Tuesday October 2, 2001
The Grand Pecking Order
The band's name should give away the artist behind this collaborative effort. Les Claypool brings Trey Anastasio of Phish and ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland together to create Oysterhead.
Really, Primus is no longer popular enough to sell records on its own, so Claypool, with his zany creativity, dropped his guitarist and drummer for two people that would draw a larger crowd to the music. Who wouldn't want the followers of Phish to get behind an album anyway? They are everywhere!
The Grand Pecking Order is Primus all the way - you can taste the "Pork Soda" and almost smell those "Seas of Cheese" in most of the songs. Read the lyrics and it is blatantly obvious who wrote them, even though they are attributed to both Anastasio and Claypool.
"The army's on ecstasy/ So they say/ I read all about it/ In USA Today/ They stepped up urine testing/ To make it go away/ Cause it's hard to kill the enemy/ On ol' MDMA," from "Army's On Ecstasy," is just one example of the Primus-esque lyrical style spewed from this album.
The album's music blends a little bit of Phish guitar (without the 30-minute jam sessions); the other 90 percent consists of Primus bass lines. If you love that Primus sound, go out and get the Oysterhead album. But if you are hoping for some Phish-influenced songs, then wait for the live show because you won't find it on The Grand Pecking Order.
It is hard to tell if Claypool got tired of the name Primus, because every few months he "reinvents" himself with another group, yet comes out sounding exactly the same. What Claypool should have learned from his other project, the Frog Brigade, is to stick with Primus. Just because you put some guys in frog masks and have them play instruments does not make your group good. Hopefully no oyster hats come of this.