Music | Grade A: The Meat Puppets stay relevant. | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Music | Grade A: The Meat Puppets stay relevant. 

Pin It
"I want to come off as pathetic, grasping yet gratified on every level. That’s the kind person I want to come across as.” n

For all intents and purposes, bassist Cris Kirkwood’s parting words over a telephone conversation should be taken with a heavy heart, seeing how his band The Meat Puppets are the reason shows like Behind the Music exist. Back in the ’80s, the seminal genre-bending band gained fans among the underground music elite, most notably Kurt Cobain, who invited the Kirkwood brothers (Cris and Kurt) to play along during three Meat Puppets songs on Nirvana’s Unplugged album.


After the modest hit albums Too High to Die and No Joke!, Kirkwood began a well-publicized descent into drugs; his wife overdosed and he became estranged from his brother, who continued to write music as a solo artist.


Yet, Kirkwood remains optimistic. “I fucking hurt myself pretty bad. The tragedy was unnecessary, avoidable, and I’ll never get over it. But I’m not going to let it control me or make me who I am. Now, it’s just a fucking blast for Kurt and I to be back together again,” he says.


After nearly seven years of separation, Cris and Kurt got back together for the 2007 release Rise to Your Knees, an album full of tenderness and sensibility. Whereas most of their peers had either faded into obscurity or were recording the same dated ’90s-music, Rise to Your Knees had shown that the two had matured and that the Meat Puppets could remain relevant in the ’00s.


“I don’t think we make a conscious effort to remain relevant; we were careful to not paint ourselves into a corner, but that’s more incidental in the fact that it’s the art that we like to make,” Kirkwood says. “Music today is more genre-specific: Punk-rock scene, alt scene, etc. Where we were coming from artistically, that’s the way that we want to play music.”


The band continues their foray into reluctant maturity by playing songs from the forthcoming Sewn Up, due in late March


“Using music as an art-form,” Kirkwood continues, “it’s going to be affected by whatever period of age that you’re at, relationship with yourself, or the instrument you use—you grow with it. Kurt and I aren’t cut out to do anything else than this.”


The Meat Puppets
nThe Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Thursday, Jan. 22, 10 p.m.

Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Snowbird's Lodge Bistro

    'Bird Bistro: Chef R.J. Peterson’s high-altitude cooking hits high notes.
    • Jun 25, 2010
  • The Class

    Student Cancel: The Class exposes the hard reality of contemporary public education.
    • Mar 4, 2009
  • More »

About The Author

Ryan Bradford

More by Ryan Bradford

  • Guilty Treasures

    Gather up a decade of the best/worst music in one convenient track list.
    • Nov 18, 2009
  • CD Review: Dark Was the Night

    The album's other acts include The Books [fronted by Jose Gonzalez], Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, My Brightest Diamond, Kronos Quartet, The Decemberists, Iron and Wine, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Beirut, My Morning Jacket, Dave Sitek, Buck 65, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo, and others.
    • Feb 26, 2009
  • Music | CD Revue: Mush Records

    n Ten Years of Mush Records Mixtape nA while back, I had the grand idea to make a mix CD with no track breaks; the record would be one continuous track composed of individual songs edited together with sparse transitions. My intention was purely selfish: This format would force the listener through my picks without the ability to skip the ones they might not like while I laughed from my High Thron...
    • Jan 7, 2009
  • More »

Latest in Music

  • The Return of Music

    Proposed rollout of 2021's shows and festivals.
    • Apr 7, 2021
  • Considering Crucialfest

    A Salt Lake City heavy-music stalwart considers new approaches for a new era.
    • Mar 31, 2021
  • Viva Velour

    Veterans of the Provo music venue recall its highlights, and hope it can survive pandemic closure.
    • Mar 24, 2021
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The Art of a Show

    Gold Blood Collective hosts a unique way for visual artists to benefit from live music.
    • Dec 11, 2019
  • Music Making History

    Energize your social conscience with documentaries about the music of revolutions.
    • Jun 24, 2020

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation