Primus Still Sucks, 30 Years Later
by Adam Perry for Westword, 5/16/2017
Stuck in a two-block line of people waiting to get into Primus’s sold-out show at the Fox Theatre, a guy in his mid-twenties told a friend incredulously, “My cousin said he’s never heard of Primus. He didn’t even know fucking ‘John the Fisherman!’”
Yes, some youngsters might not realize that 25 years ago – around the time the Fox Theatre opened – an eccentric Northern California band became an MTV staple and a household name thanks to the dark tale of Alowishus Devadander Abercrombie (long for Mud). Back then, the trio packed arenas and cracked the Billboard Top Ten. That would be like Animal Collective doing the same today.
Inside the Fox, three men wearing A Perfect Circle T-shirts discussed the dietary habits of each member of Tool. A customary “Primus sucks!” chant filled the theater, reminding me of when I was a 12-year-old Catholic-school boy wearing a “Primus Sucks” shirt and ridiculed by kids who genuinely thought Primus sucked. Last night, I felt anticipation and excitement seeing, for the first time, one of my favorite childhood bands take the stage. (Read the rest at Westword.com)
by Adam Perry
for the East Bay Express, July 2011
Though The Love X Nowhere, the San Francisco dream-rock band he co-fronted for a half-dozen years, never achieved breakout success, Gabriel Leis has been a mainstay on the Bay Area scene for a long time. Besides his four releases and many gigs with TLXN, the India-born, Marin-raised singer-songwriter-guitarist has also notably collaborated with Dan the Automator, members of Rondo Brothers, Dredg, and his wife Summer. Surprisingly, his most cohesive project, the brand-new Tidelands, features just Leis (on vocals, guitar and flugelhorn) and drummer-percussionst Mie Araki.
On the duo’s self-released debut If…, Leis’ deep, thick voice (which transverses everything from soft and calm to frantic) spins tales of woe and desire while the classically trained Araki’s tasteful drums play with subtle dynamics, and complement stunning contributions from cellist Sam Bass and trumpeter Ara Anderson, among others.
The result is a captivating series of tunes as world-weary as they are romantic. On “Letter to a Young Solder I Love,” Leis groans, It’s not your war/won’t you leave those poor folks alone? And on “Holy Grail” (featuring the Magik*Magik Orchestra) he pays tribute to the friends who have darkened the gardens of night/I salute you and give you my voice. The underlying theme of If…, as in most of Leis’ previous work, is an effort to slow down our high-velocity culture and appreciate the small things, like lying entwined with a lover, reconnecting with troubled friends, or the prospect of peace.
The incredible animated video for “Holy Grail,” created from more than 1,000 watercolor paintings by Ami Kutata, has been a YouTube sensation lately and is well worth a look or twenty.