Thursday, June 14, 2012

A "Forbidden Places" and "Too High to Die" Interview with Derrick Bostrom, May 19, 2012

Skype to Skype Interview with Derrick Bostrom
Meat Puppets
May 19, 2012

Transcribed by William Jergins
Matt-     Last time we did Up on the Sun and now I’m skipping up to Forbidden Places and Too High to Die.  The reason for that is, as a sociologist, I’m interested in structure and social organization, and it seems, my guess is, not a lot changed in the organization of the Meat Puppets between, say, Up on the Sun and Forbidden Places as far as like, your dealings with the industry and as a band.  Is that fair to say? 
Derrick- We have the same record company obviously, and there was the end of the one relationship and the beginning of the other.
M-    Meaning SST to London?
D-    Right.  But once we were on Forbidden Places we were definitely dealing with a whole different set of expectations and a whole different group of people and so, yes, I would say you’re probably correct. 
M-    During those eight or nine years things were kind of the same as far as your daily activities. 
D-    More or less yeah.  After Up on the Sun we started recording on our own and we would deliver the final records to the label, and they would put them out, and that would be fine.  And then we would do tours and then we would put out another record and we were not constrained by the label in terms of what we would give them.  The constraints were more along the lines of what they were able to do.  For instance, we would find ourselves not getting the kind of personal attention that we as artists might have thought that we deserved.  So when your record is being advertised with everything else from the stable instead of getting your own advertisements, although we did have the occasional full page add just promoting our stuff.  The promotion budgets were always a concern with SST, whereas you’d imagine if you’re on a minor label that if you were on a major there’d be bigger promotion budgets.
      What you actually find out is that you’re pretty much trading one set of constraints for another set of constraints.  You’re still constrained, it’s just different.  When you’re on a major, you’re definitely looking at different layers of approval.  For instance, we got our contract with London and the first thing they said, more or less, was, “We won’t deal with you directly.  You have to hire a manager now.”  So they went about putting us together with a half dozen different management firms and insisting we pick one.  Which we did.  And then suddenly the label had somebody that they could deal with.  So that was a challenge because, as opposed to a group of guys that started out at their inception having one of their non-musical buddies saying, “Hey I want to represent you,” and having it be an organic process.  The process of us getting managerial representation was more or less inorganic and essentially imposed upon us by the record label.  So suddenly we were dealing with both the record label and a new manager whom we were trying to get comfortable with and as a self managed, self produced group suddenly we were dealing with having to have managers and also having to have producers.  So that was the main constraint that started out of the box of Forbidden Places
M-    Do you remember how you came to sign with London as opposed with anybody else? 
D-    I don’t remember exactly.  I don’t remember who the specific people were.  But basically at some point Curt decided that he needed to beat the brush.  I mean Curt probably, obviously we had other friends who were making major label jumps, and they had managers and we would meet people in towns that were either managers or band members or lawyers and just through that process Curt started contacting people.  There’s people who would contact us over the years and when we weren’t ready we would just “pooh pooh” the whole idea of going with the majors, but it wasn’t until Curt decided that he wanted to do it that some of these chains of contacts started to get firm and he started pursuing them.  We did a demo in the late eighties to try to attract attention.  We would invite label reps to see us when we were in towns.  And over the course of a couple years some strong interests took place, and we began to pursue them.  The original guy who we went with at London had started at Atlantic, and we were all set to work with Atlantic until he decided to leave Atlantic.
