(picture borrowed from Mike Watt's hootpage)
I started this post several weeks ago while vacationing in Panama City Beach, FL, which was surprisingly beautiful. No angry blackened waterfowl to be seen there, although there were quite a few BP guys lurking about, waiting to take charge at the first sign of trouble. But for me, spotty web connections and general focus on other things led to never getting past the first paragraph.
Then I moved halfway across the country and anyway, suffice it to say that it's been hard to get back into the habit of writing.
But the Meat Puppets cannot be denied forever. They were one of the most creative bands of the punk era, with a sound built on Curt Kirkwood's amazingly fluid guitar work. The man's influence are all over the map, from the Grateful Dead to Neil Young to Doc Watson to Television to the Byrds to ZZ Top to the Stooges to King Crimson. To name a few. Curt wasn't much a singer, but his sometimes tuneless voice provided a blueprint for any band that sounds bored by its own brilliance (like, say, Dinosaur Jr). By focusing on Curt, I don't mean to express a diminished enthusiasm for the creativity of the original Meat Pups rhythm section, which was Curt's brother Cris on bass and Derrick Bostrom on drums. If Curt was fluid, those guys were the bedrock.
So the Meat Pups were together for many years, but they broke up in 1996 when Cris's drug addiction spiraled out of control. Curt moved to Austin and put together another band, which he later renamed the Meat Puppets for legal reasons. That band broke up in 2002 and Curt recorded a few one-off albums. Cris finally got himself clean and rejoined Curt in 2006, and although Derrick Bostrom declined to rejoin the group, they called themselves the Meat Puppets, and they were. This newest version of the Pups have put out a couple of albums, but I've ever picked them up.
Even though I haven't supported them the way I should, I saw the new Meat Pups play an hour-long afternoon show this past March during SXSW, which was an incredible, beautiful experience. Five months later, I'm still speechless. Doug Sahm's son Shandon is their drummer at the moment, and he has a certain lightness that sounds very much like Bostrom.
fIREHOSE has a song called "Under The Influence of Meat Puppets." That's how I play my guitar, anyway. Here's the long, strange trip of the original lineup.
688 Club, Atlanta, May 14, 1985. Here's a bootleg I've had for quite a few years. I was talking smack about the mid-80s punk audiences before, but here they sound like they're in hog heaven listening to Pups tear it up on their own songs and smattering of classic rock and blues covers.