With over three decades of classics behind them and a new album (their 14th) out this year, Curt Kirkwood talks to PopMatters about The Wizard of Oz, the art on chili cans, and the eternal wisdom of Popeye...
Sometimes it's funny how fame works in the music industry. You start out as a critically beloved act who influence a whole generation of rock bands, and when one of them blows up and invites you to be players on its MTV Unplugged special, suddenly you're on everyone's radar.
Yet while it's easy to quickly associate the career of the legendary Meat Puppets with that of their successful progeny Nirvana, the truth of the matter is that the Meat Puppets' career is one of the most compelling in all of rock music, stretching across 13 epic albums with a 14th -- Rat Farm -- out this year.
Guiding the Puppets' course between alternative rock and psychedelic folk is (and always has been) the brothers Kirkwood: Cris and Curt. While the group has seen a bevy of members come and go, the Kirkwoods have been a constant, and whether its forming side projects with Nirvana's Krist Novoselic (in the form of Eyes Adrift) or breaking up more than a few times, the Kirkwoods have managed to persevere, creating their own unique brand of rock for over an absolutely breathtaking three decades. While bands and trends may come and go, the Meat Puppets are one of rock music's most reliable constants.
Right before Rat Farm's release, Curt sat down and answered PopMatters' 20 Questions, here revealing how Avatar made him cry, he is drawn to the artwork on cans of chili, and is out to prove to us that he is, without question, good with a broom...
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1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Nothing in recent memory has made me cry but I did throw up after I saw Avatar.
2. The fictional character most like you?
The Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz... no heart.
3. The greatest album, ever?
The soundtrack from Walt Disney's Bambi.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
5. Your ideal brain food?
Wolf brand chili... not the chili itself but the visually appealing art on the cans.
6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I raised two beautiful children in spite of my mediocre parenting.
7. You want to be remembered for... ?
I want to be remembered for the answer I'm giving to this question.
8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?
Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Van Gogh and The Brady Bunch.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Footloose... the Kevin Bacon one.
10. Your hidden talents... ?
I'm pretty handy with a broom.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Popeye told me to eat my spinach... I am strong now.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
My personality... my mom told me it was scraped off of a post in the backyard.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or... ?
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Barney Fife... we would dine'n'dash.
15. Time travel: where, when, and why?
Mayberry... 1962... to ask Barney out to dinner.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or... ?
Coffee-vodka flavored chocolate cigarettes.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
In the forest... next to a big grocery store and a McDonalds.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
"Could you loan me $20?"
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Not much... need any odd jobs done? I'm good with a broom.