Hey, It’s A Meat Puppets Tour + Bio!

 

Extensive May-June
tour just announced.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

It’s always a good day when we have fresh Meat Puppets in
the oven, and today we have word of a rash of tour dates commencing May 12 in L.A. Not so
coincidentally, that same day is the official release for their new album Sewn Together (Megaforce). How many of
ya saw the band at SXSW?

 

Those tour dates:

 

 

May 12 – The Mint –
Los Angeles, CA
May 27 – Waterfront Park – Louisville, KY
May 28 – Blueberry Hill – St Louis, MO
May 29 –  High Noon – Madison, WI
May 30 – Schubas – Chicago, IL
May 31 – Schubas – Chicago, IL
June 2 – Radio Radio – Indianapolis,
IN
June 3 – The Summit – Columbus, OH
June 4 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
June 5 – Mr Smalls – Pittsburgh, PA
June 6 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
June 7 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
June 9 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
June 10 – Paradise – Boston, MA
June 11 – Mercury Lounge – New York,
NY
June 12 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
June 13 – Rock n Roll Hotel – Washington,
DC
June 14 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
June 16 – The Earl – Altanta, GA
June 17 – Exit/In – Nashville, TN
June 19 – Cambridge Room – Dallas, TX
June 20 – The Parish – Austin, TX

 

 

Meanwhile, the band
has a spiffy new official bio that we’d be remiss if we didn’t let you check it
out… see below. Guarantee: all dialogue repeated verbatim.

 

***

 

Perfection in art
is for subjective fools.  The goal of any real artist is purity, and
purity is a state of mind.  Hamlet knew and told us.  To thine own
self, be true. In 2007, with the wayward absence of bassist Cris Kirkwood a
hiccup since passed, the Meat Puppets
simultaneously reformed and pledged a singular ferIn 2007, with the wayward
absence of bassist Cris Kirkwood a hiccup since passed, the Meat Puppets simultaneously reformed and pledged a
singular fervent purpose.  Complete resurrection.   That’s no
small order.  This is, after all, a band that stands out as one of the
most illuminous sparks highlighting the first, and most overtly accomplished,
coming of American indie rock, those golden and precious years lying roughly
between 1979 and 1985.  An era so filled with purity, it reigns supreme to
this day with an embarrassment of musical riches.   Many of them
straight from the fingers of Kirkwood/Kirkwood/ Bostrom.

Always recognized as an extremely dexterous and deft live act, the Puppets used
2008 to continue to stretch out the new line up (with Ted Marcus now a full
time replacement for founding drummer Derrick Bostrom).   The band
joined Built to Spill, and later, Stone Temple
Pilots, for well received jaunts across the U.S. The Puppets also toured Europe, and took part in each of the 2008 All Tomorrow’s
Parties festivals, performing Meat Puppets II as
part of ATP’s Dont Look Back series.  By year’s end, the shows were
“almost” 100% acoustic.  “Almost” because Curt was
playing a Gibson Hummingbird plugged into his pedal board, allowing him to work
his eboard, allowing him to work his effects just like an electric
guitar.  The simplicity of the set up belied the sort of arresting
dynamics that Muse and Radiohead aim to capture, albeit by spending tens of
thousands of quid in arena production.

Signed in early 2008 to ultra-artist friendly Megaforce Records, the Puppets
found themselves once again at work exploring the vast creative landscape that
has defined the band since it burst forth with its majestic debut for SST, Meat Puppets.  In between ’08 tours, the Puppets
wrote and recorded a new album, Sewn Together, the trio’s second full
length since 2007. Sewn Together began with the band laboring under all
sorts of questions as to what artistic and sonic direction it would strike.

Afterall, band leader Curt Kirkwood openly acknowledged the rather brusque
approach he chose in crafting the one-off made for Anodyne Records, “Rise
To Your Knees”:

 

    “In the ‘80s, we used to just crap this stuff
out,” he notes.  “Those SST records cost, like, five grand
apiece, if that much, and those are the records that made people like us. 
Later, when we got into a position to work in bigger studios with outside
people, we’d wind up spending a whole bunch of money and having to satisfy the
people who gave us that money.  We did that all through the ‘90s, and I’m
just not interested in doing that anymore.”

