January 2, 2004 at 8:52 am #46589
I heard on another board that Cris Kirkwood(formally of the Meat Puppets)was shot in a road rage incident he`s in critical condition.Anyone hear anything more about this?it happened a few days ago.January 2, 2004 at 9:15 am #98079
I heard from the sonic youth board that a security guard at a post office shot him after chris stole his baton and swung at him after the guard told him to leave because of an argument he was having with some woman. The guard is being investigated and may be charged or something like that.January 2, 2004 at 9:31 am #98080
From The Arizona Republic (via the Mike Watt mailing list):
Meat Puppets musician denied bail; testimony gives his side of shooting
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 1, 2004 12:00 AM
A federal judge on Wednesday denied bond to a sobbing Cris Kirkwood,
citing the rocker’s previous drug convictions and probation violations
as proof he was a flight risk. He added that Kirkwood’s altercation
Friday was proof that he is a risk to the community.
But for the first time, Kirkwood’s side of the story was revealed.
Kirkwood, 43, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon at a
federal facility for allegedly striking a security guard with the
guard’s baton after an argument over a parking space at the downtown
Phoenix post office. The guard then shot Kirkwood in the back.
Kirkwood claimed the guard struck him, according to testimony by FBI
Special Agent Lance Leising. On cross-examination by Kirkwood’s
court-appointed defender, Leising said Kirkwood told FBI agents he had
been sitting on a post office bench waiting for his girlfriend when
the guard asked him to leave.
Kirkwood alleged the guard struck him on the head from behind as he
was passing through the two sets of doors, according to the agent’s
statement. Kirkwood said he then took the baton away from the guard
and struck him with a fist, then threw the baton on the ground. The
guard, he said, shot him as he walking away.
The guard, Thomas Goodrum, claimed Kirkwood pushed him twice before
Goodrum hit Kirkwood at least twice on the knee with the baton. Then,
according to the FBI’s statement of probable cause, Kirkwood took the
baton and struck Goodrum on the head with it. Goodrum, who lost his
glasses during the fight, drew his gun and fired.
Kirkwood’s attorney, Jane McClellan, asked Judge Virginia Mathis to
release Kirkwood pending trial, citing his medical condition. Kirkwood
has inoperable bullet fragments near his spine and in his pelvic area
and can walk only with the assistance of a walker. In addition, he is
taking methadone to overcome drug addiction, McClellan said.
Mathis denied the request for release, citing Kirkwood’s past drug
convictions, failures to make court dates and probation violations.
"You are out of control," she told him.
The judge did say that Kirkwood could interview for a place in a
Kirkwood grew up in Phoenix and was a founder of the Meat Puppets, a
popular national act in the 1980s and ’90s that served as inspiration
for bands such as Nirvana.January 2, 2004 at 11:06 am #98081
Thanks for the info.Not sure why someone said a road rage incident must have been a internet rumor.I heard that his brother Curt(and former bandmate) has nothing to do with him because of his drug problems.January 2, 2004 at 11:10 am #98082
king of carrot flowersParticipant
still, not a reason to shoot the guy.January 2, 2004 at 12:55 pm #98083
Definitely not a good reason to shoot him!
Can’t believe they didn’t let him out of jail, out of control…he can hardly walk
I heard the story on cnn, said there was a parking dispute, the lady in question stole his spot, he followed her arguing, she went into the post office & complained to the guard who tried to move him along. Which of course got physical, Kirkwood got the baton away & swung at the guy then walked away & was shot. Hope the truth comes outJanuary 8, 2004 at 12:20 am #98084
What a fucking idiot.January 18, 2004 at 5:37 am #98085
Another (long) story from the Arizona Republic (thanks again to the Mike Watt mailinglist):
Star who fell to Earth: Cris Kirkwood’s long, slow decline
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 18, 2004 12:00 AM
Shortly after 7 p.m. the day after Christmas, Cris Kirkwood lay
screaming at the bottom of the steps outside the downtown Phoenix post
office, a bullet in his back.
Security guard Thomas Goodrum sat shaking at the top of the steps, blood
running down his face.
No one knew that the heavyset man on the pavement had once been a rock
star: Kirkwood, 43, was the bassist for the Meat Puppets, an alternative
band that transcended the Tempe scene to become a national act and a
precursor to the grunge revolution.
Kirkwood and his older brother Curt fronted the "cowpunk" band,
recording eight albums before Cris burned out on drugs. They toured with
Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots, two big acts that looked to the Puppets
as an influence. Kurt Cobain recorded their songs and invited the
brothers to play with Nirvana on MTV.
Cris Kirkwood was a long way from those heights on the day after Christmas.
