This post is for all of you who kept your copy of the first album. I know there are a few of you out there for whom the apparent disparities between Meat Puppets records is no mystery, who were able parse the whole tapestry without feeling betrayal every time we released a new album. There may even be a few of you who wish they could hear more from the first album sessions. Well, your patience has finally paid off: here’s almost an hour of outtakes.
Like a lot of young bands, we assumed we could get by in the recording studio with nothing but enthusiasm. We discovered that the studio required a very different set of skills than did live performing. For instance, it’s hard to flop around and rock out when you have to keep your headphones from falling off. Veering off mike is also not an option. For a band that relied so heavily on its feral group mind, taming the beast long enough to make a recording both authentic and audible was a challenge.
To get a whole album’s worth of acceptable performances took three separate sessions (though perhaps only the three of us could have told them apart). The vocals on the first session are actually overdubbed. But after leaning against the wall for an hour, convulsing into a mike while wearing “cans” over his ears, Curt proclaimed the effort to be worthless. The second session went so badly no tape survives from it. We returned the following week determined to emerge with keeper takes. We blew off trying for fidelity: we just shoved all the instruments together and stuck a bunch of mikes around — separation be damned. We imbibed whatever we could get our hands on until we were good and twisted and just let howl for as long as the instruments would stay in tune. Anxious to get it over with, we proclaimed ourselves to be satisfied and beat it.
Now, you the fans can decide if we were right. Almost every song from the first album is represented here in an alternate version, some of them multiple times. You can also check out our tune-ups, as well as a healthy selection of warm-up covers. Some of them made it onto the Rykodisc reissue of the first album, but royalty restrictions forced us to leave some of them off. Now you can have them for free!
Thanks once again to Jon Boshard for keeping his copies of these tapes long after I lost track of my own, and for sharing.
(Note: In making these recordings available to the public, I’ve decided to use file sharing services, rather than make my web host take the full brunt of the bandwidth hit. These services can be unpredictable, so I’ve uploaded to three different ones. Please be advised that these are large files, and some ‘net connections will be unable to handle them. The files have been tested on both Macintosh and Windows platforms and they work fine. Files on this site are presented “as is.” I can’t offer tech support, nor can I mail them to folks unable to download them. (Let the browser beware.) Good luck, and happy listening!