  “Now, if I can get away with it, I’ll make a record as cheap as I
can and put as little work as I can into it, which is what we did with this
one.  I don’t like putting a lot time into it.  We cut a track, and
if we’ve played it halfway right, we’re done with it.”

Of course, none of Curt’s ideas about how to effectively make a record degrade
the music he crafts.  Integrity grips him as if a Viking vise.  
Like Dylan, he is merely determined to streamline, to avoid overthinking and
obsessing with studio elements.  He has delivered a living catalogue of
historical records, using close to primitive tools.  It is a lesson in
technique that today’s too-pimped up pop “artists” ought to study,
and thankfully, there are a few bands that do.   

In the case of the new album, Curt and Cris chose a home town studio that oIn
the case of the new album, Curt and Cris chose a home town studio that offered
analog process.  To help add purity.   And with production
helmed by Curt, creative freedom arrived du jour.  With no contrived map
to follow, the best friend of artistry -spontaneity- governed.  Indeed,
going into the studio, only Curt knew what songs he planned to cut.  The
label didn’t ask and neither did the band.  When the guiding minstrel is
as honed and proven as Curt, it is both easy and incumbent to roll with the
pitch.

TTrue to his vows not to beat down a session, in less than two weeks’ time Curt
had effectively corralled his necessary and sufficient musical elements: the
songs, the band, his son Elmo, the compatible recording team at the Salt Mine
Studio in Mesa,
and Phoenix-based pianist William Joseph.  Joseph’s role illustrates how
spontaneity is a giving gift.  He was initially invited into the studio to
help with some fills, yet by day’s end, was contributing a bounty of beautiful
passages that bespeak a mature flushing out of Curt’s deeply embedded genetic
sense of melody.  Witness “Sapphire,” “Clone,” and
“Smoke.” At first listen, one is tempted with an impression of
experimental Pink Floyd “Wall” like channeling here, but accuracy’s
sake will note that the operatic idiom behind these songs has been exhibited at
least as far back as 1995’s “No Joke”, and subsequent trials from
Curt’s solo master piece, “Snow”, and the texturally generous
“Rise To Your Knees”.

Now, however, the breadth of instrumentation is no longer in the back seat.
It’s right there in the guts of the entire record. And while it is not
overstatement to declare a connection here to the heights of the E Street Band,
the results from last summer’s sessions clearly continue the Puppets’ trademark
forging of subtle yet iconoclastic lyrical sweetness and remarkable
musicianship.  Were a short description required, confidence is the
defining term and attitude. This is a record that is brilliantly framed by the
band’s sometimes folksy, always fluid wanderings. The Puppets gladly let the
material step out as first fiddle, content with understanding songs this strong
only come along once in a great while, and better to serve them than the other
way around.

It is what makes the Puppets musings so difficult to classify.  They
ambitiously dart the melodic spectrum between buoyant pop structure like
album-opener Sewn Together and the grand sweep of “Clone”, two
of the precision-perfect gems that will come to represent this record as a
keeper.   The album rides to close in pure pop fashion.  The
infectious “Love
Mountain”, a song
that harkens back better than a decade, at last weaving itself free of Curt’s
inner aware-ness, emerges taut yet jangly enough to please George Harrison and
George Martin.  That’s no exaggeration, either.  Sure, absolutely,
Springsteen and the Beatles and Pink Floyd are mighty comparisons, but let’s
face it, what is due is due. Beatles and Pink Floyd are mighty comparisons, but
let’s face it, what is due is due.

Looking ahead, to May ’09, the Puppets start the first leg of extensive road
work celebrating the new record, but as with every Puppets’ tour, the show will
be certain to range over the course of performance afforded it by the Puppets’
endearingly adventurous career . The Sewn Together tour kicks off May
12th in Los Angeles
at the Mint.

 

 

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