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Interviews : “It’ll kind of just be a little bit of everything” – An Interview With Larry LaLonde (Primus)

By on April 2, 2018

Primus – Larry LaLonde

Primus guitarist Larry LaLonde rivals Nirvana and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl for having a peerless influence over the sounds of rock music in the post-modern world. As a foundation member of Primus and The Possessed, the latter band can almost lay claim to the naming of the genre ‘death metal’, given the final cut on the seminal Seven Churches (’85) eponymously launches the genre in tandem with the brutal riffage then offered by Death main-man, Chuck Schuldiner.

The funny thing about it is, recently people have been telling me, ‘Oh, you know you guys invented death metal,’ and I’m kind of like… well, I don’t think so! But then when I think about it I guess there was nothing actually called death metal before that. There was black metal and speed metal, but there wasn’t really anything called death metal before we (The Possessed) had the song “Death Metal”, so I was like… maybe we did come up with that! [laughs]”

I mention that I have spoken to many internationally prominent and local metal guitarists about significant influences and that Ler’s (as epic Primus Bassist Les Claypool refers to him) name is an occasional citation.

“No. Really? That’s awesome. [laughs]”

Ler has been offering the six-string accompaniment to Les Claypool’s slap-happy bass excursions for neigh on 30 years. It’s been that long since he donned the bullet belt and studded vest but his memories of the 80’s metal era are fond and vivid.

The whole thing about that was kind of in the spirit of everything I’ve done, which is to kind of just try to create something new. That whole kind of music was another thing where no one gave it a chance. Everyone was just like, ‘There’s no way this music is going anywhere.’ It’s about the devil and it sounds crazy. Everyone kind of had this underdog spirit of like let’s see how far we can get this out there. Then Metallica broke out and then Slayer started getting big. It was another exciting time, where all of a sudden there was this thing that was so underground because it was so hardcore, and then it started taking off. It was exciting. It was another thing where you felt like you were inventing some kind of new music, that seems crazy, but that’s kind of what we were trying to do.”

Primus are touring Australia in April along with Dean from the band Ween. With such a vast catalogue of classic material to choose from, how do the members of Primus decide which cuts make the grade for the stage in 2018?

We try to switch it up as much as possible, there’s some songs that people always want to hear. Like “My Name is Mud” (Pork Soda ’93) or “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” (Sailing the Seas of Cheese ’93). We’ve been playing a lot of the new record, which is not a really long record anyway. It’s only like 35 minutes, so we could easily play all of them and have tons of time left. it’ll kind of just be a little bit of everything. That’s what we shoot to do at least.”

The shows will be a treat for the fan and passer-by and it is not lost on Ler that Primus is near and dear to Australian audiences

“We really noticed when we started it off (that) it was kind of a struggle when we started, you’d go to different places and they’d just kind of stare at you… ‘What is this?’. But when we came to Australia people really got it”

To listen to the full in-depth chat with Ler, here.

Catch Primus on their upcoming Australian tour this April. Tickets on sale now!

Click here to secure yours today.

Friday, 6th April
Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Sunday, 8th April
Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane

Wednesday, 11th April
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

Friday, 13th April
Metro City, Perth

Sunday, 15th April
Palais Theatre, Melbourne


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith