Mike Doughty’s Soul is Coughing.

This is probably the only song that will sound like this on this post and not even a Doughty original, but nevertheless an important song for me by him. My freshmen year roommate and I  listened to this song so many times at like three in the morning in college, often yelling the lyrics. The band Drink Me wrote it and I’ve never heard of them or anything else they did.

After over a decade, Mike Doughty is re-embracing his Soul Coughing roots and doing a whole tour of covers by the band that made him big. SC is a band that I’ve liked as long as the Pixies or Zeppelin or any other band I’ve mentioned that I’ve listened too since elementary school. Their three albums are good from beginning to end and this alone is enough to make them a favorite band.  They had a jazzy,alternative, and hip-hoppy vibe that no one came even close to in the 90’s. Like Primus and as my brother mentioned, it might have been their uniqueness that kept them from the mainstream and big financial success.

This was their first huge hit, one of the two songs most people will recognize and one my brother runs to on a regular basis. It’s way different from anything by the Foo Fighters or Pearl Jam and makes you want to move. Even though obscure, this video from an old Playstation game is the only one I could find without ads.

Although very unique and off the beaten path of commercialism, Doughty and SC had what I’d consider to be a pretty standard rock and roll trajectory. Doughty was a struggling artist/poet with some drug problems (a la Jim Morrison) who ended up collaborating with some heavily talented jazz musicians to form the band. Doughty met the whole band through working the door at the famous Knitting Factory in NYC and turned an off night jam session into an almost decade-long career with the band. After some minor airplay with “Super Bon Bon”, they released a third album which had their most popular hit, the catchy and relatable “Circles”. This was their epoch, even if things were disintegrating internally due to songwriting credit disputes and Doughty’s increasing heroin dependency.

This song was in inescapable during 1998, seemingly on the local alternative station every other song. Doughty even makes light of this in his big solo live release “Smofe and Smang” , where he plays the song with snatches of other hit songs like “Brimful of Asha”, ” Closing Time” and the refrain “I don’t need to walk around with Urkel”.  Doughty is a funny dude, on the junk or not, and his humor has always been a draw for me.

From my observation and a little research, it’s amazing they lasted as long as they did.  Doughty’s drug use was rampant and from his book entitled The Book of Drugsthe acrimonious relationship among the band members was enough to break the band up many times over. Doughty paints such a negative picture that it’s a wonder he stayed in the band so long, a criticism some reviewers of the book have made. It’s unclear specifically who or what was the final linchpin for the break up, but Doughty quit the heroin and spent a few years drinking heavily and crossing the country multiple times on solo tours afterwards.

This was a mainstay in Doughty’s drunk repertoire and remains to this day as he’s been sober for something like ten years. “Smofe + Smang” was also a mainstay in my listening for basically my entire college career, even superseding the SC albums temporarily. The song is constructed around samples of a voicemail an ex-girlfriend left for Doughty, sample usage being another example of why SC was different from any other band of their era.

Doughty sobered up, got signed to ATO records in 2004 after meeting up with Dave Matthews at Bonaroo and has maintained a career ever since. Because of the SC negative memories, he largely did not play their songs for the last several years and it was crazy to read that he was re-recording a bunch of SC songs for a new album. He referred to the “dark marriage of Soul Coughing being annulled” on NPR and apparently this fan-funded album is doing better than any of his other solo releases. Here we come to what is my main point of this post: did Mike Doughty do this album because he has genuinely  come to terms with his SC past or because he’s broke?

I will not include any of the new songs on this blog post. I’m sure they are solid and I will listen to them someday, but the SC originals are what I grew up with and love, so it is what I will stick with. To meet him halfway, I’ve chosen many songs that are on the remix album so at least you hear some semblance of the new album if you have never before listened to Soul Coughing.

