Q&A with SHANDON SAHM of MEAT PUPPETS

Howdy! It’s has been a while, hasn’t it? It won’t happen again babe, promise. I did come back with a treat however…

In 1980, a prolific trio began their reign of cowpunk/alternative music upon this fair country.This band’s music defined a generation that took independent thinking and expression to unknown pleasures. The band I am speaking of is the Meat Puppets. On April 12th of the year 2011, Meat Puppets will be releasing their 13th album, entitled Lollipop (free tunes).

During the Voodoo festival of 2009, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a truly talented and down-to-Earth drummer named Shandon Sahm. Shandon has played the drums with Meat Puppets, since 1999. Here is my interview with Shandon.

Mr. Shandon at Voodoo Festival-New Orleans

1. What’s your story (your music background)? What drew you towards playing the drums? How has music made you what you are today?

My Dad is Doug Sahm, a TX music legend, who played w/ Dylan and all the greats..Soo music has been in my family..we’re German, soooo my Grandpa played German UMPA PA music..almost like German folk..and sooo always been around music. I grew up in clubs…just picked up the drums w/ out any training..music is my life…don’t know what I would do w/ out it..

2. I am curious to know how you felt replacing Meat Puppets’ original drummer, Derrick Bostrom? How did you get the gig as new drummer? Was there initially a feeling of filling in Derrick’s shoes or were you about making your own name within the band?

Replacing DB..I’ve known Curt for almost 11 yrs now..and he moved to Austin when Cris got SICK w/ drugs..now he’s clean and better than ever, but before that, he moved away from Cris’s CREEPY drug use..soo we cut one cd, GOLDEN LIES, in 2000 w/ out Cris..soo, I’ve been in 2 pupps versions, but it’s way better 2nd time around. The guys are cool to me..and DB is a great drummer. It’s sad that he wont go back to the bros..I know a lot of fans, including me, who would love to see it..hell..I’d even roadie for DB if he needed me too..his playing is great and he has a wicked snare arm and hi hat arm..he’s just great, but Curt doesn’t want me to be a DB, he wants me to be myself..anyways, I don’t think DB will be coming back…. from what I’m told, I think DB thinks im a good fit..he put the demo version w/ me on drums on the CLASSIC pupps cd, RYKODISC..track #24 NEW LEAF..I played on almost ALL demos for RISE and SEWN/..im not you..spit.island are just some examples

DB at the same time he is the original guy..he hasn’t been in the band since 95..and that’s been awhile..soo, the Kirkwood bros ARE NOT waiting for him. Life goes on…I mean….when they re-formed in 06′ they asked Derrick and he said no..soo really all he is hurting is the fans that would love to see it..but everyday that goes by, is just more of an indication to keep writing great music….as bad ass as Derrick was..he didn’t write the music. Again..the pupps still to this day write great music..I wont try and PLAY like Derrick or anybody else..the Kirkwoods know I’m gonna pull them thru and deliver..they really are great people..I’m learning sooo much..what better education than dad and the Kirkwood bros…

3. The 90’s and 2000’s are two very different decades for the music industry, as well as for musicians. What are some things you miss about the 90’s music scene? What do you admire in today’s scene?

Not much. It’s about the same tons of crappy music then and still crap music now..so, in alot of ways there the same..early 90’s was scoring women and playing music and partying, then after a while, it’s really just about the music. It’s about the same music wise..i guess instead of Justin Bieber it was Debbie Gibson or some other mall teenage idol..i thought David and Shawn Cassidy did it WAY better.

4. When I saw you at Voodoo fest, I noticed you have a distinct and raw style of drumming. I’m interested in knowing if your drumming style reflects upon your personality? (ex. Kieth Moon’s playing was as chaotic as his personality) Who are some of your personal influences both in music and outside of music?

Not really, like a K Moon ya know being the same way on stage as off. No, I’m quiet…try not to party too much..get sleep..I like drummers who play for the song…too many too list but..here it goes, PETER CRISS was great. The 1st 3 LP’s are great. He was a hard rock charlie watts. Classic Peter not reunion Pete…R Starr his timing was like a clock..love his feel C Watts too..just awesome..CCR drummer. Ian Pace from Deep Purple..Cedric Sharpley from Gary Numan..the guy that played with Cars, just killer. The cars drummer is good.i could go on for days. I tend to like BACKBEAT. To me, that’s what it’s all about..POCKET and FEEL. i like things to SWING

The Current Pupps

I really like Charlie Watts. Honky Tonk woman has a great back beat and feel..Cosmo from CCR is wicked..he uses 18 in. crashes for hi hats..Alan Myers the original drummer for Devo was killer..No Satisfaction has the most wicked drum beat I’ve ever heard..Devo is just stellar..I’m not into the very TECHNICAL players like Neal Peart or the Tool drummer, even though he is really awesome, it’s just not my kind of drumming. I’m not into how many triplets you can use in a song..it’s all about SWING..I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again”triplets don’t write songs.” D Grohl of Nirvana was killer, but I didn’t like the Crooked Vultures, again the Vultures songs were just terrible..I couldn’t sing one song back to you..that’s how UNcatchy they are..the guy that plays w/ Paul McCartney is stellar..I don’t know his name but he is the big guy behind the drums. Great timing before great fills is what I always say..the Loverboy drummer was good..there kinda of a guilty pleasure..TURN ME LOOSE…HA HA HA j/k. Again if you play FOR THE SONG and not yourself, then your ON YOUR WAY!! You can tell when drummers aren’t listening..Bonham of course is the blue print of great sounding drums..now HE played for the song..but he could get technical….I hate when drummers are ALL CHOPS and no swing..

