Truth be told, I wasn’t very excited to hit the heavy iron tonight. I was all geared up for a bike ride but the forecast wasn’t good so I changed my plan in order to be indoors…except I just wasn’t feeling the gym vibe. But, shit, what else was I supposed to do to kill time while HRH does whatever the hell it is she does for 90 minutes at her Leader’s Corp? So, reluctantly, I changed out of my sissy-pants and into my He-man breast plate and got to work with this 75 minute plyometric and weights routine. And since I’ve been OD-ing on obscure psychedelic music and Japanese funk for most of the day already, I’m shifting direction yet again and going with the ‘Sailing the Seas of Cheese‘ album by Primus.
This is the 2nd studio album and major-label debut by the band, released on May 14th, 1991 on Interscope Records, spawning (a good word to use when it comes to Primus) three singles: ‘Jerry Was a Race Car Driver‘, ‘Tommy the Cat‘, and ‘Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers‘. It was the first Primus album to receive any serious airplay and ultimately broke them to a new-found audience on MTV.
The album completely redefined the possibilities of the electric bass in rock music at the time for those who’d never heard the group before. Slapping like a funk player, but strumming power chords and finger-tapping like a metal guitar hero, Les Claypool coaxed sounds from his instrument that had rarely if ever been made the focus of a rock band. the innovative bass and dissonant atonal guitar solos results in a weird atmosphere that could be transformed into something dark or eerie, but Claypool’s thin, nasal voice and demented blue-collar persona place the record firmly in the realm of the cheerfully bizarre. The compositions are mostly riff-driven, fleshing out their heavy metal roots with Prog Rock tricks from Rush and Frank Zappa, as well as the novelty side of Zappa’s sense of humor. The willful goofiness might alienate some listeners – just as it did me in the very beginning – but it can also obscure some genuinely dark humor, while never detracting from the band’s stunning musicianship.
I mean dig on this: the narrator of ‘Sgt. Baker‘ aims to “rape your personality,” while the reapers of the ‘American Life‘ live out their dreams “residing in a cardboard box.” Tom Waits himself makes a cameo on the funky back-alley tale ‘Tommy the Cat‘, and the protagonist of ‘Jerry Was a Race Car Driver‘ has “too many cold beers one night” and “wraps himself around a telephone pole.” And who the fuck knows what’s going on in ‘Here Come the Bastards‘. Let’s just say that there’s enough melon stew going on here to light up your brain pan for 75 solid minutes or so of push-ups, bench jumps, bench presses and Boscu ball sumo squats.
And, I have to say it, although I understand why plyometrics are important and the infinite benefits they’re going to provide my running and cycling, they’re still about as much fun as having your testicles placed in a garlic press. Even after just 15 minutes my shirt was ringing wet with sweat and clinging to my body like a frightened chimp.