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The Brown Album

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Following the amicable departure of longtime drummer Tim Alexander in 1996, Primus faced the task of reinvention. Nü-metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit were starting to appropriate the blueprint of early Primus records, but rather than ride the trend he helped create, Les Claypool took Primus in the opposite direction. Befitting its title, The Brown Album embraces a moldy, subterranean sound, less focused on the virtuosic interplay that had been the hallmark of early Primus records. Instead it concentrates on tight, chugging riffs, driven by the intensity and economy of new drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia. If the early Primus records had looked to Rush and Stanley Clarke as models, The Brown Album turns to more recent underground rock heroes like Mudhoney and The Minutemen. In a 1997 interview, Claypool noted that the characters populating The Brown Album are more reality-based than fantasy-based; the same could be said of the music. It’s a drier and more direct version of Primus, one that created some of the its crispest and catchiest songs, including “Golden Boy,” “Shake Hands with Beef,” “Camelback Cinema," and “The Chastising of Renegade.”

Customer Reviews


One has to admit that The Brown Album isn’t Primus’ best work; it’s not as revolutionary as Frizzle Fry, not as fun as Sailing the Seas of Cheese, and not as mind-blowing as Pork Soda. But this doesn’t make it a horrible album. Les’ playing is as amazing as ever, if a bit understated. Ler’s guitar lines are more melodic than on other albums (though hear his great, rambling solo on “Shake Hands With Beef”). And Brian’s intricate-though-reserved drumming is perfect for the to-the-point song structures featured here. I think the only real problem with this album is its “naturalistic” production. Most rock albums have that requisite rock-n-roll drum sound - big, bright reverb, a deep low end. And most, if not all, of Primus’ other albums have this sound as well. But Primus went another direction here, and many of their fans weren’t willing to go along with them. Which seems odd, actually, since they’ve been willing to follow Primus in all sorts of other strange directions. Perhaps listeners let the album’s drab title color the way they heard it. Don’t make the same mistake, though. The Brown Album deserves some fans.

This album is great! wwaayyy 2 underated!

Come on give the brown album a chance, there are some really great songs on here, fisticuffs, shake hands with beef, kalamazoo, return of sathington willoughby, ect. The truth is most of these customers come looking for THE BEST PRIMUS ALBUM EVER, seas of cheese antipop & frizzle fry AND COMPLETELY OVERLOOK THIS ONE ! You should BUY IT! or at least TRY IT !, IF YOURE A PRIMUS FAN YOULL LIKE IT ! Though it may not be the absoloute best of primus it should still be in your collection, ITS GOOD MUSIC!

Underated album!

OK, so it's not Frizzle Fry but still you have to admit this album has some of the greatest beats ever. With Brain on drums and the return of Larry LaLonde, this album continued the tradition of all other Primus albums with bustin' riffs and awkward lyrics. It certaintly is a must get for any Primus fan!


Formed: 1986 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Primus is all about Les Claypool; there isn't a moment on any of their records where his bass isn't the main focal point of the music, with his vocals acting as a bizarre side-show. Which isn't to deny guitarist Larry LaLonde or drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander any credit; no drummer could weave in and around Claypool's convoluted patterns as effortlessly as Alexander, and few guitarists would willingly push the spotlight away, like LaLonde does, just to can produce a never-ending spiral of avant-noise....
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