Music H1story >> The Meat Puppets Rise Above

Music H1story >> The Meat Puppets Rise Above

Chris Walter tells us Why we care about the Meat Puppets

Chris Walter is a Vancouver writer and the author of more than twenty books. Leading up to the releas of his latest book SNFU … What No One Else Wanted to Say, Chris is sharing some other acts that caught his ears over the years.

Although the Meat Puppets were one of the more accomplished bands on Greg Ginn’s SST Records, they might have languished in relative obscurity had Kurt Cobain not seen them open for Black Flag in 1993. Struck by singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood’s unique warbling voice and the band’s semi-psychedelic sound, Kurt asked the Meat Puppets to perform several of their songs with him on MTV Unplugged.

At this point, the ‘Pups had already been together for more than ten years, but this national exposure led to the success of their aptly-named next album, Too High to Die (London Records, 1994).

The album did well, but bassist Cris Kirkwood became heavily addicted to heroin and crack cocaine on the support tour with Stone Temple Pilots. Plunging headfirst into the nightmare of addiction, Cris rarely left his home in Tempe, Arizona except for rare performances, and his wife and best friend died from overdoses in that period. Curt also struggled with addiction but managed to keep the Meat Puppets going until they finally stumbled to a halt in 2002.

Not long afterwards, Cris was shot several times by a security guard during an altercation, and spent the next few years in prison. Normally, this would be the end for any band, but the Meat Puppets clawed their way back with the haunting 2007 release Rise to Your Knees.

If anything, the years of drug abuse had given the brothers a greater appreciation for life, and that thankfulness was evident in their music.

Subtle without being soft, powerful without being obnoxious, and almost unbelievably textured, Rise to Your Knees was a masterpiece that only a band that had crawled through hell could have created. Since then, the ‘Pups have released two more albums, Sewn Together (2009) and Lollipops (2011), and have returned to the touring circuit. Fans of potent but unusual rock music should check out Meat Puppets II or Rise to Your Knees for a tantalizing taste of the sublime.

Chris Walter

His new book SNFU … What No One Else Wanted to Say, is available for pre-order at The official release date is July 21st, 2012

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