Original Primus Lineup Readies Theater Tour
Primus last toured four years ago. If you count how long it has been since the San Francisco band hit the road with its original band members, it's seven. But fans have not forgotten the avant-garde aPrimus last toured four years ago. If you count how long it has been since the San Francisco band hit the road with its original band members, it's seven. But fans have not forgotten the avant-garde alternative act.
Shows for the upcoming road trip, titled Tour de Fromage, are selling fast, tour organizers report. And that sort of attention is encouraging Primus to remain an active band.
During the group's four-year touring and recording hiatus, frontman Les Claypool enjoyed various independent projects, such as the multi-monikered group Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Frog Brigade. But the decision to release the career-spanning Interscope DVD "Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People" Oct. 7 enticed band members -- including drummer Tim Alexander, who left the group in 1996 -- to reunite for a limited tour.
The 28-date tour kicks off Oct. 14 at Freeborn Hall in Davis, Calif., and wraps Nov. 23 at Kool Haus in Toronto. As far as returning for good, Claypool tells Billboard, "The touring market has been pretty soft, [so] obviously [hot sales] raise the excitement level. When your agent gets excited and your promoter gets excited, that helps motivate things as well."
Even with such audience interest, Primus is embarking on a relatively cautious comeback. The band is skipping Southern markets for now, primarily stopping at proven West and Midwest fan spots. Sticking to modestly sized clubs and theaters also manages the financial risk.
"We wanted to be on the conservative side just to make sure," Creative Artists Agency booking agent Don Muller says. "[Primus] crossed rock and fusion jam [in a way] that's absolutely unique. It strikes a chord with people, but as time goes by you just don't know."
Muller would like to add another tour leg, but Primus will make the final decision. Claypool also wants to see how "Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People," the band's first DVD, is received. The two-disc package features an EP of new songs plus the band's 12 videos, including "Lacquerhead," which was banned from MTV.
"We're all feeling each other out. I can't imagine it won't continue on, [but] it's sort of undefined at this point," he says. "If you do something for a long time [the band started recording in the early 1990s], it becomes a bit tiresome. But we're rediscovering this stuff. This is some insane music. That type of thing inspires me."
Primus will return to its signature innovative self on tour, Claypool says. Each show is split into two full sets. Old and new songs, plus some fresh material, make up the first half. The second portion will be a start-to-finish performance of "Sailing the Seas of Cheese," the band's mainstream breakthrough album.
To incorporate the hyperkinetic visuals of Primus' music videos from over the years, a DJ will mix images on video screens to complement the band's performances.
"There's over 150 songs. The idea is to play them all [during the course of the tour]," Claypool says. "After Tim left, a good 50% of our material we just didn't play anymore. So [we will roll out] things that I haven't heard in years. And it'll be that much more exciting when thousands of people are along for the ride with us."