Witnesses saw him argue with a woman over a parking space. They saw him
argue inside the post office, first with the woman, then with Goodrum.
The security guard escorted Kirkwood from the building, but no one saw
what happened between the double set of doors to Central Avenue.
Police turned the investigation over to the FBI because the incident
took place on federal property. Goodrum told investigators that Kirkwood
punched him in the chest, so he defended himself with his baton,
striking Kirkwood twice above the knee. Kirkwood took the baton and
struck him on the head, so Goodrum pulled out his .38-caliber pistol.
Kirkwood told a different story: Goodrum struck him from behind with the
baton, so he took it and threw it to the ground, then punched the guard
in the face. He said Goodrum shot him in the back as he walked away.
Kirkwood was rushed to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. His girlfriend,
Ruth Wilson, stayed behind, crying into her cellphone.
Kirkwood spent three days in the hospital. Doctors left the bullet near
his spine. He couldn’t control his bowels. And there was a complication:
Kirkwood was a recovering heroin addict on methadone.
While in the hospital, he was charged with assault with a dangerous
weapon. Police stayed at his bed, and when he was discharged, he was
immediately arrested and whisked to the courthouse.
The next day, a judge denied bail, citing past drug convictions and
probation violations, then sent him to a federal detention facility in
Florence. Kirkwood was crying in pain and vomiting from methadone
It was a low point in Cris Kirkwood’s life, but not the lowest.
‘Out of character’
Five days after Cris Kirkwood was taken into custody, he called Ruth
Wilson. He told her he was going numb from the waist down, that he had
been sick from withdrawal, that the dressing on his wound had not been
changed for days. He has since been approved to go to a halfway house,
according to his attorney, but has to wait for space to open up.
Wilson has been Kirkwood’s companion for five years. Asked why he
apparently had gone postal, she said, "I don’t know. It was out of
character. He’s a very gentle soul."
His rock-star persona was swaggering and staggering. He sneered through
a smile while singing an angry song. But friends say he and his brother
Curt had a softer side.
"They were always the sweetest guys," said Brian Smith, former singer
for the Valley’s Beat Angels and now a rock critic in Detroit. "They
always took time out to talk."
Of Cris, Smith said, "He’s a smart guy, too – as junkies usually are. I
think smart people sometimes have a harder time dealing with things."
Kirkwood’s addictions had estranged him from the Tempe music community
and from his brother, who in 1998 called him "a suicide in progress."
Christopher Renstrom Kirkwood was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1960, a
year after Curtis. Their parents divorced when Cris was 5, and their
mother took them to Nebraska and later to Phoenix. They grew up in the
Sunnyslope neighborhood and went to Brophy Academy.
Theirs was not a happy home life: According to court documents, Cris’
first stepfather beat him, and the second set fire to their home with
the family inside.
But both brothers were talented guitarists. Cris played banjo and bass
as well, and they started a band, recording their first album in 1981.
Like the New York Dolls and the Velvet Underground, the Meat Puppets
were one of those groups that inspired other musicians, even if their
songs never made Top 40 radio. They were a half-generation ahead of the
bands of Mill Avenue’s early-’90s heyday: the Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot
Workshop and the Refreshments.
The sound was post-punk and pre-grunge. The songs were minor-key
metallic drones, or quirky country with raw, raunchy vocals and frenetic
guitars. The lyrics could be rapid-fire, but the brothers sang in tight
synchrony, Cris’ offbeat high tenor at deliberate discord to his
brother’s more traditional voice.
"They were just such a great band," said Steve Larson, guitarist for the
Peacemakers, whose former band, Dead Hot Workshop, toured with the Meat
Puppets. "They played together like they were brothers. They were inside
of each other’s heads."
Curt would address the mike head-on, occasionally exploding into grand
gestures during a guitar solo, his prodigious mane held back in a
ponytail. Cris would pump and rock, his face hidden by a wavy,
Their lyrics and interviews always suggested wildness. The F-word
slipped freely from their lips. Their stage patter was stoner cool.
Making their mark
The grunge bands cited them as an influence. During Nirvana’s 1993 MTV
Unplugged show, singer Kurt Cobain covered three Meat Puppets songs and
asked the brothers to join him onstage.
A year later, the Valley band’s seventh album, Too High to Die, sported
Cobain’s personal endorsement on a sticker: "The Meat Puppets gave me a
completely different attitude toward music. I owe so much to them."
Cris Kirkwood shared more than a musical kinship with the grunge stars.
Scott Weiland, lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, battled heroin for
years. Cobain survived an overdose in March 1994 and shot himself to
death a month later. At the time, the Meat Puppets were preparing for a
European tour with Nirvana.
