ounded by brothers Curt (guitar/vocals) and Cris Kirkwood (vocals/bass/guitar) who recruited Derrick Bostrom (drums), Meat Puppets came to be in 1980 with their debut Meat Puppets arriving in 1982 on the infamous 'SST' label boasting a howling country style that barely hinted at the style they would evolve into. Meat Puppets II (1983), the follow-up, proved to be a hybrid of Greatful Dead psychedelia that fused hardcore punk with the country vocals of Cris. Indeed, the album proved to be the blueprint for much of their future work. Up On The Sun (1985) saw their sound maturing and receiving critical acclaim and by the follow-ups, Out My Way (1986) and Mirage (1987) they had come full circle to prove their worth with the latter featuring such band classics of Beauty and Confusion Fog. But despite the acclaim, the album failed to sell, so they returned to a more ZZ-Top inspired boogie and dance style with Heuvos (1987). A deal with 'London' records came after their more mainstream Monsters (1989) release. Their major label debut of Forbidden Places (1991) lacked the intensity of their earlier work. Still, Too High To Die (1994) managed a 62 US before a long break occurred for the release of No Joke! in 1995. No Joke arrived on the heels of the whole Nirvana/grunge movement, nonetheless they reaped some of the financial rewards with sales now exceeding into the half-million mark.
But that sales record was soon over. Though the band's drug use included cocaine, heroin, LSD and many others, Cris' use of heroin and crack cocaine became so bad he rarely left his house except to obtain more drugs. Furthermore, the Kirkwood brothers had always had a legendary appetite for illegal substances and during the tour to support Too High To Die with Stone Temple Pilots, the easy availability of drugs was too much for Cris. When it was over, he was severely addicted to cocaine and heroin. When their record label discovered the addictions, support for No Joke! was dropped! The band went on hiatus.
In 2000, Kirkwood would re-emerge in Austin, Texas with the membership of Andrew DuPlantis (bass) and ex-Pariah members Kyle Ellison (guitar/vocals) and Shandon Saham (drums) to release Golden Lies (2000), an album less like much of their back catalogue, along with Live in 2002.
2002 Meat Puppets dissolved after Duplantis left the band. Curt went on to release albums with the groups Eyes Adrift and Volcano. In 2005, he released his first solo album entitled Snow.
In April 2006 Billboard reported that the Kirkwood brothers would reunite as Meat Puppets without Derrick Bostrom. Although Primus drummer Tim Alexander was announced as his replacement, the position was eventually filled by Ted Marcus. The new lineup recorded Rise to Your Knees (2007).
In late 2009, Shandon Sahm returned as drummer to replace Ted Marcus. Sewn Together (2009) and Lollipop (2011) would emerge.
Starting in early 2011 Elmo Kirkwood, son of Curt Kirkwood and nephew of Cris Kirkwood, began touring regularly with the band playing rhythm guitar.
In June 2012, the book Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets by Greg Prato was released featuring new interviews with band members past and present and friends of the band covering the band's entire career.
Rat Farm would be released in 2013.