I don’t think I can say for sure what the man’s intentions were because I am not him. I did meet him one time briefly and he did seem pretty smug; however, I was newly 21 and suffering from a severe case of consuming cold beer too fast. I am sure it is annoying to have a solo career and constantly have people yell out your former band’s songs, which happened each time I saw him live. Adding to this are his feelings of anger at the band and the relation to his substance abuse problems of the past, I can see why the songs would drum up some weird feelings for the dude. Apparently, not weird enough not to play the songs ever again and to make an album of remixed songs which is selling fast.

I love the jazz bass line. The stand up rig really sounds great in every song and is yet another thing that sets this band apart. I wish more bands would have the cahones/inspiration to come up with music like this that is unapologetically original.

I’ve been the biggest cheerleader of Soul Coughing  since “Super Bon Bon”. Its one of those bands that I’ve liked since I was aware of them in the early 90’s and I’ve kept an ear out for Doughty solo stuff since the beginning as well. My heart is with SC, but I don’t begrudge Mike for trying to forge his own path or even for trying to make a little extra dough with songs he knows so many people already love. I can’t say for sure if this is his motive because he could have just finally come to terms with his animosity and this was the best way to exorcise the demons of the past. Regardless, he helped to write these songs and he should be able to do whatever he wants with them. Listen to  Soul Coughing if you haven’t, keep listening to them if you haven’t, and go see Mike Doughty if he travels to a city near you. You won’t regret it.

This is top five favorite songs by SC for me and a fitting conclusion. Like soft serve, everyone should like this band and Mike Doughty.

Forgotten Classics: Irresistible Bliss (Album Review)

Recently, I checked an old email inbox (over the years I have acquired no fewer than half a dozen email addresses, all of which are still Irresistible+Bliss+Soul+Coughing++Irresistible+Blactive) where I found an email from Mike Doughty, the former singer of Soul Coughing and now solo artist extraordinaire. I think I ended up on his email list way back in 2003 or something. And, due to his career arc or native enthusiasm, he seems to send out updates himself.

The update in question was about an album of ‘re-imagined’ Soul Coughing songs (Circles) to be released shortly. I was intrigued—his live shows are great and his solo renditions of Soul Coughing songs can be revelatory or just fun, but rarely boring. So, as is my wont, I pre-ordered the damn thing and listened to it the first day I had it. The surprise? My children went nuts for his new version of “Super Bon Bon”. Every time they get into the car, they want to hear it.

Listening to these new versions of Soul Coughing songs obviously makes me nostalgic. Perhaps not so obvious is how much hearing them makes me wish I had already written about one of the three great Soul Coughing albums. But, then it occurred to me: I sat down one day when we started this blog and couldn’t figure out which album deserved it more, Ruby Vroom or Irresistible Bliss. When I return to the issue now, however, there is no contest. Ruby Vroom may be less mainstream, more experimental and, let’s say, more quintessentially Soul Coughing, but Irresistible Bliss was the first Soul Coughing album I owned; it is great from beginning to end (with the exception of one or two songs); and it was the center of so many debates in my first few years of college that I can’t imagine not writing about it.

Let’s just get this out of the way. If I were stuck on a desert island or adrift in space, Irresistible Bliss would certainly be one of the few albums I would take with me. The reasons are as follows: (1) its variety; (2) its musical creativity and difference; (3) its vocal / lyrical dynamism and (4) my own personal memories connected to the album. There are few albums from the 90s or even the past two decades that are as unique as either of the first two Soul Coughing albums. But this album was uniquely part of my life for (now) more than a few years.

Let’s start with the variety and the memories . (Ah, shit, I’ll just mix it all together anyway. At least I started with a clear set of points.) The first song I remember hearing by Soul Coughing was “Soundtrack to Mary” which played for a short while on the local alt-rock station in Maine. I remember being intrigued by the combination of dirty acoustic rock chord-voicing with light samples, hard upright bass and a bevy of other sounds that were just familiar enough to not be completely industrial. The vocals seemed rather typical of the period—rough, gritty yet still melodic. Earnest is a word that might be used now.

