Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers

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"Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers"
Single by Primus
from the album Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Released1991
Genre Alternative metal, funk metal
Length5:19
Label Interscope
Songwriter(s) Les Claypool/Larry LaLonde/Tim Alexander
Producer(s) Primus
Primus singles chronology
"Tommy the Cat"
(1991)
"Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers"
(1991)
"Making Plans for Nigel"
(1992)

"Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers" is a song by the American rock band Primus. It was released as the third single from their 1991 album Sailing the Seas of Cheese . Unlike its preceding singles "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "Tommy the Cat", "Tweekers" did not feature an accompanying video. The song opens with Larry LaLonde on guitar and a reserved bassline from Les Claypool, from there alternating between his trademark slap bass and a quiet section for the vocals.

The song's narrative describes several different trades that the town's blue collar tweekers engage in, but, like many of the other story-telling songs in Primus's catalogue, lacks any clear, single meaning and leaves plenty of ambiguity in its lyrics. The song is about truck drivers and "blue-collar workers" using methamphetamines.

I was born in a suburb by the East Bay, a rural, almost redneck environment. I grew up on the blue-collar side of town. My father was a mechanic, both my uncles are mechanics, my grandfather was a mechanic. That song is not derogatory at all. It’s very much me. A tweaker is someone who is strung out on methyl amphetamines, otherwise known as crank. There’s a reference in there to a guy who hung Sheetrock, and that’s how he got through the day. He’d snort up speed to keep up with the younger guys.

Les Claypool [1]

The band's Woodstock 1994 performance of the song was particularly notable, with Claypool beginning a bass rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in homage to Jimi Hendrix's guitar performance of the national anthem decades before, but eventually apologizing to the crowd by saying "Sorry, I had to do it" and returning to the song.

As of 2015, it is Primus's second most-performed song live. A live version of the song (performed at Primus' show at the Brixton Academy, London, England on July 13, 2011) also appears as an iTunes exclusive bonus track on the band's 2011 album, Green Naugahyde. When played live, they often use animated clips from the online animated series Salad Fingers .

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Leslie Edward Claypool is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer, author, director, and actor. He is best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, primary songwriter, and only continuous member of the funk metal band Primus. His playing style on the bass is well known for mixing tapping, flamenco-like strumming, whammy bar bends, and slapping.

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Primus is an American funk metal band formed in El Sobrante, California in 1984. The band is currently composed of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry "Ler" LaLonde and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander. Primus originally formed in 1984 with Claypool and guitarist Todd Huth, later joined by drummer Jay Lane, though the latter two departed the band at the end of 1988. Featuring LaLonde and Alexander, Primus recorded the live album Suck on This in 1989, followed by four studio albums: Frizzle Fry, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda, and Tales from the Punchbowl. Alexander left the band in 1996, replaced by Bryan "Brain" Mantia, and Primus went on to record the original theme song for the TV show South Park and two more albums, Brown Album and Antipop, before declaring a hiatus in 2000.

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References

  1. Kot, Greg. "Q&A: Les Claypool of Primus". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 February 2019.