The Meat Puppets are a rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980. The band’s best known lineup consisted of Curt Kirkwood (vocals, guitar), Cris Kirkwood (bass) and Derrick Bostrom (drums) (a lineup that lasted from its inception to 1996). They began rehearsing together by learning songs from Bostrom’s collection of punk rock 45s. After briefly toying with the name “the Bastions of Immaturity,” they settled on the name Meat Puppets in June, 1980, after a song by Curt of the same name which appears on their first album.
Their early works (the In A Car EP and Meat Puppets LP) were wholeheartedly punk, with vocals so feral in their delivery they were often indecipherable, but ultimately humorous and clever once deciphered. The musicianship was mostly thrash, yet the songs were tinged with a subtle, haunting element like that of a long abandoned ghost town. Their brand of cathartic, explosive hardcore attracted the attention of legendary punk label SST, who released their first record in 1982.
Unsatisfied with the result, the band spent plenty of time in the studio before the release of 1983’s Meat Puppets II. The band’s exciting experimentation with psychedelia, acid rock, and quieter tunes on top of a core western-style thrash sound, gave them their one acknowledged classic album, and propelled the record to legendary status. Meat Puppets II turned Meat Puppets into the one of the leading bands in SST Records league and, along with Violent Femmes, the Gun Club and others, helped establish country punk.