But it was the lyrics that struck me. As a wannabe poet at the time and a student of classical languages I was struck by the anaphora of the first few lines (“Easy places to get away to / Easy limbs languid all around you”) made all liquid with alliteration and the surprising adjective languid. As impressive as the sounds (and Mike Doughty has a way to play with syllables and meaning that is powerful), are the images. “Easy places” and “languid limbs’—seemingly relaxed in their languor—were transformed into something more serious with the next line where Doughty sings “All my time is / Dirt on your hands.” The unity of the grand with the earthy and disposable is arresting. Doughty remains creative with words throughout the song—the final  “I know the sound that you made and I / Can’t seem to unremind myself”  is both a creative use of language and another powerful—albeit unclear—image. The lyrics of the best Soul Coughing songs do what I tell my students all great art should do, they offer an invitation to interpretation. They engage the audience and reward contemplation.

And that is what the song was to me. But what struck me later about the band is how this song that I couldn’t get out of my head wasn’t even typical of the band. Months later when the song “Super Bon Bon” was a hit on the radio, I didn’t even know it was by the same band. “Super Bon Bon” is faster, something closer to a mix between REM and Prodigy (I know, a terrible idea) than a coffee house acoustic band messing with a sampler (which is what I thought I heard in “Soundtrack to Mary”). But I shouldn’t have been surprised when I started mulling over the lyrics. The second verse and chorus are etched into my mind:

Some kind of verb.

Some kind of moving thing.

Something unseen.

Some hand is motioning

to rise, to rise, to rise.

Too fat, fat you must cut lean.

You got to take the elevator to the mezzanine,

Chump, change, and it’s on, super bon bon

Super bon bon, Super bon bon.

Now, in part I was drawn in because I didn’t know what he was saying in the chorus (and who else but a great rapper or Mike Doughty could make the instructions written in the subway—take the elevator to the mezzanine—exciting). Here, Doughty is a great verbal artist not just because of his balance of sound and sense but because of his creative and explosive use of the phonemes available in English. His vowels stretch; his labial ‘p’ pops; and he rapidly twists through lines that could be made beautiful by almost no one else. Great poets create beautiful language; but they also find the beautiful in the everyday.

In 1996 or so I saw Soul Coughing open up for Dave Matthews and was so blown away by the static yet electric performance that I have literally no memory of one song played by the headlining band. If you don’t know Soul Coughing, what you need to know is that no band has ever really sounded like them. With the poetic jazz-spoken, half-sung lyrics over an upright bass, the band’s set-up owes something to Beat performances of an earlier generation. (And we used to try to imitate Doughty’s delivery in the dorm room pointing out “Is Chicago, is not Chicago” or rolling and inverting “you can be my baby doll / you can be my doll baby”.

But in addition to these sounds, you have Doughty’s guitar playing, a jazz-inspired and smart drummer, and the samples and fiddle of the poly-instrumentalist and composer Mark De Gli Antoni. The polyglot sound draws on industrial influences (some harder like Ministry, others more predictable and rocky like Dinosaur Jr.) and has a progressive feel to it; but the song structures hew to the short-pop aesthetic: verse, bridge, chorus and repetition. Where other (more experimental bands) like Caribou or even conventional rock bands in experimental phases like Radiohead would strain and break song structures, Soul Coughing remained unconventionally conventional. The overall sound is something that was destined to happen in the 1990s (a hip-hop and jazz influenced, lyrics-focused, rhythm and rock fugue) but never really found much realization elsewhere. Soul Coughing had some hits, but they never really made it mainstream.

What surprises me when I look back at it is why Irresistible Bliss wasn’t bigger. As I listen to it again, I cannot think of many albums of the same even and innovative quality. When I first got to college, it was one of the first things my roommate and I bonded over.We once spent a New Year’s Eve at the house of a classmate who didn’t own a television drinking gin, listening to the radio and debating songs like “White Girl” and “4 out of 5” and, of course, whether Irresistible Bliss could possibly be better than the debut Ruby Vroom. Yet, with the exception of two or three other people, nobody really seemed to know about them. We used to try to proselytize the Soul Coughing sound, but as soon as we did, the world changed to feature Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

The sound, admittedly, was different. But the lyrics and songs were also challenging. The second song on the album, “Soft Serve”, seems like a dance number lost in the gulf between “Groove is in the Heart” and “Walk on the Wild Side”. The lyrics seem fun and light at the beginning, but upon reflection the accumulation of words and images communicate a drug fugue—the image of the dripping ice cream transforms into hallucinogenic impressions of heroin use. The language is inventive and beautiful, yet the tension between the sound and the content makes it a terrible beauty.

