Commute Song of the Week: Primus “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver”

I love Primus and Les Claypool. Adore them so much we’ve spent every year in the past decade bringing in the New Year with Les and the gang.

It’s extremely hard to describe Primus music to people who have never heard a single Primus song.   The adjectives “weird” and “funky” come to mind.  Les was and still is influenced  by a rather diverse cornucopia of sounds including the East Bay funk scene of the 60s and 70s, Rush, the Residents Frank Zappa and the guitarist Fred Firth.  This all comes together in a very unique way in  Primus’ overall sound.  Add in Larry “Ler” LaLonde’s guitar work (which reminds me of Adrian Belew on a heavy dose of acid) and the tight drumming of Tim Alexander and you have something  that allowed Primus to be  the only band with its own ID3 genre tag,  (“Primus”)

“Jerry was a Racecar Driver” is from Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Primus’ second album and considered their “breakthrough” disc.   It mixes what makes a solid Primus tune: odd characters, local Bay area references,  a funky as hell  tapped bass line from Les, a thrashing sonic guitar bridge from Ler and the tight drumming of Tim.   (And oh a quick reference to the movie, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”)   This is the song that made me really appreciate Tim Alexander’s drumming.  I would gladly pay good money just to hear Tim play this song by himself.

In the end, the song is fun and a great one to head bang along to during a morning commute.

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Categories music

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