Meat Puppets at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club on April 1
Just as Curt Kirkwood sings in the Meat Puppets‘ biggest hit — 1994’s “Backwater,” — some things will never change. And after more than 30 years of ups and downs, tours and albums — little has changed with the sound of the Meat Puppets and the quality of their songs.
On Monday, April 1, the Meat Puppets — Curt and Cris Kirkwood, Elmo Kirkwood (Curt’s son) and Shandon Sahm — will bring their world tour to the Chameleon Club in Lancaster in support of their 14th studio album, Rat Farm, which will be released on April 16 (pre-order your copy here). The first single off of the album, “Down,” is the familiar psychedelic, alternative rock blend that the Meat Puppets have mastered.
I recently caught up with lead singer and guitarist Curt Kirkwood between tour stops in Panama and Shreveport. While the tour just got underway and the new album is still yet-to-be released, Kirkwood is really enjoying playing the new songs.
“I like the whole album; it’s one of my favorites to play in a while,” Kirkwood said. “A lot of times we’ll make an album and start trying to learn it and we wind up not playing it; albums are fun to make sometimes and just not fun to play for whatever reason but this one we went and learned it and I like playing it. I think it’s pretty cool.”
Earlier this month, the Meat Puppets kicked off their tour at the historic South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas with an opening slot for the toughest ticket in town — the Sound City Players, which included the Foo Fighters, Krist Novoselic, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty and Rick Springfield to name a few.
“I think that was Dave’s [Grohl] idea for us to play that; I didn’t really ask but I’m pretty sure that’s where that came from. It was cool, I haven’t seem him for awhile,” Kirkwood said. “It went over real well, I think we nailed it. We just played old stuff, we didn’t play anything new. It was really fun and well-received.”
Kirkwood famously appeared alongside Grohl, Novoselic, Pat Smear and Kurt Cobain on Nirvana’s Grammy award winning MTV Unplugged in New York album. The multi-platinum album, which was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, includes three songs off of the 1984 Meat Puppets II album. The three Meat Puppets songs — “Lake of Fire“, “Plateau“, and “Oh Me” — are unquestionable highlights of the performance.
“I love that record. I knew the night that it was done that it was good, it was well played and I think that sort of medium, the acoustic stuff, served those guys real well for what they performed,” Kirkwood added. “Cris and I love doing acoustic stuff; it illuminates the songs a little better and I thought that was the case with those. I still love hearing it.”
While he enjoys playing acoustic, Kirkwood assures that the Chameleon Club show will be a full-blown electric rock show, and he’s really looking forward to it.
“I can’t remember the last time I was in Lancaster, I think it’s been a long time so I’m looking forward to it,” Kirkwood said. “It’s real cool to come to a place and not have too many expectations. I think it was in the 80s, we might have been through Lancaster with Primus in the 90s or something but I just don’t remember so it will be fairly novel to me. I love that, it’s like being a tourist.”
The Meat Puppets were also the subject of a critically acclaimed 2012 biography, Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets. Kirkwood said that the book was not his idea, but the story was fair enough to the band.
“I thought that was a novel way putting together a history through interviews that way rather than writing a straight up biography so it gave some different angles,” Kirkwood added. “I thought it was pretty interesting.”