Greg Prato Meets the Meat Puppets

by Derrick Bostrom in

If you enjoy reading about the Meat Puppets, but you're tired of my words, then you're going to love Greg Prato's new book. "Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets," is four hundred pages of oral history, enough for even the most rabid meathead. Don't worry, you'll find plenty of my words in there, along with those of the brothers Meat, their friends, their family, fellow travelers, and some of the author's friends too.

I could quibble with some of the facts. There are places where memory fails the speaker (never my memory, of course), or where the correct course of events is garbled in the speaker's haste to make a point (never my haste, of course), but what's the use of splitting hairs? People seem to like these oral histories. Besides, it's pretty much the journalistic norm these days to quote verbatim and dispense with fact checking altogether. Just ask the Washington press corps. Either way, Greg gets the broad outlines right and delivers a compelling narrative in the process.

I read through this thing as fast as I could, the better to quickly dispense with my distant past and get back to the business at hand. But as I moved from the early triumphs to the long slog in the middle and finally the epic horrors near the end, what struck me was how much I've retained of all I learned from my first career, and how much my present experience colors my view of the past. Obvious I suppose, but Greg's retrospective just helps bring everything just that much more full circle. Well done, sir.

And here's the best part: the next time I get into a disagreement with someone, I have a new trump card: "so, where's YOUR band's bio??"




Sparkle Pony: Live Shows From 1984 & 1985

by Derrick Bostrom in

After the release of "Meat Puppets II" in 1984 and "Up On The Sun" in 1985, the Meat Puppets found themselves transformed. No longer mere "local boys made good," we became players on the national stage. As more people began to take us seriously, we began to take stock of what what the band meant to us and what we wanted to do with it. We experienced lots of growing pains as we struggled to assess our goals and ambitions. But back in those days, nobody had a road map. What exactly did success look like for a punk rock band in 1980's America?

We were already painfully aware of our limitations, that the same "straight" critics who praised our album were coming away disappointed from our performances. We all pointed fingers at each other, but at the end of the day, the truth was obvious. For the moment at least, our reach had exceeded our grasp. Our only option was to close our eyes, hold our noses and roll up our sleeves. It would take a couple years and a lot of work before we really began to put it all together and become the band we wanted to be.

But not everyone back then shared this low assessment of our live shows. Plenty of folks dug the way we interspersed breakneck punk rock with long clumsy psychedelic jams and tentative workouts of future Puppets classics. For them, the sloppy sense of discovery found in these shows was the real deal. I happen to hold that opinion myself, which is why I regret not keeping more recordings from back then. I would tape every show I could, but I only kept the highlights for my own personal collection. I left the rest of them with our sound man. Unfortunately, we had a falling out, and I didn't have the presence of mind to get our live tapes out of his house before we fired him. To make matters worse, I lost an entire box of masters when our van was broken into during a trip to Los Angeles.

Happily, every so often an old fan crawls out of the woodwork with a handful of heretofore unheard audience recordings. A new one just came to my attention just this week: witness Peteykins of the Princess Sparkle Pony blog, who shares three shows from 1984-5, and describes his preference for those years. Peteykins is like a lot of Puppethead tapers. For one thing, he's somebody I probably once knew but have now completely forgotten (sorry man; it was a long time ago). Second, he was kind of afraid to post shares for fear of pissing off the band. So, my purpose here is twofold: first, to popularize his recordings (and maybe take down his blog in the process due to heavy traffic -- again: sorry man), and second, to encourage the rest of you. Tapers: if you got shows, by all means rip em and put em up somewhere before the tapes rot!

As far as I can tell, the Sparkle Pony recordings of these shows are the only ones in existence. I'm pretty sure I don't have copies of any of 'em. So, I'm as anxious to hear this stuff as the rest of you are. I'm sure it's terrible!

GET EM HERE, and remember: if you have issues, you'll have to contact Peteykins yourself. I'm not your dad.

The Mutant Sounds of The Los Angeles Free Music Society

by Derrick Bostrom in

Among the many benefits of a reunited Kirkwoood brothers is that they now have an opportunity to get out there and surpass their bothersome status as a mere footnote in the biography of Kurt Cobain. Now, don't get me wrong: it's great when you can find entertainers more popular than yourself to help carry your water. In fact, The Meat Puppets have always counted on the kindness of strangers. Back in the day, some of our very first traction was among the ranks of L.A.s existing avante-guard music scene.

Yep, the Los Angeles Free Music Society was but the first in a long line of organizations that recognized the band's undeniable greatness. And even as much as I love to pull out "Nevermind" or "Purple" every so often, you always tend to remember your first. That's why I was so jazzed to find the Mutant Sounds blog. Among the obscurities to be found there are many works by the LAFMS, including work by Doodooettes, Solid Eye, as well as World Imitation alumnus, the amazing Steve Thomsen. Even folks who like their noise in small doses will enjoy the comparatively poppy Darker Skratcher album and of course the Light Bulb cassette, which contains the first-ever piece of music released by the Meat Puppets themselves.

Though some of the post-Nirvana Puppets fans might not give a shit about the noise contained on these records, I can assure you that it makes Your Truly a little nostalgic to put them on. Click on over to Mutant Sounds and check 'em out. And if your really lucky, maybe one of the album cover scans will feature a legible address that you can send some money to. I'm sure they would appreciate it.

From the blog:

"The Los Angeles Free Music Society, formed around Tom Recchion in 1972, was a collective of underground artists loosely inspired by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart (but also all jazz and classical avantgarde movements). Le Forte Four, who released four lunatic electronic-folk albums starting with Bikini Tennis Shoes (1974), Doo-Dooettes (two albums), Smegma (one album) and Airway (one album) were some of the performers devoted to free improvisation, abstract cacophony and demented chanting."

Ventura 1993: "Film The Trolls, Dave"

by Derrick Bostrom in

This just in from Dave Markey:


"Shot prior to the release of their breakthrough "Too High To Die" LP at the Ventura Theater, in beautiful Ventura California in 1993. Contains the super-rare Cris Kirkwood original "David Beware (Film The Trolls)" overture. They also jam out "Attacked By Monsters" & "Sam". Edited in camera, Mannequins and Trolls courtesy of the stores on California Ave."

For a look at some of Dave's more current work, check out his video for "Rotten Shame."

"Soup" - The Bethel Compilation

by Derrick Bostrom in

I got another great bite the other day while trolling the web with my ego feeds. Amidst the endless social networking pages ("Now Playing: Backwater"), reviewer hype ("original drummer Derrick Bostrom declined to participate") and right wing rants against so-called lapdogs of the "liberal media," I found another effort by a generous fan. Once again, I am saved by my energetic constituency from having to expend any effort. The European cassette-only "Bethel" compilation dates back from 1983, and traces its origin to an offer to contribute to a collection of "industrial" artists. Since the Meat Puppets were busy mining country and classic rock at the time, we were somewhat unsure of our place alongside of  such artists as Boyd Rice, Foetus and Nurse With Wound. But I dutifully snipped a few minutes from a warm-up noise jam from one of our home rehearsals and sent it in. At one point, Curt says, "I blow my nose in your soup." After the recording cuts off, entirely by accident, the next thing on the tape is my voice saying, "I think I'll have a bowl of soup." Impressed by the odd serendipity, I left it on the submission. Unfortunately, the compilers didn't catch on, and faded the track out before my spoken line. Disappointed, I listened to "Bethel" once then threw it into the archives. There were to be better Pups noise jams over the years, and this one had little to recommend it.

But fans have clamored for this track ever since I included it in my band discography. Thanks to Cranio and his "The Thing On The Doorstep" blog, I can cross that one off my list. And now that you've heard it, so can you. One interesting item of note: my copy came in a thin cardboard box with skeletons riding bikes printed on it. Cranio's copy appears to have come in standard cassette packaging with a teal cover.

The Thing On The Doorstep: Various - Bethel

Tune in to this Saturday for Bostrom's new show

by Derrick Bostrom in

This Saturday, March 31st at 3PM, Pacific Time, internet radio station, will debut my new hour-long show, "C'mon! Live A Little." You can find the station at its web site, You can also find it in the iTunes Radio pane under both "Eclectic" and "50s/60s Pop." (1.FM - LuxuriaMusic).

Since I am in Phoenix and the station is in Hollywood, the show is prerecorded. In keeping with Luxuria programming, the show focuses on bubblegum, lounge music, obscure rock, jazz, novelties, pure pop and cheesy listening music.

