For musicians performing behind Bob Boilen's desk at the NPR Music offices, there's often an inverse relationship between professional accomplishment and the amount of time required to set up. For new bands still finding their way, pre-show preparation can be a numbing chore of positioning effects pedals and rehearsing song after song before the cameras start rolling.
Primus got plenty of of airtime on MTV and college radio in the 1990s, thanks to songs like "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." But by the start of the next decade, the San Francisco band was ready for a hiatus.
"Which was just sort of a fancy way of saying we were all tired of each other, and tired of the music, and not getting anything done," says founder and bass guitarist Les Claypool to Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.
FIERCE: Crank up your speakers (but not too much) for some exhilarating “musical caffeine” – a 9-minute blockbuster of a Tchaikovsky finale (Symphony No. 4) – with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the roaring San Francisco Symphony a few years back. It gets the blood pumping, guaranteed. Better yet, consider watching the whole PBS DVD set, part of the series, Keeping Score: MTT on Music. The first disc contains a brilliant narration on the behind-the-scenes painstaking preparation for this performance. Fasten your seatbelt.