Primus, Over the Electric Grapevine
Insight into Primus and the World of Les Claypool
Published by: Akashic Books
Imprint: Akashic Books
An oral history of the legendary band Primus, with a star-studded cast of interviewees (Tom Waits, Phish front man Trey Anastasio, etc.)
"It's a wild ride that's vividly captured in Greg Prato's excellent oral history . . ."
—Bass Player Magazine
Usually when the "alternative rock revolution" of the early 1990s is discussed, Nirvana's Nevermind is credited as the recording that led the charge. Yet there were several earlier albums that helped pave the way, including the Pixies's Doolittle, the Red Hot Chili Peppers's Mother's Milk, Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking, and especially Primus's 1991 album Sailing the Seas of Cheese.
This fascinating and beautifully curated oral history tells the tale of this truly one-of-a-kind band. Compiled from nearly fifty all-new interviews—including Primus members past and present and many more fellow musicians—conducted by journalist/author Greg Prato—this book is sure to appeal to longtime fans of the band, as well as admirers of the musicians interviewed for the book.
Interviewees include: Tim Alexander, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Matthew Bellamy (Muse), Les Claypool, Stewart Copeland (The Police), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Larry LaLonde, Geddy Lee (Rush), Mickey Melchiondo (Ween), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Stone (South Park), Tom Waits, and many more.
"A book about the highly strange San Franciscans Primus has been overdue for years, so Greg Prato's excellent oral history of the band is welcome—doubly so, given that the key band members, Les Claypool, Larry Lalonde and Tim Alexander, are involved . . . Great stuff." —Record Collector Magazine
"They were real musicians' musicians . . . Primus had their own thing, for sure. Nobody really does that Primus thing—they have their own personality, which is something difficult to do." —Chad Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Primitive, animated, dinosaur, Halloween, trailerfunk. I felt Les was a kindred spirit. Someone I could learn from and collaborate with. Quick, schooled, humble, with an amazing musical lexicon and down home as hell, with a bent sense of humor." —Tom Waits
"There's an unbelievable batting average there in songs . . . There are so many songs that I like and so many different feels and so much different sh*t in there. It's a huge body of work."—Matt Stone, South Park
"I was very enthralled by their whole enthusiasm at what they did. That was infectious."
—Chuck D, Public Enemy
"I think [Les] is one of the greatest lyricists in America right now. He has a turn of phrase that always just evokes a kind of hidden world. It's like Grapes of Wrath kind of stuff. It's really the mettle of America.”
—Stewart Copeland, the Police
"Definitely one of the greatest live bands, and I think that is always a sign of music that holds up . . . It's very timeless . . . Primus was very influential in the formation of [Muse] and what our priorities were."
—Matthew Bellamy, Muse
"It was '89 or '90 that I heard about them . . . I was fascinated by the band, but more so intrigued and mesmerized by Les, because he was such a cartoon character. And his bass playing was obviously phenomenal."
—Linda Perry, 4 Non Blondes
"At Phish practice, we used to listen to Sailing the Seas of Cheese . . . [Les] is the most unique bass player."
—Trey Anastasio, Phish
"I just remember listening to some of those clips over and over again, just the bass solo, over and over again, sitting there trying to figure it out. Those records were a huge part of me growing up."
—Tom Blankenship, My Morning Jacket
"They have a body of work that I'm always impressed with. Really, that's a band that never failed to deliver the goods on why you enjoy them . . . It actually gave me the feeling that there was some kind of justice in the world—watching them ascend. It's kind of like one of those moments, like sometimes those things happen, and it makes you think there's a possibility that the universe can have balance."
—Norwood Fisher, Fishbone