Meatwound is a self-described heavy, noisy and weird band that has been bombarding the bay area with their unique sonic attack for about two years. They have shared the stage with the Melvins, Melt Banana, Torche, House of Lightning and Municipal Waste, and will be performing as part of Don't Stop St. Pete on Saturday night. They have one album under their belt and another on the way that they are recording at Rock Garden Recording in Pinellas.
Meatwound is Ari Barros, guitar; Dan Shook, vocals; Leo Suarez, drums; and Mariano Iglesias, bass. We sat down with Barros and Shook to talk about their ideas, approach and where they're coming from.
What drew you to each other?
Barros: We've talked about this many times. It always takes the time to find the right people. As you know, I had that one other band, Loins, and there was some momentum there. When Ryann (Slauson) left, I wanted to continue with those guys, but they were not interested. I was frustrated. I wanted to keep going in a somewhat similar direction. So I thought, "Well, there's this guy and he plays drums," and it worked out for a while; and then another one that didn't work out. Eventually we found some dude to play bass; we played one show at my house. It was all instrumental. Dan was there. He liked it, I guess. Liked it enough to be involved.
Shook: Yeah, that's the show that I saw. Basically, after they played I asked if they were looking for a singer. I was doing two bands at the time, but I really liked it. Some of it reminded me of '90s-era Floor. I was gonna play bass and sing, but like I said, at the same time I was doing other bands, so I couldn't do all that. Point is, Marty (Mariano) had started working with me at Cappy's and I didn't know him beforehand. We started shooting the shit — "I'm not good enough to play the bass and sing at the same time." So I asked Marty. The first thing he said was, "Dude, I've never played bass." I said, "Yeah, but it's easy. You've been playing the guitar since you were 10 years old." So, to bring it up to the current lineup, we brought in Leo to play drums earlier this year.
Your band is on the tip of a lot of people's tongues. Without fail, every time I ask someone what he or she have been listening to or what has been a good show they've recently seen, they invariably say Meatwound. What do you think the hype is all about, and is it just hype?
Shook: I don't think anyone hypes us to our faces.
Barros: I don't feel too much of a hype … We did win the award (Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay, Critic's Pick, Best Heavy). That was weird. We didn't expect it. I think, it's like the previous question about why we got together, which is we were trying to do something a little different, outside formulas. We don't really have a formula other than not having one. I don't want to do something specific, but I want it to be heavy, noisy and weird. What we're doing is nothing new, but it sounds fresh, I guess. It's a different approach.
What influences or drives you?
Shook: The current lineup of Meatwound … there's Leo who is a f--king incredible drummer. Leo really only listens to jazz and like Latin and African music and stuff that challenges him — like beats that he can't just play himself. But Ari and me and Marty, we are obsessive about music and we have obsessed about a bunch of overlapping bands. Marty and Ari have bands that they both f--kin' love; Ari and I have things we both love. … Between the three of us there's a bunch of bands we've been loving forever — you know, 20, 30 years. So a lot of that late '80s, early '90s stuff kind of overlaps between us three older dudes . . .
Barros: I just wanted to do something that no one else is doing in this town. I wanted to go to these sort of shows but they're not there, so I guess I have to do it myself.