"Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble" (ATO Records; 2014)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Poet, mage, sage, rocker and bass guitarist extraordinaire Les Claypool and his band Primus are back with a powerful project and that would be their rendition of the music from the classic 1971 movie "Willy Wonka and the Choclate Factory."

"Charley and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl was the first book I ever read and the movie staring Gene Wilder is one of my favorite movies of all time. When I found that Primus was going to remake the music from that iconic movie, I jumped at the chance to listen to it.

Everyone is familiar with the Gene Wilder rendition of "Pure Imagination" (and, if you're not, you should be). Anyway, the version on this album is virtually unrecognizable, as is most of the album. Sure, the lyrics sound familiar but that's about it. Strange, twisted, weird, campy and then a bit more strange and twisted -- that's the norm for this highly entertaining recording.

As far as I'm concerned, Les Claypool is the poet laureate of the rock'n'roll era of the 2000s and this recording is as complicated a recording as I have every heard. Not only is the band Primus on this recording, also appearing are the same musicians he used for the "Fungi and Foe" recording of a few years ago.

Fans of Primus and the classic "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" film will be over the moon for this recording.

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"Green Naugahyde" (Prawn Song; 2011)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Once again Les Claypool has put his considerable musical talent to the phenomenon that is Primus. Their new recording is called "Green Naugahyde" and from the first note you know you are in the strange and twisted universe of one Les Claypool. 

Anyone reading this review knows what to expect when listening to a Primus release: strange ideas and sick, twisted ditties that are centered around Lesí genius on the bass guitar. 

The band is on tour now and I have a hunch that their live performance is really something special.  Les Claypool is the Frank Zappa of our day and age. He's someone to take on society of the day and say with a loud speaker ďListen to me, motherfucker, if you donít like me then donít listen, but just listen to fucking something!Ē 

All hail Frank Zappa, all hail Primus and all hail Les Claypool!

Joining Claypool in this recording are Larry "Ler" LaLonde (guitar) and Jay Lane (drums). 

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"Antipop" (Interscope; 1999)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Anyone who's heard of Les Claypool and/or Primus knows what the hell this is all about. If you are not familiar with the band or the person just go to and search for anything by Primus. I actually envy the person who has never witnessed the band/person before. Buckle up. It's going to be quite a ride.

This music is more than fucking wild; it's explosive, on the very weird side of rock. Les Claypool is the player of the bass guitar, the singer of songs and composer of said music but to put him in any kind of box of does nothing but damage the box itself. Wow! Even as I wrote that, it sounded like crap; but, trust me, it does fit the bill.

Now to figure that three people play most of the music; Bryan on drums and Larry LaLonde on guitars, plus Les Claypool, of course, make up the trio, but the band is bigger than their parts. I had heard the band was having issues at the time, but it is hard to hear that in the music. "Antipop" was not only produced by the band, others on the producer list include Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Stewart Copeland from The Police, Matt Stone (co-creator of South Park and Book of Mormon) and Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. Also playing on this recording is James Hetfield from Metallica and Jim Martin of Faith no More. (I would like to thank Wikipedia for the previous information).

"Antipop" is strange, explosive, very well thought-out and the presentation is nothing short of brilliant ... and more than a little Frank Zappa-like. To say I can put my finger on this music would be an impossible statement. The only thing I can say is listen to the record and you will either like it or not. It actually took me a few years to appreciate the brilliance of Les Claypool and Primus.

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"The Brown Album" (Interscope; 1997)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I always thought Primus was just noise until I finally listened to "The Brown Album" and now everything I thought about the band changed. 

"The Brown Album" is unlike anything I have ever heard before. It's packed full of sick little stories I have yet to piece together. I know the songs fit somehow but I have only listened to the release three times and Iíll be damned if I can figure it out yet! Oh, well. More research is involved, I think. 

I fell in love with this music at first listen. It is bass driven, jazz induced, acid metal with some killer story lines with a major kick. When listening to this recording, you can tell the bass is the lead instrument for a change and that is just one of the awesome things about Primus. This is one talented band. Primus Brown rules!

Primus is Brian on drums, Larry LaLonde on guitar and Les Claypool on bass/vocals. 

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"Tales From the Punchbowl" (Interscope; 1995)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Primus, on Interscope Records, never cease to amaze and astound me. Their recording, "Tales From The Punchbowl," is no exception. It's very hard to describe what kind of music Primus is; let's just say it's very unique. 

Les Claypool uses the bass guitar like a battering ram while Tim ďHerbĒ Alexander pounds the drums relentlessly and Larry LaLonde adds lead guitar madness to this already explosive mix of music and players. What you get is sort of an Improvisational jazz mixed with tumultuous rock'n'roll. Add to that their majestic lyrical content and you can see why Primus may be somewhat strange, but are always an entertaining experience. 

I think the late, great Frank Zappa would have loved Primus. Their music is very similar in a lot of respects. However you label Primus they are certainly very interesting and a complete pleasure to listen to. I can't wait to hear more. 

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"Pork Soda" (Prawn Song; 1993)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I first heard Primus back in the mid to late 80s. I thought "What the fuck is this shit?" It took me about ten years or so to figure it out. This music is brilliant. Whenever I need to get into the weird, strange and deep version of music, I go to either Primus and Les Claypool or Frank Zappa. This time I went with Primus and Les Claypool.  If you want to go on a strange, twisted, wonderful ride into the motherfucking weird aspect of rock, go to either Primus or Les Claypool solo material. Either way, you are in for quite a ride.

I got to see Les Claypool a few years back in support of his solo album, "Of Fungi and Foe," released back in 2009 (check out my review of that album here). Let me say that album (and that show) was way fucking weird but in a way cool way. I am totally impressed with the musicianship of whoever is in Primus. All that really matters is, of course, Les Claypool.

If you like your music twisted, way off center and then some, "Pork Soda" is for you. Claypool is a poet, a scribe, a musician of master class level and he always amazes me in just how weird he can make his music.

Tell you what, give them a try. If you donít like it now, wait for a few years and then try it again. That formula worked for me.

"Pork Soda" gets a full four guitarsaws. I would give more if I could.

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"Frizzle Fry" (Prawn Song; 1990)

Reviewed by Snidermann

There is no one any where on this planet that can play a bass guitar like Les Claypool. Just pick up any Primus CD or any one of his side projects (like Frog Brigade) and I'm sure you will agree. 

Not only does Les play the bass like an extension of his very physique, he also writes great songs and and sings them with a style and passion that I've never heard elsewhere. This re-release of 1990's Caroline Records release is by no means an exception. Like always with Primus, this shit is just there musically, a bastard child of rock'n'roll, jazz and very twisted sonnets. 

Listener beware - you are in for a very strange, yet beautiful, musical experience. Each song on this CD is a finely crafted, sick little ditty that transports the listener to someplace not normally visited and that is a major part of the fun. 

Primus: Tim Alexander - drums; Larry LalLonde - guitars; Les Claypool - bass and vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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