Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Tim Alexander’ Category

dec8SOUNDTRACK: LER & HERB during the hiatus (1999-2003 & 1994-2003)

1201_Tim_Alexander_Lead lerDuring the years that Ler and Herb were out of Primus, it’s a fair question to wonder what they were up to.

Larry “Ler” LaLonde was only “on hiatus” for a couple of years.  During that time, Ler created an electronic band (no guitars!) with Brain (who mastered the business and the beats) and DJ Disk (who drank grappa), and The Filthy Ape (who enjoyed a casual snack and read a good book), while Ler himself was on the flying boat (whatever that means).   Take what you will from that.  They released two albums which I’ve written about earlier: Lee’s Oriental Massage 415-626-1837 and God is an Excuse.

They are both electronic and or full of spoken nonsense and neither one is really worth hunting down.

Tim “Herb” Alexander was out of Primus for about 8 years.  And during that time he was rather busy. He started a band called Laundry, which released two albums Blacktongue (1994) (which you can listen to on Youtube) and Motivator (which is on Spotify). He also made an album with a supergroup called Attention Deficit (with Alex Skolnick – Guitar and Michael Manning – Bass).  They made two albums, Attention Deficit (1998) and The Idiot King (2001).  he also drummed on one song on the A Perfect Circle album Mer de Noms.

I haven’t really listened to all of his stuff that much.  Laundry is a sort of noisy kinda Primusy prog metal outfit Blacktongue is noisy than Motivator (and Herb sings lead on the second disc, and his voice is better suited to the music).  I’m curious about Attention Deficit, so I’ll have to give them a listen one of these days.

[READ: January 21, 2015] “Reverend”

This story was actually quite simple in plot, but it revealed a great deal that was hidden.  A man who has just lost his mother, reflects back upon the life he led with his parents and siblings.

The narrator’s father was the titular reverend.  Being a reverend was an extremely important part of his father’s life.  Indeed, he even met his wife when they both considered becoming missionaries.

They had three children–their oldest son–who grew up to be extremely anti-religion; a daughter who was very religious but not very smart and then the narrator who was, by his own admission, completely middle of the road in front of his parents. He didn’t believe in religion, but he never made waves with his parents.  He was smart but he never showed off.  And he believes that this milquetoast attitude may have upset his father more than anything. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

primus bookSOUNDTRACK: PRIMUS-Suck on This (1990).

primus suckThis was the disc that introduced me to Primus–it was on a beach vacation with my friends Al, Joe and Rad.  Al made this the soundtrack of the drive and, man, it was weird and crazy and super cool and by the end of that trip I was hooked.

Actually I was immediately hooked when the band opened this live disc with a rough version of Rush’s “YYZ” which then launched into “John the Fisherman.”  What do you make of this band and this weird song?  Stomping bass which is doing all of the lead stuff, with guitars that are just noises and craziness but which really work with what the bass is doing (once you listen a few times, anyway).  The drums are mammoth and very prog rock.  And then there’s Les’ voice–cartoony and unconventional–sometimes deep, sometime really silly, sounds that work perfectly with the storytelling lyrics.

The quality of this recording is pretty poor, although I find that it sounds a bit better on smaller, less “good” stereos, where Ler’s guitars don’t get lost so much in the bass.  Most of these songs have been re-recorded for later albums, so perhaps the newer versions sound cleaner to me.  [Groundhog’s Day, Frizzle Fry, John the Fisherman, Pudding Time and Harold of the Rocks on Frizzle Fry and Tommy the Cat on Sailing the Seas of Cheese].

The best songs on this disc have really catchy parts: “John the Fisherman” (most of it) or the insane fast bass and wild soloing section of “Groundhog’s Day.”  Sometimes it’s just when the noise stops and Les gets a line, like “It’s Just a Matter of Opinion” (in “The Heckler”).  Although the noise there is really catchy too–listen to what Ler is playing during the funky bass section–it’s wild and amazing.

Of course “Tommy the Cat” is a major standout from all three guys.

The only song that doesn’t really work for me is “Pressman” which seems a bit too long without a lot of resolution (although the end is pretty cool).  I often get “Jellikit” (the other song that didn’t make it to a studio album) in my head, whenever I think, Did you like it?  There’s even a drum solo from Herb the Ginseng Drummer in that song

What’s fun is that the audience is totally into it and they know most of the songs–anticipating lyrics and even singing along.  And this is where “We’re Primus and we suck.” comes from.  It was a shocking debut when it came out, and it’s still pretty unusual, although not as unusual as some of their later songs would be.

[READ: January 3, 2015] Primus

As I said above, I’ve been a fan of Primus since near the beginning of their existence.  And yet, for all of my enjoyment of them, I didn’t really know all that much about their origins.  I didn’t know that the original line up was Todd Huth and Jay Lane (guitars and drums), and that the three of them wrote the songs that appear on Suck on This and much of Frizzle Fry.  Ler had to learn these unusual parts (Ler took lessons with Joe Satriani and is much more accomplished than his lack of flashiness indicates) and did so wonderfully. I also didn’t know that Les and Kirk Hammet were in the same class in high school (and that he’s the reason Les picked up a bass in the first place, even though they never formally played together).

The book is constructed as a series of quotes from a vast assortment of people.  The “cast” is two pages long and includes current and former members of the band and management as well as fans like Trey Anastasio, Matthew Bellamy (from Muse), Geddy Lee, Chuck D, Eugene Hutz, Tom Morello, Buzz Osborne, Matt Stone, Mike Watt, Hank Williams III, guys from 24-7 Spyz, Fishbone, Limbomaniacs and even Linda Perry (!).

It opens with Les talking about his high school years.  And what’s amazing is how many people who were involved in Primus are friends from when he was a kid.  If they didn’t play together, they were involved with art or management or something.  We also get the origin story of Bob Cock, which answers many questions.

Les had formed Primate (legal dispute with the band The Primates made them become Primus) with Todd and Jay.  They toured a lot and were gaining a following, but Les was always looking for something more.  He even auditioned for Metallica after Cliff Burton died (Kirk thought it sounded great but I guess James didn’t). (more…)

Read Full Post »