If you’ve been wracking your brain for the last few years trying to figure out who the band was that performed on David Letterman’s show in the mid-’90s wearing penguin costumes and singing about a big brown beaver owned by a little girl named Wynonna, worry no more. It was Primus. This sort of madcap display of weirdness was a norm for Primus and its three members, Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, and drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander.
Drawing upon influences as diverse as George Clinton and Black Sabbath, as well Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Rush’s Neil Peart (whom he cites as one of his favorite drummers), Alexander added a new funk/metal dimension to Primus when he joined, along with LaLonde, in 1989, after original members Todd Huth (guitar) and Jay Lane (drums) left due to personal reasons. After the independent recordings Suck On This and Frizzle Fry gained them national attention, Interscope Records offered Primus a contract and, in 1991, the band released Sailing The Seas Of Cheese. Alexander’s intelligent use of cymbal crashes and utilization of stops and rests were accented nicely alongside Claypool’s thundering bass lines (complete with funk slaps, two-handed tapping, slides, and breakdowns) and LaLonde’s seemingly off-the-cuff, jazz-like runs up and down the neck.
After 1993's Pork Soda and 1996's Tales From The Punchbowl, Alexander left the band, only to return in 2003. During his absence, Alexander did not rest on his laurels. Following a brief stint with Blue Man Group, he performed with the Las Vegas improvisational group Ubershall. Not long after this, Alexander was asked by Maynard James Keenan of Tool to drum on his side project, A Perfect Circle. He also contributed to Keenan’s other side project, the comedic-metal outfit Puscifer.