"I mean, if this new band puts out something under a name other than Meat Puppets, what's the first thing every fan and critic is going to do? Compare it to the Meat Puppets. So what's the point?
"I had enough money to take as long a break as I wanted, so I did. I have enough money to retire, now, but I don't want that. Every other kid in the mall has at least heard my band's name, so I'd say I still have places to go."
So far, original Meat Puppets drummer Derrick Bostrom has not been involved with Curt's new project. He is, however, still an integral part of the Meat Puppets. Bostrom tends the band's Web page, answers 40 to 60 pieces of fan mail a week, and is organizing the coming reissue of eight Meat Puppets albums on the Rykodisc label. Bostrom says the enhanced CDs will contain live concert footage and bonus tracks. He is also overseeing the compilation of a live album of Meat Puppets concerts in 1988, due out next spring, also on Rykodisc.
"My future role in the Meat Puppets is somewhat up in the air," Bostrom says. "But obviously, the Meat Puppets as an entity will continue, new album or not."
Bostrom, who says he never did hard drugs and quit smoking pot long ago, hasn't seen Cris since the Kirkwoods' mother's funeral, almost two years ago.
"I can't help other people slay their dragons," Bostrom says. "The situation as it stands is very sad, but I've known Cris a long time, and I've never thought of him as fundamentally weak. I think he may get out of this mess alive."
Curt also admits he holds out hope.
"No matter how logical or cynical or realistic I try to be to protect myself, of course I still have hope. He's my brother. There would have to be a tremendous amount of mending, but there's always a place for him."
Curt is waiting for the sunset on the huge wooden deck of his new, beautiful home in the hills that skirt Austin. There is a hot tub on the deck, and a swimming pool, and Curt's bulldog, Lulu. His silver Lexus is parked in the garage. He doesn't look happy.
"I'm unrequited," he says. "It's just hard to fuckin' deal with what's happened in my life in the last three years, with my mom and my brother. I mean, here I am, with my shit so fucking hard-wired and together. I got lots of potential left, and a lot of bread. But it's a cold comfort having real money for the first time in your life when your family is dying off around you."
In the morning, Curt says, the buzzards rise from the valley below and fly in a vortex, high overhead.
The sun paints a veil of clouds on the horizon orange and pink. The air is cool and sweet.
"Fuck," Curt says. "I really wish I could get my brother up here to see this."
Contact David Holthouse at his online address: [email protected]