      I think a lot of it also had to do with the fact that as we had been around long enough younger people who were fans started getting jobs in the industry and began trying to sign their favorite groups.  In the late eighties there was a general shift towards signing these groups.  The advantage to the majors would be that we had been working for long enough to have developed our own following, so we didn’t need a lot of development, and that would offset the potential lack of commercial potential of a group like the Meat Puppets.  So once they started seeing those tradeoffs as being in their favor, they pushed to sign bands like us.  And meanwhile your Chili Peppers, your Jane’s Addictions, et cetera, et cetera, started doing better work in the mainstream, whereas your Hüsker Düs and your Replacements from a couple of years earlier hadn’t really panned out.  But eventually they started having successes with groups from the independent scene and began to push more aggressively to sign them.  We had had a guy like that at Atlantic who had expressed some interest, and he clicked with Curt.  And that had gone well until he decided to quit the music business because, believe it or not, he wanted to go back to his home country of Azerbaijan after the fall of the iron curtain.  After that point his boss kind of took us under his wing, and we worked with him for awhile.  Curt had a couple meetings with him.  And they developed the relationship and tried to see if Meat Puppets was something they could do business with.  We were all set to work with them, and then he got an opportunity to restart the London label for PolyGram.  This had been an imprint that had been dormant for a decade or whatever.  London had put out early Rolling Stones albums in the U.S. and had done ZZ Top,.  But for the most part he was going to reenergize the label.  I think they did The La’s, if I remember correctly that was one of their first.  And the Trashcan Sinatras, I believe, was another group that was one of the first things to come out on the new London imprint.  But he basically said, “Hey, I’m doing this and you guys are on hold for a year while I get this thing together.  I’ll be in touch when I’m prepared to restart this thing.”  So the process of getting signed actually got delayed for a good year during which time we put out Monsters.  At that point it was pretty well known by SST that we were looking to jump, so the last year of our relationship with SST wasn’t real productive.  I guess we signed to London in the late summer of 1990, and then London began to push us to get a manager.  I believe the first thing we did was have meetings with them.  I think we went up to New York one or two times and had all these meetings with different managerial agencies.  We finally picked one.  They’re no longer working with us.  That was a relationship that we had for about two years, maybe.  And then we got picked up by another management company that had, uhm, the Nirvana agency, and that was a relationship that lasted for another couple of years.  And then after No Joke when we stopped working we stopped having management.  And the band was more or less self managed as they kind of went dormant and now they’re more or less self managed.  They have a manager who’s an old friend of theirs who handles the details, but I don’t know if he actually has his own firm or not.  I haven’t been involved in those guys business for many years.
      But anyway we began to work on Forbidden Places by doing demos.  We’d have to submit demos and the label would not let us loose to cut an actual album until they liked the demos, which means they heard a single.  And then we went through a process of talking to various producers.  And we went back and forth between a couple of them and finally decided on Pete Anderson, who had produced Michelle Shocked and cut his teeth with Dwight Yoakam, who was in a country bag but also was doing a little more of a rock thing.  At the time, which would have been late 1990-1991, it seemed like a good idea for us to pursue a country rock kind of vibe, because that’s how we’d been perceived.  So we continued to rehearse.  We woodsheded.  We’d met with Pete.  He came out a couple times to Phoenix and listened to our stuff and offered his interest.  We were obviously very nervous, because we were actually having to work with an outside person, so the focus of our rehearsal was intensified in that direction.  And we finally went out to do a bunch of pre-recording rehearsals with Pete in tow in a separate rehearsal studio.  At which point we were very nervous and second guessed it and picked apart the stuff. 
M-    Is this in Phoenix or L.A.? 
