Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is Primus The Most Inimitable Band Of The Nineties?

In one word, yes.

Well, at least according to me, they are.

And I base this on one simple fact: No band subsequent to Primus sounds like Primus.

Some people might argue that Korn or some of the other nü-metal bands sounded like Primus (if not in aesthetic, at least aurally) but I find that comparison to be extremely shallow—slap bass does not a Primus make—Les Claypool's playing is far too dynamic and virtuosic to be narrowly defined. And where's the manic Zappa-inspired guitar histrionics of Larry LaLonde or the progressive drums of Tim "Herb" Alexander (or his replacement, Bryan "Brain" Mantia) in Korn?

And clearly, the lack of rightful heirs to the Primus throne is not due to the band toiling in obscurity throughout the Nineties. Actually, it's quite the contrary, they had two albums certified Platinum (Sailing The Seas Of Cheese & Pork Soda) and one certified Gold (Tales From The Punchbowl.) Their songs, "My Name Is Mud" and "Winona's Big Brown Beaver" got radio spins on the regular, and all of their innovative, cartoonish videos were tailor-made for MTV.

Obviously, people were exposed to the music. So, what kept bands from trying to replicate that Primus sound?

It also raises another interesting question: Does it say more about a band's uniqueness to be copied by dozens of clones, or not to be imitated at all?

Hmm... Contemplate that while watching this video for "Mr. Krinkle":

What other bands does this apply to? I think Morphine is a good candidate, but please, enlighten me with suggestions in the comment section.

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