About Derrick Bostrom

Derrick Bostrom gained notoriety as the drummer and founding member of the legendary U.S. band the Meat Puppets. One of the longest-lasting bands from the indie scene of the 1980's, the Meat Puppets released ten albums, including 1994's certified gold "Too High To Die." That album spawned the hit, "Backwater," which can still be heard on classic rock stations to this day. The band was also featured on Nirvana's best-selling "Unplugged" album, which included three Meat Puppets songs.

Though the original trio disbanded after fifteen years in 1996, Bostrom continues to maintain the group's web site. In the late 90s, his solo group, Today's Sounds, released " Songs Of Spiritual Uplift" featuring versions of such songs as "Pac Man Fever" and "Let's Turkey Trot." He also produced the Meat Puppets reissue series for Rykodisc records.

Though retired from live performing, Bostrom retains a voracious musical appetite. He spends much of his spare time in the dusty corners of second-hand shops, thrift stores and dollar bins, gleefully scooping up the ephemeral leftovers not appropriated by other collectors. Bostrom shares the fruits of his labors on his program for, "C'mon! Live A Little!"

In addition to the Meat Puppets web site, where he shares his archives and anecdotes relating to the band's past, Bostrom also maintains Bostworld, a blog devoted to "trash, treasure, oddities, obsessions and obligations."

About LuxuriaMusic

LuxuriaMusic programming is an original mix of music content not found anywhere else. LuxuriaMusic features an intoxicating and often hallucinatory blend of musical genres, featuring Exotica, Lounge, Space Age Bachelor Pad, Bossa, Bollywood, Bubblegum, Soft-Psych, Go-Go, Latin Jazz, Sophisticated Rock and Surf music.

Current programming is a mix of live, taped-for-broadcast and automated shows. Most live programming airs between the hours of 1PM - midnight, Pacific Time (-0800 GMT).

The LuxuriaMusic radio format was developed by Chuck Kelley (music consultant on "Pulp Fiction" and "From Dusk till Dawn") and The Millionaire (from Combustible Edison) in the late 1990's and launched an Internet radio broadcast on February 14, 2000. LuxuriaMusic ranked #73 in the November 2000 Arbitron ratings, and in the Top 30 among "internet only" stations. In December 2000, Clear Channel Communications bought LuxuriaMusic's parent company Enigma Digital. ceased operations in May 2001.

The LuxuriaMusic radio stream was relaunched in March 2003 after a 22-month hiatus. The relaunched LuxuriaMusic is owned and operated by LuxuriaMusic, LLC with corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California and broadcast studios in Los Angeles, California. Chuck Kelley and Eric Bonerz (Program Director of the original LuxuriaMusic) are co-program directors. LuxuriaMusic is made possible by a staff of dedicated volunteers from around the world.

Meat Puppets on YouTube : The Dullsville Collection

by Derrick Bostrom in

I know we're all getting pretty tired of the endless debate -- you know the one: "since I have a discriminating ear, I prefer the Nirvana version" versus "you fucking fools can't see the Meat Puppets for the gods they are."  Lately, however, one YouTube denizen who calls himself "Dullsville" has been putting his money where his mouth is, posting whole swatches of classic live performances for the whole world to see.

One show is from Phoenix in February 1985, and features pre-release versions of tracks from "Up On The Sun." The band appears in characteristic dress: Curt in a blue tee-shirt and prescription sunglasses, looking every inch the popular high school preppie gone wrong that he was. Cris is in a suit jacket no doubt foisted upon him by his girlfriend. I'm wearing  my beloved "GOAT" tee shirt, which I got from a fan but lost somewhere along the way. A simple statement of Satanism made properly palatable for the REM generation. Dullsville gets my highest commendation for bravely ignoring the crumbling quality of his video. The tracking errors are so 20th century.

Another from his collection, a show from the early 90s,  is a typical example of the sublime offhand pyrotechnics we could produce when inclined. I'm pretty sure the performance is from McCabe's in October of 1994, though the lack of gratuitously enthusiastic recognition from the audience when we play "Backwater" would seem to peg it from before that single was released. Also included among the standard fodder is our version of Neil Diamond's "Longfellow's Serenade." Always the crowd pleasers, these guys. The footage also offers a very brief glimpse at the red boxer shorts with yellow polka dots I had on that night.

Along with the band footage is Dullsville's own video artistry in the added title sequences, though on occasion he dares to add effects to the live footage itself. But the effects only add to the overall atmosphere of stoney fandom exuded by the collection. Get yourself a grabber and download these files to your video iPod quick, before your next road trip. You won't want to leave home without them.

The Dullsville Collection (This account was deleted.)

The Dullsvillain Collection (Long live The Villain!)





A Couple Of Links

by Derrick Bostrom in

A couple of sites containing cool Puppets content came to my attention this week:

The first is Adam Hartmann's new podcast, The Bottom 40 Rock Show. Half of the the current episode is devoted to You Know Who. Adam is just starting out, and he's still getting his chops down (the volume balance between his voice and the music is WAY off, and he needs to watch is "P" popping), so check him out and give him lots of encouragement!

Geoff Cordner on the other hand is a professional photographer with a slew of great pix up on his Austin Punk Vignettes pages.  There are three live photos of us from the legendary Black Flag/Nig Heist 84 tour, which has been so extensively covered on a previous post.

I don't remember much about this gig. I do remember hitting my head hard on a low beam the next night. I remember haggling with Flag about money in Texas, and I remember Flag experiencing vehicular trouble which would vex them for the entire first half of the tour. Mostly what I remember about this leg of the tour was being hassled by the cops in Louisiana, both in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. One was  simple posession beef, but the other was a full-blown harrassment, complete with physical abuse.

As I recall, Cris had been trying with no luck to find parking around the New Orleans club. Everything was "reserved" for the restaurant across the street. In fact, the local police were keeping punks out. Finally, Cris rolled down the window in exasperation and said to a policeman, "where the fuck do you expect me to park??" The next thing he knew, the cop was running towards him, weapon drawn.

Cris did what any fool would do: he tried to floor it out of there. But this gave the cop all the excuse he needed. Accusing Cris of trying to "assault" him with the car, he forced Cris at gunpoint into an adjascent alley and began kicking the shit out of him. Curt and our soundman ran up at that moment and made like to help him, but Cris screamed, "stay back!" Sure enough, the cop warned them off with his gun.

Needless to say, we did not play that night. Whatever arguing we'd done with Flag over money the few nights previously became somewhat moot, since it took a couple grand to get Cris out of jail. I don't remember how it all got resolved, but I think it took another couple grand in lawyer's fees to make it all go away. Once Cris was safe and sound the next day, we fled to Baton Rouge. There, we replayed the scene, this time with our soundman, who was hauled off to jail for posession of a small pot pipe and a pocket knife.

By this time, Rollins and the boys were good and fed up with the Meat Puppets. And we were barely a week into the tour.

Brendan DeVallance's Phoenix Punk Page

by Derrick Bostrom in

As I get older, the fog of the passing years decends more and more rapidly, further enshrouding from view everything it touches. So it is always a delight when someone or something comes along to fan the fog away, if only for a moment. Such is the case with one Brendan DeVallance, a fellow traveller from the early Phoenix punk rock scene.

Recently, Mr. DeVallance notified me of his intention of opening a wing on his site devoted to the old days. He asked for a glowing remembrance of his group the Junior Chemists, and I was happy to comply. You'll find it here, along with plenty of photos and audio clips. If -- like me -- you're one of the six or seven folks still alive from back then, Brendan's pages are sure to take you back.

Along with his other group the Advo-Cats, Brendan started the Junior Chemists in the summer of 1980, around the same time as the Kirkwoods and I debuted the Meat Puppets. (I still have a tape of their very first gig.) And though I can find evidence that our two groups only ever played together once, that show remains clear in my memory.

Happily, Brendan had the presence of mind to bring his camera on that occasion, and took one of the few photos in existance of the Meat Puppets performing during their first year. It's a cute one too. Since it was a Christmas show, you can see streamers and decorations against the walls. All three of us are babies -- there's just no other way to describe us. We're just barely out of short pants.

Staged in Phoenix's premiere dive of the day, the gig brought together not only the cream of punk revellers, but also some guys from our neighborhood. Though some of them were no strangers to the scene, one of two had yet to get their feet wet. Just the same, they were game to come along for the novelty. It made for an interesting contrast to have Curt's geeky high school chums calling out for Yes and King Crimson covers admid the baleful stares of such local stalwarts as Marcy Murder and Charlie Monoxide.