D-    This was in L.A.  There were some meetings with Pete in Phoenix, and I couldn’t give you the dates.  We’re basically talking about early ’91.  And as Pete started talking about how he might want to do the songs, some live, some overdubbed, we began to organize the arrangements in that way.  And also we decided we were gonna record at Capitol in Los Angeles.  This is the first time I had an outside drum tech come in, so we rented a kit that was like mine only it wasn’t as beat up from the road.  You hire a drum tech, he’s got the drums.  He comes in.  He tunes them.  He works with the engineer and producer.  They get the sound.  And then they go, “Alright little man.  Put on your headphones and here’s your click track.  Go nuts.”  We recorded the basic tracks in about two days.  They were deemed acceptable, and then I was dismissed.  I drove back to Phoenix and the other guys did their parts.  I think the only song that didn’t get any major overdubbing was “Popskull.”  Pete was like, “I don’t care what we do on the record as long as you let me have my way with,” ah God, “Nail It Down” was the one that he liked.  The record company guy, whose name was Peter Koepke, had a hard-on for the song “That’s How It Goes.”  He felt that that was the stand out track, and so he was most interested in that one which he called his “little waltz.”  Pete was the most interested in “Nail It Down.”  “Sam” was deemed the single and the video, and that was the one that they went with.  And then they later went with “Whirlpool” as a follow up.  Neither of those tracks did any amazing business, but “Sam” got a video. 
M-    I remember hearing “Sam” when I lived in Chicago. 
D-    It got airplay, but there was no major cross over hit for it.  It was just a single that was released into the indie market and it did indie business, and that was fine.
      Getting back to the recording sessions, the main bone of contention was the vocals.  Curt was made to do take, after take, after take of vocals.  And then they flew the vocals into a sampler.  Taking all the bits and pieces of them and stitching together vocal performances and then doing the tuning.  They would go through each line and tune it digitally.  I remember Curt expressing distaste for that process.  They also brought in a percussionist who used to play with Weather Report.  The boys were very flattered to have him perform on the session.  Again, I was gone by then.  I was involved in the pre-rehearsals, obviously, and then I was like, “Should I leave?  Are you done with me?”  And he said, “Well it’s a question of mind over matter.  I don’t mind because you no longer matter.  Ha ha ha.”  So they basically told me to beat it, and then they did their thing.  The performances were pretty good.  There are some fills which are clumsy, but we were working under a very different environment where I was basically trying to stay on the click track and play consistently.  For the most part it sounded pretty good, and it’s a cool album because it’s probably the last record where we were actually aiming for a a diverse mélange of styles based on what we thought the band was.  Obviously a month or so after the album came out Nevermind came out and changed the landscape, and suddenly we were going to need to fit into a grunge bag which we did for the final two records that we did as a trio. 
But for the most part it’s an interesting record.  And a lot of the stuff that we did for Forbidden Places was, there were some different tracks which were written during the woodshedding for Monsters which never got used.  Monsters was kind of designed to be a more heavy record.  Obviously it reflects the commercial yearnings of the late eighties which had a lot of your Guns ‘n’ Roses influence.  So a lot of the stuff on Monsters tended to be heavy whereas we didn’t do a lot of countryish or quirky stuff on it, a lot of that stuff was saved for Forbidden Places.
M-    Was there any inkling of this alternative grunge thing coming up as you’re making this record? 
D-    Well, sure, because Jane’s Addiction had already broken through and The Chili Peppers were starting to get more and more popular.  The whole Lollapalooza thing was starting to pick up steam.  I can’t remember off the top of my head what records were charting and what records weren’t, but in general bands were getting signed.  In the mid-eighties after Up on the Sun you were having, it was a novelty that the bands like Hüsker Dü or the Minutemen or the Replacements were getting signed, but by 1990 bands were getting signed to major labels.  And major labels were creating these strategies where London is a good example.  London was activated as an indie an imprint.  So labels were buying small labels and creating them as subsidiaries for indie products.  If PolyGram wasn’t interested in putting it on PolyGram records they’d put it on London.  I don’t know what their strategies were but obviously they were looking to explore their opportunities in the indie market.  It wasn’t until Nirvana hit it big, and the label they were on is kind of a subsidiary of Geffen, once Nirvana had their success then the whole thing changed. 
M-    Nevermind comes out two months later.  Yours comes out in July.  Theirs comes out in September.  It doesn’t take long before they’re the biggest rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet.  How does your relationship with your management company and the label, how does that change?  Forbidden Places for one thing didn’t sell very many records. 
