I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this in-studio session. The members of Meat Puppets are huge legends in the alt-punk world, starting out in 1980 on the underground SST label and appearing as guest musicians on Nirvana's legendary MTV Unplugged performance in 1993.
There were other reasons to approach the KEXP performance space with hesitation. The band has publicly dealt with drug charges and overdoses, a felony assault conviction, multiple gunshot wounds, time in prison... and a fiercely independent approach to making music. I walked into the room, and there stood the legendary Kirkwood brothers, both of them broad-shouldered, curly-haired giants. I gulped. What would they be like in person?
They were down-to-earth and lovely.
In his gruff, world-weary voice, frontman Curt Kirkwood answered my questions thoughtfully, even speaking frankly about the band's hiatus in the early 2000s and his brother Cris' struggle with drug addiction and incarceration.
And then the band played. I think we were all a little surprised by the gentle folksiness of the new songs from Sewn Together. Drummer Ted Marcus improvised, playing our recycling bin, a wire trashcan and a mail bin, all turned over. Curt Kirkwood busted out a whistling solo in "The Monkey & The Snake." Hearing the songs in this stripped-down setting really illuminated the country side Meat Puppets' music has always had, and made me even gladder that I had the chance to see these gentle giants firsthand.