5. It has been over 30 years since the Meat Puppets first banded together. Meat Puppets are about to release their 13th album entitled, Lollipop. Many bands stress on innovating their sound to find new potential fans, as well as staying relevant. There are also a great deal of successful bands who put out records that sound very much a like, because that is their true sound and style. Which one of these career choices would you say Meat Puppets fall under? For what reasons or values do Meat Puppets stand behind one of the two paths?

The BIG difference with the pupps compared to other CLASSIC bands is..Curt still writes great music to THIS DAY!! The new cd is every bit as KILLER as too high..I think. I’m proud it came out soo great. A good example of what I’m talking about is 2 of my fave bands, CHEAP TRICK and AC/DC..They really haven’t put out a good cd, where every song is good, since.. SHES TIGHT from One On One..and for those about to rock..they just haven’t put anything good out since then..BUT the pupps have..sewn is great..rise  too..and LOLLIPOP just ROCKS!!

6. To be a member of a band is much like being a part of a relationship. How do you, Curt, and Cris keep the ‘spark’ going? What type of dynamics do the each of you bring to the table?

To keep it fresh we change up set lists a lot..we try n ..not play the same show twice unless it’s an arena thing..but even then, we’ll still throw a thing or two different at them..it keeps it from being boring..I have to say I’ve known Curt for about 12 yrs or more and he and Cris are really cool to me. We have a good time on the road..laugh a lot..tell stupid or weird jokes..everyone has been really sweet..there is sooo much respect from all of us..I’m a huge pupps fan..its great to play the classics and create NEW music too..LOLLIPOP will knock your dick in the dirt..

The Kirkwood bros are really great people..they look after me..and make sure everything is comfortable..playing with Cris is freaking killer, it’s a HOOT and Curt and I have never seen the guy play a bad gig..he’s always ON..even when he thinks he’s not..and man, the dude can rip like Zappa on the guitar..I’ve said it before, but Curt is up there with all the great guitar players. Jimmy page, Zappa, Clapton, Paul Leary and more. I almost forgot, Doug Sahm. I had to include my Dad on that one..I’m soo glad Cris got his shit together. It has been a pleasure playing w/ them..I’m learning a lot..like Curt said…ITS A GOOD FIT

7. Do you have any advice to today’s striving musician?

Don’t listen to it..do your own thing, but don’t be in denial about your music..listen to it as a fan of music and you can’t go wrong. I love music..be about yourself..don’t go after trends cause you’ll always be FOLLOWING something..and I know a lot of it is being young, but THAT’S A GREAT TIME TO be yourself..and last..OUT LAST THE COCKROACHES, which means..you’re in it for LIFE!! I’m a lifer!!..NOT a pro lifer..2 very different things..a MUSIC LIFER!!

8. What does the future hold for yourself and Meat Puppets?

It’s sooo bright I need shades!!!! ha ha, we are already 3 songs into the new new record..songs like AGAIN AND AGAIN, the ORIGINAL one,and INSIDE OF ME..the sky’s the limit..again, we’ll never stop…until something stops us, cause we are in it for LIFE!! Just keep making great music..

Shandon’s Discography:

1 PARIAH “92” to mock a kiling bird GEFFEN REC.
2 sir douglas quintet DAY DREAMING AT MIDNIGHT ELEKTRA REC “93”
3 MEAT PUPPETS ep YOU LOVE ME 2000 LONDON REC .
4 meat puppets GOLDEN LIES atlantic rec 2000,
5 meat puppets LIVE AT MAXWELLS 2001 DIGITAL CLUB NETWORK
6 meat puppets CLASSIC PUPPETS rykodisc 2004 track number 24 “new leaf”
7 gibby haynes and his problem 2004 self titled on SURFDOG rec.
8 SOLO cd GOOD THOUGHTS ARE BETTER THAN LAXATIVES 2001 purocrema rec
9 SOLO cd KNOCK YOURSELF OUT killingbird rec. 2011
LOLLIPOP meat puppets megaforce rec..OUT april 12th 2011

Just wanted to say thanx to everybody who has been so supportive of not just me, but the meat puppets..it’s great playing in a band that ya truly love..and I always give 150%, the Kirkwood bros know that..and people don’t realize I was in the band right after derrick..soo, I’m the old new guy I guess, but a lot of fans might say play the song like this…or that..but they dont understand that I played on almost ALL original demos for Rise and Sewn, like KLONE has been around since the 2000’s..spit..the drums on island are mine..I came up w/ the snare roll at beginning of song..enemy love song, I’m not you, ride like the wind, and telescope. I think that’s on eyes adrift..anyway..I came up w/ those parts, so really, the cd versions are the exact same accept for the rise version of new leaf, which he cut the drums in half tempos..I like the original version the best..same w/ golden lies too..anyways, I’m soo proud of LOLLI every song is great..cant wait to take this on the road..again the pupps  fans are the best..SEE YA ON THE ROAD..shandon..

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Comments
One Response to “Q&A with SHANDON SAHM of MEAT PUPPETS”
  1. fennario says:

    Was lucky enough to catch the Pupps 3 times at SXSW, (Dog & Duck, Waterloo Records & Austin Music Awards with Roky Erickson) just consistently awesome…this has got to be the best lineup ever, Cris is back in beast mode & Shandon just RULES. Lollipop is gonna be EPIC. Awesome interview, thanks for putting it up!

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