Primus bring Danny Carey from Tool into a Bay Area tradition

Primus_postPhotos by Mike Rosati // Written by Scotland Miller //

Primus – An Uber Drum Spectacular //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland, CA
December 31st, 2014 //

There are few things in this world that are as much of a sure thing as a local New Year’s Eve show from the kings of oddity and tweakerdom. If you are unaware, Les Claypool and the boys of Primus have established a tradition in the Bay for the past 25 years, and don’t show signs of stopping any time soon. In his first banterings of the night, Les joked and welcomed everyone to the “45th annual New Years show … only 73 to go!”

In efforts to keep things fresh and new smelling, each year’s celebration is centered around a fantastic and goofy theme to accompany an already weird and bizarre psyche that is Primus. Past motifs have included a night with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 3D projection screens and full-album performances. This year was dubbed the “Uber Drum Spectacular”, featuring a second set guest appearance by the percussive giant Danny Carey (Tool, Pigmy Love Circus, Volto!). As if Tim “Herb” Alexander (Laundry, Blue Man Group, Puscifer) wasn’t enough?

There is something especially dirty about having two 180-degree thunder kits next to each other on stage playing “My Name is Mud”, with the closing drum rolls lingering until utter hysteria breaks out in the crowd.


The atmosphere at these well-known evenings is always a feature of the night and rarely disappoints even those who aren’t on some sort of psychedelic substance. “Some people, like Dave Grohl, need to drive around the country looking for inspiration. What do we at Primus do? We suspend a 60-foot inflatable sperm whale in the air and gaze up at it as we play.” It was as if the show was contained in an deep sea wonder world, watched over by Spermy. The patterned ceiling of The Fox was splattered with bluish lights that served to resemble the shimmering of aquatic world of the epic Moby Dick. This would eventually lead to the “Uber Drum Spectacular” that was the post-countdown antics and song selection obviously inspired by the mighty Bonzo himself.

As the second set hammered on with “Herb” and Danny dueling away on such songs as “Last Salmon Man” and “Southbound Pachyderm”, the clock neared midnight. “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” ended, and Les dribbled his way through a Hendrix rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. 2015 closed in and the balloons fell like backwards bubbles from above Spermy’s watery home. The oh so familiar engine-like rumblings of Van Halen’s classic “Hot for Teacher” began as a long, unseen member of the Primus family appeared. Bob C. Cock performed the vocals in his best David Lee Roth garb and impression, only substituting the chorus with “I’m hot for cock”. The “Spectacular” culminated with an extended rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick”.

Primus has had very few lineup changes since their original EP release Suck on This, but the addition of Danny Carey to the mix is surely to be a well-remembered appearance. After filling in for “Herb” earlier in the year, it was a great surprise to see his name on the bill.


Set 1:
Sailing the Seas of Cheese
John the Fisherman
The Toys Go Winding Down
Frizzle Fry
Lee Van Cleef
Del Davis Tree Farm
The Heckler

Set 2 with Danny Carey:
Those Damn Blue-Collar Tweekers
Last Salmon Man
Southbound Pachyderm
Too Many Puppies (Ænema chorus included)
My Name Is Mud
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
The Star-Spangled Banner (countdown to midnight)
Hot for Teacher (Van Halen cover with Bob Cock)
Moby Dick (Led Zeppelin cover)

American Life
Here Come the Bastards

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: