Meat Puppets performing in 2014
|Origin||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Years active||1980–1996, 1999–2002, 2006–present|
|Members|| Curt Kirkwood |
|Past members|| Shandon Sahm |
Ken Boucher (session bassist)
Troy Meiss (touring member)
Meat Puppets are an American rock band formed in January 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. The group's original lineup was Curt Kirkwood (guitar/vocals), his brother Cris Kirkwood (bass guitar/vocals), and Derrick Bostrom (drums). The Kirkwood brothers met Bostrom while attending Brophy Prep High School in Phoenix. The three then moved to Tempe, Arizona (a Phoenix suburb and home to Arizona State University), where the Kirkwood brothers purchased two adjacent homes, one of which had a shed in the back where they regularly practiced.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Curtis Matthew "Curt" Kirkwood is an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, but currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Meat Puppets started as a punk rock band, but like most of their labelmates on SST Records, they established their own unique style, blending punk with country and psychedelic rock, and featuring Curt's warbling vocals. Meat Puppets later gained significant exposure when the Kirkwood brothers served as guest musicians on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance in 1993. The band's 1994 album Too High to Die subsequently became their most successful release. The band broke up twice, in 1996 and 2002, but reunited again in 2006.
Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.
SST Records is an American independent record label formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California by musician Greg Ginn. The company was formed in 1966 by Ginn at age 12 as Solid State Tuners, a small business through which he sold electronics equipment. Ginn repurposed the company as a record label to release material by his band Black Flag.
Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.
Meat Puppets have influenced a number of rock bands, including Nirvana,Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Pavement, Jawbreaker, Sublime, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.
Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band's full-time drummer in 1986, while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990. The band dissolved in 1997 and re-formed in 2010. Following Cornell's suicide in 2017 and a year of uncertainty of the band's future, Thayil declared in an October 2018 interview with Seattle Times that they would not continue as Soundgarden; they did, however, reunite in January 2019 for a one-off concert in tribute to Cornell.
Sebadoh is an American indie rock band formed in 1988 in Northampton, Massachusetts, by Eric Gaffney and Dinosaur Jr. bass player Lou Barlow. Along with such bands as Pavement and Guided by Voices, Sebadoh helped pioneer lo-fi music, a style of indie rock characterized by low-fidelity recording techniques, often on four-track machines. The band's early output, such as The Freed Man and Weed Forestin', as well as Sebadoh III (1991), was typical of this style. Following the release of Bubble & Scrape in 1993, Gaffney left the band. His replacement, Bob Fay, appeared on Bakesale (1994), but was fired before the sessions for the band's major label release The Sebadoh (1999).
In the late 1970s, drummer Derrick Bostrom played with guitarist Jack Knetzger in a band called Atomic Bomb Club, which began as a duo, but would come to include bassist Cris Kirkwood. The band played a few local shows and recorded some demos, but began to dissolve quickly thereafter. Derrick and Cris began rehearsing together with Cris' brother Curt Kirkwood by learning songs from Bostrom's collection of punk rock 45s. After briefly toying with the name The Bastions of Immaturity, they settled on the name Meat Puppets in June, 1980 after a song by Curt of the same name which appears on their first album. Their earliest EP In A Car was made entirely of short hardcore punk with goofy lyrics, and attracted the attention of Joe Carducci as he was starting to work with legendary punk label SST Records. Carducci suggested they sign with the label, and Meat Puppets released their first album Meat Puppets in 1982, which among several new originals and a pair of heavily skewed Doc Watson and Bob Nolan covers, featured the songs "The Gold Mine" and "Melons Rising", two tunes Derrick and Cris originally had written and performed as Atomic Bomb Club previously.Years later, when the Meat Puppets reissued all of their albums in 1999, the five songs on In A Car would be combined with their debut album.
Derrick Edwin Bostrom is an American musician. He was the original drummer of the band Meat Puppets.
Christopher "Cris" Kirkwood is an American musician who is the bassist and a founding member of the Meat Puppets, an alternative punk rock band.
Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."
By the release of 1984's Meat Puppets II , the bandmembers "were so sick of the hardcore thing," according to Bostrom. "We were really into pissing off the crowd."Here, the band experimented with acid rock and country and western sounds, while still retaining some punk influence on the tracks "Split Myself in Two" and "New Gods." This album contains some of the band's best known songs, such as "Lake of Fire" and "Plateau." While the album had been recorded in early 1983, the album's release was delayed for a year by SST. Meat Puppets II turned the band into one of the leading bands on SST Records, and along with the Violent Femmes, the Gun Club and others, helped establish the genre called "cow punk".
Meat Puppets II is the second album by the Phoenix, Arizona band the Meat Puppets, released in 1984. It is a departure from their self-titled debut album, which consisted largely of noisy hardcore with unintelligible vocals. It covers many genres from country-style rock to slow acoustic songs to psychedelic guitar effects to hard rock.
Acid rock is a loosely defined type of rock music that evolved out of the mid-1960s garage punk movement and helped launch the psychedelic subculture. The style is generally defined by heavy, distorted guitars, lyrics with drug references, and long improvised jams. Its distinctions from other genres can be tenuous, as much of the style overlaps with '60s punk, proto-metal, and early heavy, blues-based hard rock.
Violent Femmes are an American folk punk band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, initially active from 1980 to 2009. The band has since been active again from 2013. The band consists of singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie and current drummer John Sparrow.
Meat Puppets II was followed by 1985's Up on the Sun . The album's psychedelic sound resembled the folk-rock of The Byrds [ citation needed ], while the songs still retained hardcore influences in the lengths of the songs and the tempos. Examples of this new style are the self titled track, "Enchanted Porkfist" and "Swimming Ground." Up On The Sun also sees the Kirkwood brothers harmonizing their vocals for the first time. These 2 albums were mainstays of college and independent radio at that time.
Up on the Sun is the third album by the Meat Puppets, released in 1985 by SST Records. The album features a cleaner and more technical sound with a more psychedelic rock feel, in contrast to the sloppy punk approach of their first album (1982), while continuing with the mystical, poetic lyrics and country-inflected songwriting of Meat Puppets II (1984).
The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential.
During the rest of the 1980s, Meat Puppets remained on SST and released a series of albums while touring relentlessly. Between tours they would regularly play small shows in bars around the Phoenix area such as The Mason Jar (now The Rebel Lounge) and The Sun Club in Tempe. After the release of the hard-rock styled Out My Way EP in 1986, however, the band was briefly sidelined by an accident when Curt's finger was broken after being slammed in their touring van's door. The accident delayed the band's next album, the even more psychedelic Mirage , until the next year. The final result included synthesizers and electronic drums, and as such was considered their most polished sounding album to date.[ citation needed ] The tour for Mirage lasted less than 6 months, as the band found it difficult to recreate many of this album's songs in a concert atmosphere.
Their next album, the ZZ-Top inspired Huevos , came out less than six months afterward, in late summer of 1987. In stark contrast to its predecessor, Huevos was recorded in a swift, fiery fashion, with many first takes, and minimal second guessing.[ citation needed ] These recordings were completed in only a matter of days, and along with a few drawings and one of Curt's paintings taken from the wall to serve as cover art (a dish of three boiled eggs, a green pepper, and a bottle of Tabasco sauce), were all sent to SST shortly before the band returned to the road en route to their next gig. Curt revealed in an interview that one of the reasons for the album being called Huevos (meaning 'eggs' in Spanish) was because of the multitude of first-takers on the record, as similarly eggs can only be used once.
Monsters was released in 1989, featuring new elements to their sound with extended jams (such as "Touchdown King" and "Flight of the Fire Weasel") and heavy metal ("Attacked by Monsters"). This album was mostly motivated by the Meat Puppets' desire to attract the attention of a major label, as they were becoming frustrated with SST Records by this time.
As numerous bands from the seminal SST label and other kindred punk-oriented indies had before them, Meat Puppets grappled with the decision to switch to a major label. Two years after their final studio recording for SST, 1989's Monsters , the trio released its major-label debut, Forbidden Places , on the indie-friendly London Records. The band chose London Records because it was the first label that ZZ Top, one of their favorite bands, was signed to.[ citation needed ]
Forbidden Places combined many elements of the band's sounds over the years (cowpunk, psychedelia, riffy heavier rock) while some songs had a more laid back early alternative sound. Songs include "Sam" and "Whirlpool," and the title track. Despite being a fan favorite, Forbidden Places is now out of print, and as such it remains a highly sought-after collectible online.
In 1992 following his departure from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, guitarist John Frusciante auditioned for the band. Cris Kirkwood stated "He showed up with his guitar out of its case and barefoot. We were on a major label then, we just got signed, and those guys had blown up to where they were at and John needed to get out. John gets to our pad and we started getting ready to play and I said, 'You want to use my tuner?' He said, 'No, I'll bend it in.' It was so far out. Then we jammed but it didn't come to anything. Maybe he wasn't in the right place and we were a tight little unit. It just didn't quite happen but it could have worked."
In late 1993, Meat Puppets achieved mainstream popularity when Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who became a fan after seeing them open for Black Flag in the ‘80s, invited Cris and Curt to join him on MTV Unplugged for acoustic performances of "Plateau", "Oh Me" and "Lake of Fire" (all originally from Meat Puppets II ). The resulting album, MTV Unplugged in New York, served as a swan song for Nirvana, as Cobain died 138 days after the concert. "Lake of Fire" became a cult favorite for its particularly wrenching vocal performance from Cobain. Subsequently, the Nirvana exposure and the strength of the single "Backwater" (their only charting single) helped lift Meat Puppets to new commercial heights. The band's studio return was 1994's Too High To Die , produced by Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary. The album featured "Backwater", a minor hit on alternative radio, and a hidden-track update of "Lake of Fire." This album features a more straightforward alternative rock style, with occasional moments of pop, country and neo-psychedelic moments. Too High To Die earned the band a gold record (500,000 sold), outselling their previous records combined.
1995's No Joke! was the final album recorded by the original Meat Puppets lineup. Stylistically it is very similar to Too High to Die, although much heavier and with darker lyrics. Examples of this are the single "Scum" and "Eyeball," however the band's usual laid-back style is still heard on tracks like "Chemical Garden." Though the band's drug use included cocaine, heroin, LSD and many others, Cris' use of heroin and crack cocaine became so bad he rarely left his house except to obtain more drugs.At least two people (including his wife and one of his best friends) died of overdoses at his house in Tempe, AZ during this time. The Kirkwood brothers had always had a legendary appetite for illegal substances and during the tour to support Too High To Die with Stone Temple Pilots, the easy availability of drugs was too much for Cris. When it was over, he was severely addicted to cocaine and heroin. When their record label discovered Cris' addictions, support for No Joke! was subsequently dropped and it was met with poor sales figures.
Derrick recorded a solo EP under the moniker Today's Sounds in 1996, and later on in 1999 took charge of re-issuing the Puppets' original seven records on Rykodisc as well as putting out their first live album, Live in Montana. Curt formed a new band in Austin, TX called the Royal Neanderthal Orchestra, but they changed their name to Meat Puppets for legal reasons and released a promotional EP entitled You Love Me in 1999, Golden Lies in 2000 and Live in 2002. The line-up was Curt (voc/git), Kyle Ellison (voc/git), Andrew Duplantis (voc/bass) and Shandon Sahm (drums). Sahm's father was the legendary fiddler-singer-songwriter Doug Sahm of The Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados. The concluding track to Classic Puppets entitled "New Leaf" also dates from this incarnation of the band.
Around 2002, Meat Puppets dissolved after Duplantis left the band. Curt went on to release albums with the groups Eyes Adrift and Volcano. In 2005, he released his first solo album entitled Snow .
Bassist Cris was arrested in December 2003 for attacking a security guard at the main post office in downtown Phoenix, AZ with the guard's baton. The guard shot Kirkwood in the stomach at least twice during the melee, causing serious gunshot injuries requiring major surgery. Kirkwood was subsequently denied bail, the judge citing Kirkwood's previous drug arrests and probation violations. He eventually went to prison at the Arizona state prison in Florence, Arizona for felony assault. He was released in July 2005.[ citation needed ]
Derrick Bostrom began a web site for the band about six months before the original trio stopped working together. The site went through many different permutations before it was essentially mothballed in 2003. In late 2005, Bostrom revamped it, this time as a "blog" for his recollections and as a place to share pieces of Meat Puppets history.
On March 24, 2006, Curt Kirkwood polled fans at his MySpace pagewith a bulletin that asked: "Question for all ! Would the original line up of Meat Puppets interest anyone ? Feedback is good – do you want a reunion!?" The response from fans was overwhelmingly positive within a couple of hours, leading to speculation of a full-blown Meat Puppets reunion in the near future. However, a post made by Derrick Bostrom on the official Meat Puppets site dismissed the notion.
In April 2006 Billboard reported that the Kirkwood brothers would reunite as Meat Puppets without original drummer Derrick Bostrom.Although Primus drummer Tim Alexander was announced as Bostrom's replacement, the position was later filled by Ted Marcus. The new lineup recorded a new full-length album, Rise to Your Knees , in mid-to-late 2006. The album was released by Anodyne Records on July 17, 2007.
On January 20, 2007, Meat Puppets brothers performed two songs during an Army of Anyone concert, at La Zona Rosa in Austin, Texas. The first song was played with Curt Kirkwood and Cris Kirkwood along with Army of Anyone's Ray Luzier and Dean DeLeo. Then the second song was played with original members Curt and Cris Kirkwood and new Meat Puppets drummer Ted Marcus. This was in the middle of Army of Anyone's set, which they listed as Meat Puppet Theatre on the evening's set list. The band performed several new songs in March at the South by Southwest festival. On March 28, 2007, the band announced a West Coast tour through their MySpace page.This is the first tour with original bassist Cris in eleven years. The tour continued into the east coast and midwest later in 2007.
In 2008 they performed their classic second album live in its entirety at the ATP New York festival.
The band parted ways with Anodyne, signed to Megaforce and began recording new material in the winter of 2008. The resulting album, entitled Sewn Together , was released on May 12, 2009.In the summer of 2009 the band continued to tour across America. They appeared in Rochester, Minnesota outside in front of over 5,000 fans, after playing Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the night prior. Meat Puppets performed at the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans over the Halloween weekend.
As of November 2009, Shandon Sahm was back as the drummer in Meat Puppets, replacing Ted Marcus.The band was chosen by Animal Collective to perform the album 'Up on the Sun' live in its entirety at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011.
The band's thirteenth studio album, entitled Lollipop , was released on April 12, 2011.The Dandies supported Meat Puppets on all European dates in 2011.
Meat Puppets have played several gigs in their hometown since 2009, such as the Marquee show in June 2011 with Dead Confederate.
As of early 2011 Elmo Kirkwood,son of Curt Kirkwood and nephew of Cris Kirkwood, was touring regularly with the band playing rhythm guitar.
Meat Puppets also contributed to Spin Magazine's exclusive album Newermind: A Tribute to Nirvana , playing Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
In June 2012, a book titled Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets by author Greg Prato was released, which featured all-new interviews with band members past and present and friends of the band, and covered the band's entire career.
In October 2012, it was announced that the group had just completed recording new songs. Rat Farm , the band's 14th album, was released in April 2013.
In March 2013, Meat Puppets opened for Dave Grohl's Sound City Players at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.
In April 2014, Meat Puppets completed a tour with The Moistboyz,and in the summer of 2015, they toured with Soul Asylum.
The Meat Puppets were picked to open for an 11 show tour as support of The Dean Ween Group in October 2016 after Curt Kirkwood and drummer Chuck Treece contribute to The Deaner Album. Also the same year, Cris either produced and/or played with the following artists for Slope Records - The Exterminators, the Linecutters, and Sad Kid.
On August 17, 2017, original drummer Derrick Bostrom posted an update on his website derrickbostrom.net. He performed with Cris, Curt and Elmo Kirkwood at a concert honoring the Meat Puppets. It appears that, while Derrick enjoyed himself, that this was a one-off performance.
On July 8, 2018, it was confirmed that Bostrom had replaced Sahm as the drummer for the band, and that keyboardist Ron Stabinsky had joined, as well.