Less vivid but not less strange is the song “White Girl”, the album’s third track, that my wife (who is not white) took some strange offense to until we told her that the lyrics talking about the female white victim were supposed to communicate the fact that news reports in the early nineties and before used to report the ethnicity of everyone but white people. The song is appropriately angry, indignant and sharp as Doughty snaps and yells “white girl” over the rumble of the rolling bass.

(We discovered the meaning of the song after the drummer in my college band found out that Doughty had an entire page where he explained the inspiration and meaning behind the songs. Doughty has always been so generous to his fans.)

The album is made up of  songs that bridge the gaps between fun, surprising, lyrical and intellectual. “Lazybones” seems like a lark—its pace slows down the desperate pleas of “Soundtrack to Mary” only to speed up again to become an address to a lover:

Cool you, Miss Amaze, with a handful of water

trucks encircling, bearing down, coming louder.

If I could stay here, under your idle caress

and not exit to the world and phoniness and people.

While Doughty drags out the vowels of “lazybones”, he moves quickly over the consonants of this verse until he slows to almost mumble-sing the last line. Doughty’s lyrics are always so impressionistic and disjointed that one might suspect—and rightly—heavy drug use; but what buoys them and endows them with a universality denied to other drug-infused writers (e.g., Burroughs) is that his obscurity is almost always balanced by a statement of truth, moments of honesty as when he worries in this last verse about “phoniness and people”.

Sometimes, though, he doesn’t need to be earnest to be catchy. The musical ode to numbers, “4 out of 5”, is rhythmic, compelling and, I suspect, philosophical in its chemical-fugue way. Again, Doughty shows here how a great verbal artist can make beauty out of the ordinary and find poetry even in something superficially unpoetic, like subtraction and addition. The song starts with an image of a woman whose knees are spread sidewise and twists the way a wandering thought will through a series of metonymic associations:

Her knees thrust in one direction

like a symbol of math, a symbol meaning greater Than.

I come recommended by four out of five,

I’m a factor in the whole plan.

Four and five therefore nine,

Nine and nine therefore eighteen,

Eighteen and eighteen therefore thirty-six,

Four and five therefore nine.

Reading these words does little justice to the rhythm and artistry that makes this song memorable. Listen to the way these simple numbers and their relationships are imbued with meaning. I have no idea how these songs were composed, but the organic whole of sound and content defies the normal sense you could possibly imagine. This band literally creates something memorable out of material other bands would ignore. Part of this, I think, is the sampling aesthetic embraced by the composer De Gli Antoni. But recycling and allusion have always been part of the literary tradition.

What makes the album great rather than good is that even the less memorable songs—those you might not name without listening to it again—are really good songs. “Paint” and “Disseminated” are rhythmic tours de force showcasing more paranoid and aggressive strains in the band’s music.  The contemplative and plodding “Sleepless” is an existential ode to insomnia that is profound in the way it claims agency for the singer (“I got the will to drive myself sleepless”) but also denies true control (“Well I call for sleep / But sleep it won’t come to me”). Sleep is turned from a thing to a person who moves “Shuffling in the hallway, / I can hear him on the stairs / I hear his lighter flicking.” Suddenly, with this revelation (the lighter) the “smoke” and “time” of the first few lines make sense. Like many of the songs, even the later songs on the album ask and demand the audience to listen and think.

I hear the soft sigh of his inhale.
And the whole width of my intentions
He exhales into the air.

The final song on the album (“How Many Cans”) commemorates the impossibility of forgetting about a broken relationship. I remember arguing with a kid from high school about this song—he didn’t want to like it because it was about drowning your sorrows. But it, like the others, combines driving and surprising sound with imaginative and evocative lyrics within an explosive and articulate vocal performance.