D-    It didn’t.  It wasn’t the break out hit.  I don’t know if they were satisfied with it or not.  I can’t remember specifically the expectations.  Another thing we had to do was we had to have a tour manager after that.  So when we went out on tour with Forbidden Places they insisted we have a tour manager.  The money was tighter because we had to pay this extra layer of management and tour management.  So the economics of touring changed.  Instead of making a lot of money on tours, they would be losing propositions and the label would give us tour support.  Which of course we would have to quote, payback, unquote.  And they would take us to zero.  And the only money I would get back from these tours would be any per diem money I didn’t spend.  So we would start to live off of advances which were negotiated by our lawyers and our management and then everyone would get a chunk of our larger advance chunk.  We would no longer be making money just off of tour receipts.  So we toured all year.  We went to Europe for six weeks.  We toured for three months straight.  It was a very long stretch, a lot more touring than usual; went to Australia for a series of dates and then we got back and then we were done.
      This was the spring and early summer of ’92.  Curt got home and began to woodshed demos for the next project.  “Backwater” was one of them.  He didn’t much care for it, but he was dutifully submitting his demos as he was supposed to, and they seemed to like that one.  We were not entirely in love with the process of submitting demos to the label’s approval.  They would go, “We don’t hear enough for a record.  You have to do more demos or else you’re not going to get to do a record.”  And meanwhile they’re like, “We kind of like that ‘Backwater’ song,” and Curt’s like, “Yeah.  I hate that song.  Forget it.”  And so we would go back and forth with them.  We eventually reached a stalemate where they weren’t going to let us do anymore records until they heard a song that they thought they could market.  And that was part of the Nirvana effect because they were waiting to hear something from us that they thought they could sell.  And they were looking at the current state of the market, and Curt was writing songs the way he always did, which was based on whatever he was interested in.
M-    Because they decided that you were going to be an alternative band.  That’s how they decided they were going to market you.  Right?  After Nirvana that’s what clicked in their head.  You’re not a country band.  You’re not a metal band.  You’re an alternative band. 
D-    Well, yeah.  After Nirvana happened everybody was chasing that.  And plus the other is at that point you’re starting to see bands that are really not part of the scene we came up in that are doing well.  So you’ve got this alternative chart, but you’ve got bands on it like Collective Soul or, what’s the other band, the one that I can never remember the name, that had Shannon Hoon in it. 
M-    Blind Melon.
D-    Right.  These were bands that we had never heard of.  I don’t know where these bands came from.  Another was the band we toured with in most of 1994 with Scott Weiland. 
M-    Stone Temple Pilots.
D-    Yeah.  So the industry had slicked the grooves for these types of bands to come in and take advantage of the market, but they were not like us in the sense that they didn’t really have the long standing indie cred that came from coming out of the American indie rock scene.  They were just bands that were poised to take advantage of the market at the current time.  Those kinds of bands always exist.  People are out there looking for music to sell.  Basically what it boils down to is you’re in business.  You might as well be selling shoes.  And there’s no point in pretending otherwise.  Once we were on a major label we were selling hair dye.  It didn’t matter what the product was.  It was the product.  So a band can view their music in a less personal way.  For some people creativity is a journey, a seeking process.  It’s something where they stumble around in the dark.  And some people are focused and know what they’re going for, and they just go for it.  For the Meat Puppets it was a difficult process of trying to get a record, material, that was going to please everybody, that was going to please us, that was going to please them, that was going to please the fans.  The fact that we were able to have a hit with Too High to Die is a fucking miracle.  You can say to men are born artistic geniuses and that we got what was coming to us, but everyone thinks that who is in a band.