The band released their 15th studio album, Dusty Notes , on March 8, 2019.
On April 21, 2018 a fan-sponsored petition on MoveOn.org was initiated to induct the Meat Puppets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
MTV Unplugged in New York is a live album by American rock band Nirvana. It was released on November 1, 1994 by DGC Records. The album features an acoustic performance recorded at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18, 1993, for the television series MTV Unplugged. The show was directed by Beth McCarthy and aired on the cable television network MTV on December 16, 1993. In a break with traditional practice on the television series, Nirvana played mainly lesser-known material and cover versions of songs by the Vaselines, David Bowie, Lead Belly, and Meat Puppets, whose Cris and Curt Kirkwood joined Nirvana onstage.
Eyes Adrift was a three-piece rock supergroup consisting of Krist Novoselic, Curt Kirkwood, and Bud Gaugh. They released a self-titled album in 2002, which was a mixture of punk, grunge, and country, taking all of their previous backgrounds and putting them together. They toured the United States in mid-2002. They later broke up in 2003, after their debut album flopped. Kirkwood and Gaugh went on to form the supergroup band known as Volcano. The album is currently out of print. Novoselic went on to record songs with Foo Fighters and become a political activist in Seattle, Washington.
"Lake of Fire" is a song by the American alternative rock band the Meat Puppets. It appears on their 1984 album Meat Puppets II and also appears as a hidden track on their 1994 album Too High to Die.
Too High to Die is the eighth studio album by American rock band the Meat Puppets. The album was released on January 25, 1994, by London Records. It was produced by Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary. The album's title is a parody of The Ramones' 1984 album Too Tough to Die.
Ball-Hog or Tugboat? is the debut solo album by former Minutemen and fIREHOSE bassist, songwriter and vocalist Mike Watt. It was recorded in 1994, and came at a personal and professional career crossroads for Watt. fIREHOSE had broken up after eight years and six releases earlier in 1994, and his marriage to former Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler had ended in divorce.
Volcano was a supergroup band, formed by Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood, Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh, Sublime soundman Michael 'Miguel' Happoldt, and bass player of The Ziggens Jon Poutney after the breakup of Eyes Adrift. They released one self-titled studio album in 2004.
Monsters is the sixth studio album by American rock band the Meat Puppets, released in October 1989. Their last release on SST Records, it was reissued on Rykodisc in 1999 with additional bonus tracks, recording notes by Derrick Bostrom and liner notes by music journalist Mark Kemp. As an added bonus, the reissue includes an "Enhanced CD" partition for play on home computers. Monsters offers the promotional video for "Light". The clip was produced and directed by Bill Taylor and features shots of the Puppets live in concert.
Meat Puppets is the first album by American band the Meat Puppets, released in 1982. The album is unlike their later, better-known releases due to its hardcore punk sound.
Mirage is the fourth studio album by the Arizona alternative rock band Meat Puppets.
No Joke! is the ninth studio album by the Meat Puppets. The album was released on October 3, 1995, by London Records. It was the follow-up to the band's album Too High to Die and was the last Meat Puppets album with bassist Cris Kirkwood and drummer Derrick Bostrom. A video was filmed for the song "Scum", directed by Dave Markey.
No Strings Attached is a 1990 compilation album of Meat Puppets songs released by their ex-record label SST Records. It was released after the band left SST Records to join London Records. The compilation includes songs from their first album Meat Puppets (1982) through to their 1989 album Monsters. The Meat Puppets had no involvement in this release.
Alive in the Nineties is the first video released by the American rock group the Meat Puppets. The video was released in 2003 while the band was on hiatus. The video is professionally shot and was recorded while the band was touring with the Stone Temple Pilots.
Lollipop is the Meat Puppets' thirteenth full-length studio album. It was released on April 12, 2011, through Megaforce Records.
Rat Farm is the fourteenth full-length studio album by the Meat Puppets. It was released on April 16, 2013, through Megaforce Records.
Shandon Sahm is an American drummer, who is a native of San Antonio, Texas and is best known for his two stints as the drummer of the Meat Puppets, from 1999-2002 and 2009-2018.
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