In retrospect, I think that Soul Coughing suffered a bit from its own originality and talent. Sure, we can pretend that the alt-rock revolution allowed for more varied music to hit the mainstream, but as a matter of fact, most of it still came from conventional three to five piece rock bands that might have been Poison or White Snake in another generation. Most ‘different’ bands were only slightly different: look, a saxophone. Hey, this guy plays the harmonica! Soul Coughing didn’t (and doesn’t) fit any clear generic concept. It must have been a nightmare to market them.

Different but not different in the right way?

Different but not different in the right way?

I have seen Doughty live multiple times and bought all of his solo albums. His lyrics remain inventive, but the total effect of the band is something I have long missed. His live performances of Soul Coughing songs are energetic and dynamic; the recordings seem less so—which implies to me that as compositions the songs depend upon the other instruments, the rhythm and the collective will. As a comparison, his own compositions like “The Only Answer” work much better as stand alone solo songs.

Ruby Vroom has great songs like “Sugar Free Jazz”, “True Dreams of Wichita” and the haunting final track “Janine”. Song-to-song, however, it isn’t as consistent. Irresistible Bliss passes the two most essential tests I have for a great album: it is listenable beginning to end and it makes me remember. Now that my children are learning to love it too, I can only conceive of loving it more.

Ten to 2013: Rethinking Pearl Jam

Is something wrong, she said
Well of course there is
You’re still alive, she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be
Is that the question

Pearl Jam, “Alive”

Recently a friend of ours, the marvelous and magnificent Moe, wrote a review of Pearl Jam’s latest release Lightning Bolt. The review isn’t tepid—it praises the album but concedes it is not the band’s greatest work—but it does inspire tepid feelings in me. And this is not because of the review; it is because of the band. A band that even my brother just took the time to consider more carefully.

I can’t think of many other bands that have been so successful for so long without impressing me (well, the Eagles, R.E.M.).

I cannot tell a lie: I owned this t-shirt

I cannot tell a lie: I owned this t-shirt

I can think of some pretty terrible bands that people seem to like regardless of all taste and reason (Maroon 5, Foo Fighters) but it is hard for me really to figure out the place that Pearl Jam should occupy. The band was huge in the early 1990s. It consciously and intentionally bowed out of MTV and its world but continued to release albums. I never listened to them. Was I wrong?

I am not completely alone in being confused about the attraction: LA Weekly lists Pearl Jam as one of the worst bands of all time describing the sound as “Boring, tepid, rehashed classic rock with a thin veneer of alt” . Now, while this declaration is in part meant just to raise some hackles and eyebrows, I have to add that it is rare that my brother and I completely agree in ignoring something. Generally, what I don’t care for, he will defend. And, generally, if we both ignore something, well…

But the litmus test for a band that transcends general mediocrity and confounds even those who would like to hate it is whether or not a majority of people who know of the band can identify a song they actually like by it despite whatever reservations or misgivings they have. I can think of at least five songs (maybe more) that I really do like (“Even Flow”, “Daughter”, “Better Man”, “Nothingman”, and Yellow Ledbetter”). So, I guess I need to revisit this.

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Mash-up Repost: Bands with numbers in their name from the Nineties

numbersSo, my brother wrote this post a bit back and I have been thinking about it. I wrote a response. Both generated some debate, so for the first time, I have mashed two of our posts into one terrible Frankensteinian beast. Any ideas for bands we’ve missed or explanations for the phenomenon?

Here’s my brother’s bit to begin:

It occurred to me the other night that there were a lot of  bands with numbers in them from the Nineties. I think  Seven Mary Three was the best. I came to this conclusion after a long conversation with an elementary school friend last week  with whom I enjoyed many of these songs. The football game was not very exciting because the Patriots were like seven touchdowns ahead. I decided to have a mixed drink and this turned into why Seven Mary Three was a better band than Third Eye Blind.  We had to first determine which bands were up for consideration. For instance was 311 up for the best band with numbers in it from the Nineties?