      Fact of the matter is that there’s very few number of groups from our scene that got a gold record.  We’re fortunate enough to be one of them.  The stars aligned.  And you know what they say about luck and inspiration.  It’s 95% hard work.  We had to work really hard.  And in the process we fought with each other, with our label, with our management, with our fans.  But we were committed because that’s all we did.  We had committed to the path we were taking being three very strong-willed people.  And it’s the same thing with sports teams who go for like the World Series or the Stanley Cup.  They don’t take their eyes off of the prize.  And so that’s what we did.  We kept at it.  And it’s like literally you get up in the morning and those guys’d be on the phone with the record company, or they’d be on the phone with the management.  And we would be having our daily arguments.  And everybody was taking care of business.  And by the end of the day we’d get together and play music, and it was a busy time.
      As far as actually finally getting the green light to get Too High to Die made, it was one of those things where we’d reach on impasse and then we’d try something else and reach another impasse.  And finally they’d bring a different person into A & R to work.  And that’s really what it boils down to.  You got these people who have people who work for them.  And their job is to do A & R.  Once we finally got somebody in place who we were comfortable with, who they were comfortable with, who was in the position to reach the compromise that needed to be made and give enough assurances both to us and to them, we were able to get approval to make a demo, and we made a demo for Too High to Die in January of ’93.  And there were certain songs that they really liked and there were certain songs that we really liked.  And we fought to get the songs that we liked on the record, and they fought to get the songs that they liked on the record. 
      So we did our demo in January of ’93.  That’s basically all the tracks.  I don’t know if it’s been posted on my website yet.  It eventually will be.  I think I’m missing one or two cassettes that I haven’t found in my collection.  But they were good.  We loved them.  We worked on it for like a week, and we went way over budget.  And so there was a bone of contention there.  They were pissed at us for spending way too much money on our demos.
M-    Did you do it by yourself or was Paul on board yet?
D-    Paul was not on board yet.  We did them ourselves.  We did them in town just working with the engineer we had on hand.  There’s no producer attached to the project yet.  They had a couple songs that they liked in the demo version, our 8-track demo version.  They wanted us to go back in and do those songs in a studio, but they did not like the way we had done them.  So there was a couple of songs where they actually made us go back in and do multiple versions of the same song.  We had this one song which was kind of a joke song, that was designed to be a parody of other bands, and it got sent to them as part of the usual submission of demos process, and they didn’t get that it was a joke.  They just heard that it sounded like other bands.  And we were like, “We’re not doing that song. It’s a parody of our contemporaries.”  They made us do the song like four times before they finally gave up and went with “Backwater.”
M-    What song is that?  Does it have a name?
D-    Uh, I don’t remember.  There were several.  It’s just an example of how they wouldn’t, until they were certain that they heard a single that they liked, they wouldn’t give us the go ahead to write the record.  So in the meantime our manager was still screaming at them like, “These guys are broke.  They need to work.”  So they finally said, “We’ll tell you what.  We’ll let you go in and record some acoustic versions of your old songs, and then we’ll release it as an EP on one of our smaller labels.”
      And we’re like, “We’re screwed.”
      So we did it anyway, and we brought Paul in at that point.  At that point I think Curt and Paul had been talking, and Curt had been expressing his woes and Paul was like, “I’ll produce y’alls record.”  So he got involved and had enough juice to get them excited.  So they started putting parts together.  They wanted us to do a grungy kind of a record, and we wanted to do our usual psychedelic whatever.  We were way too unfocused for them.  Part of the whole process was trying to get us onboard with what was commercial and we didn’t really care.  This is probably the same old story with all groups in our position.  But we did the acoustic thing.  We liked how it sounded.  It was coming out well, and we did a series of other songs.  And the whole plan was to present them with something that would make them go, “Ok fine.  Never mind the EP.  We’ll green light the record.  We like what we hear.”  So really what it boiled down to was Paul really is the one that was able to get the thing focused in their minds and in ours so that everybody could move forward. 
M-    Was this all done in Memphis?
