photo & text by nacrowe
my introduction to the IDIOSYNCRATIC ALTERNATIVE FUNK that is PRIMUS was their main stage appearance on OZZFEST 99. i was fifteen and that music festival was my initiation into concert going as well. so much of that day was OVERWHELMING with its INSANE lineup that included BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER, ROB ZOMBIE, DEFTONES, BLACK SABBATH, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and FEAR FACTORY as well as a FRENETIC, emerging group from the MIDWEST called SLIPKNOT, but i distinctly remember PRIMUS standing out both sonically and in terms of their presentation. they were GOOFY. but WACKY in the sense that they were such ridiculously TALENTED musicians that they could get away with it. case in point was their special guest who was a VIRTUOSO guitarist that wore a KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN bucket on his head with an accompanying JASON mask going by the name BUCKETHEAD. even SLAYER fans were into their set despite it being nothing remotely EXTREME or AGGRESSIVE in terms of EXTREME METAL.
turns out that go around was for their ANTIPOP (INTERSCOPE, 1999) record that found the group playing with a more HARDER-EDGED sound courtesy of all the special producers brought in on this project, including TOM MORELLO (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE), FRED DURST (LIMP BIZKIT), MATT STONE (SOUTH PARK), TOM WAITS and STEWART COPELAND (THE POLICE). not to mention guest appearances by JAMES HETFIELD (METALLICA) and JIM MARTIN (FAITH NO MORE) as well. regarded in retrospect by the band as their least favorite record with a TORTURED creation story to boot, it nearly broke them as they went on hiatus shortly after its release for three years. STANDOUT tracks include "GREET THE SACRED COW," "LAQUERHEAD," "ELECTRIC UNCLE SAM" and "THE ANTIPOP," all employing TRADITIONAL hooks with stop-on-a-dime precision SYNCHRONOUS rhythm playing and ECCENTRIC lyrical conceits to match in the best tradition of KING CRIMSON, THE RESIDENTS, WEEN, SYD BARRETT, DR. DEMENTO and FRANK ZAPPA.
its interesting that ANTIPOP was my introduction to the PECULIAR world of PRIMUS, because it is arguably the least representative of the catalogue. this was a record they made for their label seemingly out of pressure to remain commercially relevant, whatever that meant back in the late 1990s when the writing was on the wall with NAPSTER and file-sharing driving profits away from compact disc sales. it was an INTERESTING time to say the least.
still love this record, but for the uninitiated there are better records to dive into first, like FIZZLE FRY (CAROLINE, 1990), SAILING THE SEAS OF CHEESE (INTERSCOPE, 1991), PORK SODA (INTERSCOPE, 1993) and TALES FROM THE PUNCH BOWL (INTERSCOPE, 1995). just get ready for their PROGRESSIVE ROCK via FUNK sound as interpreted by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. its a fun mix and required listening in my opinion.
photo & text by nacrowe
THE BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD EXPERIENCE (GEFFEN, 1993) is quite the interesting 1990s CULTURAL ARTIFACT. produced by none other than STEVE ALBINI, this compilation was obviously a bit of a cash grab at the height of the ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement that the BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD TV SHOW had no small part in helping popularize (just as WINGER and all those HAIR METAL bands that got pilloried and became instant cultural pariahs), but as such go this one had staying power.
the unquestioned standout track by a mile is the strong NIRVANA track "I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE" which was one of the last tracks released prior to his suicide. in fact, this song was the would-be title track to IN UTERO (review linked HERE), as I HATE MYSELF AND WANT TO DIE was the original working title for their third album. other notable tracks include a memorable ANTHRAX cover of the BEASTIE BOYS' "LOOKING DOWN THE BARREL OF A GUN" track (off PAUL'S BOUTIQUE) and the hard-charging WHITE ZOMBIE song "I AM HELL." the album is rounded out by largely forgettable, hit-or-miss tracks by the likes of THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, PRIMUS and MEGADETH.
