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"I never intended for the band to go away, which is why I kept it up with the band in Texas," says Curt, who already had written 90 percent of the new Meat Puppets material before re-enlisting Cris. "This is like our campfire record. Songs you can just play and hear the crackling of the fire. I threw in the occasional rocking song because it had a similar vibe, like 'Disappear,' which was originally a tribute to Fred Savage."
Huh? "It's basically a TV Guide interview with Fred Savage, but only the Fred Savage parts," Curt says. "Over time, it developed into this song about yetis and cryptozoology. That's my interpretation of it. "
The new record is a one-off with Anodyne, an indie label Curt chose because they agreed to put the record out without hearing a note. And it's the Meat Puppets as nature intended, "banging the shit out in a week's time," Cris says. "That's the way we did records like Up on the Sun. It's different 'cause Derrick [Bostrom]'s not there. I miss Derrick. He's a wonderful guy." The original drummer for the band, Bostrom declined to participate in the new Puppets record, but as luck would have it, drummer Ted Marcus was doing lighting for a documentary being filmed about the Kirkwood brothers and just happened to click when he sat behind the drums.
The band recently played some shows at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival, and took a brief West Coast jaunt. According to Cris, the audiences were a mix of old fans happy to see things all worked out and young fans who probably have no idea what the band has gone through. For them, he has an alternate history of the past 10 years.
"Let's see . . . there was our late '90s rap album that got lost in a downloading power outage," he deadpans. "Then there was our boy band album. That one we had to scrap for legal reasons and move to the Cayman Islands. That's where I've been livin' for the last 10 years. But this album, this one is really for the kids."