Album Review: Primus – Pork Soda (1993)

CoverErnest Hemingway once stated, “Write drunk; edit sober.” Now, I’m not comparing myself to Ernest Hemingway (more like Ernest Borgnine), but I’ve adapted that approach to today’s post.

Side A

“My name is Mud.”

Albeit, a program featured on the channel of my past, Primus, like so many other influential bands, if only at the time, have created some of the most memorable melodies I can’t, but would love to, ignore.

“Where you goin’, city boy?!”

It’s difficult (as this is my first post) to comment on music that I’ve known for so long, or at least have held so close for a number of years. I’m not a Bruce Willis fan of Primus (Diehard for those catching up), but I am willing to lose myself amongst the rhythms that only partially remind me of my post High School years.

“Welcome to this worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrld!”

I relish in the delights of disturbing my neighbors whilst listening to this album. Common decency be DAMNED!

“I had a friend that took a belt, took a belt and hung himself. Hung himself in the doorway of the apartment where he lived.”

Side B

I imagine those who differ from the manifesto that IS Primus to completely miss the proverbial point. Pop? Yes. Aggression? Perhaps. Alternative… when it meant something? Yes. Everyday listening? No, but for good reason.

I had a boss at a pizza joint in Madison, WI… He was my father’s age, but who LOVED his Dodge Intrepid, Western novels, and among other things, Primus. For those of you who disregard the band, who write them off as MTV slack-jawed-tobacco-chewing-yokels, you may be right. But for those who tote themselves as connoisseurs of music as a whole, I invite you to downgrade this band. The forum is open to you and your ignorance. Primus, aka Les Claypool w/ friends, and Pork Soda enter a room, set a fire, have a seat, then attempt to discuss foreign policies while the rest of the room frantically scrambles for an exit in fear of their lives.

A good friend made fun of me for posting this album on my wall (an actual wall, before the social digital walls we know and loathe) amongst 40+ other albums, commenting on how he felt it didn’t fit amongst the pool of those albums that he deemed much more socially acceptable and remotely respected. I’ll never forget that, and continue to wear this album on the wall of my youthful pride (said wall NSFW).

Side C

So, it’s raining here in Los Angeles. Thought I’d throw that out there. Salty ham carbonated beverage in my ears complement the sweet whisky tickling my tongue. Perhaps THIS is my personal Pork Soda; comfort musical pillows filling my ears accompanied by mental lubrication solemnly cascading down my throat.

I can’t remember the last time I shaved my face clean. Yesterday I did just that. Today, with 24 hours worth of stubble, I frantically, almost erotically, handle my beardless mug in almost sexual tension while I listen… to Pork Soda. There is a God and his name may be Leslie Edward Claypool.

“Say there Mr. Krinkle let’s cruise the Bastard boat.”

Arriving in 1993, Pork Soda exists as Primus’ third studio album (sandwiched between 1991’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese and 1995’s Tales from the Punchbowl).

The last track on this side is a giddy little ditty titled, The Air is Getting Slippery. Arguably the best on the album, this track features ol’ man Claypool on his OTHER mastered instrument, the banjo. This sounds like swamp music for bayou dwellers digging up dirt on a dank, humid shore in search for worms with which to fish. I can almost hear this song seeping from a tin can radio hanging from a tree as Jasper exclaims, “I dun finded another wurm! We g’wan eat t’night!”

“Forgive me if I hesitate…”

Side D

The last leg of this grandiose album winds down with a funk-ified instrumental that sounds a lot like a whale having his way with a sea otter. (Take a moment to visualize.) If you’re into whales, or just a lover of animals, Primus, Pork Soda, and Side D may be just what the veterinarian ordered.

Primus is not for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a risky, meandering musical scene filled with carbonated pigs, this album comes HIGHLY recommended.

Label

From Los Angeles to San Francisco

photoI’ll be up in SF for a few days, but still wanted to submit my daily post. While up here, I thought I’d comment on SF bands that I find interesting (idea by Jason Hardwick). So, here is a list of a few SF area bands that I dig, with a youtube vid link to accompany them. Enjoy!

Blue Cheer

Their version of Summertime Blues is considered, by some, to be the first “Heavy Metal” track ever recorded. Blue Cheer formed in 1967.

Dead Kennedys

Riddled with legal battles throughout their tenure (mainly 1985’s obscenity trial over the artwork from their Frankenchrist release), the Dead Kennedys were among the first US based Hardcore bands to gain discernible popularity in England. They formed in 1978.

Faith No More

Starting in 1981 under the name, Faith No Man, Faith No More saw a revolving door of lead vocalists until landing Mr. Bungle’s Mike Patton in 1988. 1992’s Angel Dust was considered to be highly influential throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Their recent reunion notwithstanding, they parted ways in 1998.

Huey Lewis and the News

Gaining popularity at almost galactic proportions, HL&N were a personal favorite of mine throughout my childhood. Huey’s cameo in Back to the Future still makes me chuckle. Huey’s real name is Hugh Anthony Cregg.

Jefferson Airplane

The first from the SF area to gain mainstream success during the psychedelic rock boom, Jefferson Airplane would morph into Jefferson Starship, then regrettably, just Starship. They formed in 1965 and ended their initial run in 1972.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

CCR was a band that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to when riding in my Dad’s truck as a youngin’. Thinking they were a Southern band until I got wise, CCR, since the early days of my youth, has never been far out of reach. That can’t be said for many bands I’ve come across. I think the majority of my childhood musical favorites were deemed “not worthy” during my first years as a teenager. I blame Lords of the Underground and Onyx. CCR began as Tom Fogerty & the Blue Velvets, then changed their name to The Golliwogs before settling on Creedence Clearwater Revival. CCR disbanded in 1972.

NOFX

Oh, NOFX. There was a point in my life where I could simply not get enough NOFX. Those years have been put to sleep, but I still reminisce from time to time. Although they formed in Los Angeles in 1983, they currently create crass melodies up in the bay area, hence the inclusion on this list.

Operation Ivy

Active from only 1987-1989, and releasing only 1 studio album, Op Ivy went on to become underground cult Gods. Influencing such notable bands as Green Day, the majority of the Fat Wreck Chords cast, Sublime, and eventually turning into Rancid, the band of 4 energetic punk (ska-core to be specific) got their name from a series of American operated nuclear tests conducted on the Marshall Islands (in the northern Pacific Ocean) in 1952.

Primus

Avant-Garde Metal sensations, Primus launched into the public’s conscious back in 1984. Since then they’ve experienced several lineup changes, but never lost their original voice, bass player and lead singer Les Claypool. Claypool’s label, Prawn Song Records is a parody of the Led Zeppelin owned, Swan Song Records.

The Doobie Brothers

Another one of “those bands” that my father frequently played, the diggity Doobie Brothers are the subject of comedic utterance by Michael Douglas in the 1984 classic, Romancing the Stone. Don’t remember the line? Here it is. They also created some pretty bad-ass music. I’ve never met someone who’s admitting NOT liking the D. Bros. (They formed in San Jose, I know, but it’s close to SF. Give me a break.)