Dead Confederate (Pamela Littky photo)
Dead Confederate (Pamela Littky photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a guest post by music writer Mikel Toombs:

It’s not hard to spot the Northwest Connection here: Meat Puppets and Dead Confederate, who co-headline Wednesday at Chop Suey, each owe an obvious debt to Nirvana.

Arizona’s trippy Puppets were already 14-year veterans of the alt-rock scene in 1994, when a guest appearance on Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged” made them stars. And judging by its well-attended Bumbershoot show, as well as its album “Wrecking Ball” (initially released on the label of manager Gary Gersh, who once signed Cobain and company), Dead Confederate’s ultra-mega-heavy approach harkens back to the grunge era, at least when the Athens, Ga., quintet isn’t evoking the epic, Neil Young-country rock of My Morning Jacket.

Both the MPs and DC have overcome obstacles to get to this point. The MPs survived the drug addictions and prison time of bassist Cris Kirkwood (his wife died of an overdose) to relaunch their career with the May release “Sewn Together.”

More embarrassing than life-threatening, DC survived an earlier incarnation as the jam-friendly Redbelly, a fact apparently so incriminating that the Confederates dare not speak its name.

“We started Dead Confederate in 2006,” singer-guitarist Hardy Morris said. “We played in different bands together. Me and Jason (drummer Jason Scarboro) played together and Walker (guitarist Walker Howle) and I played together, all kind of floating around since high school (in Augusta). We all got together in ’06 and got this thing going.”

The impressive “Wrecking Ball” was produced by Mike McCarthy, known for his work with Spoon and . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. McCarthy, however, probably won’t be on (the) board(s) when DC records its next studio album.

“We’re talking to some different folks,” Morris said, “mainly because we’d like to try to get close to home. Because we’re on the road so much, it would be nice to make the record in Athens, rather than in Austin, Texas. It was a great experience, but after being gone all the time, it would be nice to do a record at home, where we can still live our lives.”

In the meantime, DC is still living on the road, in this case seemingly well-matched on a tour with the Meat Puppets.

“I hope so,” Morris said last week by phone while traveling through Texas, two days before the tour kicked off in Arizona. “They’ve been around a long time and we’re fairly new, but we’re big fans of them.”

Dead Confederate performs with Meat Puppets and Ume Wednesday night (Sept. 23) at Chop Suey. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show.

For more of my interview with DC’s Hardy Morris, follow this link.

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