After the release of “Meat Puppets II” in 1984 and “Up On The Sun” in 1985, the Meat Puppets found themselves transformed. No longer mere “local boys made good,” we became players on the national stage. As more people began to take us seriously, we began to take stock of what what the band meant to us and what we wanted to do with it. We experienced lots of growing pains as we struggled to assess our goals and ambitions. But back in those days, nobody had a road map. What exactly did success look like for a punk rock band in 1980′s America?
We were already painfully aware of our limitations, that the same “straight” critics who praised our album were coming away disappointed from our performances. We all pointed fingers at each other, but at the end of the day, the truth was obvious. For the moment at least, our reach had exceeded our grasp. Our only option was to close our eyes, hold our noses and roll up our sleeves. It would take a couple years and a lot of work before we really began to put it all together and become the band we wanted to be.
But not everyone back then shared this low assessment of our live shows. Plenty of folks dug the way we interspersed breakneck punk rock with long clumsy psychedelic jams and tentative workouts of future Puppets classics. For them, the sloppy sense of discovery found in these shows was the real deal. I happen to hold that opinion myself, which is why I regret not keeping more recordings from back then. I would tape every show I could, but I only kept the highlights for my own personal collection. I left the rest of them with our sound man. Unfortunately, we had a falling out, and I didn’t have the presence of mind to get our live tapes out of his house before we fired him. To make matters worse, I lost an entire box of masters when our van was broken into during a trip to Los Angeles.
Happily, every so often an old fan crawls out of the woodwork with a handful of heretofore unheard audience recordings. A new one just came to my attention just this week: witness Peteykins of the Princess Sparkle Pony blog, who shares three shows from 1984-5, and describes his preference for those years. Peteykins is like a lot of Puppethead tapers. For one thing, he’s somebody I probably once knew but have now completely forgotten (sorry man; it was a long time ago). Second, he was kind of afraid to post shares for fear of pissing off the band. So, my purpose here is twofold: first, to popularize his recordings (and maybe take down his blog in the process due to heavy traffic — again: sorry man), and second, to encourage the rest of you. Tapers: if you got shows, by all means rip em and put em up somewhere before the tapes rot!
As far as I can tell, the Sparkle Pony recordings of these shows are the only ones in existence. I’m pretty sure I don’t have copies of any of ‘em. So, I’m as anxious to hear this stuff as the rest of you are. I’m sure it’s terrible!
GET EM HERE, and remember: if you have issues, you’ll have to contact Peteykins yourself. I’m not your dad.