i originally had this record on cd back in elementary school in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA and the two songs i remember pretty distinctly (aside from the NIRVANA, ANTHRAX and WHITE ZOMBIE tracks) was the updated CHER duet "I'VE GOT YOU BABE" with BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD and of course the epic BUTTHEAD slow jam "COME TO BUTTHEAD." looking back now you have to hand it to CHER that she had a sense of humor and was able to laugh at herself. you wonder how much her inclusion may have also been to show how cool she was to her young son ELIJAH BLUE ALLMAN (of much later DEADSY fame). i wouldnt blame her for a second if that was the case. it's pretty badass. "COME TO BUTTHEAD" is also surprisingly well-produced and no wonder, it was composed and recorded by none other than funk brother par excellence NILE RODGERS himself. BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD creator MIKE JUDGE definitely had lots of surprises on this cash grab no doubt.
the humor surrounding teenage attitudes towards BODILY-FUNCTIONS and SEXUALITY would be a hard sell in today's environment, but that is why it is interesting to revisit this record from time to time. it also makes you consider how the reboot of this show will fair now 30 years later from a different historical moment with TECHNOLOGY and CULTURE moving at speeds unheard of back in the day. it is an interesting conceit nonetheless.
i love this record but i am completely biased. i listened to this record during my formative years so of course id recommend it. definitely worth checking out.
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
much like the ICONS and THE COLLECTION series covered before, RIFF LORDS is another string of YOUTUBE videos promoted by GIBSON GUITARS under the GIBSON TV moniker that seeks to reestablish the brands bonafides with the guitar-playing public via celebrity musician endorsements after the disastrous "play authentic" campaign of 2019.
the hook regarding RIFF LORDS is that these famous guitarists are allotted an extended-period to not only go over their most notable riffs, but the PHILOSOPHY, THEORY and TECHNIQUE behind their composition. noteworthy participants include that of BUZZ OSBOURNE (MELVINS), NICK HEXUM (311), JADE PUGET (AFI), LER LALONDE (PRIMUS) and CLAUDIO SANCHEZ (COHEED & CAMBRIA). this sort of territory has been mined for years by the likes publications like GUITAR WORLD and PREMIER GUITAR (not to mention online vendors like REVERB and SWEETWATER) for years, but the extended time and lack of an annoying an unnecessary interloctur makes this series of videos more immediate and engaging.
i play guitar so this hits me right in the sweet spot of seeing some of my favorite artists talk at length about their playing. now if they could only get DAVE NAVARRO or JOHNNY MARR... here's hoping.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
TWO MINUTES TO LATE NIGHT (clever IRON MAIDEN reference) was originally an all-METAL parody talk show hosted by GWARSENIO HALL (with MUTOID MAN as the house band!) and filmed at SAINT VITUS BAR in BROOKLYN. however, the show has really come into its own during the past 6 months of this god-awful pandemic era since they began remote producing these really well-mixed BEDROOM COVER videos of various members of the METAL extended family (SLUDGE, DEATH, THRASH, PROG and others), and even some INDIE ROCK distant cousins, covering classic songs by TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, RUSH, WHITE ZOMBIE, AC/DC, GUNS N ROSES, THE REPLACEMENTS & OZZY among others.
it seems safe to say that this sort of thing would never happen under regular conditions as most of these musicians would be buys with conflicting touring/recording schedules. that being said, the BEDROOM COVER lineups themselves are absolutely insane including members of MASTODON, CONVERGE, TOOL, PRIMUS, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, HIGH ON FIRE, CAVE IN, POISON THE WELL, UNEARTH, VOLUMES, CLUTCH, HAVOK, FUCKED AND BOUND, POTION, MUTOID MAN, VIO-LENCE and HATEBREED as well as decidedly less METAL-focused acts like TED LEO, PIEBALD, CHELSEA WOLFE, SLEIGH BELLS, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, RISE AGAINST, COHEED & CAMBRIA and MAX WEINBERG of the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's E-STREET BAND (and former CONAN O'BRIEN cohost!).
what is super cool is that a recent episode had LILY MASTRODIMOS of JERSEY CITY INDIE ROCK band LONG NECK singing backup vocals on a cover of THE REPLACEMENTS "KIDS DON'T FOLLOW." we here at DEER GOD were lucky enough to record LONG NECK as part of our live performance series OFF THE M at TRANS PECOS in QUEENS not that long ago (performance linked HERE). its so cool to see her collaborating with members of RISE AGAINST and CONVERGE. congrats.
i'm sure this series will continue on so definitely keep a look out for it. way more interesting and entertaining then what passes for LATE NIGHT television these days.