As guitarist in the one and only Primus, Larry “Ler” LaLonde is responsible for some of the funkiest and most experimental fretwork of the past two decades.
Taking inspiration from Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and such Bay Area axe icons as Snakefinger and East Bay Ray, the Oakland, CA-based LaLonde began his recorded career at the tender age of 17 as a member of seminal death metal outfit Possessed. Upon that band’s 1987 break-up, he joined forces with progressive metallers Blind Illusion, where he first made the acquaintance of bassist Les Claypool. Sensing a kindred spirit, Claypool invited LaLonde to join him in his own irreverent and inventive trio, Primus.
Beginning with 1989’s Suck On This, Primus unleashed an extraordinary series of albums – including 1990’s Frizzle Fry, 1991’s Sailing The Seas Of Cheese, 1993’s Pork Soda, and 1995’s Tales From The Punchbowl – which established them as among the most popular and influential bands of the 90s.
In 2000, Primus began a brief hiatus, whereupon LaLonde formed No Forcefield, an electronic-fueled outfit also comprising Primus drummer Bryan Mantia. Primus reconvened in 2003 and began a series of hugely successful tours that reconfirmed their status as a consistantly imaginative and entertaining live act.
LaLonde’s truly inimitable style has made him an in-demand player for artists whose work, like his own, defies easy description. He has collaborated on a number of albums with Tom Waits (including 1999’s Grammy Award-winning Mule Variations) and was a member of Serj Tankian’s The F.C.C. on his 2007 debut solo tour.
Photo Credit: Itamar Gat, Eyes of the World Photography