Ten seconds into the first track of pleased to meet you by
Definitely Gary you know there's something just a bit different about
this trio. It's not the heavy, gritty guitars or the savage drums.
Nope, it's the flurry of pops and snaps of a manic bass, announcing
to the world that it's not content to mind its P's and Q's
comfortably nestled almost subliminally in the mix.
Recorded in 2001 at their home studio, it took two years before the state board found these songs sane enough to return to public life. Casey Stansifer is the lunatic behind the glamour-seeking bass riffs, backed amicably by Zack Smith on gruff guitars and Jon Ross on demented drums. Together they weave intricate lines of melody like a big bowl of buttered noodles, making a strange concoction of Jane's Addiction, Frank Zappa and Rush. Oh, and Primus. While the first track, "E7," hits you in the face with massive power chords like Northern Kind on hallucinogens, and "Library Song" begs the listener to read the classics, it wasn't until the story-themed third track, "Crimestory" and the mention of the name "Tommy" that I realized that these blokes have got to be major Primus fans. To that end, while the bass is similar, the guitars are given much more room to be nasty, as evidenced by the instrumental bridge of this song where Black Sabbath makes an ominous overture with crushing and dark power
The songs are appropriately lots of fun, musically and lyrically. There's the story of "Farmer Brown" who boogies down to a swaggering groove, the ultra-silly "boatRide" that picks up where Senator Dillwilly left off, "Rubber Queen" which pays tribute to the
"Froggie's Pad" kids show with a driving Zeppelin riff, and the insane meter changes of the instrumental "Longing for Edward" where jazz, funk, rock, and punk all meet for scones and tea. Life and art collide in "Then What?," a hooky song of sexual conquest that, laughingly, lasts only a little over two minutes, and "Mama Loves Meat" will turn you into an instant vegan as the band combines forces to sing the praises of soy.
Although a bassist myself, I've unfortunately found the music of Primus to bore my brain to the point of browsing calculus textbooks. Definitely Gary, however, is much more than two measures of insanely complex bass line repeated ad infinitum. The drumming is first rate and very complex, while the overdriven guitars aggressively fight for their share of the spotlight, all making for a unique and enjoyable listening experience. You'd be crazy not to pick this album up and treat your synapses to a dose of musical therapy.
Subscribe to whatzup2nite for a chance to win a pair of passes to:
Marcus King Band
July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion