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Meat Puppets

Out of all of the bands that made SST Records a towering force in the American underground during the mid-'80s, Meat Puppets lasted the longest, surviving where other bands fell apart. Meat Puppets never had the dedicated following of Hüsker Dü or the Minutemen -- two fellow SST bands who played the same circuit as the Puppets -- but they were able to carve out a long career where other hardcore bands could not, because they always drew from conventional hard rock as well as punk. Not only did they play hard, loud, and fast, but they also had elements of the blues-rock of ZZ Top, the ambling folk-rock of the Grateful Dead, and Neil Young's country-rock and hard rock. As they grew older, the band matured musically, developing an accomplished instrumental technique and moving closer to the traditional hard rock that was always underneath their punk. But they never quite abandoned their punk roots, even when they briefly broke into the mainstream in the early '90s.

The core of Meat Puppets was Curt (guitar; born January 10, 1959) and Cris Kirkwood (bass; born October 22, 1960), a pair of brothers born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. As teenagers, the Kirkwoods played in local rock & roll bands, primarily playing mainstream rock and hard rock. After graduating from a Jesuit prep school, the brothers formed Meat Puppets in 1980 with drummer Derrick Bostrom. Unlike the Kirkwoods' earlier bands, the Meat Puppets were directly inspired by punk rock; they were so committed to keeping the music punk that they refused to rehearse.

A little over a year after their formation, Meat Puppets released their first EP, In a Car, on World Imitation. At this point in their career, the band was at its noisiest, playing furious hardcore with avant-garde leanings. Greg Ginn, the lead guitarist for Black Flag and the head of SST Records, heard the record and offered the Meat Puppets a contract with SST. In 1982, the band released their full-length eponymous debut album on SST, which continued in the experimental vein of their EP.

Meat Puppets didn't develop their own distinctive voice until their second album, Meat Puppets II, which was released in 1984. On Meat Puppets II, the band created a fusion of punk and country that sounded unlike anything else in the American underground. With their second album and constant touring, Meat Puppets began to cultivate a dedicated cult following across the U.S. that continued to grow throughout the rest of the decade. In 1985, the group released their third album, Up on the Sun, which earned them their first reviews in mainstream music publications. Up on the Sun also demonstrated that the band was beginning to streamline their sound, moving closer to traditional blues-rock, country-rock, and psychedelia. This shift toward conventional hard rock continued throughout the late '80s, as the band gradually sanded away their rougher punk edges.

After releasing an EP called Out My Way in 1986, Meat Puppets released two critically acclaimed albums -- Mirage and Huevos -- in 1987. By the release of Mirage, Meat Puppets had established themselves as college radio stars, as well as popular attractions on the American underground circuit. Monsters, their final album for SST Records, was released in 1989, and its heavy rock attack foreshadowed the approach the band would adopt in the following decade. The straightforward sound of Monsters wasn't greeted favorably by the band's cult following, and the record stiffed on college radio.

Following the weak reception of Monsters, Meat Puppets broke up. In 1991, they re-formed and signed a major-label deal with London Records. Before they recorded their first album for London, SST issued the compilation No Strings Attached in 1990. The following year, Forbidden Places, the group's major-label debut, appeared in the stores. Forbidden Places was neither a commercial nor underground success.

For two years after the release of Forbidden Places, Meat Puppets were relatively quiet, playing a couple of gigs every once in a while. In 1993, they re-emerged as an opening act on Nirvana's In Utero tour. Toward the end of the tour, Nirvana taped an appearance for MTV Unplugged, during which they covered three songs from Meat Puppets II with Meat Puppets themselves. The exposure on MTV Unplugged helped set the stage for the commercial breakthrough of the band's second major-label album, 1994's Too High to Die.

Released around the same time as MTV Unplugged originally aired, Too High to Die didn't gather much attention at first, but after Kurt Cobain's suicide in April, the record and its first single, "Backwater," began to move. This was due to radio's acceptance of "Backwater," but also to MTV's constant airings of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged. By the summer of 1994, "Backwater" was a genuine hit, climbing to number two on the album rock charts and just missing the pop Top 40. None of the other singles from Too High to Die performed quite as well, but the album was a success, becoming the group's first to go gold. Meat Puppets released No Joke!, their follow-up to Too High to Die, in the fall of 1995. However, this album received mediocre reviews and little airplay, and disappeared from the charts and radio a few months after its release.

