Meat Puppets

"Meat Puppets" means "People," apparently.

I know! I assumed they were jerkin' off with stuffed animals too!!!

*special introductory paragraph
*In A Car EP
*Meat Puppets
*Up On The Sun
*Out My Way EP
*Live In Montana
*Forbidden Places
*Too High to Die
*No Joke!
*Golden Lies
*Rise To Your Knees
*Sewn Together

The Meat Puppets are one of Alternative Music's all-time bestest bands. They're from Desert Country, Arizona, and for most of their career were made up of Curt Kirkwood on guitar and microphone, his brother Cris Kirkwood (no relation) on bass guitar (and occasional microphone) and their marijuana friend Derrick Bostrom on drums. They began as an insane hardcore band, but very quickly evolved into a neato guitar-based outfit band that slightly changed their sound with every release. I will now describe how they did so - but these reviews will be entirely in Latin. So if you don't have any trouble reading them - Congratulations! You can read Latin!

In A Car EP - World Imitation 1981
Rating = 9

When I first started writing this review page, I didn't have the reissue of Meat Puppets that features In A Car and thirteen other bonus tracks so I originally SKIPPED the In A Car review, because my copy is on a tape somewhere up in that storage area above the closet in the guest bedroom so chances of me going out of my way to go get it are about the same as the chances of me not playing with my ding-dong during my job interview next week.

Suffice I'm to say that it sounds a lot like their debut, which I describe in great detail below. For the GENERAL sound of the band, check there. For this EP in SPECIFIC terms, I'll tell you that it has five songs, all of which are about a minute long and very fast-paced. Three are basic messy angry distorted screaming high-speed hardcore but with more notes so you know it's the Meat Puppets, one is great country punk played on a happy CLEAN-toned guitar (with a painfully funny solo in the middle), and the highlight is a cool as hell experimental instrumental called "Out In The Gardener" that makes it obvious from the getgo that Curt Kirkwood is so much a genius that he invented the electric stereo bag. And ol' Derrick provides the "boom-chick boom-chick"! Don't accredit the "boom-chick boom-chick" to a kid putting firecrackers in a henhouse!

Reader Comments

Jeffery Hoelscher
I think Primus' theme song to South Park was heavily influenced by "Out In The Gardener". Do you think this as well?

Meat Puppets - SST Records 1982
Rating = 9

This debut sounds GREAT!

Holy FUC, I just thought of the most amazing ad CAMPAIGN EVER. Get this - you've got some new brand of Macaroni & Cheese coming out, right? And the difference between this one and the competition is that this Macaroni & Cheese has vanilla ice cream in it, right? Okay, so get this for a slogan. You ready for this? I totally just made this up because I'm a genius. Ready?


My wife just told me that she detests my writing. She says it's the worst thing ever in the world ever since anything ever and she wishes that all my fingers would lop off so I could never type another word. That's what she said!!!! Not with her mouth, but I can read women. She had those words written in ink all over the inside of her birth canal and I read them when I went in there to retrieve a lost kitten. So if you hear about ol' Prind getting a divorce, don't blame me! Blame the whore I'm dating!

Have you heard the first Meat Puppets album? Let me tell you about it. It is FAST! The drumming by DERRICK BOSTROM is tight and fast and the best drumming ever. And the guitar is MESSY! Curt K(obain)irkwood had written a TON of just amazing awesome lead guitar lines with all kinds of notes and intrigue and unexpected moves and runs up and down the neck, but he took PsYcHeDeLiCs before entering the studio so his technique is all off. The hammer-ons at 0:42 of track 9 are so ham-fisted. And what is up with that missed false-harmonic at 0:21 of track 6? Oh yes - and how about how he completely ruins every single guitar line he plays???? Unbelievably, his mistakes actually make the record BETTER than it would have been had he gotten them right. He is just playing so fast, and screwing up in such exhilaratingly maniacal fashion (listen to the song "Meat Puppets" and hear how long it takes him to start fucking up that amazing guitar line - like FOUR SECONDS!!!! It's AWESOME!!!!!) that you can just picture Mr. Bostrom on the drums shaking his head in resigned give-upness as he ALONE holds down the fort (the TIGHT fort) on what would have otherwise been an unlistenably messy recording experience.

Extremely unique riffs carry the album, along with a wonderful heap of straight hardcore speedy-chord thrashing, especially near the end of the record. Bass? I guess it's in there. Vocals? HILARIOUS. INEXCUSABLY HILARIOUS. Curt growls, hoots, mumbles, slurs, snarls and above all TALKS LIKE A RETARD endlessly and without ambition to cease said action by order of law. One gets the impression that he is trying to sound like Darby Crash, aging lead singer of The Germs, one of the longest-lived of the original L.A. punk bands (check out their latest studio album Keep On Germin'! on Geffen - it's piled high with tasty licks!), and he actually SUCCEEDS in sounding somewhat like Darby, but somehow manages to come across as even MORE of a spastic incomprehensible child enrolled in Special Education courses.

The genre is speed country desert hardcore, and the entire band dropped acid for three days while recording it. They do two cover tunes and both are country songs. One, "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds," has loud flangey feedback running through it. The other, "Walking Boss" is sick, wonderful and Johnny Cash-like. The twelve originals range from great punk rock to straight hard rock to insane cowpunk to mean screaming insane hardcore to nondescript to poppy and midtempo to messy to note-riffers to note-slide-riffers to arpeggiated punkers to mean punk riffs with floor toms to fantastic mean as hell hardcore songs with chords and messy solos to awesome hardcore songs with an insanely wrong vocal style to Neil Young mixed with Greg Ginn to speed attack similar to the first Husker Du album to Alanis Morrisette.

Derrick Bostrom wrote most of the lyrics. Here are a few of his classic couplets to take home to bed with you tonight and "Jill Off" (copyright some stupid pretentious lesbian who's probably fat) to.

He who recieves a righteous man because he is a righteous man
Will recieve a righteous man's reward
(a year's subscription to Superman Comics)


Oh yes, it's for sure my life's call
Entertaining for folks short and tall
You've been so kind for all these years
We'll never be able to repay you all
(How can I hold back the tears?)


Just think of all the things we'd have
If we saved our money
But all our money's gone up in smoke
I cough blood; we all choke

"BLUE-GREEN GOD" WAS THAT ONE (it's about enjoying joints)

Just give us your money and tell us we're swell
We'll play these tunes for you and then go to hell


We're all in the gutter but I'm looking at the rats
And when I'm hungry I don't fuck around
And I'm not afraid to strew my scraps
Here's a rat's carcass for your front lawn


Come on, don't you doubt us
We're all much too ignorant
If you've gotta go to the bathroom
Then go for christ's sake


Poor little negro
Puking in the sink
He's regained his culture
Finally found a link


In conclusion, this album is really good. Short too!

Reader Comments (Zach English)
6/10 - Their "hardcore" album. Even though it's defintely more fun to listen to than 99% of the hardcore out there, this record gives few clues as to what lay ahead. Though the fantastic "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds" lets the world know that these desert rats have a country jones in 'em, most of the songs here sound very similar. I used to like it alot ("It's fast; hence, good!", I used to say), but now it just doesn't do as much for me. Find it if you can, anyways, and you definitely can now, because Rykodisc re-released all their SST albums. They packaged this one with the In A Car EP, which was recorded in, like, a day or so, while each band member was appropriately fried on acid. True story.
yes,i got the reissue with the kick ass video and the ep and bonus tracks of meat puppets self tittled.i had never heared anything up to this point so creative in the genre of hardcore punk,i know its been out there for a LONG time now,but i had only been listening to bands like youth brigade,black flag,d.r.i.,et cetera and had been turned on to this now deplorable notion this band was suck-ass rock n roll that was over produced.....the kid that told me this deserves to be shot,this is by far on of the greatest,most creative hardcore punk albums ive ever heared,even more diverse than the minutemen's post-mersh series.but,forget about understanding this guys lyrics,just forget it,and even if you try and read a lyric sheet,just forget it still.... (Christian Stromblad)
Just thought I'd help to rectify the dearth of comments on the Meat Puppets by putting in my 2c worth. I don't have all of their albums but beggars can't be choosers so you must listen to what I have to say.

I love this album. It gets a 9 on the karaoke meter. Everyone else is pretty spot on, this is extremely creative "hardcore" (which is such an overused label and cannot begin to do justice to the big wide world of great bands out there in the "punk" universe, especially this one) with psychedelic Grateful Dead and country overtones.

When I first got this, it took a bit of getting used to as I couldn't understand a word that Curt was saying, but that became what I loved about it. I'd play it at parties just to get a reaction. Some of the songs on this thing are just nuts(especially "Melons Rising" and "Electromud") and I personally love the way that the band loses their shit in the middle of songs. That's what's great about punk. Which punk bands lose their shit anymore? Certainly not Blink 182. It's all too clean and perfectly played nowadays. Something's gotta change soon, I can feel it.

If this is any indication of the quality of "In A Car" then I'm gonna have to sell my copy and buy the one with both combined. This is wonderfully sloppy and dirty and greasy but also very tasty, just like an actual meat puppet would be if anyone was stupid enough to make one.

I might post some more comments when I damn well feel like it (Robin Kempson)
i fuckin loved this made me buy its sequel and get into the meat puppets....then i heard a recent album and gave up....why did these fucks have to carry on? too much music...too many albums aaaaagh...too much progression...blah. but i fully respect the amount of cacti and mushrooms they must have consumed to create such art.
Ahh, the Meat Puppets. My personal favorite band of all time. Pure brilliance from one helluva artist, Mr. Curt Kirkwood. Fabulous songwriter, mindblowing guitarist and some of the best lyrics you'll ever find. But not on this record. I never listen to this, but as for beginning the concept, it actually works pretty great. Although the theme didn't necessarily stick from album to album, looking back on their lengthy career, I always thought that this record served the point of being the infantile introduction into the music worlds psyche. The whole thing sounds like my baby screaming for his bottle right after coming out of the womb, basically saying "I'M HERE, NOTICE ME NOW". Yet all the good stuff was yet to come. Buy this for completists or if you like really messy early 80's hardcore. It has no relevance to the rest of the bands career. (The Chad)
The Meat Puppets music is just divine and Kurt Kirkwood is an incredible song writer, whose work just stands out clearly from an abundance of the talentless hardcore of the same period. My only unanswered mystery is how on earth Kurt Cobain managed to take their material, drag the life out of it and make the Meat Puppets famous for writing miserable songs. The Meat Puppets music always had such energy and life in them for me, but then I’m not a smack-head playing with a shotgun wishing I was Kurt Kirkwood.

