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Puppet Masters

Meat Puppets

It’s unfortunate that, for a good percentage of Gen Y, first interactions with the Phoenix-born rock group Meat Puppets come via Kurt Cobain and not, as would be proper, the band members themselves. Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance featured a handful of covers, and some of the most memorable were Meat Puppets tunes (“Lake of Fire,” “Oh, Me,” “Plateau”). Now, before things get a bit too sassy, let’s pump the brakes and slam it into reverse.

Formed as a three-piece punk project in 1980, Meat Puppets cut their teeth practicing in a shed behind the college home of the Kirkwood brothers (Curt, lead vocals and guitar; Cris, bass). Here they learned old punk tunes by ear, gained a small following, signed to SST Records and started coming up just in time to realize that hardcore punk wasn’t their thing. Anybody with fond memories of Meat Puppets II or Up on the Sun can understand where the sound went next. Thanks to a penchant for fucking with the crowd — a characteristic that Nirvana also loved, funny enough — Meat Puppets became a phantasmagoric country-western rock band with punk in the back of their throats. Enough said.

This group is legend. Fucking legend. Don’t even bother making other plans on Tuesday. Just get to WOW Hall.

Meat Puppets and The World Takes play 8 pm Tuesday, Nov. 19, at WOW Hall; $14.