[[quoteright:319:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/primus_9082.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:319:[[Music/{{Eminem}} Hi, kids! Do you like Primus?]]]]

->''[[OurProductSucks Primus sucks.]]''

''Primus'' is a cult favourite AlternativeRock[=/=]FunkMetal band from El Sobrante, California.

Primus were formed in 1984 by bassist and vocalist Les Claypool, who has always remained the driving force behind the band. The first incarnation of the band included Todd Huth on guitar and Jay Lane on drums, and recorded absolutely bugger all. The second incarnation was more successful, containing guitarist Larry "Ler" [=LaLonde=] and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander. Alexander left in 1996, dissatisfied with the direction the band was taking, and was replaced with Bryan "Brain" Mantia. Primus went on hiatus in 2000, but have reunited in 2003 with the classic Claypool/[=LaLonde=]/Alexander lineup. In 2010, Alexander left the band once more and was replaced by the band's original drummer, Jay Lane, but came back in 2013 for an all new album and tour where the band will cover the soundtrack from ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''.

Primus' music is incredibly hard to describe, to the point that it is the only band to have its own [=ID3=] tag in Winamp[[note]]Not that this is saying much, given Winamp's notorious inaccuracy with genre tags[[/note]]. The closest general description would be "alternative rock/funk metal" or the band's own suggestion of "psychedelic polka", with main influences including [[Music/GeorgeClinton Parliament-Funkadelic]], Music/TheResidents, Music/FrankZappa, Music/{{Metallica}} and Music/{{Rush}}. Additionally, their initial fans came from the Bay Area thrash scene due to opening gigs for Testament and Exodus, among others, and Larry [=LaLonde=] was previously in seminal thrash metal bands Possessed and Blind Illusion, the latter of which also included Claypool.

The dominant songwriter and [[FaceOfTheBand Most Valuable Player]] is Les Claypool, he of the incredible bass talent and silly voice. For this reason, Primus subvert the general alignment of heavy metal and rock bands, having the bass as the lead instrument and the guitar on the backseat. Larry himself generally complements Les' riffs with distorted noise and going on atonal tangents, but can bash out a heavy metal riff in lockstep if it's required. Alexander and Mantia generally both play incredibly complicated drum patterns that anchor the songs, acting as the Mitch Mitchell or [[Music/TheWho Keith Moon]] of the band.

The result is a weird and compelling fusion of Music/HeavyMetal, FunkRock, ProgressiveRock and RuleOfFunny.

You probably know them as the [[HeAlsoDid band who made the]] WesternAnimation/SouthPark ThemeSong, while lead singer Les Claypool is known for doing the theme (And "'''IT'S ALIIIIVE'''" scream) from ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken''.

Les Claypool holds the distinction of being the only bassist to ever audition for Music/{{Metallica}} and be turned down because he was too good, according to James Hetfield. His FunkMetal style also didn't match the band, as he jokingly asked the others after his audition to "jam on some [[Music/TheIsleyBrothers Isley Brothers]] tunes".

Primus landed in a bizarre, [[UnknownRival one-sided]] feud with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum in 1995, due to their absurdist country-funk-metal single "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver". Les went to great lengths to point out that the song is not, emphasis '''''not''''', about Creator/WinonaRyder - the spelling and pronunciation are different, not to mention the fact that the lyrics make no sense. Ryder didn't mind, but her boyfriend Pirner did, and even renamed one of his songs "Les Claypool's a Big Fucking Asshole" in concert. The correct title should have been "Dave Pirner's a Big Fucking Asshole Who Doesn't Know What the Hell He's Talking About".

Band members:
* Les Claypool - bass, vocals (1984-2000, 2003-present)
* Larry "Ler" [=LaLonde=] - guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer (1989-2000, 2003-present)
* Tim "Herb" Alexander - drums (1989-1996, 2003-2010, 2013-Present)
* Bryan "Brain" Mantia - drums (1996-2000)
* Todd Huth - guitar (1984-1989)
* Jay Lane - drums, backing vocals (1984-1989, 2010-2013)

