Meat Puppets still 'Sewn Together' after nearly three decades
Punk-era survivors the Meat Puppets are continuing road work with a series of club dates in support of "Sewn Together." It's the band's 12th studio effort and second album since singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood reunited with his younger brother, bassist Cris, following the latter's harrowing battle with drug addiction and subsequent incarceration.
"It's going great," Curt says during a stop in Louisville, KY. "We're having a blast."
Throughout the band's nearly 30-year history, the Pups have been known for their unique blend of sun-baked punk and country, which has remained intact despite several lineup changes, including a stint around the turn of the decade that found the band reconfigured as a quartet with Curt as its sole original member. The elder Kirkwood makes no apologies for the personnel changes.
"I would say from other people's points of view, the original members would be cherry, [original drummer Derrick] Bostrom, two Kirkwoods, that'd be bitchin,'" he says. "From my point of view, I'm a realist and this is not something you can necessarily manufacture. There's a wave you're on and everybody is on their own little surfboard. If someone falls or jumps off, you can't stop surfing to catch 'em ... What I can do is say, 'We're still surfing in my pond.'"
The Pups recently underwent another lineup change that unites Cris in the rhythm section with drummer Shandon Sahm, who played in the four-piece lineup and is the son of late Texas music legend, Doug Sahm. Sahm takes over for Ted Marcus, who played on the Meat Puppets' two most recent albums. Although Kirkwood gets a bit prickly when asked about the lineup changes and the Pups' career highpoints, he does settle down and marvel at the fact that band continues as an ongoing concern at a time when their one-time SST labelmates--with the exception of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.--have been disbanded for decades.
"In some ways, I'm gratified," he says. "There's a lot of luck involved. There's a lot of good fortune. Yeah, we've had our lumps and some misfortune, but I've been relatively unscathed by a lot of this stuff. Since I started the Meat Puppets, I've seen my kids grow up and I've watched all these other bands grow up and fall by the wayside or persist. On a certain level, it's so amazing I can't even tell you."
With things running smoothly, Kirkwood has his eye on another Pups album in the near future. "It's in the works. I actually haven't written any songs yet, but it'll be done soon," he promises with a laugh. "This is the Obama era. There's tons of promise to our s---. Yes we can!"
The Meat Puppets' in-progress tour runs through a Dec. 4 stop at the Hi-Tone in Memphis, TN.