I’m not a huge Nirvana fan; Bleach has some good tracks, Nevermind hasn’t a single bad song on it, but In Utero is unbearable bar 3 songs that hark back to Cobains ability to accomplish something unique. To be honest I always preferred Mudhoney. “Magnolia Caboose Baby Shit” now that’s a track.

Just to add some controversy to the Kurt Cobain thing…. an ex girlfriend of mines best friend, spent the night with him and he couldn’t get it up. Apparently he recounted the occasion in his book, obviously missing out his inability to get it on. So if you have read an account of an evening with a mystery English girl that talked him thru his problems, her recollection is slightly different as one of his biggest problems clearly wasn’t in his head at all.
Yeah! Drinkin' music! Load up the ol' vinyl-whirler with Meat Puppets 1 and some generic Flipper (get it?) and drink until you like it! Get your parents drunk so they can party too! (Rob Greene)
I understand this isn't a blog or anything, but J Chadwick... What the hell was that??? First off, it is Curt, not Kurt, but gee whiz, thanks for your ruminations on Kurt Cobain and his inability to get it up with the English best friend of your girlfriend. Man, that is relevant... I am looking forward to the book. Record is still some of the best sloppy meaningless hardcore ever, but it still aint representative of the Meat Puppets. Coming up on 30 years later now, and it still is as obnoxious as ever. And I still never listen to it.

Add your thoughts?

* II - SST Records 1984 *
Rating = 10

There's nothing on the top/But a bucket and a mop/And an illustrated book about birds/You see a lot up there/But don't be scared/Who needs action when you've got words?

Who writes lyrics like that? What is it supposed to mean? I'll leave that to experts and instead just use the word "Dude" a lot.

DUDE!!!! When this dude at the record store told me to buy this cassette tape back when I was like 16 and shit, I was all like "Dude!," but then I totally took it home and it was like just a bunch of fuckin country music, man! And I was like, "Fuck!" But at the time, I had free time out the bustier, so I listened to it more and more and more until finally I realized that it's one of the most idiosyncratic, exciting and creative records I'd ever heard. Dude! (Looks Like A Lady)

II is NOT "country music." It's definitely got a strong C/W influence, but "Beautiful Girls" and "Dance The Night Away" showcase Diamond Dave's fleeting elegance of

II is NOT "country music." It's definitely got a strong C/W influence, but when that swooping theremin starts emulating Bob Plant's orgasm noises in "Whole Lotta Love," the men get wetter, the girls get harder and gonorrhea comes clogging up the

II is NOT "country music." It's definitely got a strong C/W influence, but it's swirled and slaughtered apart with so many energetic youthful elements of hardcore punk, folk rock, psychedelia and classic guitar rock that the end result is like nothing you'll ever have hear heard before up your ear with a rubber hear! The guitar playing is skillfuller than Clapton, yet plastered and blasted all over the walls of not-giving-a-shit right alongside the quivery oddball enjoyably-out-of-tune vocals. See, this is untutored, underproduced GENIUS: astonishingly mature, innovative country/folk/rock songwriting festering like pus in the brains of three acid-fried Arizona hippy punks, with its creators invited to succeed on their own haphazard "anything can happen" merits (Thank Good!) rather than being forced by Bob Rock to perform every song over and over and over again until every note played and word sung is absolutely pristine and lifeless. Yes dear, thanks to basic, hands-off "Turn it up louder!" mixing, every song on here glows with the flame of greatness, yet without the slightest chance of radio success.

I'm lost here. Just saying the same thing over and over again. But what can you really say about something like "Aurora Borealis"? That's the kind of melody that most guitar players are simply incapable of writing. The chords are "wrong" - the notes don't follow each other "correctly." There's no "chorus." But for all its musical wrongness, somehow it's still one of the most harrowing and inspiring melodies I've ever heard. Thn there's the wavering, wrong-speed-feeling of "We're Here" --- the out-of-control speed power metal of "New Gods" - the Neil Young of "Plateau" - the Johnny Cash of "Lake of Fire" - but with a hardcore drummer boking at the chit to thrash the garage into a nilly-nally of fiffle-diffle-dooooooooooo!

The guitar tone is either clean or distorted and buried in reverb and echo. The bass is a bass. The drums are so alive, you'd might as well invite Derrick Bostrom over for dinner since it sounds like he's right there in your microwave anyway! Bottom line: Any guitar fan who doesn't love this album probably has a mustache. Or wears a denim jacket. Either way, he doesn't find women attractive. And if you saw only his penis, you'd think he was an African- American (brown). And he's the inspiration for this joke I'm about to make up:

Why did Liam and Noel Gallagher keep their male nurse on staff even after his chafed anus hole created open sores on both of their penises?


Also, the entire band was on MDMA while recording this album.

Reader Comments (Zach English)
10/10 - This is the one, above all others, you need to own. While I'm trying to not be biased, and to approach this album from the viewpoint of one who's never heard it, it's damn hard, because I could safely call this my favorite album of all time.

To me, this record is perfect. 12 songs; each one a 2 minute, spectacular epic. Curt's guitar now summons up the spirits of Duane Eddy, Robert Johnson, and Chuck Berry, without sounding cliched or tied down to a specific genre. Whether it's the beautifully rambling, folky solo that closes "Climbing", the hellfire-drenched explosions of "Lake of Fire", or the serene peacefulness of "Aurora Borealis" (is there a cooler name for a song? I think not), Curt's tones mix wonderfully with his expansive American imagery: talk show hosts, Pepsi-cola, Rumpelstiltskin fairy tales, and the places where bad folks go. His voice sounding like a drunken 12 year old, Curt turns out one of the most moving pieces of music ever put to tape on "Plateau". It's a song of searching; soul searching, desert searching, or the search for just about anything. Powered by the unmatched fluidity of the rythym section (Cris plays maybe three notes the entire album, which perfectly contrasts with his brother's wildness, and Bostrom lays down fat, delicate grooves which never try to take control of the songs; they just perfectly compliment them), the band sounds like mystical spirits sent down from heaven.

Even though an entire book could probably be written about the different underlying meanings of the album, the brilliant thing is that it never overstays its welcome. In about thirty minutes, it's all over. It's loose, it's stoned, it's painful, it's hallucinatory, and it's amazing. It's Meat Puppets II.
Ehh.... I really don't see what everyone loves about this album. Sure, the songwriting is pretty decent, but the performance is just dead. The entire band comes off as so unconvincing and uninspired (and it's a shame cause they had good material to work with) it isn't funny., so it makes it really tough to get into the songs. I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to give this one a 4.

Colin T.
umm, yeah. this is a fine album. thanks to kirkwood's voice, the songs sound as if they'll disintegrate half way through. fragile stuff. buy it, because i really have nothing to add to what has already been said.
Amazin' record. Since i love Nirvana, ive always known and loved "Oh Me", "Lake Of Fire", and "Plateau" from Nirvana's Unplugged album, but theres also more great stuff on here. "Aurora Borealis" is a beauty-ful instrumental, "Climbing" is some nice (not generic) country-western, "Split Myself In Two" brings back the hardcore from the last record, etc... If you love those songs Nirvana covered on Unplugged you'll love this stuff - 10/10
Meat Puppets II is in my top ten albums of all time. This album is like being in the desert. Now i don't need to go to the desert. I just listen to this. Neil Young is an obvious influence. This album is a big influence on my music. Each song introduces you to a different place. (Barrett Barnard)
very rarely in life do you come across an album as great as this.the lines between pop,rock n roll,country,bluegrass,heavy metal,and punk are blurred as this great band from the deserts of the southwest go on a journey through themselves and through you.the songs almost become secondary to the feeling.and this album certainly gives off a feeling.its lonely and beautiful and severeal other adjectives that i really dont know what mean.II is one of the greatest pieces of music in the history of the art form. (Mike K)
This is pretty damn cool. It takes a little bit to get used to since on "Split Myself In Two" and "New Gods" they sound like really hyped up teenagers (on the former the effect is pretty hillarious, for practically the whole song Curt Kirkwood sounds like he's trying desperately to have his vocals keep up with the rest of the song but never quite succeeding), and then most of the rest of the album they just sound really tired and stoned. But eventually you come to realize the decidedly sloppy feel the whole thing has gives it personality, even if it does muck up a few tracks ("We Are Here" would sound a hell of a lot better given a tighter Up On The Sun style approach for instance), or at very least discover there's some damn good and creative songwriting underneath the slightly off-kilter arrangements. The Nirvana-covered trio of "Plateau", "Lake Of Fire" and "Oh Me" are probably the best tracks, but "Climbing", "Aurora Borealis", and especially "The Whistling Song" give them a run for their money. Because songs have money.
And here it is: a fine example of what happens when you take music that motivated you to start your own band and mix it with the music that you grew up with. The beauty thing about it was that the trio was geographically positioned that they had very few fans/crits strong-arming them into directions that didn't pay off creatively. With that being said, if we only had the debut to work with, there is a good chance that we wouldn't be talking about the Pups twenty years after the fact.

"II" is such a refreshing departure that upon its release, many people (like me) went back to the first platter and asked "What did I miss?" In reality, we missed nothing. It was the Meat Puppets that suddenly changed gears on us and started to show signs of their influence. Keep in mind that back in the early 80's, it was suicide for any punk rock band to wholeheartedly admit that ZZ Top, Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead were influential. When you smoke enough weed, nothing much bothers you.

Curt and the boys sound like they smoked a lot of weed on this record. But if smoking weed gets you an album of this greatness then let the bongfires burn. The musicianship is loose, homey, and hints at psychedelia. Lyrically, Curt is finding his voice (pun intended) by round two and while unknowingly penning some of the best words in American post-punk history. Their simplicity overshadows their depth: "Plateau" sounds like a biblical mantra for any musician pondering the repetition of their day job. "Lost" succinctly shows us how the actions of one evil President are paid in full by future generations. "Split Myself In Two" contains the best use of a razor in a shoe since Jim Croce learned a lesson 'bout a messin' with the wife of a jealous man. Thank God the potheads at SST released it; there is no way this thing would have seen the light of day if the label was run by Gerard Cosley.

Another Kurt found enough solace in this release to re-record several of the tracks with his own band, and if that turns more people onto this release then the world is a better place. After listening to side one (pre-digital, TV babies) six times in a row, it prompted me to write the band in total teenage longhand declaring them the greatest band in the world. While mustache men may disagree with that, there is no doubt that the upstarts today could learn a lot from three hippy punks from the American desert. Absolutely recommended.
This is where the Meat Puppets absolutely begin to take off. An absolute masterpiece, and I swear it sounds just as fresh and invigorating as the day it came out (or that I bought it, which was about 4 years later). Yea, Nirvana did 3 songs off of it and made Kirkwood rich, but that really doesn't matter. You'll never hear any other record like this. Completely timeless, one of the 20 best records ever recorded, and a clear 10/10. (Rob Stockdale)
yep a mini understated masterpiece of melody and guitar noodling. Having missed this band back then, I bought it on these two factors 1.Kurts unplugged performance. 2.Mark Prindles incredibly accurate description of the sound. The release now has 19 tracks on it. Go get it!
My daughter's ex-boyfriend made me listen to this...well, not made me, but suggested...and left it around the house for a few days. I now own it, and Lake of Fire is as good a song as you will ever hear from any band, from any era.

Jeffery Hoelscher
Has anyone else noticed how much the beginning of "The Whistling Song" sounds like "Revolution"?

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Up on the Sun - SST Records 1985
Rating = 9

Here's where things took a turn for the normal. Nothing wrong with normal, of course. Lord knows I love that cute little cat in Garfield as much as the next guy, and I can't say enough about this warm underwear that keeps me cozy in Winterthyme. But what's tough about normal is that there are standards already set by other normal bands, like the Steve Miller Band and the Eagles. And if you choose to play in their ballpark - or even adopt a sound that SUGGESTS you might be trying to frolic in their stadium (not during a game; I mean like if they're playing a concert there) - you are expected to have every saleable feature nailed down and perfect. Otherwise you sound like an amateur wannabe.

So what does it mean that I gave this album a nine yet began my review with such a negative paragraph? It means two things, all of which I can sum up in just 248 short words: the guitar tone is lower, fuller and lightly chorused, probably due to a bigger amp or nicer axe (having been used to chop up the old guitar into firewood so that a new guitar could replace it), the songwriting and instrumentation are unbelievably smart from start to finish, trading in the old hardcore and country for a steaming poop mixture of funk, classic rock and hippie pot music with TONS of notes in the guitar lines, challenging bass/guitar interplay and Derrick just pumpin' out the uptempo beats left and lefter to keep such mature music moving quickly; the probably more expensive production makes everything sound loud, clear and right in your living room like you'd want it to be unless your stereo is in your bedroom in which case everything is going terribly wrong especially in terms of sound wave patterns in your home and you may want to consider bringing in an electrician to figure out the source of the problem - it might just be faulty wiring or a poltergeist, but unfortunately the vocals are pretty abominably hideous as either Curt or both Curt and Cris have given up warbling and screaming to attempt actual SINGING which they aren't too good at yet and generally sing flat and miss lots of notes, to such a degree that my wife made fun of them during the first song (which incidentally features by far the worst vocals on the album, so don't judge it on that track alone!).

Now back to our original topic - you see, "boogers" aren't generally considered to be nutritional, so Kellogg's "Cinnamon Toast Crunch (with Boogers)" ultimately proved unsuccessful in penetrating the oversaturated '98 market. But believe me, fans and readers, it was a Wild Ride!!!

Reader Comments (Zach English)
9/10 - I read somewhere that they completed this album in like 3 days, and if that's true than I'm dumbfounded as to how they made something this brilliant in that time span. Leaving the rustic, spiky guitar tones (and solos) in the dust, Curt's tones now sound golden and watery, like a Jerry Garcia for the Gen X set. Furthermore, the aforementioned drunken 12 year old has also been nipped in the bud, as his voice sounds lazily monotonous, but in a good way; the creaks and cracks of the past now give way to surefire melodies.

I've got to admit that when I first heard this album, I was disappointed. I thought it sounded too happy, and I thought that Cris' bass lines were corny and silly. But, slowly, I kept listening, and the brilliance of it all just seeped in one day. The lonely reverie of Meat Puppets II is still here in the grooves of this one; it's just a different way that the band puts it across: with beauty instead of anti-beauty; with confidence instead of unsteadiness. The band sounds like it progressed light years for this one, and every song registers, whether it be the catchy-as-hell "Swimming Ground" or the dangerously beautiful "Two Rivers". Though it's not quite on par with Meat Puppets II (nothing really is), Up on the Sun is a colorful, creative, melodious, peaceful album that no other band could have made.

Colin T.
let this one grow on you. the last thing i wanted to hear when i bought this was some Greatful Dead-like hippy junk (even though i've never heard a Greatful Dead song all the way through, except for that "touch of grey," which is pretty decent). don't YOU share that attitude, though; these songs are beautiful, complex, and well worth everyone's time. it just takes a while to get into it. this band... man... this band is completely different from the one that released meat puppets II and not ANYwhere the one that put out the first album. they keep you interested, no doubt about it.
Really great record. The guitar tone is so awesome on here, sometimes it sounds like a synthisizer or something. The title track, "Hot Pink", "Swimming Ground", and "Away" are my faves on here. Id definatly give this a 10 if Meat Puppets II wasnt ever released. Nice record all the way threw. I got the new CD release with 5 bonus tracks, which are interesting, albeit unnecassary. Although its cool to see "Hot Pink" evolve into the nice song it came to be. 9/10
This album 10/10 (beautiful and every track bounces along in arpeggiated melodies which never die down. They may be more normal than 2 but they match it for greatness).

This site 10/10 (best review site of all time with great analysis from Prindle. Sorry I forgot to mention it in my previous mails). (Rob Greene)
OK, so I'm not exactly sure evrything gets normal here as our esteemed Fox correspondent so eloquently put it, but this is where they kind of transform from any semblance of a punk band to a rock outfit, which they never again abandoned. Albeit an extremly creative, challenging and eclectic rock outfit, but just the same.

I debate this and Ween's the Mollusk in my own head as to which is my favorite record of all time, and this one won for at least 12 years until Mollusk came out. But whatever. The songs on this album are just great. The playing is tight and creative (if somewhat simple), but it's the lyrics that really make this one special. Some kind of desert stoner philosophy on life. Let's see, in order here. 1)Fatherhood, 2)gift from the mother of your childrens ample bosom, 3)music, 4)drugs, 5)pussy, 6)drought conditions in Arizona, 7)your son being a fertile ground for ideas, 8)more drugs and the use of such to avoid boredom in crappy towns, 9)drugs and picking up pussy (I really have no idea what Enchanted Porkfist is about, but if you ask me, what the hell else would an enchanted porkfist be), 10)an instrumental, but I am assuming the idea is probably based around drugs, 11)marriage and divorce, and finally 12)God. Pretty heady themes all written in very poetic manners.

YEa, the singing is weird and purposely off key, but I think that was kind of the point. These guys seemed to have a thing about always shooting themselves in the foot commercially for their whole career. If they had used the normal, non purposely off key and flat vocals, I am guessing this is a college radio hit and they would oh so deservedly surpass REM as the darlings of the 90's and go on to fame and fortune and then the bass player would develop a bad drug habit and it would all come crashing down. But I'm really happy that it wasn't because, finances of the band aside, this makes it an even more hidden treasure.

25 out of 10

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Out My Way EP - SST Records 1986.
Rating = 8

Apparently Curt gave birth to a baby before this release, becoming the first man to give birth to a baby through his penis head, and thus had less time for songwriting than before, due to the trials of fatherhood and incontinence. It absolutely shows on this release, though his maniacally terrific guitar stylings are displayed in DROVES here, with different guitar melodies, tones and even WAYS of playing piled up on top of each other in a VERY strong mix that accentuates every glistening note torn from his little friend Bob Guitar, who lives in a pixie castle in faraway Instrumentland with his wife Stinky Accordion McGillicudy. And one very special day, Bob and Stinky were baking a happy cake of decency when suddenly there was a knock on the door and it was the EVIL sorcerer Kirkwood with a malevolent bag of picks. Knowing that the dashing superhero George W. Bush was busy saving the underprivileged halfway around the globe, Bob and - no no no. This is going NOWHERE. I KNEW it was a bad idea to sell my site to Fox News.

The EP features six songs in the following genres - (a) ZZ Top boogie rock (I know that sometimes it's hard to understand why critics compare the Meat Puppets to ZZ Top, but "She's Hot" makes it pretty clear - the VOCALS even sound like ZZ Top), (b) gorgeous peaceful guitar pop rock, (a) discordant, eastern-tinged hippy music, (c) John Fogerty countrified happy pickin', (a) speedy bouncy cow-punk and (b) messy high-speed `50s r'n'r merged with punk. Those are the band's chosen genuses (HAHAHAHA!! DO YOU GET MY HILARIOUS META-JOKE????? HHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!).

And I've no problem with the types of music so confidently and professionally performed on this release. No problem either with the vocals, which are much more tuneful than on the last release. Mixing? Stunning! Guitar playing? Fantabulicioulus! The only thing that makes this release weaker than those preceding it (this 8 is a very low 8) is the songwriting itself. The first three songs are great, but the last three just aren't at all. I love CCR, but "Not Swimming Ground" is GENERIC John Fogerty pandering with almost no memorable hook. And I love cowpunk, but "Mountain Line" is just a less interesting version of songs Kurt has already written and performed on earlier Meat Puppets recordings. And I know they didn't write "Good Golly Miss Molly," but their cover not only adds nothing to it, but actually kind of makes it SHITTIER. None of this is helped by the fact that Bostrom plays almost no fills on the entire album, sounding like he's been electronically wired to a metronome and forced to play nothing but the beat, the beat, the tiresome beat for almost the entire release. Some say that he wasn't told how the songs went before being forced to record them. But how the hell would I know if that's true? You think I sit around emailing back and forth with Derrick Bostrom on a semi-regular basis? Yeah, maybe in a supernatural flight of the imagination world would that kind of dream come to fruition!

Reader Comments (Zach English)
8/10 - Quite a left turn. For this EP the band really lets in the Chuck Berry/ZZ Top kick. The title track has some of the greatest cascading guitar work that Curt's done yet, and "Good Golly Miss Molly" is breathtaking; the band rips the original to shreds. "Other Kinds of Love" is a bit sappy, but again, the music sounds like no other, fluctuating from country to psychedelia to pop and back again.

So why only the eight? Well, the opener, "She's Hot", sounds a little too much like ZZ Top for me. I mean, Huevos really sounds like ZZ Top, but the songs on that one work because of the jarringly simplistic, powerful attack that the band lays down; on "She's Hot" it doesn't work as well. It's an okay song, but not something I particularly enjoy listening to. Plus, the damn record is too short! But overlooking that stuff, Out My Way (now packaged in the Rykodisc form with outstanding extra tracks) is quite worthy.

Colin T.
excellent once again. i don't even listen to ZZ Top, but if I did, i imagine they'd sound like this. the reprisal of "swimming ground" is great AND it makes you appreciate the original it a new kinda way. it IS short and it's pretty dorky in some places, but, uh, i like it for some reason. (Rob Greene)
Out my Way, in my mind, is the final installment in the holy trinity of their output (II and Up on the Sun being the first 2). You got the guitar playing right, but then slag the songwriting on side 2. She's Hot, ehh, kind of an average cockrocker thing, but then the record flows. Out my Way is beautiful, so is Other KInds of LOve. Then for my biggest point of contention, Not Swimming Ground is a great song. Do you not realize Kirkwood plays a fingertap solo!?!?!?!?! A freaking 80's art band pulling out the Van Halen maneuver. Simply unheard of at that time. Should have got them banned from the circuit if everyone wasn't secretly a Van Halen fan at that time anyways, wishing they could get some trim in the parking lot before the arena show, but they were too nerdy. Anyways, come on Prindle, this is a great song. And so is Mountain Line, which I always assumed was a clever play on Mountain Lion that these loadies used for a cocaine reference. And then Good Golly Miss Molly is killer too as Kirkwood simply shreds at a million miles an hour.

Can't forget what a godsend this guy was to guitar players who didn't care about metal in the 80's. It was like him and Paul Leary that had the balls (or testicular talents) to really play, and everybody else kind of just jangled as if playing guitar was not a cool thing to be able to do. Or they were just hopelessly bad like Greg Ginn. And this is probably his finest playing that KIrkwood has ever put on record.

Don't forget the bonus tracks either on the reissue.

10 of 10

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Mirage - SST Records 1987.
Rating = 6

Same stark, empty production as Up On The Sun, but with songs that are much less to my liking. Jazzy minor-key chords, clich‚d happy major-key chords, King Crimson sub-Discipline noodling, bland drumming, Spin Doctors whiteboy funk, Dire Straits whiteman jazz rock and some of the flattest, wrong-note vocals in the Book of Abram.

The Book of Abram is one of the lost books of The Bibble.

It's terribly disheartening to hear how unsympathetic production can ruin an album. Surely somebody could have alerted Curt to the fact that a lot of his notes were off and perhaps he should consider taking a voice lesson or at least giving a little more thought to writing melodies with notes he can hit. And am I really the only one who hears all that empty space? The drum patterns are simple, the bass lines aren't terribly remarkable and the guitarwork is for the most part so slow and note-ish that there's just all this EMPTINESS in the mix where it seems like something else should go. Like, for example, some better melodies! Who is this "Steven Escallier" anyway? Let's look him up on the Internet. Okay here we go. Says here that he produced Out My Way by the Meat Puppets. Oh kick ass! He engineered a Michael Bruce solo album!! And there he is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel 16 West. I guess he was killed in Vietnam. Preumably in the late `80s or so.

Fuckin' Nixon.

There are some good songs on Mirage - some nice twickly harmonics and the occasional fast raucous number - but the guitar tone is slightly chorused and lousy (like a Japanese Ventures album, if you own several of those), and the genres of focus don't scream "Mark Prindle" the way that such innovative and experimental genres as adult contemporary and smooth jazz do.

I'm told that my readers out there love it when I use emoticons so I'm going to do that for you right now.

Here's me peeing in your mouth: :7O---------------------------C===================

Here's me taking a poop on the beach: B****::::::::::::::::

Here's me dressed up in a "9" costume: 9

Here's me with a buck tooth: :7Q

Reader Comments (Zach English)
7/10 - Even more peaceful & melodic than Up on the Sun, with not quite as revelatory results. The songs really sound acoustic and hippy-ish; not a bad thing in and of itself, but it's also not my favorite style of Meat Puppets songs. Give me a psychedelic-tinged, melodious song like "Hot Pink" or "Two Rivers", or a punky rave up like "New Gods" over this kind of style any day.

With that said, the band does not devolve, thankfully, into Crosby, Stills and Nash on this album. Yes, it's more sedate and calm. No, there aren't many blistering solos like on "Out My Way". But upon further listening, the quality of the songs is solidified; none sound too sappy, and Curt's lovable drawl keeps them all under the same roof. I would get Up on the Sun before this one, though, because the two records have lots of parallels. If you dig Up on the Sun as much as I do, then feel free to fork out that dough for this baby.
Miarage is either where the Puppets begin their transformation to a rock outfit with serious pop leanings, or the end of the early sound. I can never decide. What Mirage most definitely is is the Meat Puppets bunk acid. This one is very divisive amongst fans, and my cousin basically refers to most bands "off" record as their Mirage. From what I can tell, the band themselves don't even like it as they immediately dropped Huevos 5 months later and with the exception of Liquified (and probably the Mirage tour, I didn't get on board until Huevos), they never played these songs in concert. I tend to like it for the songs, but there are some problems here.

To start with the negative, the biggest problem with this one is the production is just fucking horrible. All very jazz fusion sounding with way too much compression and chorus, making the solos sometimes sound like something off of an Eddie Money record. There are times when the sound itself drops into a jazz rock kind of thing, Bostroms drums are way overproduced to the point of sounding electronic (I have no proof they are, but it sounds like a drum machine), Curt has a phrase at the end of their cheesiest all time song where he overdubs "Oooh Baby I tell y'all, I'm a machine". And maybe most ominously, this is the record where Kirkwood starts an offsetting trend of basically giving up any pretenses of lyrics in the chorus, and instead repeats the title of the song over and over for a chorus. (See Mirage, Get on Down, Love our Children Forever, Liquified on this record alone- then see Paradise, Look at the Rain, Bad Love, Dry Rain, I cant be counted on, Light, In Love, Void, Strings on your Heart, Meltdown, Party till the world Obeys, Nail it Down, This Day, Open Wide).

So anyways, the good. The songs are pretty top notch. Side one (back when there were 2 sides, a trend I often miss) is easy going light psychedelic, mild country pop, and has a couple of really good hooks, especially Mighty Zero and Get on Down. Side 2 goes into more of a jazzy type sound for the first part (for some reason, I get the sound of a christian rock band, although they are decidely not that). Ends up with a lovely song, Love Our Children Forever, a great bluesy thing, and finishes with Liquified, which would be hopelessly out of place if it weren't for the fact it is the last song, and a true harbinger of the sound to come. Plus it kicks ass, despite having the worst distortion tone they ever employed (this is an ode to consumption, right? "Dried up aluminum water spilling down on you" being the most obvious, but freeze dried gerbil ears and whatnot throughout the rest). Beauty and 100 Miles are also great, great songs. So I guess I like side 2 better and earns the slightly higher overall grade for me.

The whole thing flows very nicely, and the guitar is as always top notch. A lot of good hooks and melodies. The lyrics are not among the best they penned, but are smart and unique as always. They just kind of have a higher standard in this area in my opinion. My last thought here is when this record is put into restrospective perspective, it just reminds me of how bands were so flummoxed on how to break through to the mainstream in the mid and late 80"s. This was an obvious attempt at commercialism, but it now seems so hopelessly misguided that it probably satisfied nobody. The Puppets apparently figured you either went hair metal in 87 or you went for the adult contemporary sound. They chose the latter, which I guess I am thankful for. An attempt at hair metal might have been pretty amusing, because they would have missed there too. I'll give this one a 7 out of 10.

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Huevos - SST Records 1988.
Rating = 7

ZZ Top. That's what everybody always says about this album, so I was hoping to be the voice of dissent and say "Not ZZ Top!" But such cannot be done. Because this album is VERY clearly intended to sound like an early ZZ Top record. There's just no way around it. The wimpy light dirty distortion is the same, the vocals are hoarse and Gibbonsy, the songwriting is all Texas boogie barre chords and bluesy riffs - even the album title fits right in with Fandango!, Tejas, El Loco, Tres Hombres and all those other damned pre-Eliminator ZZ Top album titles. But does it work? Can Curt Kirkwood's songwriting match up to the classics that are "Tush," "Just Got Paid," "Arrested For Driving While Blind" and "La Grange"? We will address this question when we return.

We're back, and the answer is no. There are no ZZ Top rock and roll classics on this LP. There ARE, however, a heck of a lot of "good ZZ Top non-hits." Which is to say that even though there might not be any "Tube Snake Boogie"s on here, there are plenty of "Pearl Necklace"s. Jesus Christ, I feel like a porno script writer.

My ears present me with three highlights on here: "I Can't Be Counted On" is one fantastic pop melody, "Sexy Music" is a gorgeous hypnotic mantra song (up there with ZZ's "Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell") and "Look At The Rain" is a fun as hell boogie choogler that would have one of the best choruses in the Meat Puppets catalog if any member of the band could actually sing it. The others are all good fun chuggle buggle but a bit disappointing due to occasionally horrific vocals, a watery empty mix that doesn't do justice to the music and guitarwork that is a lot more clich‚d and uninteresting than we've grown to expect from Mr. Kirkwood (who is usually a really unique, talented Notemaster General with finger movement ideas fine and large). Only one song is shit-filled though - their attempt at a "La Grange" rocker entitled "Automatic Mojo" (though I can't not sing it as "Automatic Blowjob"). Which brings up another interesting piece of nonsense: "Mr. Mojo Risin'" is "Jim Morrison" all mixed up, right? Yes it is. Just like "Arby's" got its name from "R.B.'s" (Roast Beef's). But wasn't the Lizard Dingaling's name really "JAMES Morrison"? Did he assume that his fans wouldn't have been quite as enthralled by "Mr. Mojo -- Ass Rein"? Well I would have. I enjoy honesty. As for "Meat Puppets," if you spent five hours mixing up the letters in their name, you'd get the hilarious "Peat Muppets," a group of Jim Henson characters that live in piles of mud. Which reminds me of a hilarious joke that I heard when my wife took me to see Sarah Silverman last night. Sarah was talking about her "inappropriate father" who told her things like "'Humpty Dumpty' is about a guy who fucks his shit." HA!!!! That's the kind of joke I would have made up!!!! And now she's making a fortune and I'm about to get laid off! Up yours, The Academy! (Mad Magazine).

Reader Comments (Zach English)
7/10 - ZZ Top if they were weirdly creative and idiosyncratic. I couldn't believe it when I heard this album; "Where are the shimmering, beautiful guitar tones and the loopy rhythm antics?", I said to myself. Well, this Meat Puppets album has the distinction of sounding like nothing else in their catalog (there are traces of it in Monsters, but not to a great extent). At first, like almost everybody I know, I hated this one with a passion. I mean hated it. But like every other MP album, this one seeped into my blood, and now I've learned to like it alot, even though I do not love it.

