMORE_PUREHONEYClaypool’s bass and voice have long been the driving force behind the outfit but he has always surrounded himself with equally skilled musicians – his bass is as much the feature of the performance, as it is a solid base for others to work on. For this tour, supporting their eighth and latest album, Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble, the lineup consists of Claypool with drummer Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander and guitarist Larry LaLonde; the classic trio that performed on the first four albums. As the name implies, this record is a reimagining of the soundtrack to the 1971 film.

They’ve even developed a series of chocolate bars inspired by song titles like “Mr. Krinkle,” “Professor Nutbutter” and “Bastard” as promotional tools; make sure to pick a few up in case some type of magic ticket lies within. But even if there isn’t, the continued existence of this funky machine is delectable enough of a saccharine treat.

Primus & the Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble play The Fillmore on November 11
~Abel Folgar