Tuesday, October 18, 2011
PRIMUS - GREEN NAUGAHYDE
A year and a half ago, I wrote about how longtime drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander has left the band again, replaced by the guy he originally replaced in the band, Jay Lane (who had been playing in Furthur, along with Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh). A couple of readers expressed concern about the band without Herb. But when I saw them last summer, they were amazing. Jay was the perfect pick.
The new album is great. The closest thing to a single on the album is "Tragedy's A'Comin'" It's quickly become one of my favorite Primus songs. Recently, I've noticed that there's a sort of common morality in the lyrics that Les Claypool writes for Primus. But because of his sort of cartoony voice, and his offbeat sense of humor, people sometimes miss it. But when I hear a song like "The Antipop" or "Year Of The Parrot" or even the little ditty "Seas Of Cheese" it's about how you shouldn't conform to peer pressure if you're in high school or college. Or to right wingers telling you it's unpatriotic to question the president (or, just a few years later, it's unpatriotic to not question the president). In "Tragedy's A'Comin'" Les sings that he "cannot step aside/No I cannot step aside there's no place to run and hide/No I cannot step aside damn my bastard pride." It's a protest song for the millennium. Protesting what? Take your pick. Top 40 radio. Lame spineless indie rock. Or the corporate takeover of almost everything.
And other songs protest other things: "Last Salmon Man" decries the damage we've done to the salmon's environment: "The river water diverts to other places/to nurture Central Valley seeds/the northern water that sloshes desert fairways fulfill So-Cal golfer's needs." "Eternal Consumption Engine" is about how we spend more than we make, and just buy stuff that's made in China. And "Moron TV" is kind of like "The Antipop."
I listen to this album, and like my other favorite Primus albums, I feel like... I'm with ya, Les. And again, I bet a lot of other fans feel that way. In some ways, they're everything I want from a band. I'm glad they're still doing it, and I can't wait to see their show, next time they come to town.