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity is the keyword for this record. Curt Kirkwood, the same guy who had breathtaking psychedelic chords intertwined with staggeringly quick, heartfelt solos, plays mostly power chords on this one. You heard me. Cris mostly plays boogie-ish, straight ahead bass lines that follow the guitar, and Bostrom plays....well, actually Bostrom gets pretty fast and hard-hitting here. His grooves are still solid and straight forward, but he is revealed to be an uncannily powerful drummer on this album.

Songs like "Fruit" and "Sexy Music" are beautiful, and have traces of psychedelia in them, and rockers like "Crazy" and the almost AC/DC-esque "Automatic Mojo" are surprisingly effective. Plus, the lyrics are still vintage Curt: abstract to the point of insanity. "I Can't Be Counted On" is my least favorite Pups song ever, and there's no way that Huevos is on par with their earlier stuff, or even with Out My Way, but it is a very solid, hard-rocking, grooving album. Give it a chance.
To put it efficiently, I love every aspect of this record. It was the first Puppets record I bought back in 88, and started a long fascination with this band that continues to this day. I love every song on it, I love the guitar playing, the lyrics, the production, hell, even the hoarse singing. I even love the bonus songs on the reissue. To me, this is what the Meat Puppets really sounded like live (if you played the thing double speed).

ZZ Top? Yea, I guess you can go there as everyone always has. It is often attributed to the use of the Les Paul, but to my understanding, Curt used the same Telecaster on all of these early records. Either way, the guitar tone is nice and thick, and this is some of the best loosest playing he ever put on record. They always have employed desert imagery which is an essential part of the overall sound, but I always have visions of this being recorded in a barn with the doors open with a view of the desert. I'm sure it was recorded in your normal studio, but I'll keep my illusions.

The songs? Paradise is great picking and the most obvious ZZ Top thing here. Look at the Rain has the coolest lyrics about being poor and not giving a fuck, and is a great groove. Bad Love is ok but has a great ending coda with cool sex references to "jelly finger and pinocchio". Sexy Music, well, is sexy music, and has such a great lyric in the coda (Hot as the sun/ the red rubber fountain/ of ectasy flows from the palms of my hands/like the wind). Crazy has a great guitar breakdown and talks about letting dresses fall to the ground. Fruit is weird and jazzy. Automatic Mojo and Dry Rain, the other ZZ Top like songs are both loud and rocking with great guitar work. Finally, I Can't be Counted on is one of their best hooks and one of my favorites, which I guess is the complete opposite of another obvious fan who wrote on here. Just gives you an idea of the many different opinions the Pups can allow.

So in essence, and here is the best part, the record is basically just all the sound of fucking. And who exactly doesn't like fucking? Shit, I think Fruit is all one long poetic reference to various female body parts engaged in while partaking in fucking. It also sounds great while you are barbecuing and swimming and drinking beer. And who doesn't like BBQ, water and beer??? Ahh the perfect day. Fucking and beer and BBQ and relaxation and more fucking and beer. Right to the point where you drank so much beer you can't get it up anymore and you may drown. Always make sure to get the fucking done first.


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Live In Montana - Rykodisc 1999.
Rating = 8

For the longest time (1999-2003 RIP), I couldn't figure out why this CD existed. It just seemed overly messy, ugly, random and pointless - like a joke release to show how unprofessional the Meat Puppets could be in a concert setting. Now finally, after listening closely to all their albums in a row, I get it! Whether or not I will ever know the REAL reason for its release, I now at least understand why I personally need it to exist. It's because the production on the last several releases was so stiff, empty and lifeless. In a live setting, the "bruddahs" really brought out the energy, speeding up "Blitzkrieg Bop" and shouting "1-2-3-4!" between every song.

Likewise, the "Meat Puppets" did the same thing. Drummin' Derrick Discograph especially sounds right in his element again, blasting super-energetic fun punky beats to "Liquified," the as-yet-unreleased "Touchdown King," and some Black Sabbath covers at the end. That man should always be playing fast - whomever made him start playing slower (I'll go out on a limb and suggest that it might have been Curt Kirkwood, who wrote 98% of the band's songs) blew one of the band's strongest attributes out the window when he did so. But about the CD itself - both brothers yell and warble the lyrics together a lot, the guitar and bass are mistake-filled and drunkish, but the energy is so fun and happenstance!

And song choices? Talk about CHOICE song ch-aslaew. Three from the upcoming Monsters, two Huevos (including "Automatic Mojo," the worst song on the album!), two II (it would have been three had Nirvana's MTV Buttfucked taken place by this time), one Mirage and one Up On The Sun. But there are plenty more - in the form of "cover tunes" like the Replacements might do! Elvis's dark cute "Cotton Candy Land," Nat King Cole's "Dough Rey Mi" (I guess it was Nat King Cole. Maybe not, as it's an awfully country-western song), 1 rap thing about making sex, a Roy Orbison drawling yawler, a Holocaust classic thanks to Metallica's cover of it and not one, not three, not four, but TWO Black Sabbath covers! Both sped up faster than the speed of Ozzy Osbourne.

And that, my friends, is the first-ever live album by Phoenix, AZ's legendary MEAT PUPPETS. Recorded in 1988, it captures the raucous trio in peak musical form, running through both their own hits and a generous handful of their favorite covers played in the uniquely ferocious and lovingly skewed style that is unquestionably theirs. FOR PROMOTION ONLY. NOT FOR SALE.

Actually, here's my original review of it, back when I gave it a 7:

Boy, but these guys sucked dogwang live! All the songs on this 1988 live document are great (along with some hilarious cover tunes like "Dough Rey Mi," "Cotton Candy Land," and "Sweet Leaf"), but I have to dock three points for three very significant faults:

1) Sloppy playing. Granted, they were probably stoned off my porch, but they ruin some darn fine songs with lazy execution.

2) Long, boring stretches of jamming. If I wanted to listen to an Allman Brothers cover band, I'd put on a Napalm Death album and shoot myself in the mouth.

3) The most atrociously ugly and off-key singing since Jagged Little Pill. It is ASTONISHING how badly these guys sing in a live setting.

So, aside from the performance itself being a complete piece of shit, it's a pretty entertaining CD. Funny, at least. There's some good stage patter. I can't imagine any non- fans wanting to sit through more than about four minutes of it though.

Reader Comments
Caught 'em on this tour and this is a fine document of the Pups at their peak in terms of musicianship. I think that all of us would agree that their peak on wax was around "II" and "Up On The Sun," two albums that continue to bring immense joy in my life.

But forgive me if I don't recall a lot of what I saw that night in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. I just remember taking a lot of hallucinogens and feeling that these guys were as good as The Grateful Dead at Alpine Valley. I also remember talking with Curt before the show (as well as members of the great Eleventh Dream Day) asking him who composed the letter I received from the Pups a few years earlier with the drawing of a milk container with "2% crap" written on it. It was Derrick, and I still have the letter lodged in with "Up On The Sun" to this day.

Anyway, Curt was very quiet and seemed ill-at-ease with my presence. He initially said "No thanks" to my offer of an Altoid until I explained that they were curiously strong. Curt paused for a few seconds and then reconsidered with a smile. There we were: two men tripping our balls off enjoying a mint before a show with one man still able to pull off some serious picking during the set while the other drooled in front of the soundboard.

It was pretty shaky in some spots: Derrick broke down during "Enchanted Pork Fist" and had to count off the sound again in mid-stream. Curt spent an enormous amount of time using a pitch shifter on his voice while talking to "Starchild." Cris, probably the most fucked up of the three, managed to work miracles from his four-string without incident. And like this album, the boys hinted at greatness while managing to fuck over any expectation that they could be contenders if they just played by the rules.

But why play by the rules when you already have ZZ Top? Part of the appeal of this band is their left-of-center outlook and refusal to hunker down and homogenize their chops. During our conversation, Curt repeatedly stated how bad things had gotten at SST by then and that the band would jump ship as soon as their contract was up. When pressed on what labels were looking at them, he admitted that few labels had approached them with an honest interest.

A "normal" band would probably do some things differently in order to change that, but not the Pups. Instead, we have a band that continued to dose before every gig and the end result could sometimes be sloppy (Ever tried playing on acid? Do you know how hard it is to maintain a conversation with Howie Klien while his face turns into a skull?) just like this platter demonstrates.

"Live In Montana" is probably pressed for those M.P. fans who snatched up the reissues for the bonus tracks. It's a nice reminder for those who remember (or think they do) how refreshing the trio was back when alternative rock was just that. For novices, it's probably best to start with the aforementioned studio classics, just like its recommended to start with a joint rather than downing three hits of acid right before showtime.

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Monsters - SST Records 1989.
Rating = 8

What did you just say? You'd only give this one a SIX??? Oh, I must disagree. I love this one too. A very, very high 8 from old Prind. I suppose the songs are a bit predictable at times, but that's because this is probably the poppiest album they've ever done. Lots of nice chord sequences to enjoy. Almost like "indie rock," except sparkly, beautiful and a tremendous joy to listen to.

Not only that but the MIX is finally correct for a band to have!!! There's no depressing emptiness or superbland clarity opening the aural freeway to do-nothing drums and bad vocals. Instead, reverbed guitar lays down the backrope, and lead waggly-doodles spiro the agnew, fishbird right to tight!

(That was a coded message for my traitor friends; please ignore if you're not planning to bomb the Capitol Building this 4th of July)

The production is oddly muffled, but still rich with guitar fillings (both rhythm and lead) at all times, with Curt letting his spirit soar out of his body through the axe strings like a wavering energy bolt of musical expression light heartbeat. Not only that, but listeners will find themselves buried up to the neck, choking to death on cement shoes of full, firm distortion and wonderfully melodic singalongs. And the two or three songs that aren't so melodic your foot will tap happiness through the oil in your veins (which is poisoning you, btw. People aren't supposed to have oil in their veins) - those two or three songs are HEAVISH METTTAL! "Attacked By Monsters" is METALLICA CHUG!!!! "The Void" is NAZARETH DARK FUNKY BOOOGIE!!!! "Flight of the Fire Weasel" is ZZ Top doing HARDCORE PUNKNOGRAPHY!!!! Finally all the pieces have come together again and the Fleet Williams (which is the name of the band now that I've renamed them) totally sound like they know what they're doing. Rockin'!!!! Cripes, even the VOCALS sound great! I can only assume somebody finally insisted that Curt take a lesson.

Huh? No, a SINGING lesson! Christ, why would he need to take a biology lesson!?!

Oh I see. Yes, I suppose that's a valid reason.

You can take your finger out of my penis now.

