Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

Album: Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (1991)
  • In our interview with Primus frontman Les Claypool, he explained the inspiration for this song:

    "I always had this image of this guy I knew in high school who would race around. He was one of these guys that always wanted to be a cop. And I'm not saying this about all cops, but there's that certain faction of individual that wants to be a cop because they got picked on when they were younger and they just felt the need to be in a position of authority. "I'll show them" sort of thing. And this guy was one of those guys.

    He had this semi-hopped-up family car that his parents had given him, and he used to race that thing around and do stupid things, like do burnouts in the Jack in the Box parking lot when it was full of teenagers hanging around. He'd almost wipe somebody out every time. Just one of those guys.

    So that's where the image of Jerry for 'Jerry Was a Race Car Driver' came from. But then it just expanded from there, because Jerry, you know, 'He never did win no checkered flags, never did come in last.' So he's this mediocre racecar driver. And then of course in the end he gets drunk and wraps himself around a telephone pole."
  • A theme of this song is disappointment and how different people handle it. In the first verse, Jerry is a race car driver living it up. In the third verse he crashes his car into a telephone pole. In the second verse the firefighter is forced to retire earlier than he expected, which is much to his dismay. It's a much deeper a song than one may perceive on first listen. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Phill - Columbia, SC
  • Hank Williams Jr. is mentioned in the lyrics, "With a Bocephus sticker on a 442 he'd light em up just for fun." Bocephus was Hank WIlliams Jr.'s nickname.
  • Les Claypool played this on his 6-string fretless Rainbow Bass, however the bass did not yet have its signature "horn" installed.
  • Video games that use this song include ATV Offroad and Tony Hawk 1. , CA, for above 3) >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adam - Fresno (Clovis
  • The song's snippet of dialogue - "Dog will hunt!"- is from the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as said by the character Chop Top Sawyer.
  • In the video, the skateboarder who makes Bob Cock drop his nachos is actually guitarist Larry LaLonde, who was an avid skateboarder.

Comments: 15

  • Guy from Benson, NcLes can play bass, but this music is not that great.
  • James from Murray, IaWhile all of this may be true, using the bass as the lead instrument IS original. Don't get me twisted, Larry is phenominal and ties the whole thing together. But Les' bass is the lead.
  • Austin from Greenwood, ScGreg, If I'm remembering right, he got the Four Finger "Plaucking" from Geddy Lee who started doing that towards Rush's 2nd tour.
    Also Cliff Burton would hammer notes on the bass alot for Metallica's agressive style.
  • Russell from Davis, CaFirst, I'm not taking anything away from Claypool and his bass prowess. I agree that he invent and reinvented many things for the bass, and I find myself emulating him. But many of these techniques predated him, however he brought much of it to a new audience, which does not diminish his significance, originality, or ability. You asked for a bassist doing these same things *before* 1984 and *before* Primus. The obvious answer is Tony Levin with King Crimson. Find the song "Elephant Talk" and tell me you don't hear "Jerry was...." in the song, albeit generally performed on the Chapman Stick. But this should come as no surprise, since Primus has said repeatedly that KC was a major inspiration to their music. I could list several other bassists who pioneered the two-handed tapping, flamenco-styles, and slap techniques, but you should do some research for yourself.
  • Kitty from Vancouver, Bckinda weird song lyrics... good beat though.
  • Josh from Fayetteville, TnLuke, Les Claypool pretty much did create his own style. You could say that any artist just made someone else's style their own, but then there would be no such thing as personal style. You don't have to reinvent playing technique to create your own style. Very few musicians have ever done that successfully, although you could argue that Les Claypool did it with bass. Name a bassist that plays like Les Claypool or a band like Primus before 1984.
  • Ed from York, Pathat is amazing how LEs Claypool can play the bass
  • Eric from Boston, Mathe eariest creepest song I've ever heard when I was 7 the bass listen to the very carefully it's so weird.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandGreg, just because Winamp gave them their own genre ("Primus") it doesn't mean they invented that style, they just made it their own.
  • Justin from Freehold, Njthe song shows irony at its best.
  • Sam from Portsmouth, VaOn the commetary of this song Larry said that it take him a while to compose the entire solo to this song.
  • Greg from Manchester, Tn"Dog will hunt!" was sampled from the movie "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2". Notice the chainsaw noise in the background.
  • Kenny from Ubly, MiGreg, right-hand tapping is not a unique playing technique. Guitarists, especially hard rock and heavy metal guitarists, have used the technique for a long time.

    Not as many bassists use the technique, but they still do it.
  • Greg from Oakville, CanadaWhatever man. It doesn't change anything. Les Claypool gave birth to this genre of music now, which is named after the band "Primus". It's different because Claypool uses many different types of methods on his bass, like hammering the neck with just his playing fingers, or plaucking with four fingers instead of two!
  • Todd from Denver, CoHank Williams, Jr.'s nickname is "Bocephus."
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