Friday, July 10, 2009


When THE MEAT PUPPETS arrived less than fully-formed in 1980, their stock in trade was to play a blistering, art-damaged, wild-eyed sort of hardcore punk that enraged just as many punk acolytes as it did blow the other half away. I only caught on to them as a “fan” when they’d fully shed this early skin around 1984, and were playing their laconic, loping, sun-damaged country art music. When I bought their first LP “Meat Puppets” and even better, their first EP “In A Car”, rather than be propelled away, it only made me love them more. The music careened in strange, multimodal directions; the drumming was Charlie Watts-steady but at a hardcore tempo; the lyrics were incomprehensible, and when they were printed, were even more incomprehensible; and of course, Curt Kirkwood’s vocals were awesome. His was a mushmouthed, slurred, all-vowels delivery screamed into the microphone, and at times it almost sounded like he was about to swallow the thing. I can definitely see why some lesser-educated BLACK FLAG fans often pelted the band off the stage with garbage and loogies; the band’s approach was one that required more than a modicum of patience. Their closest compadres in this confrontational approach were FLIPPER, and if you were a fan of one, you were usually a huge fan of the other as well.

So when the “LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR” soundtrack album came out in 1986, long after the MEAT PUPPETS had slowed down and become a quieter, more tame sort of indie rock band, it was a fantastic shock to hear the band taking on BLACK FLAG’s “No Values” in that early who-cares style. Better still, I’d argue that their version - which is what I believe one might call a “piss-take”, or “taking the piss” – is just as good as Black Flag’s. It’s great! The soundtrack is a good snapshot of SST Records around that time, along with some fellow travelers in the barely post-punk rock world. The Meat Puppets dared to regress about five years, and with all their newfound playing chops, actually did a version of this song that totally slays. Here, see what I mean by clicking the links below.

Play The Meat Puppets, “No Values”

Download THE MEAT PUPPETS – “No Values” (from ‘86 “Lovedolls Superstar” soundtrack)


Anonymous said...

Actually, "No Values" is not a regression. It's an outtake from the first album recording sessions.

Jay H. said...

Well stow me for a lubber. It sounds a lot more, uh, "fully realized" than the early stuff, and I'd always thought it was a deliberate regression.

Is that Derrick Bostrom clearing the record up anonymously? If so, then I certainly, definitely believe it.

Chris Oliver said...

When I picked that album up, and I saw that track listed, I immediately imagined what Meat Puppets doing "No Values" would sound like. I got it home, listened to it, and it was EXACTLY what I was imagining. It's the perfect sound for that song.