Indy: Your brother, Cris, returned to the Meat Puppets for [the 2007 album] Rise to Your Knees. Few people expected that to happen. [The bassist had been hooked on heroin for years and went to jail for attacking a Phoenix security guard in 2003.] Did jail turn his life around?
CK: Jail scared the shit out of him because he was in the federal pen. He was around people who are just bad ... And in no uncertain terms does he want to go back to that. He doesn't even like to think of it [doing drugs]. There's no temptation at all there. He did so much dope [before]. I've sat and watched him poke around on a big open sore on his belly for half an hour looking for a vein before. It's just the most hideous thing I've ever seen ... So definitely jail was a good thing, and getting shot and all that. It saved his life, and he knows that.
Indy: The new album [Sewn Together] ranks with your best, and has that familiar blend of psychedelic rock, punk and country. But I've seen you say you wanted a bit of a '70s progressive rock element as well. What were the goals going in?
CK: The idea was to make a sing-around-the-campfire [album], but then blow the songs up real nice and make them big and full. I think there's a good dose of that, even though I don't think it sounds like the '70s.
Indy: Was doing Sewn Together like making the classic Meat Puppets albums of the 1980s?
CK: This time we got to practice for a couple of days, and we played the songs all as a band. That was how we did stuff pretty much in the '80s, too, [just] set up and try to get a good take of the song as a band. Then we could fix up the vocals and put on other guitars and what have you. And that's how this one was done.
At Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Sept. 6