Reviews Greg Prato Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets

Greg Prato

Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets

Do you know who the Meat Puppets are, or have you ever wondered who the two long-haired guys that appeared on Nirvana’s Unplugged performance were?

Like many people my age, I was introduced to the Meat Puppets by seeing the Kirkwood brothers perform their songs with Nirvana on MTV’s Unplugged way back in 1993 (Dear God has it really been 29 years since then) and then subsequently seeing their video for “Backwater” from their best selling album Too High To Die (hence the title of this biography), but even still I knew about them only a small bit (I knew their first records were on the legendary punk label SST, I knew they were not your typical punk / hardcore band, and I knew that those who loved them, really loved them) and only a brief few songs from their extensive discography.

Greg Prato has composed this impressive tome that chronicles the band by somewhat revolving around the brothers Kirkwood (Kirk and Chris, the largely driving force behind the band though this does short change somewhat the giant contribution by original drummer Derrick Bostrom) and their private and public struggles and triumphs as a band rising through then barely traversed roads of the indie / punk / hardcore rock circuit that in no small part helped to trail blaze. Employing what seems like some massive interviews, Prato looks at the Meat Puppets by framing the book in a chronological starting from when the Kirkwood brothers were children and running through to the present documenting the trials and tribulations of the band and their personal lives.

As I read through Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets, my interest in each of their records piqued and forced my hand to check out each of the albums over again (I did have several of them and was forced to purchase a bunch of others), particularly the ones that were spoken of highly by not just the members of the band but also other music luminaries that speak of their admiration and effusively praise the band and specific records in the book (Kim Thayil of Soundgarden was one such surprising participant); and the stories of the triumphs and heart aches of the Meat Puppets and its members were evocative and certainly seemed rather emblematic of many like minded and statured bands.

Greg Prato’s book is certainly an interesting read (despite its distracting format due to it seemingly being laid out as an organized transcription of several monstrous interviews) that kept my interest for both of the times that I read it, and while I still do not count the Meat Puppets as one of my favorite bands, Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets definitely gave me a new appreciation for the group and their music, which may not have been the whole aim of the book (in spite of its faults); but whatever the aim, any astute reader can easily see that Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets is the author’s labor of love.

7.0 / 10Bob
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Tor Johnson Records
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