Primus is an American rock band composed of singer and bassist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and drummer Jay Lane. They are characterized by their irreverent approach to music. Primus has released some of their records on Claypool’s Prawn Song Records label, the title of which is a parody of Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label.
Primus began as Primate in El Sobrante, California during the mid-1980s with singer and bassist Les Claypool and guitarist Todd Huth. Claypool rounded out the band with a drum machine which they named Perm Parker.The band would go through many drummers throughout their early history, eventually settling on Jay Lane. When another band called “Primate” threatened legal action, the group decided to change their name. They settled on the name “Primus.” The word is Latin, meaning “chief” or “first”.
After rising to local music scene stardom with their brand of funk metal fusion, Huth and Lane left in 1989 to pursue other endeavors. Claypool then recruited former Blind Illusion bandmate and one time Joe Satriani student Larry “Ler” LaLonde, and electric drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander. Claypool and LaLonde recorded and toured with the early thrash band Blind Illusion. Larry LaLonde was previously a member of the seminal Death/Thrash Metal band Possessed. Primus received praise from Testament’s Alex Skolnick very early into their career.Â Tim Alexander is originally from Jerome, Arizona and was the drummer in Major Lingo.
Primus continued to gain popularity and in 1989 released their first album, Suck on This, a live recording culled from two of their Berkeley concerts. The album was financed by Claypool’s father.
In 1990 the band released their first studio album, Frizzle Fry, and released singles for “John the Fisherman” and “Too Many Puppies”. With a music video featuring Kirk Hammett, a studio album and a tour with Jane’s Addiction, Primus’ popularity grew to the point where they attracted attention from Interscope Records, who signed them in 1990.
Primus’ major label debut was the album Sailing the Seas of Cheese. The album was supported by the singles “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” and “Tommy the Cat”, both of which appeared on MTV. A third single, “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers”, was also released but did not feature a video. The band appeared as contestants for the Battle of the Bands in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and made music for a Beavis & Butthead tribute album with a song entitled Poetry and Prose. With a major label behind them, Sailing the Seas of Cheese went gold. The band then toured in support of Rush, U2, Anthrax, and Public Enemy.
After the release of Sailing the Seas of Cheese, in 1992 Primus released a cover song EP Miscellaneous Debris, with their version of XTC’s “Making Plans for Nigel” receiving enough airplay to reach #30 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.
In 1993, Primus released Pork Soda, which managed to debut at #7 on the Billboard Top 10. The album was darker than previous Primus efforts, dealing with murder, suicide, and alienation. The band has commented that prior to recording, they had been touring for nearly two solid years and were thus in a sombre mood. “My Name Is Mud”, “DMV”, and “Mr. Krinkle” were singles, the latter made into a video featuring Claypool in a pig suit and tuxedo playing upright bass in an abandoned warehouse as a carnival of oddities parades behind him, including Claypool’s wife and her twin sister. Claypool said he put his “heart and soul into” the video, but it received next to no airtime on MTV. In an interview with Guitar World magazine, Claypool disparaged the channel’s unwillingness to air the video, saying “it got played like six times.”
Pork Soda was the first full length album recorded at Claypool’s house. The band would subsequently record all of their albums in his home studio.
Primus is featured in my Great Basslines category.
My Name is Mud
“My Name Is Mud” is a song by alternative rock/metal band Primus and is the first single from the 1993 album Pork Soda. The lyrics are written from the point of view of a blue-collar man, Aloysius Devadander Abercrombie, who has murdered his friend after an argument.
When the track was played by the band at Woodstock ’94, members of the crowd threw mud at them. The band stopped playing and Les Claypool proceeded to make fun of the crowd, before playing the rest of the song.
The track title comes from a line spoken by Robert Duvall at end of the 1993 movie Falling Down. The song samples the line “Where are you goin city boy?” from the film Deliverance.
My name is Mud
Not to be confused with Bill
or Jack or Pete or Dennis
My name is mud and it’s always been
‘Cause I’m the most boring sons-a-bitch you’ve ever seen
I dress in blue-yes navy blue
From head to toe I’m rather drab except my patent shoes
I make ‘em shine, well most the time
‘Cept today my feet are troddin’ on by this friend of mine
Six foot two and rude as hell
I got to get him in the ground before he starts to smell
My name is Mud
My name is Mud, but call me Alowishus Devadander Abercrombie
That’s long for Mud so I’ve been told
Told that by this sonsabitch that lies before me bloated blue and cold
I’ve got my pride, I drink my wine
I’d drink the finest except I haven’t earned a dime in several months
Or were it years
The breath on that fat bastard could bring any man to tears
We had our words, a common spat
So I kissed him upside the cranium with an aluminum baseball bat
My name is Mud
- Audio from the 1993 album, Pork Soda: