Q&A with Cris Kirkwood of Meat Puppets — Playing Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on June 13

Meatpuppets By Samantha Parvin

Puppets, a band that has been around for nearly three decades and has
experimented with most all musical genres under the sun, has just released yet
another album, Sewn Together.
Brothers Cris (bass) and Curt (vocals, lead guitar) Kirkwood, along with
drummer Ted Marcus, began a tour to support the album on May 12 in Los Angeles
and will end in Austin on July 9. Cris
caught up with AMG to talk about the album and the show on June 16 at East
Atlanta’s The EARL.  

us about the new record,
Sewn Together. Artistically, what did you want to accomplish on this album that is
different from your previous albums?

previous we were trying to keep from giving each other crabs. Now we’re trying to give each other crabs. We’ve kind of laid off getting offensive and
have grown close to our own.

and your brother, Curt, are back together again for the first time in several
years. What do you think your reunion
and the addition of drummer Ted Marcus will create on this tour? Do you see a vibe or tone forming yet for the

and I met Ted during last record in 2006. We noticed something right away. Whatever the fuck it is, we noticed it right away. The faint stink of doo-doo that Curt and I
do, just the two of us together again – we’re family, and we’ve been so
astranged – and that was because of me. One thing I feel is that we’ve done it so long, we’re almost able to
“ape” my heroes and I can almost tolerate what I do – almost. 

What have the shows been like
thus far on the tour, and what can we expect from the June 13 show
at Rock and Roll Hotel?

Disappointment, alienation,
you know, the stench of desperation. 

Where does your desperation
come from?

Haha, deep within. I blame society. It’ll be the
same stuff as we’ve been doing for almost 30 years.  Diamond encrusted shovels laid out by
three-legged dogs. That was a good one,
wasn’t it?

It looks
like you’re playing a lot of more intimate venues on this tour. Was that something you guys wanted, or did it
just happen that way?

know, we just play wherever the fuck we’re invited to play. It’s always been that. Where our leashes will reach. I mean, you know – it’s the music industry;
rough and tumble business. Some bands
manage to start off small and get big. We managed to start small and get smaller.

think that being confident in trying all sorts of music has maybe attributed to
Most people need to be told what to listen
to. By making your own music, whatever
it may be at the time, you’ve been able to keep around people who appreciate
good music.

people who appreciate diversity in
their music. One of the reasons we’ve
been around so long is because we’ve done the music for ourselves. It’s the
arts. It’s as big as your imagination.
What it’s mostly about is failure because we’ve actually been trying all
along to be a boy band. We’ve modeled
ourselves after the Osmonds. Donny and
Marie – Curt and Cris; you see the trend, don’t you?

is the first album recorded and released under Megaforce Records. Did you feel like there was a struggle
between doing what you wanted to do on this album and satisfying the powers
that be (and those with the money)?

to tape. We didn’t on Rise to Your Needs. Always had pressure from the powers to be,
but even when we were on a major record [label] we did and came out with a hit
record. This is more of us doing the
shit that we wanted to make.

Finally – you guys have always seemed to want to break
the molds that your fans and labels have cast for you. You’ve truly gone through several
transformations – from punk rock to country and “cow punk,” then the
psychedelic stuff with
Mirage, alternative in the days of MTV Unplugged and Too
High to Die
, among other genres.
Ultimately, you’ve ended up with
Sewn Together, which seems to be a
juxtaposition of all genres you’ve experimented with in the past. How does the style of this album relate to
your lives? How have you evolved over
the years into what you are now?

can see how we’ve touched on different genres, but not really to me. It’s just always been Meat Puppets
music. All of it has just been Meat
Puppets. A lot of it depends on what
Curt comes up with.  He’s the productive
member of the “ensem.,” and this is what he’s come up with, this batch of
songs. What does it take to make good
music? Something you can’t quite put
your finger on. Personally, it’s pretty
cool. That’s about all you can say about
it.  Personally, it’s pretty cool. I mean, it’s cool to be doing this now, and
maybe it was even cooler doing it when I was younger. I used to be able to go all night. I mean, this tour is sponsored by Metamucil,
haha. There’s things about this album
where I’m like, well fuck, this couldn’t be any better. Fuck, that’s groovy.

there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to on this tour?

just a wonderful thing to fuckin’ be making music again with my brother. You get to drive around, see the sites, and
at the end of the night, you get to play a little music.

Meat Puppets play Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on June 13. Tickets are available at Ticket Alternative.

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