Reader Comments (Zach English)
6/10 - A solid album, but one of the weaker Meat Puppets albums. On this one, it seems like they tried to mix the simplistic, hard-hitting Huevos songs with Out My Way technical prowess, and, much like Out My Way's aforementioned "She's Hot", alot of this album just doesn't strike me. The melodies and rhythms are kind of predictable, and despite some searing Kirkwood solos (there are lots here), Monsters remains probably my least favorite Pups album. You still need it if you're a fan of the band like I am, but don't expect to be bowled over.

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Forbidden Places - London Records 1991.
Rating = 8

London Records is a major label, right? If so, this is the Meat Puppets' major-label debut, a fun, fancy-free presentation of Bad Company/Steve Miller- style `70s hard rock with production so great, they actually sound like a REAL BAND! And Curt's vocals sound even better than on the last album, hitting all kinds of beautiful notes in a calm, friendly voice that combines with the great radio-ready rock riffs to sound even less like Meat Puppets than the Foo Fighters sound like the Germs!

So no, the Meat Puppets haven't been the most intense, innovative young rock alternative in quite some time, but if you appreciate great melodic hard rock, you're not going to find a more consistent release than this one from the last 15 years. The guitar tones range from macho heavy distortion to clean, round, full note beauty to country-folk acoustic to semen-encrusted wank metal, but at no time are you in doubt of Curt's awesome talents at moving his fingers up and down a group of tightly wound strings spread across a piece of wood on his chest.

And when Curt isn't receiving pleasure at the local S&M club, he practices the guitar.

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Too High to Die - London Records 1994.
Rating = 7

This may be the best-selling Meat Puppets album of all time, but it's certainly not the best-PLAYING Meat Puppets album of all time! The riffs are just too traditional and predictable, like I've heard them all before. Hard rock, folk, blues, melodic grunge - you'll find it all here, but with disappointingly few surprises. Mostly it rode to success on the heroin-addled mare of Nirvana MTV Unplugged, which featured the Kirkwood brothers assisting Kris Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Ol' Corpsey on three tracks from II. America's children heard the three songs, recognized them as better than any Nirvana song ever written and went out to buy.. the wrong album. Or perhaps they were lured by the hit single "Backwater," a countryish `70s rock song with about the least appealing guitar line and vocals in the band's entire catalog. "Backwater"? More like "BACKWASH," if you ask me! Or "SHITwater"! Or "SHITBACK!" Or "WATERASS!" Or "BACKWATER"! The singer sounds so arrogant, you'll swear you're hanging out in a Paris caf‚ with Guy Debord and the S.I. (sports illustrated)! And the song itself is so hokey and irritating, it doesn't even come CLOSE to creating a "situation." I still remember how aghast I was when I found out it was by the Meat Puppets and not the Spin Doctors. So if that song is all you know by the band, PLEASE forget you ever heard it. It's no good! It's just part of the "spectacle"!

Unfortunately, the rest of the album follows (mr.) suit - a collection of generic folk-rocky and hard rock songs, similar in spirit to Forbidden Places, but with more loose smiles and Southern-tinged hooks that work about as often as a Lettrist. I'm tempted to drop its grade to a 6, but there are maybe. oh, FIVE great songs on it, I suppose. There are some nice catchy folk-pop-rock songs and one good solid blues number, but most of the album reminds me of late-period Dinosaur Jr. Just a bunch of over-"heroic" guitar riffs that are okay, I suppose, but not any more innovative than Lenny Kravitz (legendary founder of the Jimi Hendrix Ripoff in 2333 BC, sir). It almost makes a guy want to go on a "psychogeographical" "drift"!

Reader Comments (Zach English)
8/10 - The comeback. Powered into the mainstream by the terrific, hard rocking "Backwater" (featuring some of Curt's most Neil Young-inspired, slashing solos ever), this album has an eclectic flair that most Meat Puppets albums don't have. There's great songs ("Roof with a Hole", "Severed Goddess Hand"), good songs ("Flaming Heart", "Comin' Down") and a couple of crap songs ("Shine", "Why?"), but overall it's a strong return to form. This might have been their last good album though, as Cris has dwindled down into perilous personal problems, and Curt has taken residence in Austin, Texas and gathered up new members for a "new" Meat Puppets (time will tell how that turns out, though I've heard great things about them), and Bostrom plays in Today's Sounds and runs the official Meat Puppets web page ( which is terrific in it's own right. They made another one after this, so read on...

Bob Royale
I think you're just a little too hard on this one. 2 deserves the 10, no doubt, and I think Up On The Sun would also be a 10 if that kind of thing were allowed to happen (Animal Kingdom!!!!). Those albums are both certainly better than this one, but there's a lot more good here than bad. The singer actually hitting notes takes away some of it's folksy charm, but the songs themselves are really good. Severed Goddess Hand rules...actually, the first half of this is excellent! I remember having it on tape when I was 14 and being absolutely baffled by Station (which sounds like Ween, and is great in it's trippy knuckleheadedness) so there's probably a bit of nostalgia talking here, but I like this one quite a bit. Your comparison to later period Dinosaur Jr is pretty apt, but these guys are covering more ground stylistically from song to song (I also seem to like later Dinosaur Jr a bit more than you do, though). Too High To Die holds up really well if you listen to it now.

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No Joke! - London Records 1995.
Rating = 8

This album gets a bad shake, but that's only because it orders "pumpkin" - how fubbing good is a pumpkin shake going to be?

This album gets a bad rap, but that's only because the record company decided to throw it directly into the world's cheapy bins without a stitch of support or promotion. "Your bass player is a drug user," they said. "That is our reason for burying one of the best CDs we've released all year." In my highly regarded underwear opinion, No Joke! is one of your finer Meat Puppets albums - all full of catchy mature emotional dramatic pop-grunge with mellow, well-sung vocals. Actually the mellowness does pose one problem -- it makes the disc feel a little samey after a while, what with distorted chord washes being so prevalent. But are you into the Screaming Trees or the most recent Pearl Jam album (whatever it might be at the time you're reading this)? If so, you might enjoy the No Joke! album! It has nine great songs on it, in my opinion! Including some beautiful country-western folk and TWO great songs by the lesser Kirkwood, Cristopher! So buy it today! And LOVE me!

Or hate me. See if I fucking care, a-hole. (I do.) Did you know that Roland Fratzl, Canadian, feels that my Only The Good Die Young CDR is "one of the worst things (he's) ever heard? How can that be? I put 67 songs on that thing! I tried to make each one sound completely unlike any other song ever written! Is that why he hates it so much? Because it's too unfamiliar? Or too novelty- esque? I like to consider myself somewhat original! Do I really suck THAT bad? And if so, why do some people think I'm really good? I find this whole thing very disconcerting, for some reason. But on the bright side, maybe I'm an OUTSIDER artist whose music is so terrible, it's fascinating! I'd have no problem with that! I could change my name to Markredibly Strange Prindle! Hey! Who's with me??? (*everybody follows me off a bridge into the ocean*)

Reader Comments (Zach English)
6/10 - No Joke was a star-crossed album from the start, as internal problems had already started to tear the band apart. Most of the songs sound a bit sludgy and staid on first listening, but I have come to enjoy this one a little more on repeated listenings. Though it's a definite step down from Too High to Die, this one definitely rocks harder than that disc. Most of the early, psychedelical influenced stuff and bluegrass stylings that made the band great are almost nowhere to be found here, but the songs have hooks, which will at least partially redeem an album. Again, it's not revolutionary stuff, but it's a decent album, and definitely not as schizophrenic as Monsters, which it bears a resemblance to. So, this may be the last one we hear from this trio, but what a great trip it has been. (Michael J. Nehl)
"the band...most music fans tend to ignore...mercilessly" No Joke! (of course there's pun intended!) Comments from only one other person besides Mark and Zach!

I own all the "Pups" CD's 'cepting for the live Montana thing; somehow I just figgered they'd be kind of lame in concert. Probably gonna have to buy it anyway, just to have a complete set...

I can't believe only a 6 for No Joke, either. It's maybe my second fave after II. But as you say, they're all so different I was never sure just what to expect.

Anyway, completed underated if even rated at all in most people's consciouness. Oh well, I kind of like relatively unknown bands, (like the Cows, Polvo, etc.). Leaves more for me... (Peter Harwood)
you guys rock - so do the Meat Puppets
Eh, I don't really agree with you on this review. "No Joke" starts out with a few great hard rockers, but it goes downhill with "Vampires". It's not a bad album, just sort of boring, not nearly as great as the old Puppets stuff.
I actually quite like this one too. It does feel like it runs a little longer than it needs to, but I appreciate the shift from the flashy solos of Too High To Die to an approach that's a little more based on layered texture and cool noises. "Scum", "Nothing", and "Eyeball" are some kick-but psychedelic grungers, "Taste Of The Sun" and "Chemical Garden" are swirlingly beautiful, and Chris Kirkwood's "Cobbler" is awful fun and catchy (who can beat a triumphant refrain of "Buy myself a new pair of shoes!"?). Dig it out of the used bin for $4. I sure did.

I came out to see the Meat Puppets last year in support of that Rise To Your Knees album, and it was actually a pretty good show; overly heavy on Too High To Die (though I guess that album and those 3 songs from Meat Puppets II that good ol' Niaboc Truk made famous might be what a casual fan would want to hear), but plenty of "fan favorite" kind of selections from all over the discography too. I was slightly saddened to witness an underage girl in a homemade Meat Puppets jacket (a jean jacket with the ripped off front of a No Joke! t-shirt sewed on back, actually) come with her mom and fail to get into the show due to it being 21+. Kids today (or at least one kid today) still know who The Meat Puppets are, and are ruining perfectly good t-shirts and jackets in their name, but cannot actually enjoy their live performances because people are drinking alcohol there. Awww.

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Golden Lies - Breaking Records 2000
Rating = 6

Certain people, mostly ex-members of the Meat Puppets (DB - and I don't mean "Data Base"), will tell you that this isn't actually a Meat Puppets album. And they're right! When Cris became horribly addicted to hard drugs (two different people have died of drug overdoses in his home - one of them was his wife) and Derrick tired of touring, Curt moved to Texas and tried to pull together a new band. Unfortunately, no record company would issue his new band's record unless it said "Meat Puppets" on the cover. So he agreed to their demands at checkpoint (similar to "gunpoint," but with a. well, you get it). Now I'll give you this: this is reason enough to doubt the validity of Golden Lies as a "Meat Puppets" album. HOWEVER, you'll then have to give me this: the popularity of the Meat Puppets is mostly due to Curt's songwriting and guitar playing anyway. So if you're into the Meat Puppets for Curt, this new CD won't get under your shirt!

