This far into their career, you could forgive the Meat Puppets if they decided to coast on such past triumphs as Meat Puppets II, Up on the Sun, and Too High to Die (and such classic tunes as "Lake of Fire," "Plateau," and "Backwater"). No chance, buddy. As heard throughout their brand new album, Rat Farm (released April 15th via Megaforce Records) the four-decade old band is as vital a force as ever. And the band - which consists of singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood, bassist Cris Kirkwood, drummer Shandon Sahm, and new addition on second guitar, Elmo Kirkwood (Curt's son) - will be supporting their new release by once again hitting the road hard, come the springtime.
"It's going to be real blown up folk music," explains Curt about Rat Farm. "I tried to write stuff that would be kind of easy to learn and easy to play, try and get it to stand on its own that way - just the chords and the melodies, and play it kind of straight. I think that was the guiding boundaries that I gave myself."
"I didn't want to get too complicated," adds Curt. "It was one of those things where a lot of times, in the past especially, Cris would go, 'Well, that's all there is? Let's put a prog rock part in the middle.' But I tried to hold it off as much as I could. I'm a lot of times trying to do that - be as simple as possible - because it tends to make something stick for me a little better, because I don't have to think about it that much when I'm playing it. And that I might actually wind up playing it live at some point, which is what I'm trying to do. I made it a point to do that."
Additionally, the band's entire career has recently been recounted in book form, with the release of the must-read Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets, which retells the band's entire history. Assembled by journalist/Puppets fan Greg Prato, the book features recollections from its band members, as well as such admirers as Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Peter Buck (REM), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), and Henry Rollins (Black Flag/Rollins Band), among countless others, and pulls no punches in telling the band's wild and wooly tale.
This far into their career, the Meat Puppets continue to offer inspired live performances and strong recordings that match up extremely well to their earlier classics. And as evidenced by Rat Farm and their upcoming live dates, you'll soon have the opportunity to experience the power of the mighty Meats yourself.
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