Albums:
* 1989 - ''Suck on This'' (live album)
* 1990 - ''Frizzle Fry''
* 1991 - ''Sailing the Seas of Cheese'' (first album released on a major label, breakout success)
* 1992 - ''Miscellaneous Debris'' EP (cover album)
* 1993 - ''Pork Soda'' (their highest charting album, thanks to the single "My Name is Mud")
* 1995 - ''Tales from the Punchbowl''
* 1997 - ''Brown Album''
* 1998 - ''Rhinoplasty'' EP (another cover album)
* 1999 - ''Antipop''
* 2003 - ''Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People'' EP
* 2006 - ''They Can't All Be Zingers'' (GreatestHitsAlbum)
* 2011 - ''Green Naugahyde''
* 2014 - ''Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble'' (Their tribute to the ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory'' soundtrack)

Not to be confused with the God/Ancestor/Homeworld of the Franchise/{{Transformers}}, who has the same name.
----
!!Tropes employed by Primus:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Larry "Ler" [=LaLonde=].
* AlternativeMetal: The TropeCodifier
* AuthorAvatar: Les Claypool is a fly fisherman, and Primus has a series of songs called "The Fisherman Chronicles."
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Les Claypool has a nice ring to it. Larry Lalonde gets bonus points for {{A|ddedAlliterativeAppeal}}lliteration.
* BatterUp: "My Name Is Mud"
-->''We had our words, a common spat; So I kissed him upside the cranium with an aluminum baseball bat..''
* BlessedAreTheCheesemakers: ''Sailing the Seas of Cheese''. The packaging of their GreatestHitsAlbum, ''They Can't All Be Zingers'', also resembles a package of processed cheese slices. Note, more generally, how many how their album titles involve a reference to food.
* TheCameo: Music/TomWaits plays the titular character in "Tommy the Cat", and Claypool's grandfather plays the live-action Tommy in the music video.
* CatchPhrase: The sentence "Primus Sucks", a reference to Les Claypool introducing the band saying "We are Primus and we suck" in early concerts, and meaning something along the lines of "Primus rocks" seems to have become this for the fans, even though its use is kind of controversial.
* CorruptHick: "My Name is Mud", provides the Page Quote.
* CompanionCube: "Mary the Ice Cube"
* CoverVersion:
** "Hello Skinny", "Constantinople" and "Sinister Exaggerator" by Music/TheResidents, "The Thing That Should Not Be" by Music/{{Metallica}}, "Behind My Camel" by Music/ThePolice, "Making Plans for Nigel" and "Scissor Man" by Music/{{XTC}}, "Intruder" and "The Family and the Fishing Net" by Music/PeterGabriel, "Tippi-Toes" by The Meters, "Have a Cigar" by Music/PinkFloyd, "Silly Putty" by Stanley Clarke, "Amos Moses" by Jerry Reed.
** The band played the intro of "[[Music/{{Metallica}} Master of Puppets]]" live, and the intro from "YYZ" by Music/{{Rush}} at the beginning of "John the Fisherman" on ''Suck on This'' and "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" on ''Frizzle Fry''.
** Their cover of "N.I.B." by Music/BlackSabbath has Music/OzzyOsbourne himself on lead vocals. Perhaps because of this, its their biggest rock radio hit, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
*** CoverAlbum: The upcoming album, "[[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble]]''.
* CurseCutShort: "The Air Is Getting Slippery" has the word "fuck" replaced by "Forgive me if I hesitate", until the very last line. And even then, in the studio version, "fuck" is snuffed out by a SoundEffectBleep of a smashed bottle.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Pork Soda'' - the music is somewhat heavier than on ''Frizzle Fry'' and ''Sailing the Seas of Cheese'', and it also features "Bob", one of the band's few entirely serious songs.
* DoubleEntendre: Subverted for "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" - the title explicitly sounds like a double entendre, but when put in context, the lyrics [[WordSaladLyrics make so little sense]] that it might as well not be.
* DrillSergeantNasty: "Sgt. Baker".
* DrivenToSuicide:
** "Bob", where Les sings about his friend who "hung himself in the doorway of the apartment where he lived."
** The male protagonist of "Coattails of a Dead Man". Some fans believe that the song was written about Music/KurtCobain and Music/CourtneyLove.
* DrugsAreBad: "Lacquer Head"