Too High to Die was the Puppets’ most successful album, and the single
Backwater received major radio play. The next and final album, No Joke,
should have done well, except that Cris was in heroin hell during its
recording. When the record company found out about his addiction, it
backed away from promoting the album as it might have.
"My brother cost himself, me and (drummer Derrick) Bostrom millions of
dollars," Curt said in a 1998 interview with Phoenix New Times.
Curt moved to Austin. Cris went into a tailspin.
He was busted for cocaine possession in March 1996. He spent time caring
for his mother, who died of cancer that December. He was arrested again
in April 1998 – and told police he was Curt.
That August, Cris found his wife, French-Canadian writer Michelle
Tardiff, dead of an overdose in the bedroom of their home. He fled,
living in motels and out of his car.
Tempe guitarmaker Richard Beck remembers those days.
"The last time I’d seen him, he was probing a big old gigantic,
extraordinarily gross abscess in his lower stomach, looking for a place
to shoot," he said.
Beck had tried several times to get his friend into rehab.
"I tried calling everybody," Beck said, including Curt Kirkwood. "But it
appeared to me that Cris had already (expletive) over everybody, or in
one way or another grossed everybody out."
Ruth Wilson found him during this period.
"He was afraid of the house, so he moved into the old Meat Puppets
rehearsal space behind the house," she said.
The shed had air-conditioning but no plumbing. "He and his dog were kind
of living on pretzels and Ben & Jerry’s."
When he first was arrested on drug charges, he had 170 pounds on his
5-foot-11 frame. When he was arrested last month, he weighed 300.
Wilson cleaned him up. They formed a band. But Kirkwood’s luck got no
In January 1999, he was sentenced to probation and community service for
his earlier drug arrests.
In April, the new band’s drummer committed suicide at Kirkwood’s house.
Kirkwood was unable or unwilling to stay out of trouble. He missed
hearings. He failed to do his community service. And in January 2000, he
was sent to jail.
But it didn’t stop there. In June 2002, he was again sentenced to
probation for drugs.
He was penniless. He had lost his fortune, his house and his teeth.
Cris Kirkwood withdrew from the world, but he was trying to lose his
"He’s been very reclusive," Wilson said. "He’s been very upset about his
physical appearance because he’s gained a lot of weight and his dental
situation has really gone to crap. We’re working on that."
Cris threw himself into art, creating drawings that look like cartoony
fairy tales on LSD. In July 2001, he came out of his shell to stage an
art show at the Ice House performance space downtown.
Last month, Curt Kirkwood performed in Phoenix, and Cris told his
brother that he was ready to play again. Curt turned him down.
A few days before he was shot, Cris turned up at Richard Beck’s guitar
shop in Tempe. Beck was surprised to see him, surprised at his weight,
at the holes in his smile. But there were no holes in his arms.
"I grabbed his arms and they looked clean, and I pulled his shirt up and
his stomach looked clean," Beck said. "He didn’t look very good. He’d
lost several teeth, and his hair was falling out. I said, ‘Well, are you
on methadone?’ "
Kirkwood said he was.
He wanted Beck to give him a guitar so he and Wilson could set up on
street corners and play for spare change. Beck gave him a guitar.
Kirkwood had started an Internet fan chat room. He was arranging to
emblazon his drawings on T-shirts to sell.
On Dec. 26, he and Wilson went to the post office to mail a piece of art
to a fan. Kirkwood dropped Wilson off at the First Avenue entrance, then
pulled around the block and found a parking space on Central.
As he was backing in, another car tried to pull in from behind and
honked. Both drivers gave up on the space and drove into the post-office
lot, parking next to each other.
According to witnesses, Kirkwood shouted at the driver, Jenny Hom of
Phoenix. He followed her into the post office, where she complained to
Goodrum, the security guard, who asked Kirkwood to leave.
One witness, Jeff Lee of Glendale, described the argument as "the usual
"I spoke to the woman from the parking lot and calmed her down," she
said, "and told Cris that he needed to go sit in the car, and that he
was making a scene, and he really needed to calm down. And he listened
to me. He said, ‘You’re right, I’m going to go outside.’ He attempted to
leave and the guard followed him."
Tatiana Yanko of Phoenix watched as guard and Kirkwood pass through the
"He escorted him," she said. "He was not touching him. He was walking
Lee said he saw the baton come out as the guard stepped through the
doors, but then the doors blocked his line of sight.
"I was thinking of going out and saying it isn’t worth it," Lee said.
Yanko said she saw Kirkwood turn toward Goodrum, but she couldn’t see why.
No one saw. But everyone heard the shot.January 18, 2004 at 4:34 pm #98086
Hope they get to the bottom of this, if he was shot from behind, while walking away the guard should be charged
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