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3.85 | 36 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1991

Filed under Funk Metal


1. Seas of Cheese (0:42)
2. Here Come the Bastards (2:53)
3. Sgt. Baker (4:13)
4. American Life (4:31)
5. Jerry Was a Race Car Driver (3:11)
6. Eleven (4:18)
7. Is It Luck? (3:27)
8. Grandad's Little Ditty (0:37)
9. Tommy the Cat (4:14)
10. Sathington Waltz (1:42)
11. Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers (5:18)
12. Fish On (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II) (7:42)
13. Los Bastardos (2:39)

Total time 45:43


- Les Claypool / electric bass, string bass, six-string fretless bass, clarinet, vocals
- Larry LaLonde / electric guitar, six-string banjo
- Tim "Herb" Alexander / drums, water jug

- Tom Waits / voice of Tommy the Cat (track 9)
- Brain Mantia / drums (track 13)
- Mike Bordin / drums (track 13)
- MIRV Haggard / guitar (track 13)
- Todd Huth / guitar (track 13)
- Derek Greenberg / guitar (track 13)
- Matt Winegar / guitar (track 13)
- Butthouse / bass (track 13)
- Adam Gates / bass, vocals (track 13)
- Puffster / vocals (track 13)

About this release

Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: May 14, 1991

Recorded January 1991 at Fantasy D Studio in Berkeley, California.
Produced by Primus.
All lyrics written by Les Claypool, all music composed by Primus, guitar melodies on "Tommy the Cat" and "Sgt. Baker" by Todd Huth.
Engineered by Ron Rigler.
Mastered by Chris Bellman.

Jacket design and photography by Paul Haggard.
Scenery and cheese coordinator: Mark Kohr
Band photo by Michael Lavine.
Ship sculpture by Mitch Romanowski.
Airbrushing by Snap.

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


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Here Come the Bastards!

Sailing the Seas of Cheese in ways epitomizes funk metal, yet also Primus has such a unique sound that nobody else has managed to emulate them (at least not to my knowledge).

It's wacky, heavy, funky, it's everything that most of the best funk metal is. The whole album may as well serve as a best of for the band, there's just bop after bop after bop. The classic Jerry Was a Race Car Driver has one of metal's best breakdowns, and other classic Tommy the Cat has some of the most instantly catchy and insane bass riffs.

Some of the best stuff the band's ever done however comes in the deep cuts, particularly Sgt. Baker, Eleven, and Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers. Les Claypool is well respected for his bass skills, but I'd say his ridiculous vocals are just as important. There's so much personality coming from his vocal performance, especially on the aforementioned Sgt. Baker and Tommy the Cat. Eleven shows how great the band can be when they get more melodic, and Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers is such a heavy stomp of a song.

All the 90's Primus albums are classics in my book, but this stands above the rest as the best of the bunch.
Not these guys again...

There was a time in my youth when I'd have loved the quirkiness of a band like Primus. With their obscure sense of humour and their blend of rock and funk, there's truly no other band like them. But what makes them so unique is also what pretty much puts so many people off of them.

And to put it bluntly, it's mostly boring self-indulgence.

While the musicians themselves are all incredibly talented, and certainly adept at thinking outside the box, the music itself is very hard to follow, and definitely requires the listener to be equally open-minded. There's very little singing, with vocalist Les Claypool preferring more of a spoken-word type of vocal style, and a lot of the music itself tends to plod along with no real melodies sticking out. As a whole, it's just a complete mess.

If I had to pick out some highlights, it'd have to be 'Tommy the Cat' and 'Jerry Was a Race Car Driver', most probably because these are the notable singles from the album, and while they do have some infectious grooves in the music, as per usual with this band, the spoken babble that is the lyrics kind of ruins them.

I'm sure there was a time when I loved this band, especially as I seem to recall asking for some of their albums as Christmas and Birthday presents in my early twenties. But I listen to 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese' now and it bores the life out of me. Primus really are in a league all of their own when it comes to "keeping an open mind", sadly, it's just not a very good one.
Primus' Sailing the Seas of Cheese showcases the funky bass and eccentric, off the wall vocals of Les Claypool. Combine this with the band's general love of experimentation and yuou end up with a credible contribution to avant-garde alt-metal. The schtick doesn't quite last the full running time of the album - it isn't quite as varied as, say, Mr Bungle's material, and whilst the band regularly aim for a funky, hypnotic groove sometimes it falls flat and they just sound dull and repetitive. But these are occasional stumbles on an otherwise entertaining album which manages to walk the careful tightrope of introducing a general audience to Primus' unique sound without compromising that sound in the process.

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