The photo also captures us using our original gear -- with one exception. Absent from the scene is Curt's beautiful black Les Paul. Not long before this gig, he left it in the back of his truck one night while visiting friends. It didn't stay back there for long. Its replacement, the Gibson you see in the picture, was flat piece of plank with little sustain and a brittle, unpleasant sound. It afforded Curt none of the majesty and mystery of the Les Paul, and proved to be a thorn in our side for as long as it remained in service.

Henceforth, we learned how important our instruments were to our sound, and to take good care of them. Well, some of us did.

Visit Brendan DeVallance's Phoenix Punk Scene page

Photos In The Links: Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club

by Derrick Bostrom in

Our previous post about the rigors of major label life garnered a lively and lengthy discussion. One of the highlights was this anecdote by Kevin, which he has been good enough to augment with some Flickr photos (taken by either Ken Kelly or Patti Torno; he wasn't sure which).

athens 01
athen 02
athens 03

The stories of end of gig mayhem reminded me of one of my favorite Puppet shows. It was the “Forbidden Places” tour in Athens Ga at the new big 40 Watt Club. This may have even been the first big show there. They came out blazing, absolutely tearing it up. Everyone in the place seemed to be knocked back by the force of the music, literally. I’d already seen them many times before and this was shaping up to be the best show I’d ever seen.

Unfortunately the new PA could not handle it and it cut out completely. As the soundmen worked frantically to fix the problem the Puppets tried to soldier on, playing instrumentals with their amps turned up. Maybe “Six Gallon Pie” or “Flight of the Fire Weasel,” those kinds of guitar solo pieces. After a few minutes they realized it wasn’t working (no drums!) and completely devolved into noise. Curt threw his Les Paul into the crowd, turned up his amp and went to work on his Morely echo pedal. You know the sound. Cris, of course, went crazy throwing his bass around and eventually smashing it on the ceiling, shattering the flourescent lights above the stage. At that point he gave up on the bass and shakily climbed his amps, ending up swinging from the stage lighting truss directly above our hero Derrick. Derrick had been pounding out a nice beat behind the noise, but at this point he saw Cris dangling above him and ran out front. Smart considering what happened to Curtis Mayfield. If I remember correctly Derrick then grabbed the guitar or operated the pedals, he continued to make a contribution at any rate. At some point a couple of streakers ran out, hugged the band and then dashed off. The crowd was screaming the whole time, completely caught up in the chaos.

Finally the club workers ushered the band off stage to deal with the problem. Cris came back out with a cooler from backstage and started to hand out the contents. Eventually the PA was restored to a semi functional state and the band came back out, playing a more standard set ending with an “I Wanna Be Your Dog” jam with the openers Scrawl onstage.

Not a bad way to usher in the start of the major label Puppets, at least for fans like us.

Attending that particular Athens show was famous actress, local celebrity and girlfriend of Batman, Kim Bassinger. She was also friends with one of the owners of the club, REM’s Pete Buck. I introduced myself to her before the gig and thanked her for coming. However, she was forced to flee the premisis in the ensuing mele. As Kevin remembers it, "She took off in a hurry. I was at the side of the stage (stage left) and saw her being ushered out like it was a terrorist attack."

Hot Damn! Tom Troccoli on the Web!

by Derrick Bostrom in


Was it really twenty two years ago this month that the Meat Puppets found themselves on a 6-week cross country tour with Black Flag and the Nig Heist? To Flag it was nothing: just another in a seemingly endless series of punishing promotional marathons. But to us, it was staggering. Nothing in our previous four years had prepared us for a month and a half of car trouble, violent crowds, hostile promotors, arrests, interminable drives, horrendous food, blizzards, and all with only two days off for the whole thing. In other words, it was a typical Black Flag tour.  Fortunately, the Nig Heist opened every show, which was both both the high point and the low point of the trip, depending on my mood.

Each night, the Nig Heist would bait the hardcore audiences with a simplistic but effective style of confrontational performance art. Donning long hair wigs and heavy metal regalia, they would taunt the crowd with a crude Van Halen approximation. Every song dealt with what was known in Flag circles as "scamming broads." In between the songs, the singer would invite the women in the audience to meet him backstage to "get happening" with what he called his "two inches of dangling death." Some nights, the audience ignored it, some nights the shtick was boring. But on rare occasions the crowd would freak out, inspiring the band to ever greater heights of provocation. They even managed to get themselves arrested once.

Holding down the bottom end was super sweetie Tom Troccoli, self styled hippie and America's formost nude bass player. I think he was also in charge of the merch, but I can no longer remember for sure. He and I got along from the start. We both liked a lot of the same shit, like comic books and Elvis.  The Nig Heist was a lark for him, and shortly afterwards, he got his own band together. He explores his musical history in depth on his Web site, where you'll not only find a generous helping of his own recollections, but if you look close enough, you'll find some rare Meat Puppets content.

One only wishes that he'd give up whatever page authoring tool he's using and move his whole mess over to or Blogger, where the templates are more legible.

Enter Tom Troccoli's site through the Nig Heist page

In Praise Of Dave Markey

by Derrick Bostrom in


The Meat Puppets first discovered filmaker Dave Markey through his 1984 film "Desperate Teenage Lovedolls." We got to know Dave after his band Painted Willie joined the SST roster. We officially became collaborators of a sort when he included our version of Black Flag's "No Values" in the soundtrack to his 1986 film "Lovedolls Superstar."

It wasn't until 1995 that we actually got to work with him. That's when we pursuaded Polygram to hire Dave on to make the video for our "Scum" single. That was an ambitious little project: a decently-budgeted affair conceived by Curt and Dave during an inspired "breakout session." It's the only video in which we got to "act" as well as lip synch. It was also our last one, and probably the final project Cris, Curt and I all worked on together.

You can find the "Scum" video, as well as the one he did with Curt for Eyes Adrift's "Alaska," on Dave's We Got Power site. You'll also find the entire original soundtrack for "Lovedolls Superstar" up there, as well as a whole slew of content not even remotely connected to the Meat Puppets (what's up with that??).

Here's "Scum"

Here's  the "Lovedolls Superstar" soundtrack

Coincidentally, just as I was preparing this post I got email from Dave. It turns out his new edition of "Lovedoll Superstars" is being released March 2006. He's given the film a proper digital transfer, as well as a cleaned-up soundtrack and some fresh edits. Like a lot of music-heavy film projects from the past, not all the licensees signed on. Our "No Values" track, baggaged with moribund ties to the SST empire, was one of those that did not make the cut. But Dave was gracious enough to substitute another nugget of ours, "Teenager(s)," which can also be found on the reissue of  "Meat Puppets II." But since you've probably already got that one -- and since Dave's giving away all the rest of his Puppets-related content for free -- you're left with no other recourse than to order the Lovedolls Superstar DVD from Amazon.

Blogger interviews Bostrom

by Derrick Bostrom in

The Derrick Bostrom Interview over at Todd Thurman's site "The Right Voice" offers the current version of classic interview responses and sheds a little new light on heretofore unasked questions. Thanks to Todd for the opportunity and the interest!

UPDATE: Todd's Blogspot site is gone now. Shortly after posting this interview he was so badly flamed (probably from Meat Puppets fans --  shame on you!) that he moved to another server. Anyway, here's the text of the interview:

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Derrick Bostrom Interview

For those of you who do not know (you should), Derrick Bostrom is the drummer for the Meat Puppets. The Meat Puppets rose to fame throughout the 1980s with Monumental albums such as "Meat Puppets II". They enjoyed success in the indy scene and a loyal cult following that was growing. They made the big time in 1994 when Nirvana featured 3 songs from the "Meat Puppets II" album during their unplugged performance. A hidden jewel of an album that every music fan should own is "Forbidden Places" that was released in 1991. Although they do not release music anymore they are one of the most influential bands of the 80s 90s and beyond. Derrick Bostrom was kind enough to answer a few questions for me and they are listed below.

What do you consider the best Meat Puppets song?

It's almost impossible to choose. I did select many of my favorites for the Rykodisk "Classic Puppets" album that I put together for them a couple years ago. I like things like "Sexy Music" and "Love Our Children Forever;" not necessarily fan faves. I also like our cover of "F*** You' by The Feederz. That was only released on a promo-only CD single. Up until I did the back catalogue reissue for Ryko in 1998 and 1999, a lot of my favorite Puppets tracks were unreleased. But I got a chance to use a lot of them as bonus tracks. There are still some favorite demos, outtakes and live shows lying around that I'd to give people a chance to hear; I hope to be able to post some of them on my Meat Puppets site.

Were the songs very collaberative, or did Curt lead the way?

Kind of both. In the earliest days, he and I collaborated. That was when he needed to be prodded into writing. Once he started getting positive feedback from people and started building confidence, he wrote on his own. The main way our material was collaborative after that was if we rejected songs he brought to rehearsal. We'd play everything, but it became obvious which songs we were all excited about, and which one's left us cold.

What was your initial reaction after Nirvana asked you guys to play your songs at the Unplugged show? Do you think they did a good job?

We were on tour with the them for the week leading up to the MTV performance. He'd asked Curt to teach him the song, but Curt managed to persuade him that it would be easier for him if he just brought him and Cris up onstage. We took the invitation very seriously. We cancelled a the last handful of dates of a tour we were on in order to make the show, and raced home to get ready, despite the fact that we had to drive through a blinding snowstorm in the Texas panhandle to make it.

What bands influenced you growing up?

The answer to that one will always be The Beatles.

Who is your favorite drummer?

I always admired studio session master Hal Blaine the most. The drummers that interested me were always studio players.

A lot of your songs seem to be light on the lyrics and heavy on the instrumentals. What made you decide to go that way?

I usually refrain from commenting on judgment calls on the part of the interviewer ;)

Who was your favorite band to tour with and what was your favorite tour?

Our first major tour was six weeks with Black Flag and Nig Heist in the spring of 1984. We all lived out of each others' pockets, bumming the same places top sleep, traveling together, etc. It will probably always stick in my mind, not only because it being the first and because of the closeness, but also because Nig Heist was such a riot.

"Too High to Die" seems very "cleaned up" than your previuos albums. Is this because of pressure from the label, or were the Meat Puppets evolving?

Never underestimate the powerful influence of a decent recording budget.

What do you think was your best album?

I can't really argue with the school of thought that puts "Meat Puppets II" and "Up On The Sun" at the top of the heap.

Besides the Meat Puppets, who is, currently, your favorite band?

Of the ones still together, The Pernice Brothers and Teenage Fanclub are probably the bands I have the highest regard for.

For more information straight from the horses mouth visit the Meat Puppets site

Thanks again to Derrick Bostrom.

Todd - Meat Puppets Live Repository

by Derrick Bostrom in

Peter Wohlers hosts a substantial archive of live Meat Puppets music on his site. Here's the link: Meat Puppets Live Repository

We haven't yet gone all Grateful Dead on his ass yet, but in light of the recent flap over at, perhaps he should post something like the following:

"Notice: please be advised that the files offered on this site are for the purposes of evangalism only! They should not be enjoyed in and of themselves and should only be downloaded with the express intent of enhancing the band's popularity via word-of-mouth."

Shaved Neck: Derek "Meatpuppet" Bostrom's World

by Derrick Bostrom in

Back in the mid-80's, I recieved an offer from Tucson's alternative newpaper, the "Newsreel" for a series of comic strips. I mailed off a small collection of my favorites and waited excitedly for them to see print.  But my enthusiasm was somewhat blunted when I saw that they hadn't used my title for the strip, which was "Your Favorite Comics." Instead, they called it "Derek 'Meatpuppet' Bostrom's World."  Not only had they mispelled my name (and the band's), but their title made me feel like they considered my work worthless outside the context of the Puppets.  Furthermore, it was just a embarrassingly clumsy title.

I fired off a letter the the "Newsreel" expressing my displeasure, and got a reply from the head honcho, saying in effect that I was an ingrate. This was my first experience with Jon Rosen, who soon folded the mag and eventually moved to Phoenix. In 1987, Cris and I appeared on a radio show he was hosting. Cris' bad behavior led Jon to remove us from his playlists. A couple of years, Cris mended his fences and the two of them became friends. In fact, Jon became one of the Meat Puppets' biggest boosters.

As we got more successful and moved in every-widening circles, we met more folks like Jon,  a proud league of grassroots independent promotors that coalesced around the independent music scene. I daresay none of us could have done it without them.

Anyway, here's the comic, from the Shaved Neck site: Derek 'Meatpuppet' Bostrom's World.