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January 30, 1990 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-30

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ARTS
Tuesday, January 30, 1990

The Michigan Doily

Page 5

No

veggie alternative

Sun-dried Meat Puppets pull their own strings
BY ANNETTE PETRUSSO - a

'* W INNEBAGOING around the
country playing one night stands,
the Meat Puppets hit the Pig tonight
with their tasteful blend of fetish-
filled songs and an overwhelming
plethora of influences that astound
the listener at every turn.
Meat Puppets Fun Fact #1:
While "Speaking Puppet" to Guitar
Player magazine in July, 1987, they
said: "Our live shows are external
combustion and a lot of drool."
Their stripped-down sound, based
on three men and their instruments,
pounds at its base with the overdrive
of drummer Derrick Bostrom and
bassist Cris Kirkwood. Bouncing off
the bottomless rhythmic duo, Cris'
bro Curt coerces his guitar and dead-
pan vocals into flaming instruments
of subtlety and improvisation. It
wasn't always this way; Curt once
called their eponymous 1982 SST
debut "Iron Maiden on acid."
Meat Puppets Fun Fact #2:
According to The Washington Post,
Curt "only like(s) the Beatles be-
cause of the Beatles cartoon show
that used to be on TV....," like
many too young to remember the
real people together as a real group.
Nodding at every cool American
influence under the sun, the Puppets
blend it all into a volatile drink of
originality. By praising arena rock
like ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin way
before it became Kingdom Come,
and never forgetting country, jazz
improv, metal, a bit of punk for
character, straight-ahead rock coupled
with the '60s California scene
(CCR, the Dead), and Eraserheady,
they sensibly fry the past in their
own pan creating an oasis of humor
in a dry, imitative world.
Albums like Up on the Sun recall
lazy Sunday afternoons sitting on
the porch watching the world go by,
reveling in it for about 10 minutes,
before getting pissed off at the bore-
dom of it all and seizing the weird
thoughts that run into acidic infin-
ity. Live, their laid-back attitude

The Stone Roses
FoolsGold 12"
Silvertone U.K.
so i'm sitting in this pub with a
creamy pint of the best and i say to
her okay the stone roses debut album
is pretty good, it's a grower, and the
boys do have a nice line in '60s
rehashing, taking a little beatle-ish
harmony and murky pink floyd circa
'67 (when syd barrett was still on
this side of insanity) and they do
slag off maggie thatcher and the
monarchy which is especially nice
when you do it surrounded by such
pretty music and i'll concede that "I
am the Resurrection" ranks up there
alongside "Tomorrow Never Knows"
and "Interstellar Overdrive" in the
epic rockjam stakes and that the
boys look great with those moptops
and they do wear flares which is
alright by me honestly (though all
those kids in manchester, england
with their muddy bellbottom denims
dragging in the rain looks plain daft)
but in the final analysis, in
summation, ultimately, all said and
done, when the gum on the envelope
has finally been licked so to speak,
Have the Stone Roses done anything
new with rock (or should I say
rocknroll, which sounds more
american) i mean are they really as
good as everyones making out?
so she plays me the 9 minute 53
second version of "Fools Gold." And
as soon as the first drum beat comes
in i know that this is something
special something that is new
something that kicks unlike most
other rock stuff and i can tell you all
this fancy theoretical bullshit about
this being the final place that pop
music must go where black dance
music meets white rock and that this
is more genuine than your red hot

chili peppers but i won't say that
and instead i'll just inform you that
as soon as that drum beat (which is a
bit like james brown's "funky
drummer" tune but not quite as
meaty) kicks into full effect this is
dance trance time and you start
groovin and moovin along to it
(which is very nice when youve got
someone soft to do it with) and then
even better a little sly riff comes in
to tease us and when i say sly i
mean sly stone (he that told the
people to stand! and then told us
about the riot goin on and was fresh)
and the stone roses bring in this
sly riff with the wah wah pedal
pressed down to the max and along
with this celestial moaning are some
jimi licks that chill you to the bone
and let me tell you now (for i would
not deceive you about such a
business) the rhythm never lets up
and you coast along fine and dandy
with this bony funk while the bass
comes in every so often with a
fingerpoppin little number that
makes you say ooh ooh just to hear
it and besides all this theres ian
brown the singer goin on about
climbin mountains with rucksacks
and digging up iron pyrites on the
sierra madre (i think) but you dont
really care and dont give a fuck
because the rhythm is final on black
vinyl and this cold lampin dopey
stuff is makin you feel like frenchin
your nearest and dearest. Totally
good eroskeletal funk.
-Nabeel Zuberi
RIDETHE WAVE :L
Use and Read
: * Pitbiga n SaIV Classifieds

They're more than just pretty guys with pretty hair: Phoenix's Meat Puppets also play damn good music. It's
worth pondering, though, just how lead singer Curt Kirkwood keeps his hair so nice in Arizona's dry climate.

rushes into urgency as if the world
might end before they finish the set.
Meat Puppets Fun Fact #3:
They "broke" into the mainstream in
1985 because Up on the Sun was re-
viewed in People magazine. Said
magazine's David Hiltbrand called
them "absurdist," "strange," "sub-ter-
ranean, like a gaggle of mead-sodden
trolls," and "an acquired taste."
Curt's lyrics and delivery resem-
ble a less coherent and story-like,
dreamier Lewis Carroll, with his
voice evoking the sensation of self-
absorbed drowning within yourself.
It is not his lack of range but his
own seemingly self-mocking flat
tone that grabs attention. His lyrics
cry for coherence but the free-form
images press for more brain effort
than a cheap-shot story about saving
the world ever could. "Liquified"
from 1985's Mirage crunches:
"Petrified lizard antlers/ Asphalt or-

ange wheel/ Dog-eared alphabetic/
Rubber turns to steel/ Platinum veg-
etation/ Blue eyed Chandelier/ Cali-
fornia milk dust/ Freeze dried gerbil
ears/ Liquified."
Meat Puppets Fun Fact #4:
They bragged to East Coast Rocker
in August of 1988 that "Alice
Cooper was from our neighbor-
hood..."
From the smallish Arizona music
scene, the Meat Puppets have dived
head first into their weird interpreta-
tion of the American dream. For 10
years no bullshit has ever come from
this band. They play their instru-
ments making their merry way
around: hanging, living with no pre-
tensions about being some big shit
rock band that has to write songs to
draw an audience and be on Ameri-
can Top 40 to sell records and be the
Next Big Thing that will be forgot-
ten like Big Country. By sticking to
what they want to do and with fans

who appreciate this honesty and ca-
sualness, they come across as one of
the most respectable bands around.
Meat Puppets Fun Fact #5:
Curt hates being analyzed by critics.
He told the Times Tribune's Gina
Arnold, "I like stupid audiences with
no opinion."
THE MEAT PUPPETS bask in the
sun of the Blind Pig tonight. Festivi-
ties begin around 9:30 with
ELEVENTH DREAM DAY opening.
Tickets are available at the Michi-
gan Union Ticket Office for $10.50.
Share the
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