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Bands with numbers in their name from the Nineties.

It occurred to me the other night that there were a lot of  bands with numbers in them from the Nineties. I think  Seven Mary Three was the best. I came to this conclusion after a long conversation with an elementary school friend last week  with whom I enjoyed many of these songs. The football game was not very exciting because the Patriots were like seven touchdowns ahead. I decided to have a mixed drink and this turned into why Seven Mary Three was a better band than Third Eye Blind.  We had to first determine which bands were up for consideration. For instance was 311 up for the best band with numbers in it from the Nineties?

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Prime Cuts of Primus

Prime Cuts of Primus

I don t believe in Pinochle

And I don’t believe I’ll try

I do believe in Captain Crunch

For I am the Frizzle Fry”

Primus has been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid and I try to expose everyone I know to their music. The majority of people cannot handle it for more than a couple songs saying it’s too intense or busy or even just lying to me and saying they just want to hear something else.  I feel bad for these people as I think everyone could like them if they put in the time. Or not. Ultimately, I don’t care who likes them as they are one of the most unique bands to exist and we are all lucky to have them here on Earth. Their funky style of heavy rock draws from countless sources and sounds like nothing else out there. Their fans are diehard and some of them are scarily dedicated to a truly cult band. People love them or hate them. Primus sucks and this is why.

As a side note, many people yell “Primus Sucks” at shows because they very much do not suck. This is what I assume anyway but I read on the Primus blog recently that Les wants this to end so we will see how far that goes. It’s the thing to do, like yelling “Hot Fuckin Tuna” or “Freebird”. If this entry elicits any interest in the band, please take  some time getting to know the band as I am sure you will at least come to admire them. Also, I intend to give a synopsis of the band in four lines or less to fill in your own gaps. Primus has been around over twenty years and is headed by the mammoth bass player Les Claypool and  Larry Lalonde as the guitarist from the beginning. The drummers have changed continually with Jay Lane now in the line up. Their music is hard to identify genre wise but it’s all based around Claypool’s unreal bass playing and eclectic lyrics. Ok I lied, it was five lines.

My first memory of Primus is vague. My sister’s friend Carl, who actually was my brother’s friend first and who apparently wanted my sister but was significantly and creepily older than her, brought over a Primus VHS that started with “John the Fisherman”.  I think it wad that song anyway and there was a boat. I must have been 7 or so as I look at the dates and I remember instantly loving the bass heavy music. It was unlike anything I had ever heard and I remember bobbing my head along with the music. It didn’t have the typical guitar lines with a bass line that followed with root notes and the occasional flourish. The bass was out front and the drums were going apeshit while the guitar made various cool noises. I didn’t know any of this jargon at the time but as I look back, these are the things that draw me to the band. It must have been a collection of videos taped off TV because I just watched the video for the above mentioned song and that’s definitely what I saw. It’s still cool almost twenty years later and I see why I still love the band from that first vague glimmer.

I vividly remember hearing “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” on my sister’s boom box from the new “alternative” radio station from the city not too far from our rural home. This station was sick at the beginning: they didn’t play any commercials and it was music you would nohttps://thebrothersj.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=917&action=editt hear anywhere else at the time. This is way before iTunes and YouTube and I didn’t get to hear this song again until my sister bought the album, the one and only Primus album any of my siblings ever owned. Maybe that’s another reason I liked them so much, albeit subconsciously. I always took my brother’s cds and this was one I took from my sister when she realized she hated every other song on the disc. Her loss and my gain as this the song is one of all choice cuts. The high pitched noise reminds me now of pigs squealing and the guitar solos are clearly Jerryesque. Nothing I love more than some farm animals and Dead homage’s. That sounds a lot weird written out then it did in my head. As a final note, I am still not sure if this song is a euphemism for female genitalia or an actual reference to a beaver.

