With a career that has spanned over four decades, the Meat Puppets have witnessed countless musical movements and fads come and go, but despite it all, have stuck to their guns and retained a dedicated fan base all over the world, including those who have awaited their return to Australian shores. Finally the Meat Puppets will return to Australia for a national tour this year at the end of May.

Bassist Cris Kirkwood takes us through the evolution and his favourite versions of one of the Meat Puppets most well song ‘Lake Of Fire’ (Arse Gratia Artis-The Lake of Fire Story).

Version One: A Song is Born

I think I was probably the second person to hear Lake of Fire, the first being my brother, Curt, as he wrote it. I remember it was the morning after Halloween, many years ago, and I found him sitting at the table in the kitchen of the house we all shared. He had stayed home alone the night before and he told me he had written some new songs. And he had, and proceeded to play them, one of which was Lake of Fire and all of which ended up on our next and second album, Meat Puppets II. Having been given the chance to pick five videos of the band and to comment on them, I’ve chosen five versions of the tune Curt first played me so many mornings ago, videos (in chronological order) of the three-decade-plus old song Lake of Fire, first recorded by the Meat Puppets. Video one, the album version.

Version Two: A Song Goes to Work    

This video features the song, and the band, several years on. By this point L.o.F. had become a staple of our live set and we were stretching it out. Pretty darn rockin’. Curt is wearing a George ‘No-Show’ Jones t-shirt. He’s playing the same red Les Paul that he still plays today. Some of these guitars, like some of these songs, have been around for a while. This video is probably about older than I was when we first recorded the song.

Version Three: Smells Like Nirvana

In the early 90’s, when the song was about ten years old, Nirvana blew up into just about the biggest band on the planet and Kurt Cobain, it turns out, was really into the Puppets. They had us out for some live shows and I remember at one point he brought up their upcoming Unplugged show and his desire to do some of our old stuff on it. This video is the result of that. It was a blast to do. I cuss at the end. What a rebel.

Version Four: A (Power) Chord is Struck

Nice work, fellas! Dig the funky breakdown in the middle. When Nirvana had us join them to play some of our songs off of Meat Puppets II, including L.o.F., on their Unplugged performance, it gave the song a butt-load more exposure. With the advent of the Internet, things have gone global. I searched Lake of Fire Covers on YouTube and it says there are some180,000 results. At an average of three minutes a version, say, that’s 540,000 minutes, which equals 9000 hours and that adds up to 375 days. That means, give or take a bit, there’s about a year or so, non-stop, worth of Lake of Fire having been played all around the world online. Neat!

Version Five: Some Things Will Never Change

And the band played on. There’s that red Les Paul again. This is from a few years back, in Portland. Still the same lyrics, the same chord changes. Good old Lake of Fire.  Version Six: Meat Puppets Live in Oz, May 2014. Please feel free to bring your cameras and what not, as taping has always been encouraged. And there you have it. From such, ahem, humble (code for stoned) beginnings in our kitchen, from Curt, this song has become a part of my bones. I will play it till I die (eew!). But it has also become a part, at least a little bit, of the world and, by the looks of it, possibly, still other folks will play it, for a while at least, and then some of them will, maybe, download their versions, or whatever it is you do with stuff in the future, and the song will endure. Hurrah! Until the World is consumed, of course! In a…wait for it…Lake of Fire! Voila! Nirvana’s take.

Meat Puppets 2014 Australian Tour

Saturday 24th May 2014
HOBART, The Void – MONA – SA
$49.50 + BF. Doors 8:30PM / Tickets on sale Thu,17th April
Tix on sale via  www.mona.net.au 

Sunday 25th May 2014
MELBOURNE, CherryRock014 – VIC
12 Noon – 9:30PM Tix www.cherrybar.com.au 

Tuesday 27th May 2014
MELBOURNE, Ding Dong – VIC
MEAT PUPPETS ACOUSTIC SET + CRIS KIRKWOOD ART SHOW+ MEAT PUPPETS MEET & GREET
Doors 7:30PM – ONLY $20.00 – Tix: Door Only

Wednesday 28th May 2014
MELBOURNE, Ding Dong – VIC
Doors 7:30PM – Full band show
TIX: www.oztix.com.au On-Sale Monday 28th April.

Thursday 29th May 2014
ADELAIDE, Fowlers Live – SA
Doors 7:30PM
LTD TICKET FOR ART SHOW & GIG:  www.nightmaremusic.com.au

Friday 30th May 2014
BRISBANE, The Zoo – QLD
Doors 7:30PM
LTD TICKET FOR ART SHOW & GIG:  www.nightmaremusic.com.au

Saturday 31st May 2014
SYDNEY, CherryRock014 – NSW
From 2PM Tix www.factorytheatre.com.au

Monday 2nd June 2014=
“ASTOR ROCKS” – 2 STAGES OF LIVE MUSIC!
PERTH, The Astor Theatre – WA
Doors 5PM – 11PM
TIX: http://www.showticketing.com.au / http://www.liveattheastor.com.au
w/ Meat Puppets, Brant Bjork, Hard-Ons, The Love Junkies, Axe Girl and more.