Hard rock, slow dramatic chords, dark spy riff, good punk-metal intro, catchy grunge verse, gentle loud romantic song, excellent serious melody, bouncy Irish chorus, herky-jerky drumbeat, beautiful chorus, Tom Waitsy macabre carnival music - see, this is all nice and exactly what you want from a band called the "Meat Puppets": there's the basic hard rock but with GREAT GREaTGREA melody from Heaven ("I Quit," "You Love Me," "Pieces Of Me"), the quirky oddness of smartivity (the surf-spy of "Batwing," the chorus of "Push The Button," the odd developments in "Fatboy/Fat/Requiem"), but there's one problem. One big gross new problem that nobody could possibly have foreseen. CURT RAPPING.

I'll let you pause now to get your ball bearings.

I'm not talking about one minor discretion - I'm talking about FOUR DIFFERENT SONGS recited in this butt-dumb rhythmic unfunky spoken-shout thing over atrocious funk metal riffing puke. It's almost as if his relocation to the home state of the Butthole Surfers (and production work with Paul Leary) gave him the same Dumbguy Diarrhea that those fellows had when they recorded "Dracula From Houston," "Shit Like That" and all the other faux- youth music they've been embarrassing themselves with in recent memory. But I suppose it's understandable, what with rap music traditionally being by and for old white people.

My final word on Golden Lies: I like it!

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Live - DCN 2002
Rating = 4

Ever had the urge to watch a depressed, drugged, aging stripper beg for money and cry deliriously for somebody to go home with her? Ever ached to watch a 75-year-old woman bellydance and shove swords down her throat while you try not to think of your grandmother naked? Think it's sexy for a woman to walk around pretending she's a robot for five minutes before finally letting you see her small breasts for maybe four seconds? How about an overweight goth girl masturbating with a knife for a couple of minutes - in PLAIN FULL VIEW - after slicing blood capsules in her mouth with it? A sixteen-year-old girl burning her arms and tongue with fire? A 35- year-old skank with a huge belly tattoo reading "Chaos Girl" pretending she's a politically correct student in the audience before going on stage to shake her well-used nudity? A woman with a fake mustache and men's clothing taking several minutes to finally let her huge droopy breasts dangle halfway down her body? And all this joy and vivre coming right after a gross interracial couple spends half an hour onstage telling horrible adult jokes and trying to convince you that your `cocks will get hard and pussies will get wet" during the course of this harrowing "burlesque show"?

If none of this sounds terribly appealing to you, then please BE MORE CAREFUL THAN I WAS WHEN PLANNING YOUR SATURDAY EVENING.

As for this crappy live album, it's the new band playing inferior versions of songs from Golden Thighs. Curt ruins every good song by singing in the wrong key, the few old songs they perform (the three Nirvana Unplugged numbers, plus "Up On The Sun" and "Touchdown King") sound forced and bored, and I mean. what the hell is the point of this crap? ELEVEN of these songs are from Golden Lies, an album that sold about four copies. Wouldn't you rather spend that $16 on sex with a depressed, drugged, aging stripper?

Reader Comments (Barrett Barnard)
hey mark.i just read the meat puppets reviews.great shit.the gallagher joke was genius.but i think too high too die is a little stronger than you give it credit for.but whatever.also the greg ginn interview blew my wad.great shit.wierd about the cats though.what a cool guy.oh yeah what does tom troccolis dog sound like.i met one guy who had heard em but he said they sucked.he was also wearing a rage against the machine shirt.what a douche.anyways thanks for both.

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Rise To Your Knees - Anodyne 2007
Rating = 7

The hilariousest thing ever would be a guy who'd only heard the first Meat Puppets album seeing Rise To Your Knees at his local Turtle's and saying, "Say, I'm in the mood from some insane screamy hardcore. I think I'll purchase this new Meat Puppets album!" Because then he'd go home and think his CD player was turning at 1 RPM per day. This is the SLOWEST ALBUM EVER.

Cris and Curt Kirkwood are brothers again, and although this certainly sounds like a Curt Kirkwood solo album, supposedly Cris does indeed play bass guitar on it. But most excitingly of all, back on the drum stool is none other than the legendary Derri

ere of some guy named Ted Marcus. The vocals are calm, the tempos are mid- to draggy-, and the music is mostly warm, optimistic-sounding, laidback guitar music with fairly standard chord progressions but beautiful guitar tones and good vocal melodies. And although Kurt does his best to separate the songs stylistically (ex. "Fly Like The Wind" is dark, evocative and arpeggiated; "Tiny Kingdom" has a banjo riff; "Enemy Love Song" is terrible ska-pop; "New Leaf" is 70s-style hard rock; "Light The Fire" is Eastern-tinged and brooding), the tempos are so unvaryingly pokey and the song structures so standardized that it all starts to feel awfully predictable and draggy after a while. It's one of those albums that is so compositionally traditional and lengthy (15 songs, 68 minutes) that you can't help but notice how dull the standard "verse/chorus/verse/chorus/middle eight/guitar solo/verse/chorus" arrangement can be.

Luckily, Curt Kirkwood has an interesting (odd) singing voice, a knack for memorable vocal melodies, and an understanding of the importance of instrumental tone. These gifts allow him to mold even the most standard chord sequence ever into a Warm Cozy Blanket For The Ears(TM). I've been on the phone with Hewlett Packard technical support for the past 35 minutes. Only one of these songs is shorter than three and a half minutes. Luckily, it's the one I HATE! Good old Bad Religion and The Meat Puppets, keeping the songs I hate short.

If you're unfamiliar with the Meat Puppets, this definitely isn't the place to start. However, if you're already a fan of Curt "Cobain" Kirkwood's songwriting abilities - and are willing to remove your pacemaker to better fit the album's energy level - Rise To Your Knees will fit you like a field of grass in suit form. Some of it's folksy, some has background piano, some has echoey guitar racket, some of it sounds like a sea shanty, some of it has corny wispy keyboards, some of it is in waltz-time, some of it has a good emotional chorus, some of it is just typing in random comments from my notes, some of it has a wild psych solo and dumb vocoder vocals, some of it is by the Meat Puppets, some of i

My Christ do I have to pee. I've been on the phone with these people for a FULL HOUR NOW!!! See, this is why by the time I get a new hard drive and post this review, you'll be dead of old age, reincarnated and dead of old age again.

Reader Comments
Huh? You accord this album fewer stars than No Joke? Forbidden Places? Fewer stars than Monsters? What? Huh? Because y’see, to ME, this is their RETURN TO FORM. Everythin’ they’ve done since Up On the Sun seems to me best understood as a process of decay and compromise and where-am-I, whereby the Pups sought to accommodate themselves to the marketplace and carve out some identifiable demographic for themselves in the kingdom of almost-commercial-rock fandom (which they would never have gotten if they’d continued in the vein of 2 and Up on the Sun, say - works of Really Fuckin’ High Art that had little chance of attracting a following outside culty diehards and weirdos like me; they’d’ve been Saccharine Trust or such at best had they stayed on that page - a band who also benefited from Cobain’s plug but who are definitely NOT as widely distributed or known as the Pups. Which maybe to some is a good thing, and is definitely thanks to the Pups varied “let’s make music the kids will buy” endeavours, but I’d actually say S/T’s Surviving You Always is a vastly greater work than anything post-Up on the Sun. And Ginn won’t even put the fuckin’ thing out on CD cos he figures there’s no market for it, which he may be in fact right about, but STILL). And while this may not be your perspective, I gotta tellya, if you view their catalogue thus - that there are really only 2.5 REAL Meat Puppets albums (1 counts as the .5) and a bunch of vaguely compromised dilutions/derangements of same -- it’s really quite possible to view Rise to Your Knees as 3.5, as a heart-on-your-sleeve, who-cares-what-the-kids-are-listening-to, stupid-stars-in-my-eyes act of redemptive and holy MUSIC MAKING, that does exactly what it wants to do and nothin’ more. There isn’t an issue of Billboard within MILES of this album, which makes it a joyous, joyous thing for me - it’s a clean desert wind, a tad melancholy but, uhm, AUTHENTIC, like, y’know? I think I like this album better’n you.
Hi, Mark!

I've finally heard this album and I have to agree with you in the fact that it's too slow... TOO slow... TOO slow. But, in the other hand, it is a great slow album. Kirkwood is guarantee of quality. I mean, he can make a record of polkas and it would be great.

Even though I'm not totally familiar with all the songs yet, I think this record would be in the top five of the band (which in my opinion would be: Up in the sun, II, No Joke!, Forbidden Places and Rise to your Knees).

I also agree with the 7, but only if it is a very high 7.

Bye, and keep on reviewing Cracker and Redd Kross stuff, as I'm sure you're doing.
Both commentators above have a point, Mark. You’re underrating this record. It’s so dang reliable, so strong!

Curt Kirkwood’s shimmering guitar tones, brother Cris’ bass mixed loud, creating a solid slow bottom end that drives comforting lulling rhythms along. This record isn’t space-rock, more like elemental rock.

You do have a point about its overall lack of pep. Someone looking for hardcore willl not find it here. Especially driving home that point is opener Fly Like The Wind, which sounds like a 45 played at 33... at one point my girlfriend teased me that it sounded like Nickelback. Yikes!

Personally, Rise to Your Knees is great. It works as a companion piece to Too High To Die, but is more affecting. I like the feedback intro to Vultures, which sounds like the Oasis song Columbia. & I can’r get over how startlingly much Radio Moth resembles Queen’s I Want To Be Free. With keys, sometimes the mix is so bright sounding, like late-period Talking Heads.

Bros. Kirkwoods’ harmony vocals feel like coming home again & I have about as many favorite choruses here as there are songs.

This isn’t for someone looking for hardcore, this is for someone looking for classic melodic, noodly rock, with a heaping of post/psych rock on the feedback--just like the Meat Puppets have delivered since the nineties.

Final note: anyone who likes this record should check out Buffalo Killers who are another brother act dishing out heavy, soulful 60’s-influenced rock n roll. Their self-titled debut is a must on Alive records! Conveniently one Amazon link away!

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Sewn Together - Megaforce 2009
Rating = 7

First of all, my friend Jim Laakso passed this piece of hilarity on to me, and I now pass it on to you: Read the customer comments. And praise Jesus that there are still funny people out there with time on their hands.

