By The Bakersfield Californian
Bizarre, amazing, twisted and funky are just a few of the terms fans have used to describe the musical madness of Primus.
Known for pushing the basic three-piece rock sound into regions bordering on the wacky, the veteran trio's technical proficiency and knack for formulating grooves remain a secret all their own. As if being a band of misfits weren't enough, Primus is ready to attack your senses in a live concert experience, Primus 3D, coming Wednesday to the Fox.
"I don't know if there's ever been a musical concept to Primus, other than playing music we'd also enjoy listening to ourselves," said Primus bassist Les Claypool, 49, during a phone interview. "Never a vision as much as there was an anti-vision."
Claypool humbly dismisses the group's reputation as highly influential despite evidence to the contrary: guitarist Larry LaLonde's picking and Zappa-esque finesse; Claypool's tapping, slapping, bass-bending playing; and drummer Jay Lane's tighter-than-thou backbeat.
"Well, I have yet to really see any Claypool clones. I mean there are guys who have had influence on other people, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) being one of those folk. We were kinda the first guys to take the thumpin' and the pluckin' into the rock world, whereas my influences were guys like Larry Graham (Sly Stone) and Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson). In people's minds, it was as if we had invented it. We really hadn't. Now that I mention it, I think we're the only band who played with every incarnation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers."
The group's latest record, "Green Naugahyde," is the theme of the 3D multimedia show that is enjoyed by using special glasses presented at the theater.
"I had old office space in the old Industrial Light and Magic building that used to belong to George Lucas, and a buddy working on 'Transformers' was also working on this 3D project, developing hardware for televisions. I would go in and see these 3D elements. I was like ... I should use this for one of my shows. So I used it at the San Francisco Opera House for New Year's Eve, and it was amazing."
Those prone to motion sickness need not be concerned with the 3D viewing for the concert. Reminders will be posted around the theater, and glasses are optional.
"There was talk early into this about handing out vomit bags, but so far we haven't had to deal with that. If you start getting woozy, take your glasses off."
Wednesday's showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $34.50 to $52.50. The Fox is at 2001 H St. 322-5200 or vallitix.com.
KRAB Free 4 All
KRAB radio's annual Free 4 All concert Friday at Stramler Park is feeling the heat of hipsterdom.
Headlined by California alt-rock quintet The Neighbourhood, the lineup features a collection of acts from the station's current college-rock rotation, including Shiny Toy Guns, Family of the Year, The Virginmarys, and reggae punkers Ballyhoo.
"We started doing reggae rock before it was even a term in Baltimore, after I first heard Sublime and Goldfinger back in '96," said Ballyhoo vocalist Howi Spangler during a phone interview. "We used to play in cities like St. Louis and they had no idea about the sound. Then about four years ago, we went back and they had a lot of reggae rock bands opening for us. It's crazy how it's blown up since then."
On the harder edge of things, British buzz band The Virginmarys have been enjoying widespread praise from critics and musicians such as Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who publicly showered the band with accolades.
"It makes us feel that we're doing something that's not happening today," said Ally Dickaty. "We're making timeless music, and not just some flash in the pan. It's amazing that when you believe in it so much, and have someone like Slash endorsing us, it's like a pat on the back. You are doing the right thing."
If the sound of the band's brilliant full-length debut, "King of Conflict," is any indication of their live show, you'd be foolish to miss it.
"We view a debut as very important. We look at an album like "Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N' Roses or "Definitely Maybe" by Oasis; both are amazing debuts that pushed those groups. We give it onstage with a lot of passion, energy, and grit."
Friday's showtime is 6 p.m. Free tickets are given away through KRAB radio. Stramler Park is located at 3805 Chester Ave. Visit krab.com or call 322-9929.
The latest major act to use Bakersfield as a place to get warmed up for a big tour is best-selling Latin rock singer Juanes, who arrived in town several days before his show Friday at Rabobank Theater.
The singer and a full band will embark from Bakersfield on their latest tour in support of the Grammy-winning release, "MTV Unplugged." According to Juanes' publicist, the singer will be holding a private rehearsal performance for members of the United Farm Workers Union Thursday. Tickets for Friday's show are still available.
Friday's showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 to $73, plus service charge. Ticketmaster.com or 852-7777.
Heralds of the Sword at The Gate, Saturday, 7 p.m., $5.
Fantasy power metal fans should pay close attention. Bakersfield band Heralds of the Sword are about to unleash their new CD, "Chronicles of Tyrinthia: Sword Sworn," at an all-ages headbanging extravaganza sure to rattle the bones of the ancient ones. With onstage character names like Warlord Khadgar of Valineth and Vincenzo of Castle Durnhaus, their costumes make this group of mad metallers a band to watch. Also appearing: Nerve Shocker and Spirit Descending.
Check out the band at heraldsofthesword.com.