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PRIMUS - Frizzle Fry cover
3.59 | 36 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Funk Metal


1. To Defy the Laws of Tradition (6:42)
2. Ground Hog's Day (4:58)
3. Too Many Puppies (3:57)
4. Mr. Knowitall (3:51)
5. Frizzle Fry (6:04)
6. John the Fisherman (3:37)
7. You Can't Kill Michael Malloy (0:25)
8. The Toys Go Winding Down (4:35)
9. Pudding Time (4:08)
10. Sathington Willoughby (0:24)
11. Spegetti Western (5:43)
12. Harold of the Rocks (6:17)
13. To Defy (0:36)
14. Hello Skinny/Constantinople* (4:49)

* bonus track

Total Time 51:53


- Les Claypool / electric bass, electric fiddle bass, string bass, vocals
- Larry LaLonde / electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Tim "Herb" Alexander / drums
- Todd Huth / acoustic guitar (tracks 8, 10)
- Matt Winegar / toy piano (track 10)

About this release

Label: Caroline Records
Release Date: February 1990

Produced by Primus and Matt "Exxon" Winegar.
"Hello Skinny/Constantinople" produced by Primus.
Engineered by Ron Rigler.
Second Engineer: Matt Murman
Recorded at Different Fur, San Francisco, California, Christmas 1989.
Remastered by Stephen Marcussen for Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood CA.

Jacket design and photography by Paul Haggard.
Cover sculpture by Lance "Link" Montoya.
Airbrushing and cartooning by Snap.
Reissued 2002 by Prawn Song with bonus track "Hello Skinny/Constantinople".

All music written by Les Claypool and composed by Primus except:
"You Can't Kill Michael Malloy" composed and performed by Matt Winegar.
"Hello Skinny/Constantinople" written by The Residents.
Guitar melodies on "To Defy the Laws of Tradition", "Groundhog's Day", "Frizzle Fry", "John the Fisherman" and "Harold of the Rocks" composed by Todd Huth.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and triceratopsoil, Stooge, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Primus help launch a new decade of metal with a release going against a lot of what 80’s metal was. Frizzle Fry was not exactly a parody album, but it combined silly and nonsensical themes, goofy vocals, and technical prowess.

Straight from your first glimpse of the cover, Frizzle Fry looks like an absolute joke. What you find inside is only halfway so, because in the songwriting and ability department, Primus take themselves very seriously. It’s no secret that it’d take a real expert to not only play, but come up with this stuff. There’s Math Rock and Experimental influence all over this thing. However, one thing Primus is not quite good at is writing a good riff, or a good guitar solo, or really anything musically memorable. The songs do their thing, dance around chaotically with some impressive technique and then leave nothing to remember them by.

The vocals, lyrics, and themes are a big weakness here for me. It’s all just too silly, never clever enough to make me laugh but annoying enough to take away from the music. The vocal style doesn’t make use of any nice hooks or melodies either, further instigating the issue of songs having no memorably strong moments.
It would be an absolute understatement to say that Primus is an acquired taste. Their music is incredibly obscure, with some of the most random musical passages and the most quirky lyrics you could think of. And so it is, that their debut album is a convoluted mess of ideas thrown together with no real sense of direction, other than being random for random's sake.

While the musical ability between all the members is of a high caliber, especially bassist, singer and all-round main man Les Claypool (story goes that he was once turned down to join Metallica for being "too good"), the general compositions seem rather unfocused and boring. Nothing really stands out in this 52-minute smorgasbord of random guitar riffs and vocal melodies, which usually are delivered via something more akin to talking or just completely random noises.

If I really had to pick out any notable highlights, 'John the Fisherman', 'Too Many Puppies' and 'To Defy the Laws of Tradition' could be considered alright, but honestly, this album as a whole just gets rather boring and repetitive fast. I'm sure there are people that love songs that randomly go into renditions of 'Humpty Dumpty', but to me, it's just not cool, it's not funny, and it's not really all that clever either.
Residents fan Les Claypool and his cohorts unleash their twisted funk metal style on an unsuspecting musical world on this debut album. Claypool's bizarre vocal style is a "love it or hate it" sort of thing, but if you can at least tolerate it you'll find a weirdly intricate bass-heavy album which somehow manages to be oddly catchy despite how downright weird it is. Primus are the sort of band where a little of their work goes a long way, but on balance I would say that this release has a slight edge over the subsequent Sailing the Seas of Cheese, perhaps because it feels a bit more fresh and wild about the edges.
siLLy puPPy
PRIMUS is one of the many eccentric bands to come from San Francisco, only no flower children here. A product of the demented imagination of founder Les Claypool, PRIMUS managed right from the start to forge their own musical style that kinda fits in here and there in the different genres, but when it really comes down to it, doesn’t fit anywhere! They are certainly alternative funk metal but they are equally quirky in how they are experimental and progressive at the same time without really taking you into the seas of inaccessibility.

FIZZLE FRY is their very first studio album after their first round of quirkiness of releasing their live “Suck On This” as their debut, which included a whole bunch of tracks that would end up on their studio albums. Together with Jane’s Addiction, PRIMUS introduced the world to the wonderful world of alternative metal that would usher in the 90s and dethrone the glam scene and replace it with grunge, groove and nu metal and indie rock.

FIZZLE FRY has a lot of sizzling hot smoking alternative guitar riffs accompanied by Claypool’s unique signature bass style and hardcore drumming action. While PRIMUS is primarily considered to be Claypool’s baby, it should also be noted that after the debut guitarist Todd Huth left the band to focus more on his family, Larry LaLonde (previously from the death metal band Possessed) joined the party and never went away. He has been just as a consistent ingredient in the band’s sound as Claypool’s on their studio albums anyways.

PRIMUS has experienced the same problem as Spinal Tap in that their weakest link has been retaining a permanent drummer as since their inception in 1984 as a band has gone through seven drummers who have mostly gone but some came back only to go again. On this one we get Tim Alexander who performs the duties quite exemplarily. As far as i know none have spontaneously self-combusted in bizarre gardening accidents though.

I personally think FRIZZLE FRY is my favorite PRIMUS album. While it fully displays the idiosyncrasies of Claypool, it doesn’t feel like he has the upper hand quite yet. The songs are all diverse and the energy is high. There seems to be more guitar action and less bass dominance. In short, the songs are balanced and quite creative. The goofiness is peeking around the corner but there is a more serious approach on album number one.

God forbid, there are even rip roaring guitar solos as on the title track and “Spaghetti Western.” The album simply delivers a satisfying smorgasbord of juicy ideas. There were two singles from this one: “John The Fisherman” and “Too Many Puppies,” the latter of which expressed a very punk attitude and anti-war sentiment where the puppies represent the victimized soldiers in the rotisserie of wars that destroy far too many young lives before their time.

Les Claypool and posse perfectly meld all their influences together well in this PRIMUS debut. They range from The Residents to Rush with a heavy dose of Zappa-esque humor and some sort of alternative country feel as well. Claypool himself has stated that their music is a kind of psychedelic polka but i’m not really feeling that myself. This is alternative funk metal run amok and i have to admit that even though it took a while for PRIMUS’ sound to grow on me, i have to say that once it incubated a while, it sprouted new brain sucking properties in me and now i have succumbed to its quirky charm. FRIZZLE FRY has qualities that can appeal to thrash metal lovers, funk extremists, alternative junkies and those who just like eccentric high energy music that drifts in different directions but never quite goes to the same pastures where the other herds of musical cows are grazing. It is semi-comedic, sort of bizarre but never takes you so far away into someone else’s dreamland that you can’t get the gist of it. Oh, and that bass!

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