I didn’t get to really like Primus, like super fan style, until towards the end of high school. A good friend at that time, who later ended up spending some time in a federal penitentiary, had been going to Ozzfest since it’s inception. I went to ’03 with him and and still have the scars on my knees to prove it.  He had caught Primus in 1999 and been a diehard fan ever since . he would always play the Brown Album over and over in his piece of shit Oldsmobile that he always drove at the top speed it could handle without rattling apart.  Specifically, he dug on “Shake Hands with Beef” and would always yell the lyrics along with Les and pound his fist on the crumbling dashboard.The whole album is good, albeit different than other Primus albums in content and sound.  But every Primus album is different and that’s another reason I really like them. My friend is still in trouble with the law and I rarely see him but I hope he still likes Primus.

College was really when I became the super fan. Even more so than high school, I think college is really where you become who you are and discover your true tastes. I also met Adam sophomore year and he was a huge Primus fan. The fall we became friends, we drank a lot of beer and talked a lot about music. One weekend, we ended up going back to his apartment after a party and alienating all the people who we were with by putting on a DVD of the 2003 Tour De Fromage.  . Primus’s music can be very abrasive and dissonant, coupled with some downright scary lyrics like the tale of killing a man with an aluminum baseball bat for having bad breath in “My Name is Mud”.  It just isn’t for some people and I think this is one of the many reasons I like the band. It would become a regular thing throughout college to listen to Primus after drinking all night and once I found my girlfriend that I with for 75% of college, she also became a Primus fan. This only fueled my growing fandom of the band.  Adam has turned out to be one of my best friends and rarely does us hanging out not result in some Primus being played or at least discussed. More on him next paragraph.

So I didn’t get to see Primus until 2010 but I got to see them twice, once in Vermont and again in Boston. They are now in a permanent position in my top five favorite bands. I’ve seen Les Claypool five times and he has some various extremely talented musicians back him up on his solo material on instruments ranging from the cello to the vibraphones. Perhaps I’ll write about Les solo in the future, but now I want to focus on Primus. All the Les shows were precursors to the truly soul shaking experience of seeing Primus. Both shows were seen with Adam and we were like two little boys jumping up and down for two hours, completely ignoring the multiple friends who joined us in Vermont and full on converting the one friend in Boston. Les commands your attention without being obnoxious, literally making your chest and head pound with his funky and thunderous bass lines. Larry’s guitar playing, coupled with Jay’s frenetic drum beats, leaves a deep grove that you can’t kick post show. Some day I will write about my top five favorite live shows and I can assure you Primus will be near the top. Word is a new album is coming out and they are touring everywhere except the Northeast this summer, a total bummer, But I’ll see them again, that is for sure.

I like Primus for a variety of reason. First, not a single other band sounds like them. That means more than anything to me in this world of listening to top 40 hits and not knowing when the songs start or end. I look for truly unique music and love when I can find it. Their funky and heavy mix of sound appeals to me because it has a way of getting into you and making you move. I was literally jumping around my office area two minutes ago while listening to a live cut of “Tommy the Cat”. Second, not a lot of people like them. Is this one of those I like them because I want to separate myself from the popular pack? No, it’s because it takes time and can be difficult to listen to this band and other true fans have put in the same amount of time as I have. Whenever you meet a fan, it’s like you’re instantly friends and I find that to be a great honest feeling. Third, I love the bass and have been playing one for the past year pretty much so I can try and be like Les, some day anyway. I can play two Les riffs and counting. Fourth, I find Les ’s lyrics to be very funny and at times, very identifiable to me and my own life. I mean the fishing, redneck, and car references. I also mean the song about the Department of Motor Vehicles and the endless other idiosyncratic lyrics. A lot of people refer to them as nonsensical but I doubt they know enough to really make a viable comment on the matter. Lastly, their live show is amazing, absolutely riveting and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I probably seem like a semi obsessed freak at this point but I don’t care. Everyone has a band like this, just look at my brother and They Might Be Giants,a similar band and motive in why he likes them so much. I end this post with one of their trippier cuts that kills it live and the message that if you like a weird band, embrace them and spread the word.