Interview: Meat Puppets’ Shandon Sahm Talks Upcoming Tour With Soul Asylum

Similar to a band mate in the Meat Puppets (guitarist Elmo Kirkwood), drummer Shandon Sahm has been around music ever since he was a young gentleman. The son of late Texas roots rocker Doug Sahm, Shandon was inspired by his father’s work to follow a similar path in music – first as a member of the heavy metal band Pariah, before joining an overhauled Meat Puppets line-up in the late ’90s (of which singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood was the sole original member), and appeared on their 2000 album, ‘Golden Lies.’ That line-up split in 2002, but Shandon eventually rejoined the Pups in 2009, at which time Curt had reunited with his bassist brother, Cris, in the band (and welcomed Curt’s son, Elmo, into the fold). Subsequently, Shandon has played on such albums as ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Rat Farm.’ Recently, Shandon was up for answering a few questions for Alternative Nation.

Next week, we will have two other articles featuring Shandon discussing the Meat Puppets performing at the recent Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck premiere, and on Meat Puppets’ touring experiences with Stone Temple Pilots. So stay tuned next week for more!

Are you looking forward to the upcoming co-headlining tour with Soul Asylum?

Hell yes, it’s gonna be a blast. Good venues, good bill, good vibes all around. Dave [Pirner] is a really cool guy and loves the Meat Puppets, so why not bring your favorite band along? Michael Bland, their drummer, is a total badass dude who has played with Prince, and from talking to him on the phone, a really sweet dude. We are sharing all the equipment on this tour – thanks Dave, thanks Michael. But it has been awhile since we have been on a tour instead of just doing one offs and I’m looking forward to it – it goes all the way from June to October from what I’m told – a few weeks on, few weeks off. Then in September we go to the UK for 4 shows – can’t wait for that too.

Any plans for the Meat Puppets to record a follow-up to 2013’s ‘Rat Farm’?

Yes, we are taking are time – we have one original song in the can that we did when we worked on the split single we did with Cass McCombs. Don’t know the title but those sessions came out great. We also have “Sloop John B,” so ya never know – maybe we will put that on as a bonus or something on the next record. But I’m ready to record and this was the first session we did with Elmo in the band, and came out amazing. Elmo’s a great guitarist – really talented dude. I guess it runs in the family ha ha ha. Ya know, I don’t have much family left and I consider the Kirkwoods my family. Maybe I should call them “cousin Cris” or “uncle Curt,” ha ha ha. ‘Rat Farm’ was well received by the Meat Puppets fans and got good reviews – not that that matters to me, but “One More Drop” is a killer tune, but “You Don’t Know” and “Waiting” rock, too – so does the song “Rat Farm.”

The Meat Puppets covered “Cathy’s Clown” by the Everly Brothers and “(Hey Baby) Que Paso” by Texas Tornados for a single last year. How did that come about?

We did it when we had a co-headlining tour with Cass McCombs, who is a cool dude. Great players. It worked out neat – they did 2 songs and we did 2 songs. Once we got drum sounds, the guys weren’t around yet and I knew “Que Paso” by heart, so I just said to the engineer, “Let me cut a drum track.” It came out really good. When Curt heard it when he came in, he was like, “Its’ done.” We didn’t really plan it. I just grew up with that song, being a Texas Tornado song it’s in my DNA. And once I heard what we did, the sessions came out great and I said, “If this is any sign of what our next record will sound like, it will be fantastic.” It was played very well by everyone and sung well, too. I thought Elmo sang great on “Cathy’s Clown.” Both those songs rock, so for sure, the next record will too.

For more Meat Puppets (and for a listing of tour dates), click your clicker here.

Photos by Jamie Butler.