Too High To Die: Meet The Meat Puppets by Greg Prato (

The Meat Puppets were a crucial part of several key American underground movements (hardcore, SST Records, grunge, and even the jam band scene), yet never really got the credit they deserve. Greg Prato’s book explores why the band are simultaneously important and undervalued. The Puppets’ story is told chronologically via quotes from band members, managers, business associates and a long list of peers like Henry Rollins, Greg Norton, J Mascis, Lee Renaldo…etc. At a hefty 407 pages the book is thorough, explaining what made the band tick and why they were usually at odds with the world around them, making them outcasts even in a scene that celebrated outcasts. My only complaint is withPrato’s soft editing-hand, which leaves some passages long-winded and at times redundant. For example, in the chapter titled “How Does The Meat Puppets Music Hold Up?” he could have just chosen a few quick quotes to answer the question, but instead includes page after page of musicians all belaboring the same basic point: it holds up well. He also could have cut the chapter on the evolution of Curt Kirkwood’s guitar set-up. Sure, he’s a great guitarist, but save it for Guitar Player magazine! While imperfect, Too High To Die is enjoyable for anyone who loves the story of alternative rock’s evolution from the underground to the mainstream.