Following this setback, the Pups effectively went on hiatus. Derrick Bostrom recorded a one-off EP of goofy, saccharine pop covers for the Amarillo label in 1996 under the name Today's Sounds; he subsequently took a job with a multimedia company, also overseeing both the band's website and Rykodisc's 1999 Meat Puppets reissue campaign. Cris Kirkwood, unfortunately, did not fare so well. With the influx of fame and cash, his drug problem had worsened during the No Joke! sessions, and in 1995, he married Michelle Tardif, whose own addictions and run-ins with the law sent things spiraling out of control. Tragedy struck in December 1996, when the Kirkwoods' mother died, and again in August 1998 when Tardif died of a drug overdose. After virtually disappearing for a short time, Cris began to sort out his addictions in rehab programs, and his attendant legal problems in court. Meanwhile, the band's label, London Records, was swallowed up by Universal in a corporate mega-merger.

An overloaded Curt Kirkwood had already relocated to Austin, Texas, prior to Tardif's death; there he formed a new outfit dubbed the Royal Neanderthal Orchestra with ex-Pariah members Kyle Ellison (guitar) and Shandon Sahm (drums; also the son of Doug Sahm), plus former Bob Mould bassist Andrew DuPlantis. Eventually, this group took over the Meat Puppets name (although neither Bostrom nor Cris Kirkwood was ever officially removed from the lineup). Curt secured a release from his prior contract and signed with Breaking, an Atlantic subsidiary. Golden Lies, Meat Puppets' first new album in five years, was released in the fall of 2000. Seven years later, after a lengthy struggle with substance abuse, Cris Kirkwood reunited with brother Curt and new drummer Ted Marcus for the release of Rise to Your Knees. Touring lasted through the end of 2007, while sporadic shows kept the bandmates busy in 2008.

They also returned to the studio that year, and their 12th studio effort, Sewn Together, was released in the spring of 2009. The band continued to stay busy, announcing that they would be performing Up on the Sun at the Animal Collective-curated All Tomorrow's Parties in 2011. They also continued to work on new material, and went into Spoon's HiFi Studio in Austin to work on their 13th studio album, Lollipop. It was released in April of 2011 by Megaforce Records. In 2013, Meat Puppets attempted to take a simplified approach for their 14th album, Rat Farm, and the Kirkwood brothers were joined by return drummer Shandon Sahm and Curt's son Elmo on guitar. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Rat Farm

1. Rat Farm

2. One More Drop

3. Down

4. Leave Your Head Alone

5. Again

6. You Don't Know

7. Waiting

8. Time And Money

9. Sometimes Blue

10. Original One

11. River Rose

12. Sweet


Track List: Lollipop

1. Incomplete

2. Orange

3. Shave It

4. Baby Don't

5. Hour Of The Idiot

6. Lantern

7. Town

8. Damn Thing

9. Amazing

10. Way That It Are

11. Vile

12. The Spider And The Spaceship


Track List: Sewn Together

1. Sewn Together

2. Blanket Of Weeds

3. I'm Not You

4. Sapphire

5. Rotten Shame

6. Go To Your Head

7. Clone

8. Smoke

9. S.K.A.

10. Nursery Rhyme

11. The Monkey And The Snake

12. Love Mountain


Track List: Classic Puppets

1. Foreign Lawns

2. H-Elenore

3. Blue Green God

4. Walking Boss

5. Lost

6. Plateau

7. Lake Of Fire

8. The Whistling Song

9. Up On The Sun

10. Swimming Ground

11. Enchanted Porkfist

12. Two Rivers

13. Out My Way

14. On The Move

15. Burn The Honky Tonk Down

16. Confusion Fog

17. Get On Down

18. Look At The Rain

19. Sexy Music

21. Light

22. Strings On Your Heart

23. Meltdown


Track List: Golden Lies

1. Intro

2. Armed And Stupid

3. I Quit

4. Lamp

5. Hercules

6. Batwing

7. Take Off Your Clothes

8. You Love Me

9. Pieces Of Me

10. Push The Button

11. Tarantula

12. Endless Wave

13. Wipeout

14. Fatboy/Fat/Requiem


Track List: Too High To Die

1. Violet Eyes

2. Never To Be Found

3. We Don't Exist

4. Severed Goddess Hand

5. Flaming Heart

6. Shine

7. Station

8. Roof With A Hole

9. Backwater

10. Things

11. Why?

12. Evil Love

13. Comin' Down


Track List: Monsters

1. Attacked By Monsters

2. Light

3. Meltdown

4. In Love

5. The Void

6. Touchdown King

7. Party Till The World Obeys

8. Flight Of The Fire Weasel

9. Strings On Your Heart

10. Like Being Alive

11. Wish Upon A Storm

12. Flight Of The Fire Weasel Pt. 1

13. Flight Of The Fire Weasel, Pt. 2


Track List: Huevos

1. Paradise

2. Look At The Rain

3. Bad Love

4. Sexy Music

5. Crazy

6. Fruit

7. Automatic Mojo

8. Dry Rain

9. I Can't Be Counted On

10. Medley: Baby What You Want Me To Do/I Can't Be Counted On

11. Sexy Music

12. Automatic Mojo

13. Paradise

14. Fruit


Track List: Mirage

1. Mirage

2. Quit It

3. Confusion Fog

4. The Wind And The Rain

5. The Mighty

6. Get On Down

7. Leaves

8. I Am A Machine

9. Beauty

10. A Hundred Miles

11. Love Our Children Forever

12. Liquified

13. The Mighty Zero

14. I Am A Machine

15. Liquified

16. Rubberneckin'

17. Grand Intro


Track List: Out My Way

1. She's Hot

2. Out My Way

3. Other Kinds Of Love

4. Not Swimming Ground

5. Mountain Line

6. Good Golly Miss Molly

7. I Just Want To Make Love To You

8. On The Move

10. Boyhood Home

11. Backwards Drums

12. Everything Is Green

13. Other Kinds Of Love


Track List: Up On The Sun

1. Up On The Sun

2. Maiden's Milk

3. Away

4. Animal Kingdom

5. Hot Pink

6. Swimming Ground

7. Buckethead

8. Too Real

9. Enchanted Porkfist

10. Seal Whales

11. Two Rivers

12. Creator

13. Hot Pink

14. Up On The Sun

15. Mother American Marshmallow

16. Embodiment Of Evil

17. Hot Pink


Track List: Meat Puppets II

1. Split Myself In Two

2. Magic Toy Missing

3. Lost

4. Plateau

5. Aurora Borealis

6. We're Here

7. Climbing

8. New Gods

9. Oh, Me

10. Lake Of Fire

11. I'm A Mindless Idiot

12. The Whistling Song

13. Teenager(s)

14. I'm Not Here

15. New Gods

16. Lost

17. What To Do

18. 100% Of Nothing

19. Aurora Borealis


Track List: Meat Puppets

1. Reward

2. Love Offering

3. Blue-Green God

4. Walking Boss

5. Melons Rising

6. Saturday Morning

7. Our Friends

8. Tumblin' Tumbleweeds

9. Milo Sorghum And Maize

10. Meat Puppets

11. Playing Dead

12. Litter Box

13. Electromud

14. The Gold Mine

15. In A Car

16. Big House

17. Dolphin Field

18. Out In The Gardener

19. Foreign Lawns

20. Meat Puppets

21. Everybody's Talking

22. H-Elenore

23. Hair

24. I Got A Right

25. I Am A Child

26. Franklin's Tower

27. Milo Sorghum & Maize

28. Electromud

29. Love Offering

30. Saturday Morning

31. Magic Toy Missing

32. Unpleasant


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Song : what to do - reminds me of

when I first moved into my new

apartment - friends over ? Hells no

don't want my stuff stole LOL :)

_______\ ^ ^ | ⚡️ ❤️ ⚡️ | ^ ^ /_______
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Cool. XD I was looking at this recommended band and saw the pictures and thought. "Man that looks familiar." Then I scrolled through the BIO and saw BLACK FLAG, GREG GINN, and SST RECORDS, and I realized I saw there CDS in the warehouse and that my dad owns SST XD
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I remember hearing Tumbling Tumbleweeds on some SST compilation in the 80's and I have been hooked ever since. Great live band, brings back my college experience in 3D whenever I hear them.
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We're all just ghosts driving robots made of meat...
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kathleen.sto c k
Seeing them next week with Soul Asylum in Annapolis, MD- cannot wait!!
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Been a fan for years, but saw them live for the first time the other night in Pontiac, MI--AMAZING! !
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Kurt Cobain loved the meat puppets. I just started listening to the meat puppets and I see why he liked them. I do to. I trust Kurt's advice.
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I bought one of their albums yesterday at a garage sale. I'd never listened to them prior. I just thought they had an interesting name
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I met one of the band members, must have been 1980 or so at Cass Lake in Michigan. I was about 12 years old. he was playing guitar at the beach. He seemed very cool
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lazy drug addiction music or is it beyond that...beyon d acid...beyon d reality checks-me think so...
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bobonitwit-h o w do you know about tone deaf ? are you a third rade teacher or sumpin-this is how drug addicts from AZ. dig !
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Great name, pretty crummy music. Why do all the groups from this period think it was cool to have a tone deaf vocalist ?
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Meat puppets awesome
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In 1985, the group released their third album, Up on the Sun, which earned them their first reviews in mainstream music publications .

I bought Meat Puppets II based on an enthusiastic Rolling Stone review in 1984.
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I prefer when Nirvana played, Lake of fire and Plateau. The puppets made the songs well though.
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The brothers meat are so amazing!
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These guys are great, but I guess you probably knew that already.
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directly inspired by punk rock; they were so committed to keeping the music punk that they refused to rehearse.
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Best band still touring. New record 'Rat Farm' drops in Spring. Aiming for April
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Scum is an awesome tune with the loud rude guitar bends. I wish they had more stuff like that. If they do, PM me.
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shiny bucket knows just what to do
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forbiden places loved it
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Rich kids on drugs from southern AZ.
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I want to like them because Kurt told me so, but I just can't get into it. Strummy G C D C G A. every song. same
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These guys are awesome!
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love these kids, sorry bur Nervana turned me on, PS lighten up!!
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If anyone is on Twitter I find it sad that this band has 20 followers. I have 67 for christ sake. @themeatpupp e t s go follow them. Gonna catch them for my 8th, 9th and 10th time in November
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unless your a phish,dead,s t r i n g cheese incident fan you might agree with me that not every puppets is good because they are not.curt kirkwood like j. mascia is never going to comprimise and will continue putting out his vision,his music,his whatever-he' s not a dylan but the world needs the puppets...fe r sure.
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good songs, bad drugs = mediocre results from these guys....too bad. So much potential. I guess that's what happens when you are brought up as rich idle american youth ....then again you can see that every day on tv.
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was ''sewn together'' an attempt at mainstream ? my faves are '' too high to die'', '' up in the sun'' and '' huevos''
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so many records-they grow on you like spanish moss-they are actually a perfect band-as the years go by-i like them more and more...the hooks are seductive,th e songwriting sublime and the message fairly subtle.
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a good band with only a few hits - wish they would have cranked out some more good stuff...
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evil evil evil evil evil-''evil love''-subli m e . . .
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So glad someone asked.. according to my Myspace inbox the new LP is "just about done"... I wanted to know if they were coming back to NYC this year, said they're no where near it the closest shows being Ohio and Michigan.. building momentum off Sewn Together-chr i s t m a s is coming early!
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LSD! how're these guys doin' now, by the way?
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Let us update the Meat Puppets bio

"In 2009, the Meat Puppets fired drummer Ted Marcus and brought back Shandon Sahm-Doug Sahm's son.
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Don't pollute a board for good music

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burlybigball s
bet those jew dread's are like motorcycle ape - hanger's, great grip for the head. jew's already talk like they got a mouth full of splooge. if jesus come's back porky he's gonna be disappointed your such a rampaging flamer homo. your my biggest argument for abortion porker. it's j*i*h*a*d* time again porky I'M BACK. do you go to meat puppet show's, & sit in the stall ? making your f*a*g* mating call's. i bet all the show's you go to in NYC are in the village huh ?
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Just saw a Puppets show at a small club in LR. Met the band. Cool a** dudes. They say Jay Porks should off himself. Fans like him are killing their ticket sales. Cris says Jay gives great head though.
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Jay Porks, you're such a tool. I saw you at the Billy Corgan acoustic show in NYC last week. You were under Angel of Anarchy's table, giving him the VIP treatment. So did you take a double-shot from Gay-Rod and Derek Cheater after the Yanks bought their latest world series? b**ch.
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they aint no pasta patrol wagon or even the baloney boys but theyre ok in my books. go puppets go. arno bulltot digs em too
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new to the puppets even though heard of them for many years. on board. the goombah of soul will explore
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Meat Puppets playing with Sonic Youth in Boston Nov 23rd....damn I wish I could make it to that
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tickets for Nov 25th in NYC, will be my 6th time. can't wait
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damn, i forgot about this group for a while too. good s**t right here!
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these guys were f**king awesome at red rock with ween this weekend cant wait to see them again
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Seen these guys five times and kicked arrrrrrrse every time
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love them
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Daytrotter sessions - http://www.d a y t r o t t e r . c o m / d t / m e a t - p u p p e t s - s x s w - s e s s i o n - l i t t l e - b y - l i t t l e - i t - a l l - g o e s - t o - h e l l - c o n c e r t / 2 0 0 3 0 6 8 1 - 3 7 3 7 9 9 3 . h t m l
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