Secondly, it appears that I'm capable of terrible drunken behavior when I'm in a GOOD mood too! Last night I was enjoying a delightful evening with a friend at a local watering hole when it suddenly occurred to me, "Say, these vodka/tonics aren't very strong. I'm not feeling a thing." Like a genius will do on his smartest days, I thus switched to double shots -- imbibing them at the same ridiculous rate at which I'd been drinking the watered-down vodka/tonics. To make a long story short, I blacked out. Or rather, I blacked out to make a long story short. I'm sure plenty more happened; I just don't remember any of it! I apparently stood up all of a sudden, threw $60 down onto the table and left without a word (confusing my friend, one would assume). My next memory is of being in a cab, feeling bad about just up and leaving, getting out of the cab and somehow winding up flat on my back on the ground. At this point, I tried to call my wife but couldn't get my cell phone's phonebook function to operate. I remember two people walking up to me and one saying, "Are you okay?" And that's it until I woke up with a horrible headache, nausea and bruises on the top of my head.

According to my wife, I eventually got her on the phone and said in a slow, horrifying voice, "I'm in big trouble. I'm in big trouble. But you don't care; you hate me" before HANGING UP! She dialed me back immediately. I picked up and said I didn't know who or where I was. Apparently somebody had put me into a cab, but I had no idea where I lived. She told me my address, which I related to the cab driver. When he got me home, my wife and Henry The Dog were waiting outside for me. When my wife opened the cab door, Henry hopped into the back seat and put his head in my lap. When I tried to get out of the cab, I fell straight forward. The cabbie jumped out and carried me up the building steps to the hallway. One of my pupils was gigantic, the other was tiny, and my eyes were focusing in two different directions. I was holding one arm up as if I'd had a stroke. When she got me upstairs, I ranted and raved for hours, going from crying jags to screaming rages to complete confusion. Multiple times I jumped up panicked and shouted things like, "Who am I!? Where am I!? Am I downtown!?" I kept threatening suicide (though I'm not suicidal), whining about how depressed I am at my unemployment (though I'm not depressed about it anymore; it's just a nuisance) and screaming about how my drinking buddy had "fucked me over" (not realizing that I was the one who left the bar - not him!). I fed Henry, then ten minutes later forgot and tried to feed him again, then ten minutes later forgot and tried to feed him again.

My point is this: alcohol solves problems.

The opening track of the new Meat Puppets album is one of those instantly hooky, breezy summertime songs that once in your ear will NEVER COME OUT. Luckily, I kinda like the lil' folksy guy. It probably goes without saying that Sewn Together is a bit more energetic than its predecessor (how could it be any less!?), but they still cram four ballads between tracks 4 and 8, so watch out for that pothole in the street of listening. The songs feature a surprising amount of lovely piano work and hit upon such enjoyable subgenres as light acoustic folk-rock, brooding psych, cowpunk, country-rock, '70s tuff-rock, '90s alt-rock, and even ballads! Yes, ballads. Sometimes sad, sometimes wistful, sometimes boring, but always ballady!

Although my discerning brain-ear uncovers only one true stinkerton ("S.K.A." is honestly as bad as the worst Blue Oyster Cult song you could name -- and you could name plenty!), the record definitely suffers from a few cliched passages and some questionable arrangement decisions. For example, "Love Mountain" sounds like The Eagles; that's obviously a problem right there. And what's up with that stupid boingy instrument that makes "Nursery Rhyme" sound like a Dr. Demento song? And does "Blanket Of Weeds" honestly need a three-minute guitar solo at the end? And I'm not complaining about the inclusion of four ballads ("Sapphire" and "Go To Your Head" in particular are gorgeously sorrowful), but why on Earth would they cram them all together in the middle of the album!? So we could all take a nap and hopefully sleep right through "S.K.A."? If so, that was a nice gesture. Thank you, Meat Puppets.

Regardless of these small faults, Sewn Together is another fine album by the reliable old Meat Puppets, and the true 'reunion' album fans have been waiting for. Bostrom still isn't back, but the record honestly "sounds" like the Meat Puppets in a way that the last two didn't. "The Monkey And The Snake" even sounds like a II outtake!

Actually, the title sounds more like a Cannibal Ferox outtake.

But enough of me and my Cannibal Ferox jokes!

Why did the cannibal cross the road?
To castrate John Morghen! Ha ha ha h! ooOOOOHHH ha ha ha!

Reader Comments (Rob Greene)
OK, Prindle, alcoholics delight here. Them's fighting words, and I wish I could disagree more with my beloved Pups, but I think I can only argue the 7. Based on the 10 point scale, (1 being an F minus up to 10 being an all time classic A+) I'd give this one an 8, B+, but I probably would hit it with just a solid B, a 7.5. So as much as it pains me, we'll just give a counterpoint to the review portion.

I am excited by this record, and any longtime Pups fan should be. It actuallly sounds like the Pups, and between M2 (bad rhythm section), solo records (no campfire readily available), Volcano (pretty good if you could possibly find it), Rise to your Knees (boring) and everything else since No Joke, it reminds you of why I love Curt Kirkwood. Unfortunately, it reminds me of why I liked the 90's Pups as opposed to worshipping the 80's Pups. If that sounds old, well, you would need to be a historian of this band, and I know that sounds lame, but it's true. They are one of those bands that lends itself to dissection, so go buy the old records. Either way, this thing is such a nice little record it only makes me thank God for Curt Kirkwood.

First song, title track, is a great little song. Breezy and smart and melodic. The problem is they should have stuck to this and the like songs and then you have a great record. Does Blanket of Weeds need a 3 minute long solo at the end? I was going to argue vehemnetly against this, but, no, it really doesn't. Touchdown King begs for a 3 minute solo, as does Out my Way, the Void, hell even Nowhere to be Found, but no, this is just buried jamming that doesn't do much. Fortunately it picks up from there.

In contrast to Prindle, the middle "ballads" will grow on you pretty quickly. But then that damn Prindle calls out the 2 best songs, "Sapphire" and "Go to Your Head". Yet "Clone" and "Smoke" eventually make it feel like a mini suite. Unfortunately, they drop a 94 rocker ("let's go for the old glory of backwater" minus the memorable riff) smack dab into the middle.

Agreed, SKA sucks balls. Every time I hear this one, I think of walking into some bar and hearing any old band playing their big rocker. Somewhat reminds me of Poison Arrow from No Joke, but the guitar solo in that one was at least kind of strutting. Doesn't fit the record and should be skipped at all costs.

Now what makes the record great. Nursery Rhyme, yea whatever. But the last 2 are positively great. However, Monkey and the Snake sounds like nothing off of II. Seriously Prindle, that is selling that record short. It does however sound like a great song on Forbidden Places. Maybe an outtake from Mirage, but no, nothing, and I mean fucking absolutely nothing like anything on II. As for the last song (Love Mountain) which Prindle relates to the Eagles, I am just guessing he is trying to reach for this one. It does sound like somebody, but certainly not the Eagles. I was torn somewhere between Donnie and Marie, whoever that band was that sang "Might as well be sitting on the sun", but more importantly, something not quite identifable, but a woozy little pop number regarless, one which I really like. Not an all time classic or anything, but really, if Kirkwood would ever get over his (misguided) rock star pretenses, eliminate the average pandering crap (SKA, too much unnecesary distorted guitar on the "ballads") and focus on the first song, the "ballads" and the last 2 (or maybe 3) songs, this band still has a shot at something classic again, which is so much more than you can say for pretty much any band, much less one 30 years into their career. Because at the end of the day, this record has all the elements of being an almost great record. But, as Prindle pointed out, the "old reliable" Pups just made an old reliable good record. Still better than most out there recently, and an absolute charmer, but they do fall just short of being great. (now if I could only put this in context against the new Green Day record, then we have an all time classic, thank God the Pups don't wear eyeliner or sing in a british accent at age 45)

Ditch booze before you kill yourself and we have no more cool reviews. Switch to weed.

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Lollipop - Megaforce 2011
Rating = 6

I'm in an extremely foul mood at the moment and have decided to take it out on the Meat Puppets. Up your ass, Meat Puppets. I put my rainy umbrella outside my front door last night so it would dry, and you stole it! It's gone now! Is that how they raise you in Astoria? Like a barn!?? Also, I've been sleeping far too much because you can't find me a job -- not even a TEMP job! WTF, Meat Puppets? I'm 37 years old, I've been working my entire adult life, and you can't find me ANYTHING??? Look, here's a song I wrote: "Do the Meat Puppets owe me a living? 'Course they do! 'Course they do! Do the Meat Puppets owe me a living? 'Course they do! 'Course they do! Do the Meat Puppets owe me a living? 'Course (FINISH THIS PART LATER)" That's as far as I've gotten. Also, stop calling me on the phone, Meat Puppets. I hate talking on the phone! It was bad enough with land lines, but now with these shitty cell phones you developed, every single conversation involves (a) both parties talking over each other, then pausing to let the other speak, then talking over each other again, (b) a bad connection because one of the parties is always walking down a windy street while talking, and (c) every single statement repeated about 400 times like an asshole. So thanks for nothing, Meat Puppets Bell. I would've expected something like this from Saccharine Trust or Painted Willie, but you? I thought you were smarter than that.

And what's up with this middling new album? More like MeatIOCRE Puppets, if you ask me! It sounds like the Meat Puppets alright -- with a folk/country emphasis reminiscent of II and Kurt's always bizarre voice -- but where are all those great melodies we grew up with? Most of this stuff is just *there* -- harmless but unremarkable, ranging from the pleasant but inconsequential (oldtimey waltz "The Spider and the Spaceship," 'Lay Down Sally'-esque rockabilly "Baby Don't," Puppets-by-numbers "Incomplete") to the contrived and effortless (nearly every chorus on the record) to the downright ugly and stupid (the HORRIBLE Jimmy Buffett white boy reggae tune "Shave It").

But I guess the Meat Puppets Train might as well keep chugging along. At least a few of the songs sound sincere and novel, including the adorable and atmospheric country-western "Lantern," melodic Pettyish rocker "Damn Thing" and punky driver "Vile." And even though I'm disappointed in the songwriting overall, I love the album's emphasis on harmony vocals, and appreciate Curt's attention to singing on-key throughout. A far cry from the early Puppets, you might say! Ha ha! Yeah, you might just say that!

I'm scared. Why can't I find a job? What if I never get hired again? This isn't supposed to be happening. I studied hard in school and always did my best at work. Why am I unemployed? I don't understand.

And my mood, Jesus Christ. I cannot keep my temper under control. Is it my diet? Or all those new allergy drugs I'm taking? I keep getting SO ANGRY at little tiny things. So tense, stressed out and unhappy. Is it because I stopped drinking? I'm baffled. I just know that something doesn't feel right, and I can't figure out how to right it.

Oh wait, I think I've figured out what doesn't feel right. I CAN'T FIND A FUCKING JOB SO I'M GOING TO GO BANKRUPT AND STARVE TO DEATH.

Add your thoughts?

Meat Puppets CDs are available here at many affordable prices in every color for your stocking this year. Ho ho ho!

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