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The Northern California avant-rock trio Primus provides a shining example for bands who want to succeed on their own terms. Fusing the skittering rhythmic attack of progressive-metal bands like Rush, the groove of funk and hippie rock, and the eccentricity of such experimental artists as Frank Zappa, the Residents, and Captain Beefheart, Primus has followed its own musical calling to large-scale industry success. Fronted by bassist-vocalist Les Claypool, who can produce thousands of bizarre tones on his instrument and almost as many cartoonish characters with his voice. Joe Gore of Guitar Player cited guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde's description of the group's sound as "progressive freak-out music"; Gore also noted what he called "the Primus paradox: if your music is really uncommercial, you can sell a ton of records." Primus' musical style is difficult to define. Primus has been called everything from "thrash-funk meets Don Knotts, Jr."to "the Freak Brothers set to music",and has been variously termed alternative rock,alternative metal,funk metal, and progressive metal. Les Claypool himself once described their music as "psychedelic polka." Primus' influences include Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Residents, King Crimson, and Rush. Bands that have cited Primus as an influence include Deftones, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Incubus and Muse.


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