As you presumably know by now, Primus is bringing its 3D tour to The Wilma Theatre on May 13 (for which you can win tickets from 96.3 The Blaze). The tour has been described by many critics as a mesmerizing and trippy experience with no shortage of wonderfully outlandish visuals. If you caught their show at Big Sky Brewery last summer, then you already have a good idea of what to expect in the visuals department.
It is a well-documented fact that Primus has an affinity for bizarre imagery. One only needs to look to their music videos to observe this. Primus’ videos are undeniably brilliant and creative. If you haven’t already, you really should watch all of them. To get you started, I’ve compiled what I feel to be the cream of the crop.
In this partially-animated video, a tweeked-out Primus fan is watching the band perform the song on TV. About 45 seconds into the video, a presumably metaphorical devil appears and straps a device to the kid’s head, causing him to get really, really high. The kid then proceeds to hallucinate a montage of bizarre clips before flying through space at warp speed, with the devil riding on his back the whole way. Eventually he hits a brick wall – which I also presume is a metaphor – and explodes. While all this is awesome enough on its own, it’s made even more awesome by the fact that virtually every clip the kid hallucinates is from a previous Primus music video. That goes to show you where much of the band’s inspiration comes from.
This video cuts back and forth between three completely unrelated scenes. The focus of the video is on frontman Les Claypool portraying the song’s titular character, singing directly to the camera and looking like a genuinely backwoods individual. However, the video also cuts to shots of Primus road crew member Bob Cock relaxing at a mud spa and drinking pork soda (as in, the title of the album this song comes from), as well as shots of a heavily-silhouetted Primus performing the song in front of a tree. Nifty camera angles and visual effects are employed throughout the video, giving it an artistic, surreal quality.
Like the “Lacquer Head” video, this one’s an animated video with a narrative. It begins with a hunter closing in on a baby elephant. However, as he’s lining up his shot, the elephant is airlifted away by a larger elephant sporting a set of airplane wings and then dropped off in a strange facility. Frustrated, the hunter radios his commanding officer, because apparently he’s part of some army. The CO sends out a battalion of hunters, who bombard the facility as the workers inside fit the elephant with its own set of wings. The elephant then flies out of the facility while the hunters try to blow it out of the sky. It flies toward the CO’s tower, ultimately causing the CO to fall to the ground, where he can only helplessly watch the elephant get away. Sure, the narrative doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the charming claymation visuals are highly entertaining.
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
The opening sequence alone is enough to land this video a spot on the list. It’s cheesy, campy and just… incredibly ‘90s. Like the “My Name is Mud” video, this one features Bob Cock, who opens the video by ordering nachos from a greasy, sweaty vendor. He then walks outside to enjoy the nachos, only to have them knocked out of his hands by guitarist Larry LaLonde on a skateboard, creating a “sea of cheese” on the sidewalk. Then the song begins. The bulk of the video is a live performance of the song at a small club in the early ‘90s, and it’s interesting to see how vigorous and youthful Primus was back then. Les Claypool’s zany stage antics in the video are guaranteed to put a big, stupid grin across your face.
After first seeing this video nearly four years ago, I still can’t get over how brilliant it is. In a nutshell, the video is a single shot of Les Claypool wearing a tuxedoed pig costume and playing upright bass. All the while, a circus of oddities is going on behind him. Firebreathers, gymnasts, performance artists, freaks and more parade around in the background as Claypool performs the song. For most of the video, traffic flow through the shot is moderate, but in the last minute, all hell utterly breaks loose. It’s all very mesmerizing and trippy, an effect undeniably enhanced by the crooked camera angle used for the shoot. Oh, and towards the end of the video, Claypool – still wearing the pig costume – begins to dance around the bass, and it… is… just… awesome.