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Primus “Blame it on the Fish” DVD Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Speaking from the year 2063, an elderly Les Claypool explains his life throughout the course of Blame it on the Fish. After detailing the origins of his name he recalls “I’m best known for playing with the band Primus. Primus was once a very popular group in sort of the underground cult scene – that’s who I am.” In a flash an old thought is brought back into the forefront, that being, how can a band that sells out tours, has played South Park, and expanded the boundaries of MTV be underground? Cult, maybe, but underground, not really.

Remember how in High Fidelity, Rob, Dick and Barry would compete in a game of coming up with the best top five…top five songs about death, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the ’80s and ’90s, top…well you get the picture. Primus is in my all-time top five favorite bands. With that, it’s hard not to see the band as mainstream because for the past decade the band’s music has been vital to me. Maybe they are underground, though, who can say, really…

Blame it on the Fish isn’t a concert piece; nor is it a deeper biographical look into what inspires the band to continue to make music in a way that no other has ever done. As far a concert piece is really considered, Primus’ 2004 live DVD Hallucino-Genetics covers any craving for polished live footage. And through sound bytes over the course of the band’s career fans have had the opportunity to begin to understand why some of the world’s most talented musicians choose to make some of the world’s most uncommercial music. And as such, the short clips of the band performing warped around found art and brief documentation of the band’s tour for “Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People” should suffice any fan in a way that another concert film would not.

There are moments that help the lost fan rediscover the band though, including Claypool’s on stage grace and ease with the microphone, specifically his introduction to “De Anza Jig,” in which he captures the audience’s capacity before heckling a heckler and slapping out a song the band hadn’t played live for roughly eight years.

If there were to be a downfall of the DVD, it would be that it simply teases songs and plays to the attention of only its long-time fan. For those who haven’t followed the band as close as Blame it on the Fish requires, one should most definitely take the time to devour Hallucino-Genetics as it gives a definite escape into not only what the band has become but what has made it honestly relevant for over two decades. But for those who have followed the band, it comes as a reassurement that we were right all along; Primus doesn’t suck.