Brothers Grim
Please allow us to offer our praise to David Holthouse for the disturbing, eye-opening story of the brothers Kirkwood and the death of Michelle Tardif ("Shooting Star," November 12).

As my friends and I--each of us bearing the eternal, bittersweet moniker of "addict-in-recovery"--have read this sad and somewhat familiar tale, it helped us to remember just how lucky we are. Lucky that we are here, living, and no longer merely existing in the drug-induced haze we'd previously called life.

We know that there are those whose reaction will be anger toward a system that once again allowed people to "fall through the cracks." Those people will never know an addict's life. Sleepless expanses of time punctuated by a shower to mark the end of one and beginning of another approximate 24-hour period of time, much of which is spent perfecting the arts of manipulation and subtle deceit so that the addict can remain "peacefully content" in the existence created to escape that which they choose not to face. All systems are flawed and shouldn't always be blamed when a human being repeatedly makes poor choices.

In his article, Holthouse has shown his integrity as a journalist by so boldly stating the true ugliness of addiction and the fact that it knows no socioeconomic boundaries. If his goal was to reach someone and keep him from walking the path of an addict, he has most assuredly done so.

Although we have already walked this path to varying degrees, this article has served to reinforce that our choice for recovery was the correct one. We each fight temptation, but with the assistance of things such as this story, we can continue to make the choice to walk away. Thank you!

Name withheld by request

I managed the Meat Puppets from 1991-1994. I fell out with Cris Kirkwood when I called him on his drugging in the Too High to Die period. I merely wanted to say that I thought David Holthouse's piece was excellent, very sad (for both the brothers are wondrous) and a better argument against hard drugs than a million Partnership for a Drug-Free America ads--a real public service.

Jamie Kitman
via Internet

I thought that it was very rude of you to do what you did to the poor Kirkwood family. They did not deserve what you did, writing all of that crap about them, it was very rude. I could not believe that a human being could write what you did about other human beings. These people have feelings, too. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such things about other people. I believe that you should write apology letters to the entire family. You should make a retraction.

Name withheld by request

Just got through reading the story on the Meat Puppets' Cris Kirkwood, and I must say that it was both unsettling and inspiring. Having met the boys at a promotional event for Too High to Die here in Cleveland, I can remember Derrick Bostrom and Cris as being the "most normal," with Curt being rather aloof and unapproachable. I was told, by Bostrom, that the brothers existed on a different plane than the rest of us, and another friend of mine who knew the band for years told me that the brothers did "a lot of drugs." That kind of dismissal is, unfortunately, pretty common in rock circles even to this day. The nightmare that Cris must be living is horrible beyond belief, and I can only say that I hope Curt finds it in himself to stay strong in his resolve and doesn't give up hope that one day his brother saves himself. Congrats on a fine piece of journalism.

Mark Holan
via Internet

Thank you very much for filling in my questions concerning the Kirkwoods. Your story really touched our family, as we were pretty close with Vera and the brothers. David Holthouse is a very talented writer, and I must say that with all the awards New Times gives out, he shall be awarded the "Best Ever Story."

Mike Barclay
via Internet

Just wanted to say thanks for writing the story and giving it a decent amount of column space. I've been a Meat Puppets fan since the mid-Eighties when I went to an all-ages show at the Mason Jar. For the past few years, I've been scratching my head as to what happened to the Valley's best rock band. I guess I wasn't too shocked at the overall situation (although the "poking a needle in an abscess" thing kind of wigged me out). From my perspective (never personally met the band but have attended a dozen or so shows and read many articles), if it was going to happen, Cris just struck me as the most likely to become a fat, reclusive junkie.

It's a shame, not only for reasons mentioned in your article, but I think Cris was just hitting stride with his songwriting; his contributions were among the highlights of the last couple of albums. Please keep us posted in future New Times--the Meat Puppets official Web site seems pretty stingy when it comes to this kind of news.

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