D-    Yeah all of that was in Memphis, both the original acoustic project and then the final sessions.  In my mind it was two separate sessions.  I seem to remember going there twice.  We did the initial acoustic stuff, and did rough mixes of it.  Then we were green lighted to go back and complete it.  And that’s when we did stuff like “Violet Eyes” and “We Don’t Exist.”  I don’t really remember which sessions were attached with which stuff, but I do know that “Up on the Sun” and “Lake of Fire” were recorded at the earlier sessions.
      So, you know, same sort of thing.  We got our rough tracks done, and then I was dismissed.  And they finished it.  The label was pretty much happy with it, but they wanted to bring in a popular heavyweight mixer guy to mix some of the final tracks.  Then they started putting out “Backwater” to DJs and started getting feedback from them.  They liked it.  And they began to call in their various and sundry favors to get us airplay.
      Around the same time Curt had seen in Spin Magazine or something that Kurt Cobain was talking up Meat Puppets II.  How did he say?  He tried to get Courtney to like the Meat Puppets, but she hated them and she didn’t get it until he sung some of the songs to her.  I believe that was the quote in the article.  Anyway it was time for us to approach them and get on the tour.  I believe that there were some other tours that we were trying to get on and either the money just couldn’t work or. . .  It’s not like you make any money opening up for other bands, in any way.  But Nirvana had this policy of grabbing the bands that they liked.  And everybody wanted to tour with them.  So they would give everybody like a week.  So we got like four or five dates with them, along with the Boredoms.  I think we started in Kalamazoo and then we went up and did Detroit.  No, let’s see?  Kalamazoo we did for sure.  I don’t remember what order it was in, but we did Montreal and Toronto, and we also did a city in upstate New York, but the upshot was it was the last leg of their tour before they went and did Unplugged.  And so it was like, I don’t party at the gigs so all of this is second hand information, but during the various and sundry after parties and back stage social events Cobain was like, “You guys should teach me some of your songs so I can do it on Unplugged.”  And obviously the story behind his ambivalence towards his career and his ambivalence towards MTV and his lack of interest towards doing the show are well documented.  But bottom line is Curt was able to convince Kurt, rather than to just teach him the songs, have him just come on.
      Our manager at the time was on his honeymoon and could not be reached, so we were putting this whole thing together ourselves, calling and calling our manager while we’re on the road going, “We need to be in New York at such and such a time.  We need to cancel these dates.  We’re canceling these dates, cuz we’ve got to get back to Phoenix to catch a flight because we’re going to be on this show.”  And he’s like, “Don’t bother me.  I’m on my honeymoon, and don’t you dare cancel any dates.”  So we were cutting it real close and we were literally getting ready to go to Vail, Colorado for our final date, and the weather started getting nasty.  And after hours of trying to reach a conclusion with our management on the phone, we basically just said “screw it.”  Curt told us we were leaving for Phoenix immediately.  We scrambled back to Phoenix and we totally hit a blizzard on the way in and were stuck in utterly undrivable conditions, and limped our way in to Phoenix after days of driving through snow.  They had time to clean up, maybe get a little sleep, and they had to immediately get on a hastily booked flight and dash back to New York, with our manager screaming bloody murder at us.  At that point we were like, “You’re done.”  So we began to put the stuff together ourselves.  Meanwhile we recorded that show.  The Kirkwoods were on it.  MTV did not like their presence there, but it happened nonetheless.  That started getting a buzz going and gave our label enough impetus to hire the various promoters that they have out in the field to push records.  Of course that’s the way the business works, independent promotion.  You can describe that term anyway you like, but independent promotion is a known quantity in the business.  So consequently our record got played.  “Backwater” started doing well.  Too High to Die came out.  It started doing pretty well.  We were disgusted by the labels putting quotes from other artists on our records, but at that point we were going to do whatever.  Then Cobain committed suicide and we were on MTV all day long for like a month.  We were able to get a gold record.  But the backlash happened fairly quickly, the next single tanked.  The one after that tanked.  And that was pretty much it.
M-    How was recording with Paul different then recording with Pete?
