Don't let his intelligence, charm, and self-effacing manner fool you: Gary Primich was one bad-ass harmonica player. And he was more than competent guitar player, too.
Primich was born April 20, 1958, in Chicago and raised in nearby Gary, IN. He learned harmonica from the masters at the Maxwell Street Market in nearby Chicago as a teen. By the early '80s, however, Primich became dissatisfied with the blues scene in Chicago, and in 1984, shortly after he earned his degree in radio and television from Indiana University, he moved to Austin, TX.
After landing a job at the University of Texas doing electrical work, he began to work as a sideman at Austin area clubs. In 1987, he ran into former Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black, who had also relocated to Austin, and the two formed a band, the Mannish Boys. Their debut album on the now-defunct Amazing Records label was called A L'il Dab'll Do Ya. Though Black left the band, Primich led the Mannish Boys through another album for Amazing, Satellite Rock. Both albums attracted sufficient attention to Primich that he was able to record under his own name for the Amazing label, and in 1991 he cut his self-titled debut for the label. He followed it up with My Pleasure in 1992. After Amazing Records folded, he was picked up by the Chicago-based Flying Fish label. Primich recorded two equally brilliant albums for Fish, and they include Travelin' Mood (1994) and Mr. Freeze (1995).
On his last two albums for Flying Fish (a label that has since been acquired by Rounder Records), Primich's talents as a songwriter really started to come through, and he nurtured his fan base through almost constant touring. By the new millennium, Primich had a deal with the Texas Music Group. He issued the powerfully sassy Dog House Music in spring 2002, while Ridin the Darkhorse came out in 2006. Sadly, just one year later, Primich died in his home of Austin, TX, at the age of 49. ~ Richard Skelly