Curt Kirkwood, frontman and visionary for the Meat Puppets, took a few moments to answer some email questions upon the release of Greg Prato's Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets. Here’s what he had to say.
Interviewer Steven Rosen: Without trying to sound glib, drugs had a lot to do with the sound of your earliest albums. Do you have any sense—or ever think about—what those early Meat Puppets records would have sounded like if you were sober?
Curt Kirkwood: As boring as other albums by sober people.
The Stones and Zeppelin were early influences on you—did you ever want to put together a band that sounded like them?
Nope, never wanted to sound like anybody else. I was in cover bands that did near perfect renditions of other band’s tunes. Fun but more like working at Pioneer Village or the Renaisance Faire.
As a trio, were you digging on classic trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience? Cream? Police?
Yes, all of the above.
Could you have done the Meat Puppets with anyone other than your brother?
Doubtful that it would have been the same without Cris or Derrick as well. They were the only ones I knew who were willing to block out all other avenues of pursuit and be in a band for real.
The Meat Puppets had a lot of respect from your peers. Did you think the band reached the commercial/popularity level you were hoping for?
That was never something that I hoped for or thought of too much. So any renown or money was generally a surprise.
Stephen Stills was somebody you listened to back in the day. Did you have that desire to be a guitar hero?
No, Cris always pushed me to be one and I was always more into songwriting and being a band guy—found a balance in there.
The aliens have landed and in the time capsule marked “Meat Puppets” are three songs from your canon—which three songs are they and why?
Put ‘em up on a wall and throw three darts—it wouldn’t matter to me. Probably not to the aliens either unless they spoke English or even cared for human noise at all.
The new Lollipop album is wonderful. Can you trace the lineage from a song like “Damn Thing” back to a song like “Swimming Ground” for instance?
That’s an easy one—I wrote both songs and I rip myself off all the time.
Can you hear that this same guy—Curt Kirkwood—was responsible for both songs?
Whoops! See above.
Is there a musical moment you’re most proud of? Disgusted with?
I’m most disgusted with the time I threw up onstage in Tennessee in the ‘80s. And most proud that I haven’t done it again since then. Nirvana Unplugged.
What did you learn about in Too High to Die that you didn’t know about yourself before?
That I look like shit in a dress.
Was it more fun back in the day than it is now?
It’s about the same—drive around, look at the tourist attractions, play some music and stay in strange hotels in strange cities. Eat shitty food, dodge the vampires and visit with a new batch of old friends every night. I still enjoy it.
Contributor Steven Rosen interviewed
Meat Puppets singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood in conjunction with his
review of Greg Prato's Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets (see accompanying review) for curledup.com. Steven Rosen/2012.