Primus is an enigma wrapped in a funk groove. The band members may come and go (and come again), but bassist Les Claypool stays the same. Seemingly the twisted spawn of Robin Williams and Victor Wooten, Claypool is a fanciful musical genius, an artist so ahead of everybody else that we all know he’s fantastic, but nobody knows exactly why.
Some of those “why’s” are answered on this DVD. It includes a smorgasbord of video clips, which cover what seems to be every single moment that the band has been on film….All of their music videos are included here, as well as some “making of…” segments, rare live performances, home video and broadcast radio performances. The result is the most complete record of Claypool’s body of work yet assembled. Strange, wonderful and sometimes a little creepy, Primus never ceases to push the envelope of popular music, and of sanity.
With mixed audio sources comes mixed audio quality. Dolby Digital 2.0 is the order of the day here, which was probably done more for uniformity’s sake than anything else. Most of the music videos sound good (the most recent ones sounding even better), but the camcorder footage is sometimes a little hard to discern. The band has been kind enough to label some bits as “Bootleg Quality”, however, so the viewer will know what they are getting in to ahead of time. This is a true record of the band, and some content has been added more for the sake of being thorough than for its superb quality.
Video presentations follow hand-in-hand with the audio. Some bits look clear (mainly the most recent stuff), but the majority of the footage is grainy and undefined, due to its original capture with a handheld camcorder. The “Bootleg Quality” segments are particularly bad, many of them coming from a VHS copy of footage that was recorded for personal use to begin with. However, the particularly bad footage does have a bit of a quirky charm of it’s own.
The “attic” section of the menu (trust me on this one) holds what I am considering to be bonus content. The “Rarities” section includes three live bootleg performances from various venues, including an ultra-cool Be-Bop rendition of “Tommy the Cat”. The “Horrible Men” featurette is a 10-minute segment that shows the band on the road and on stage with some of their friends, including Kirk Hammett from Metallica and Alice In Chains. A photo gallery and extensive discography are also included in this section, as is the immensely entertaining short film/music video “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”. Seven music video commentaries round out the on-disc extras
Of course, the most obvious extra included on this set is a bonus CD of five new songs from the band, their first since 1999. Especially rewarding for Primus fans is the fact that the songs feature the original lineup, together again for the first time since 1995. They say you can’t recapture a moment in time, but these new tracks come pretty close.
I was a big Primus fan in the early to mid 90’s, but some how they drifted out of my musical universe in the years following. Picking up this DVD has been a great way for me to reconnect with some of those songs that had slipped my mind, as well as helping me to catch up on what I have missed. The band is still as wacky and wonderful as ever, and this title works as a “greatest hits” album of sorts, complete with plenty of interviews and backstage footage to make viewers feel like they are part of the band. If you have musical tastes that lean toward the obscure, this one should definitely be a part of your collection.
Special Features List
- Bonus Audio CD