The Vine interview: Larry LaLonde of Primus, December 2010

An interview with Primus for The Vine. Excerpt below.

Interview – Primus

How best to explain a band like Primus to someone unfamiliar with their music? You could throw around words like ‘quirky’, ‘oddball’, or just plain ‘weird’. You could attempt to stick genre tags like alternative rock, alternative metal, funk metal, or progressive metal to the band, but none would be entirely sufficient. Singer/bassist-extraordinaire Les Claypool once described the trio’s music as ‘psychedelic polka’, which seems apt coming from the horse’s mouth. They’re probably the weirdest American band to be signed to a major label – except Mr Bungle, perhaps. Despite writers’ frequent inability to accurately define their work, one factor has remained consistent throughout their 26-year lifespan: prodigious musical talent.

Formed in California in 1984, the band has been through several iterations over the years; Claypool has been the only consistent member. Though their last original album was released in 1999 (Antipop), the band have been infrequently active since 2003. In March, their website announced a seemingly permanent reformation with long-time contributors Jay Lane (drums) and Larry LaLonde (guitar).

Ahead of their appearance on the national Soundwave Festival tour in late February and March 2011, The Vine was patched through to Primus’ guitarist, Larry LaLonde, whose style is generally characterised by searing lead phrases and unconventional guitar sounds that interplay curiously with Les Claypool’s bass – which is, in effect, the band’s lead instrument.

Hey Larry. Where are you calling from?

We’re in Argentina. It’s about 6 o’clock at night. What time is it there?


Oh right, you tired?

Yeah man, I’m getting up especially to talk to you.


How many shows are you playing in South America?

We’re going one tonight and then we’re playing one in Chile with Faith No More. It should be cool.

Awesome. That’s a nice little segue, because you’re playing Soundwave Festival next year, and Faith No More headlined last year.

That’s right, I heard. How was that, did you go?

I went and it was fantastic. What else have you heard about Soundwave Festival, Larry?

I don’t know a lot about it. I just heard that Faith No More played it and my guitar tech was telling me it’s fun. And I saw a bunch of the bands; I’m a super huge Iron Maiden fan so that’s going to be awesome. And Slayer. Slayer’s always great.

I know you’re a big Slayer fan. Are you looking forward to seeing them play five times from up close?

[Laughs] Yeah. We toured with them before in the States too, it was pretty fun. I could watch Slayer every day, and Iron Maiden should be cool to see too. There’s tons of bands, a lot of bands out there that I like.

For the full interview, visit The Vine. For more Primus, visit their website. The music video for their song ‘Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver‘ is embedded below.

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