Discord & Rhyme: A Music Podcast

Discord and Rhyme is a podcast where we discuss the albums we love, song by song.

013: Meat Puppets - Forbidden Places (1991)

“The Meat Puppets gave me a completely different attitude toward music. I owe so much to them.”

—Kurt Cobain, blurb on sticker affixed to Too High to Die's jewel case, which was annoyingly impossible to remove without acetone or something

MEAT!!! Chris Willie Williams is the eighth and final Discord & Rhyme host to take the helm — and, ever the prankster and hopeless hipster, he has chosen an album that is out of print. 1991’s Forbidden Places was the major-label debut for Meat Puppets, a critically adored 1980s Phoenix alternative rock band known for its mixture of country and psychedelia, as well as vocalist Curt Kirkwood’s only vague regard for a song’s meter. Forbidden Places was meant to give the Puppets a Traveling Wilburys-style spitshine for the airwaves — then, three months later, Nirvana’s Nevermind came along and changed the face of music. Acknowledging the Puppets as an influence, Kurt Cobain invited Curt and brother Cris to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged sessions to play on covers of three songs from Meat Puppets II (1983), but by that point, the band’s momentum had been interrupted. So with today’s episode, Will hopes to do justice to a fine, sturdy power pop album that, in an alternate universe, would have made the Kirkwoods & Co. huge.

Miscellany

  • The work of Matthew Smith-Lahrman was invaluable in putting this episode together. His website Perspective features scads of interviews with the band that he personally conducted while putting together the scholarly tome The Meat Puppets and the Lyrics of Curt Kirkwood: From Meat Puppets II to No Joke! His companion website, That's Dishonest, is an amazing attempt to house as much material on the band (from any source) under one roof as possible.

  • This very interesting, completely heartbreaking piece from the Dallas Observer goes into great detail about the addiction problems Cris developed around the time of Too High to Die. Warning: The article contains some very frank details of the physical impacts of heroin abuse.

  • Luckily, Cris cleaned himself up during a prison stint (for what frankly sounds like a bum rap), and Curt allowed him to rejoin the band thereafter. Thus, this AV Club interview is a far more upbeat read than the Dallas Observer piece. We at D&R especially enjoyed this quote from Curt, and have taken to quoting it around the office: "I kept this ship afloat when [Cris] was getting fucked up and getting put in jail. I call the shots now. I have 12 more years experience than he does. In the past I had two partners and they could be like, 'The fuck you say,' but this time I'm like, 'We're taking it into the rocks, boys!' and nobody can say a thing."

  • Apparently Meat Puppets are a no-“the” band, which means that they do not envision themselves as meat puppets, but instead are named for the concept of meat puppets.

  • Special thanks to John McFerrin and producer Mike DeFabio, who put together the Ren & Stimpy-inspired cold open with no input from the rest of the D&R crew (skip to 5:45 for the pertinent bit). The podcast does not personally endorse John Kricfalusi, who is an asshat.

  • If any of you around Columbia, MD, were planning to go buy that $4 copy of Forbidden Places that Phil mentioned, you’re too late. Amanda has already claimed it.

  • For the first time, our Spotify playlist for this episode does not actually include the album we’re talking about. That’s because, as we’ve mentioned about a million times, it’s out of print, and not even Spotify has it. Your only option for listening online is YouTube (and we highly recommend that you do). Joe Squat, uploader of the album, is the hero we need.

Other links

Discord & Rhyme roll call

  • Chris Willie Williams (host)

  • Phil Maddox (moderator)

  • Rich Bunnell

  • Dan Watkins

  • Mike DeFabio (special appearance)

  • John McFerrin (special appearance)

Forbidden Places tracklist

  1. Sam

  2. Nail It Down

  3. This Day

  4. Open Wide

  5. Another Moon

  6. That’s How It Goes

  7. Whirlpool

  8. Popskull

  9. No Longer Gone

  10. Forbidden Places

  11. Six Gallon Pie

Other clips used

Meat Puppets:

  • Enemy Love Song

  • Electromud

  • Backwater

  • Away

  • Fly Like the Wind

  • Split Myself in Two

  • Scum

  • Out My Way

Others:

  • Nirvana - Lake of Fire

  • Tom Petty - Love Is a Long Road

  • Ween - Stroker Ace

  • Ween - Fluffy

  • They Might Be Giants - Whirlpool

  • Flamin’ Groovies - Shake Some Action

  • Ween - Don’t Laugh (I Love You)

  • Tom Cochrane - Life Is a Highway

  • Yes - Yours Is No Disgrace

Songs we mentioned but didn’t clip

Meat Puppets:

  • A White Sport Coat

  • In a Car

Others:

  • Sleep - Dopesmoker

  • Blind Melon - No Rain

  • R.E.M. - It’s End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

  • Savage Garden - I Want You

  • Blackalicious - Alphabet Aerobics

  • Neil Patrick Harris - Brand New Day

  • Billy Joel - We Didn’t Start the Fire

  • Blues Traveler - Hook

  • Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

  • Spin Doctors - Two Princes

  • Molly Hatchet - Flirtin’ With Disaster

  • The Dean Ween Group - Exercise Man

  • R.E.M. - E-bow the Letter

  • XTC - Mayor of Simpleton

  • Blur - Popscene

  • Yes - The Clap

  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Hoedown

Band/album personnel

  • Curt Kirkwood – lead vocals, guitar

  • Cris Kirkwood – bass guitar, backing vocals

  • Derrick Bostrom – drums

Credits

“Discord & Rhyme (theme),” composed by the Other Leading Brand, contains elements of:

  • Amon Düül II - Dehypnotized Toothpaste

  • The Dukes of Stratosphear - What in the World?? ...

  • Faith No More - Midlife Crisis

  • Herbie Hancock - Hornets

  • Kraftwerk - Autobahn

  • Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen

  • Meat Puppets - Forbidden Places (this episode only)

You can find Forbidden Places only used or on YouTube, because Will is a hipster and chose an album that is out of print. Follow Discord & Rhyme on Twitter @DiscordPod for news and updates. Follow Phil @pamaddox, Rich @zonetrope, and Dan @DanSWatkins. Special thanks to our own Mike DeFabio, the Other Leading Brand, for production duties. Check out Will’s music at disclaimer.bandcamp.com. See you next album, and be ever wonderful.