D-    Well uhm, Paul’s just a lot cooler.  Pete was fine.  Pete was very cool.  There was no problem with Pete.  I didn’t really work with Pete that much.  I worked with him on and off for maybe two rehearsal sessions and then like two days of recording.  The only real feedback that I can remember is Curt didn’t like how much tinkering they did with his vocals.  They were very flattered to have Alex Acuña on the record.  I think it’s a terrific record.  It’s got a lot of good stuff on it.  There’s always stuff on any of our records that I never want to hear again, but there’s a large percentage of ear candy on that record.  It’s cool.  It moved us forward.
      Too High to Die, working with Paul, was like having another member of the band who was actually in the clique.  It was like there was not outsiders there.  We smoked pot as frequently as we wanted; I didn’t smoke at the time.  Paul was totally professional.  He had his shit together.  God bless him.  When you consider the trials and tribulations we had producing ourselves over the years and the acrimonial struggling that happens in the studio when you have brothers, it was probably the best sessions we had ever done.  And it was certainly better than the follow up, which was also with Paul, but not nearly as smooth.  It just goes to show you.  It’s not like that stuff was easy.  I hated the way the room sounded in the Memphis studio.  I could not hear myself.  It was very echoey and stuff, but it got a good recording.  It was tough to get comfortable out there, and I struggled as much as I always do to get takes that I like.  There hasn’t been a session that I’ve ever done where the recording went as smoothly as I’d like, but I’m just not a studio drummer.  I’m not a professional.  But aside from that the sessions were good.  Everybody was happy and it’s a pretty cool sounding record.  And considering the fact that we were forced to play to this grunge audience, which is again an inorganic way of targeting the stuff, the sounds are good.  Now you go to the next record, the balance isn’t there.  It’s too heavy.  It’s not as playful.  It doesn’t have the same kind of energy to it.  All the same people were involved but the world had turned four-hundred times since then, and it was a different time.  But it was fun to be in Memphis and I remember one highlight of the sessions was that we were right across the street from this performance place where James Brown did this huge outdoor concert.  And that was kind of fun.  Looking across the street and there was this sea of people watching James Brown.  And there’s great barbecue in Memphis. 
M-    So now I’m thinking back to, you remember those two interviews I did with you and Cris in 1993.  They were done in January and February of ‘93 so this is between the two records.  You personally were beginning to not enjoy being in the band anymore.  Is that true?
D-    I never really enjoyed it that much, but at that point let’s just say that my concerns about it had solidified to the point where I could articulate them.  I didn’t much like touring.  I had been doing it for a long time, living month-to-month for a long time; wasn’t really seeing an end to it.  In January of ’93 we were still at an impasse.  I mean look what we did when we finally got popular.  We stopped.  We stopped because we could afford to stop.  We made money off of the Nirvana record, and we stopped working together.  The reason we kept going, by the time you talked to us the first time, we were experiencing money problems.  We had a career that we were now almost fifteen years into and we were living month-to-month, we had bills.  We were committed up to our shoulders in this thing, and we had no choice but to see it through for like five years or more after the Nirvana thing.  I mean look at this.  We appeared on one Nirvana record and we made four times more money then we ever will make on our own material.  We could basically retire from the band on the proceeds from one fucking hit Nirvana record.  Our noses are seriously pressed against the glass there.  We were not going to get into that.  There’s a world of success out there that the Meat Puppets will never ever, ever see.  You can imagine being as close to something like Nirvana as we got and seeing the kind of, well obviously there are downsides to being that successful, but all we had to do was just basically graze that and we were drowned in cash.  It was just fucking ridiculous.  Nice thing.  Nothing’s wrong with a little cash.  I mean the way this stuff works is at this point you got to negotiate every five years or whatever for renewals of licenses and stuff like that so it just depends on how savvily you can negotiate these things.  It could be down to how well the band can negotiate their contracts in the future.

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