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Primus Innovator Todd Huth Returns With Porch

In Music

It took years of hard work and gigging in the Bay Area before freak-metal outfit—and unlikely rock stars—Primus blew up in the ’90s. Spazzy, weirdo bass player/frontman Les Claypool started the band in the early ’80s with guitarist Todd Huth. In 1988, literally months before Primus released their first album, Suck on This, Huth quit the band. While Larry LaLonde, Huth’s replacement, ended up getting most of the credit for Primus’s unusual guitar work, it was Huth that wrote most the parts for those early albums and essentially laid the groundwork with Claypool to create the Primus sound.

Huth’s departure was amicable, but terribly timed. Still, it’s not like Huth didn’t benefit from Primus’ success. He’s gotten to play in some of Claypool’s side projects. (Sausage & Les Claypool’s Fearless Frog Brigade). But where Huth really shines is in his own project, Porch, which he started in the mid-’90s, and features former Today is the Day bassist Christopher Frey and former Samiam drummer Dave Ayer. The distinct guitar work that would help elevate Primus into monster-cult status is abundant in Porch. Huth mixes heavy distortion and traditional blues scales with dissonant chords. Unlike LaLonde, who would bring a tinnier tone and a lighter, more abstract flair to Primus, Huth has a deep, gritty style.

Porch is clearly more purely Huth’s musical vision. In other words, there isn’t any of Claypool’s goofy cartoon qualities. It’s a lot of heavy metal chops mixed with prog-rock timing and atmospheric experimentations. Huth likes to go for that slow, deep, powerful sound, though it sounds nothing like the Melvin or later-era Black Flag. His affinity for Zepplin riff-rock is balanced by a love for math rock, atonal noises and passionate vocals.

Porch performs Saturday, May 26, at SLG Art Boutiki in San Jose, 7pm; $10.

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