Playing's the thing for Primus and the Meat Puppets

November 23, 1995|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

Alternative rock may not have produced much in the way of jam bands, but it does have its share of groups for whom the playing's the thing. Primus and the Meat Puppets are both members of that camp, but each approaches improvisation in a different way.

As much as the Meat Puppets might enjoy the acid-rock meanderings that season their live shows, their stock in trade is songwriting, not soloing. Kurt Cobain recognized that before most of America did, and included three Meat Puppets songs ("Lake of Fire," "Oh Me" and "Plateau") on "Nirvana Unplugged." The band also had a hit of its own with "Backwater" and is currently on tour behind a new album, "No Joke!"

Topping the bill on that tour is Primus, whose fondness for group improvisation is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. Most of the band's material, in fact, derives from jamming, with bassist -- Les Claypool and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander providing the foundation, while guitarist Larry Lalonde fills in the open spaces. Yet as casually constructed as the songs seem, the end result is surprisingly cohesive, as their current album, "Tales From the Punchbowl," makes plain.

Primus, Meat puppets

When: Primus and the Meat Puppets play Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 p.m.

Where: U.M.B.C. Field House

Tickets: $20 in advance, $22.50 at the door

Call: (410) 481-7328 for tickets.

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