Four years ago, a young man of 22 emerged from the estates of east London with an…
- Posted on Apr 12th 2011 12:00PM by Joe Tacopino
"It has its little place for some people. It's a pretty unique album," Curt Kirkwood, the band's guitarist and singer, tells Spinner about playing the record. "There's like three or four [songs] that I definitely gotta sit down with. Once we're up there doing it, everybody at those festivals will be out of their minds, they won't notice if we completely f--- it up."
Being "out of their minds" is something the band is somewhat familiar with. Their epic career has been pockmarked with fallouts and 'Behind the Music'-worthy stories of addiction and survival. The band's first few albums were recorded in a self-induced haze and elicit a sloppy, visceral punk that is not easily duplicated.
"We didn't really drink back then," Kirkwood says about recording the early albums. "We had, um, we had other stuff. We were definitely gonzo, and that was the whole concept. We thought that it was, you know, part of the cultural evolution and the process. We had kind of an idealistic thing about it too."
One of the most notable and surreal aspects of the band's career was performing alongside Nirvana during the 1993 taping of MTV's 'Unplugged.' For Kirkwood, the concert marked a shift in the way bands approached the music industry.
"We'd been involved with the industry for a long time," he says. "I just didn't really know how to pitch to people. Nirvana did it by themselves. Suddenly here you are: one of these pinnacles of the business, doing this 'Unplugged' thing on MTV."
Not surprisingly considering the artists involved, the taping was far from a polished affair.
"It was a real show," Kirkwood says. "There weren't retakes and all that stuff. It had all the spontaneity and all the different things you would want out of that band, yet framed by a very corporate model."
Unfortunately, things began to unravel for the Meat Puppets around this time. The band's bassist -- and Curt's brother -- Cris Kirkwood descended into heroin addiction and, in 2003, he was shot during an altercation. He was sent to jail and the band went on hiatus.
"I just figured it was done," Curt says about that time. "My mom, as she lay dying, said, 'Could you take care of your brother?' He was already a junkie, and I said, 'I'll do what I can.'"
Lucky, after his stint in prison, Cris was able to sober up and rejoined his brother, who had never stopped writing songs, in the band in 2006.
"Once he got well, I jumped on it right away," Curt says. "It's very rare you could stick your hands in something that s----y and clean it up."
'Lollipops' is out now via Megaforce Records. The band will perform around the US and Europe through the end of May.
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