* EnsembleDarkhorse: An in-universe example serves as the title subject of "Lee Van Cleef". One part of Claypool reminiscing about his youth is how he and his friends watched a lot of Western movies. Everyone "really loved watching {{Creator/Clint|Eastwood}}", but he preferred the less well-known contributions from [[Creator/LeeVanCleef the song's title character]].
* EpicRocking: "To Defy the Laws of Tradition", "Frizzle Fry", "Harold of the Rocks", "Fish On (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II)", "Hamburger Train", "Professor Nutbutter's House of Treats", "Southbound Pachyderm", "Over the Electric Grapevine", "Eclectic Electric".
* FakeOutOpening: "To Defy The Laws Of Tradition" functions as this for both ''Frizzle Fry'' and the ''They Can't All Be Zingers'' compilation. It starts with the same cymbal riff of [[{{Music/Rush}} "YYZ"]] that opens Primus' debut album, ''Suck On This'', before suddenly LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand and beginning the real track.
* FirstPersonSmartass[=/=]PrivateEyeMonologue: parodied in "Tommy the Cat", where it's performed by Music/TomWaits.
* HiddenDepths: In the sea of supposedly wacky, off-kilter novelty songs you'll find topics like war ("Too Many Puppies"), suicide ("Bob"), student abuse / mental illness ("Mrs. Blaileen"), and immigrants trying to make it in America only to end up destitute ("American Life").
* HiddenTrack: ''Antipop'' is their only album to have one - A new studio version of "The Heckler", which previously could only be heard live on ''Suck On This'', was hidden after "Coattails Of A Dead Man".
* IconicItem:
** Les wears goggles or sunglasses a lot. And hats. Lots and lots of hats.
** Once he started his solo career, he developed a thing for masks.
* LeadBassist: Les Claypool arguably hits all four types.
* LetsMeetTheMeat: One possible interpretation of "Shake Hands With Beef", the other being ADateWithRosiePalms. Les says it was the catchphrase of a vegetarian friend of theirs who'd occasionally eat meat.
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: Happens at the start of ''Frizzle Fry'' with "To Defy The Laws Of Tradition", which opens with the same cymbal opening of the [[{{Music/Rush}} "YYZ"]] quotation that opens ''Suck On This'', before suddenly dropping out and starting the real track.
* LoudnessWar: ''Brown Album'' was one of the first albums to prominently feature clipping drums.
* LyricalColdOpen: "Mr. Knowitall", "Mrs. Blaileen"
* MediumBlending:
** There's a fondness to blend live action with stop-motion animation in Primus videos, such as "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" and "Southbound Pachyderm".
** Or more traditional animation in "John The Fisherman" and "Tommy the Cat".
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: 5-6 with a few going up to 7, considering the band is so unusually bass driven.
* MotorMouth: Les on "Is It Luck?", and Music/TomWaits on "Tommy the Cat", and he still has no idea how he managed to sing that fast.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: From "Nature Boy":
-->"I pull the blinds, fill out my income tax form, pen in hand, I write so legiblyyyyy..."
* MurderBallad: "My Name Is Mud".
-->"The breath on that fat bastard could bring any man to tears\\
We had our words, a common spat\\
So I kissed him upside the cranium with an aluminum baseball bat"
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: They're the only band with their own ID3 tag in Winamp. The band themselves famously refer to their sound as "[=psychedelic polka=]".
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" is NOT about Creator/WinonaRyder, as Winona's then-boyfriend Dave Pirner mistakenly believed. It led Dave to announce at a Music/SoulAsylum concert, "This next song's called 'Les Claypool's A Big Fucking Asshole'."
* NoodleImplements: In "Here Come The Bastards", we're never sure as to why Les Claypool is so fearful of their arrival. His only basis is some second-hand rumours that may or may not involve, "something about a hammerhead shark, nosehairs and flatus".
* OurProductSucks: Their tagline.
** CreatorBacklash[=/=]OldShame: Claypool is, however, sick and tired of hearing it.
* PlaceWorseThanDeath: "I've been to hell... I spell it D-M-V", from "DMV".
* {{Plagiarism}}: The subject of "Year of the Parrot", specifically that of other musicians [[FollowTheLeader swiping their sound from other musicians]]; one of the verses mentions making lots of money by taking a [[Music/LedZeppelin Zeppelin]] riff and "altering it a bit".
