Primus - Sailing the Seas of Cheese (Cover Artwork)


Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991)


Released four months before Nirvana's Nevermind, the Northern California-based trio Primus made history with their classic major label debut, 1991's Sailing the Seas of Cheese, by becoming one of the seminal bands in the "funk rock" scene, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone and Infectious Grooves to name a few. It's regarded as their best and shows absolutely no signs of the "sell out" that was predicted when they signed to Interscope back then.

Well, if you're a huge fan of the "funk rock" scene, I recommend you check out this record as well as their 1990 debut Frizzle Fry, 1993's Pork Soda and 1995's Tales from the Punchbowl. "Here Come the Bastards," "Sgt. Baker," "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver," "Is It Luck?" and "Fish On" are the best tracks, as well as the studio version of "Tommy the Cat," which originally appeared on their 1989 live album Suck on This. I remember seeing MTV play a number of Primus videos, including "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver," "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver," "My Name Is Mud," "Mr. Krinkle" and "John the Fisherman." I also remember seeing them in the movie "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," where they played this album's song, "Tommy the Cat," on stage.

Les Claypool's funky bass stayles are amazing, as always. While Sailing doesn't showcase as much of Larry "Ler" LaLonde's delicious Joe Satriani-inspired guitar madness as Pork Soda does, it gives Les a chance to work his bass to the summit. This album provided many of the band's most fan favorite tunes and concert repetoire. You can still go to almost any Primus show and hear "Damn'd Blue Collar Tweekers" and "Tommy the Cat." All the tunes are Grade A perfect! Somehow Les writes basslines that not only resemble what he is singing, but manage to create the sound of environments in the tunes, such as in "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver" -- the band plays a ditty that makes you think of stock car races and the sound of the cars on the track, and in "Damn'd Blue Collar Tweekers," you hear the bells and hissing pipes of a factory environment.

Most of the songs are either slow or fast but never lacking in weirdness or funky basslines, as has become a staple for most Primus albums. However, it still remains fresh after repeated listenings. Their lyrics are normally humorous, but this is also due in part to Les's over-the-top, almost Elmer Fudd-like voice. Is this a bad thing? Hell no! With Primus, you normally get two camps: those who get it and those who don't. But you don't have to like Primus to realize the that these guys have TALENT! I say check them out. Just remember to put your sanity on hold for the time being. You'll enjoy it more.

To anyone here who doesn't own Sailing the Seas of Cheese, get it! It's a classic Primus album. They are also my personal favorite band, and as well as being one of the most talented, innovative, and downright insane bands over the past decade, they also made (in my own opinion) the greatest album in the history of rock.