The first time I went to a festival was in 1991. I had just
completed upper secondary level and was about to conquer the world. My mate Hans
and I went to the Roskilde Festival here in Denmark, first and foremost because
Iron Maiden were on the bill, secondly because an in Denmark little known US
band called Primus would also play there. Yes, we actually went to a three day
mud hell to see two bands! Can you imagine. As a bonus, Artillery and the
Sisters of Mercy also played there, but that's another story.
Needless to say, Primus were brilliant. Quirky and odd as hell, but absolutely
brilliant. I clearly remember this Dutch guy standing next to me in the first
travelled to Denmark only to see Primus. He was a fucking pest as well, almost
screaming my eardrums out. But let that rest now.
What's important now is that Primus is back. It's been eleven years since the
last studio album, so for Primus fans this one really hits a dry spot. If you're
one of those who describe the trio as quirky, odd, brilliant, funky, ingenious
and amazing, you won't be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you're one of
those who'd describe Primus as obnoxious and ridiculous, your prejudice will be
confirmed. 'Green Naugahyde' is all that!
What Les Claypool, Larry Lalonde and Jay Lane have created is something I can
best describe as old school Primus, even if that would seem like a contradiction
in terms. What I mean is
this: The feel is more 'Frizzle Fry' than anything else. A track like The
Hennepin Crawler could easily have been from the first album that for many of us
was such a revelation back in the day. In that sense, 'Green Naugahyde' is a bit
like coming home.
Also, there is, as we're accustomed to with Les Claypool no matter where he
crops up, amazing musicianship in abundance on this album. The technical details
are overwhelming, and you can let yourself be sucked into the bass noodling if
that's your fetisch.
That said, someone like me craves a straight-ahead hit song, a Too Many Puppies,
a My Name is Mud, a Lacquer Head, just one, please, even from a Primus album. I
kind of miss that from 'Green Naugahyde', which tends to have the character of a
dark, introvert jam session in many instances, even if The Hennepin Crawler,
Eternal Consumption Engine and Last Salmon Man almost have the hit factor. This
is less in your face and, I think, darker than any of the previous Primus
Still, I can't help listening. Primus always was and probably always will be an
intriquing phenomenon in rock music, and I can only love this band to bits and
take the time with their albums - something that is definitely not the case with
any band. Primus is an odd size in the music business, and one that the world
shouldn't be without.