* ProtestSong: "Too Many Puppies" is a humorous attack on the military. A verse mentioning "too many puppies in foreign lands" and another about "maintaining our oil fields" making it seem like it's against the UsefulNotes/GulfWar, but the album appeared in February 1990 and the war only started in August.
* RecordProducer: '''DIY''' produced the majority of their records; co-produced ''Frizzle Fry'' with Matt "Exxon" Winegar and ''Antipop'' variously with [[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Tom Morello]], [[Music/ThePolice Stewart Copeland]], Music/TomWaits, [[Creator/TreyParkerAndMattStone Matt Stone]], and [[Music/LimpBizkit Fred Durst]]. ''Suck on This'' was produced by Matt Winegar and Bob Cock.
* RhymingWithItself: {{Lampshade|Hanging}} in "Mr. Knowitall":
-->"They call me Mr. Knowitall/I am so eloquent/"Perfection" is my middle name/And... whatever rhymes with eloquent"
* RockTrio: Or "Alternative/Funk Metal Trio" if you prefer.
* RuleOfFunny: They live on this, sliding all the way along the SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness.
* SadistTeacher: "Mrs. Blaileen".
* {{Sampling}}:
** Clips of ''Series/TheYoungOnes'' variously saying "Bastard!" in "Los Bastardos"
** The ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre2'' sample of Chop Top saying "Dog will hunt!" in "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver".
** "Where you goin', city boy?!" from ''Film/{{Deliverance}}'' is used in "My Name Is Mud".
* SelfDeprecation: Their motto/slogan is "Primus sucks." When fans first began to recognize the band on the street, Les' stock response to "you guys rule!" was "no, we really suck", and it mutated on from there. Occasionally fans who aren't in on the joke get offended when someone else says this.
* {{Sellout}} : "HOINFODAMAN" from ''Green Naugahyde''.
* ShoutOut:
** The beginning of "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" includes a bit from their previous live album ''Suck on This'', with Alexander playing the intro of Music/{{Rush}}'s "YYZ" to great audience approval.
** The music video for "Tommy the Cat" looks like ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow''. One of the song's melodies sounds like the theme to ''WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat''.
** "Mr. Krinkle" is asked "Have you heard the brand new sound? It's equal parts Music/JimiHendrix, [[Music/HankWilliamsJr Bocephus]], Music/{{Cher}} and Music/JamesBrown."
** "Creator/LeeVanCleef" is a tribute to the [[Creator/LeeVanCleef western actor of the same name]].
** ''Sailing The Seas Of Cheese'' ends with a ''Series/TheYoungOnes''-quote-laden reprise of "Here Come The Bastards" called "Los Bastardos", as a reference to a similar reprisal track from ''[[{{Music/Genesis}} A Trick Of The Tail]]''.
* SurrealMusicVideo: which ones aren't?
** Okay, there's ''one'' exception: "DMV", which is mostly a PerformanceVideo interspersed with behind-the-scenes moments and a little stock footage having to do with the lyrics.
* TakeThat:
** "Coattails of a Dead Man" has never been really explained by the band, but it's frequently interpreted as being anti-Music/CourtneyLove.
** "Year Of The Parrot" is allegedly a veiled swipe at Music/ToriAmos and [[Music/CountingCrows Adam Duritz]], as the lyrics mention 1994 and unnamed artists ripping off Music/KateBush and Music/VanMorrison (which the previous two respectfully sounded like).
* [[TheyCallMeMisterTibbs They Call Me Mister Know-It-All]]
* ThrashMetal: Have always had elements of this in their heavier songs, particularly on ''Frizzle Fry''. This could probably be owed to Larry [=LaLonde=]'s time in Possessed and the time that he and Claypool both spent in Blind Illusion.
* TownWithADarkSecret: "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers".
* UncommonTime: "Eleven" is, appropriately enough, primarily played in 11/8.
* WarIsHell: "Too Many Puppies", which talks primarily about NewMeat sent to the Middle East to fight a WarForFunAndProfit.
* WidgetSeries: WAT Band: they have such a strange mix of bass-led FunkRock, ThrashMetal, ProgressiveRock and PsychedelicRock that they're the only band on Winamp with their own [=ID3=] tag.
* WordSaladLyrics: Many songs. For example, have you tried making heads or tails of "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver"?
----