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A post-punk RUSH spiked with the sensibility and humor of Frank Zappa, Primus' songs are often secondary to showcasing their instrumental prowess. Led by elastic bassist and sole constant member Les Claypool, their music is willfully weird and experimental, but it's not alienating; the band was able to turn its goofy weirdness into pop stardom. At first, Primus were strictly an underground phenomenon, but in the years between their third and fourth albums, their cult snowballed. Released in 1991, Sailing the Seas of Cheese found mainstream success and spawned the alt-rock hit "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." Pork Soda (1993) and Tales from the Punchbowl (1995) received platinum and gold certification, respectively. Citing creative stagnation, the band ceased operations after the release of 1999's Antipop but re-formed as a touring entity in 2010. Since then, Primus has remained active, releasing idiosyncratic efforts like Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble (2014), The Desaturating Seven (2017), and the EP Conspiranoia (2022), with the core trio of Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde, and drummer Tim Alexander.

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Songs

Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

My Name Is Mud

John The Fisherman

Wynona's Big Brown Beaver

Too Many Puppies

Tommy The Cat

Notable

Sailing the Seas of Cheese, their 1991 LP, featured the alternative hit “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” and the single “Tommy the Cat,” which they performed in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

Their third album, 1993’s Pork Soda, which included the hit “My Name Is Mud,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart and went Platinum in 1997.

“Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”—the band’s funk-rap hit—received a 1996 Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Directed by stop-motion animator Mike Johnson, the video for their 1998 cover of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” became a viral hit.

In 2011, Green Naugahyde, the band’s first full-length LP since 1999’s Antipop, rose to No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and into the Top 10 of three other charts.

As a tie-in with their 2014 album, Primus & The Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble, the band sold Primus Bars and other chocolate treats named after their songs.

The band's most enduring track is the theme to the long-running cartoon South Park.

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