Monday, September 17, 2007

There's Nothin' at the Top but a Bucket and a Mop

The Pups are BACK and they're doggin' it! Rise to Your Knees, indeed. The Kirkwood brothers reunited as the Meat Puppets at last. Most thought this a veritable impossibility after bassist Cris' descent into addiction and worse (well documented in several Phoenix New Times articles over the years). I was fortunate enough to catch the band recently touring. Ironically, they played nary a tune from their resurrection effort, Rise to Your Knees. I think it a fairly kick-ass record (although those living in 1983 and expecting Meat Puppets II may not). Keep an open mind and grow rich. Curt Kirkwood himself described it in a recent interview as 'an accumulation of big campfire sing-along songs' which, if apropos, would unquestionably disturb and possibly warp the family next to you at the KOA. Regardless, it's been on regular rotation in my musicological sphere since I obtained it. I must confess that I did not purchase or even lend an ear to later albums such as No Joke and Golden Lies. At the time I was convinced that Rock n' Roll was a dead art form and I had reverted to listening to Country, some Blues and a bit of Jazz. I am familiar with their entire output from the band's SST releases plus one. I caught the unappreciated Eyes Adrift for one incredible but under-attended show... At any rate, the new record works as a seamless continuum for me.

I arrived early at the venue and saddled up at the bar with a buddy, ordering whiskey and beer. The psychedelic swirling mayhem that ensued was all Meat Puppets. Cris was doubled over on bass, long frizzy hair flying everywhere as he rocked out like a creature from another planet. The crowd was enthralled as they played classic tune after tune from their repertoire, including selections from Meat Puppets II, Up on the Sun, Huevos, Monsters and Too High to Die. The seemingly spontaneous treatment and work-up of the songs was phenomenal. This show moved me like so few have in recent memory. Shit, I'm ready to drop everything and drive cross-country to catch another show! Still not a track performed from the new one... And I am convinced that those tracks will destroy you played live...

I foresee many albums to come and rub my hands together in anticipation of the Pups' next move. Until then, I shall burn myself out on Rise to Your Knees.

- PiGbOyFaCe

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