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Meat Puppet in Jail


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Former Meat Puppets bassist Cris Kirkwood won't back down when it comes to a good parking space.

Unfortunately for Kirkwood, he will be paying the price big time--by spending nearly two years in an Arizona prison cell for the coveted space.

The lesser known Kirkwood (Cris' brother, Curt, was the singer-guitarist for the band) was sentenced to 21 months in the slammer Monday for clocking security guard Thomas Goodrum with a baton the day after Christmas 2003.

Cris Kirkwood, 43, was arrested Dec. 30, 2003 for the downtown Phoenix post-office parking lot incident. He pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon May 10.

What happened that December day last year seems anything but Christmas-like.

According to various published reports, Kirkwood argued over a disputed parking spot with a female motorist, Jenny Hom. Both Kirkwood and Hom then pulled into a parking lot around 5 p.m., where he continued to shout obscenities at her.

"He shrugged his shoulder as if he was going to hit me," Hom told the Arizona Republic.

As Kirkwood followed Hom into the post office, she informed Goodrum that she was being harassed. Goodrum then attempted to escort Kirkwood out of the building.

Kirkwood then allegedly pushed Goodrum, who raised his baton in response and instructed him to leave the premises.

But the rocker turned the weapon against Goodrum, striking him in the head. The guard retaliated, drawing his gun and firing one shot at Kirkwood.

Kirkwood was treated for a single gunshot wound in his abdomen before his eventual arrest.

Sandy Raynor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for Arizona, said Monday that Kirkwood's 21-month sentence was actually on the mild side. "The government requested the low end of the range," she told the East Valley Tribune newspaper of Mesa, Arizona. Kirkwood's injury suffered during the incident made him eligible for lighter sentencing under federal guidelines, she said.

It could have been much worse for the bassist. Kirkwood might have faced as much as 27 months had a judge not taken his injuries into account. Also, had he not pleaded guilty, Kirkwood could have faced 10 years behind bars if convicted.

Kirkwood certainly is no stranger to the darker side of life. The troubled rocker, like the departed Kurt Cobain, has battled heroin and cocaine addiction for much of his adult life (Kirkwood's wife, Michelle Tardif, died of a heroin overdose at the couple's home in 1998, according to the Phoenix New Times). Kirkwood was arrested as recently as April 2003 on drug-related charges in Tempe, Arizona.

Kirkwood's band was an influential alternative act in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Although the Meat Puppets are no longer on the radar for most hipsters, Cobain championed the group heavily in the early 1990s as one of Nirvana's primary influences. Cobain helped the Puppets immeasurably by covering three of their songs for Nirvana's 1994 release MTV Unplugged. The Meat Puppets scored their biggest mainstream hit with "Backwater" from their 1994 album Too High to Die, which eventually went gold.

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It's been in the local news here lately, they're pretty popular out here being a local band and all. I personally think it's ridiculous being sentenced that long over an incident such as that, but a repeated offense will land you in hot water. I just hope he finds himself in an indoor cell instead of the outdoor tents, where it gets over 100 degrees inside & the water is boiling hot.

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