Jilly’s on Smack ~ Primus

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. 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.

Jilly’s on Smack

San Francisco rockers Primus remember the missing in the new video for “Jilly’s on Smack,” a song from this year’s Green Naugahyde inspired by a friend of the band’s who “disappeared into the world of heroin,” singer Les Claypool says. Directed by Jordan Copeland (son of Police drummer Stewart Copeland), the clip sports a fittingly eerie vibe as it siwtches between shots of the band playing live and grainy found footage of family life, with a holiday theme. “Oftentimes it is the parents grandparents, siblings, etc., that feel the brunt of the heartache as they look at that empty dinner chair or Christmas stocking,” Claypool says.

Jilly’s on smack, and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back, for the holidays
Jilly’s on smack, and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back, for the holidays

Jilly left home
Went to pick her own bone
She made her own
In the marketplace

Now Jilly’s on smack, and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back
For these holidays

Now Jilly’s on smack, and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back
For the holidays
Jilly had a smile
That spanned over a mile
She left him standing in the aisles
Of the big parade

Jilly always phoned her mother
Emailed daily to her brother
Til she took a junkie lover
And began to fade

Now Jilly’s on smack, and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back
For the holidays

Jilly’s on smack and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back
For the holidays

Jilly’s on smack and she won’t be comin’ back
No she won’t be comin’ back
For them holidays

  • Audio from the 2011 album, Green Naugahyde:
Click to Purchase
Click to Purchase

(910)

About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

One thought on “Jilly’s on Smack ~ Primus

Got a comment?