One of the more out-there bands currently in business, Primus can only be described as the musical equivalent of a Hunter S. Thompson novel. Trippy, unique and loopy, the band is lead by bassist Les Claypool, largely considered one of the best bassists around, and - as the footage on the DVD shows - for very good reason. On the CD of this package, Claypool is rejoined by the band's prior, classic lineup - Tim "Herb" Alexander on drums and Larry Lalonde on guitar. The DVD of the package is a unique and vivid tour of all things "Primus", from the early years up until the last album, "Antipop".
The DVD's main feature is the inclusion of all of the Primus music videos, most of which probably got played on MTV a few times around the midnight hour. They range from early tunes that offered pretty basic footage ("Jerry Was a Race Car Driver") to more recent hits, where the band was clearly able to work with a bigger budget (dressing up as giant plastic action figures for "Winona's Big Brown Beaver" to the early 1900's black & white look of "Over the Falls"). The videos included are: "Tommy The Cat", "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver", "Mr. Krinkle", "DMV", "My Name Is Mud", "Winona's Big Brown Beaver", "Shake Hands With Beef", "Over the Falls", "John The Fisherman", "Too Many Puppies", "Lacquer Head" (which apparently, was banned by MTV, I'm guessing because of drug discussion) and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".
That's certainly not all, though: the band provides commentary on some of the videos and there's quite a bit of live footage, although some of it is certainly not the highest quality (labeled as bootleg quality). The most famed of the footage is the band's performance of "My Name is Mud" at the Woodstock '94 festival where singer Claypool opens up a "big can of worms" during the song's first line, as a rain of mud suddenly is tossed on stage.
Also included: "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers" (1994/Woodstock), "Groundhog's Day" and "Mr. Krinkle" (New Year's '94), "Lacquer Head", "Pudding Time" and "Soundbound Pachyderm" (Florida, 1995); "Too Many Puppies", "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" and "Frizzle Fry" (early radio station gig) and performances of "Sgt. Baker", "Groundhog's Day" and an accoustic rendition of "Tommy The Cat", among other footage. Although some of the footage is very accurately described as "bootleg quality", it still highlights the band's amazing skill's and especially, Claypool's seemingly effortless ability to churn out complex, rhythmic and fascinating bass jams. I saw the band several years ago and it still stands out as one of the more exceptional shows I've ever seen, as the band seemed to go through most of its own material for a couple of hours and then came back out to do an encore, playing covers of Metallica and Black Sabbath songs.
Yet, that's not all: the DVD includes several featurettes, including the "Cheesy Home Video", additional backstage footage and "making ofs" for "Winona's Big Brown Beaver", "Mr. Krinkle" and the band's "Brown Album". Special mention should also be paid to the menu design, which is delightfully odd.
"Primus" is now on tour.
VIDEO: All of the videos are presented full-frame, and vary in quality due to different recordings. Those that are definitely low quality are labeled as "bootleg quality". The videos generally look quite good; it's the live footage that can really vary.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack for the music videos sounds terrific - CD quality, with good dynamic range and clarity. The live footage, however, can vary in quality and sound a little rough at times.
Extras: Although most bands are packaging DVDs with CDs, this seems like an instance of a CD packaged with a DVD. The DVD includes plenty of nifty Primus goodies, but the CD really is a terrific 5-song effort that returns the Primus sound that many know and love.
Final Thoughts: Primus makes a grand return with this CD/DVD set, offering a terrific short album and a DVD that provides a great look through the band's lengthy career.