The female foursome known as The Meat hail from Toledo, and unfortunately, this will probably be one of the last interviews that you will read with the band. You see, guitarist/vocalist Megan Plesea, guitarist/vocalist Phoebe Ballard, bassist Eliza Eureste and drummer Angel Danger, also known collectively as The Meat, are splitting up. But, before you shed those tears, they share many secrets about their latest self-titled CD. So, don't worry, you'll always have them digitally. For now though, you can catch them playing one of their final gigs on Aug. 9 at Mickey Finn's, 602 Lagrange St., or on Aug. 10 at the Bottle Rocket, 513 Jefferson Ave. And, to answer your question, "No, two of them
Steve: Did everyone in the band know each other prior to forming?
Megan: We didnt know Angel [Danger].
Angel: I didnt know any of these girls. Id seen you (editors note: Angel directs her attention towards Eliza Eureste).
Eliza: Yeah, but we would like never talk to each other. We talked to each other once, and it was funny.
Angel: Id seen you singing karaoke at Blue Jeans before though.
Steve: Were you all students at the art school (editors note: University of Toledos arts program at the Center for Visual Arts)?
Eliza, Phoebe and Megan: Yeah.
Angel: Except me.
Megan: We met her at a bar. We were very desperate [to find a drummer].
Angel: I thought they were hitting on me.
Steve: I remember when you used to work at NRM at the [Franklin Park] mall.
Angel: That was a long time ago.
Steve: Did everyone know how to play an instrument before you started?
Megan: Yep, we all played our instruments.
Steve: I heard somewhere that [Angel] didnt know how to play drums.
Angel: It just looks that way on stage. (laughs) No, Ive been playing since I was like 14. Then, I took like a 10-year break. (laughs) Maybe 12.
Steve: Was everybody in a previous band then?
Angel: This is my first time.
Megan: Ive been in bands that never played out.
Eliza: I was in one that they thought they were going to be rock stars, just because they thought it, without ever playing a show. I had like no pull in the band. I just wanted to play, because I hadnt been playing for a long time. So, they told me what to play, and it was like hard rock. They named it Ryzzen, which I hated. (laughs) I think thats the worst thing ever. Then, we broke up shortly after that. I dont even think those guys play together anymore.
Phoebe: I was in a band called Grover, like the Sesame Street character. It was with members of Surrounded By Jeds.
Steve: Was that right before The Meat?
Phoebe: No, its when I was 21. Theres a video tape of me
Megan: Yeah, with her kicking.
Phoebe: With me kicking my leg in the air and making all sorts of animated hand gestures and screaming. (laughs)
Steve: Were you singing, or were you playing guitar?
Phoebe: Just singing with a bunch of boys.
Eliza: She sang loud. She was like screaming and stuff.
Steve: Did you ever kick anyone in the head in the front row?
Phoebe: I almost kicked the bass player, Tom, in the head, and I knocked over the drummers cymbals, because I started to help him along with the beat. (laughs)
Steve: As far as the first song that [the band] learned, was it Fortunate Son?
Eliza: That was the first time that we played live. We had been working on A Song for Jeremiah forever.
Phoebe: We took a long time, because we didnt have a drummer at first. So, we would try to play with this drum machine for the longest time.
Eliza: Nuh-uh. We only played with it once though, didnt we?
Megan: When we didnt have the drum machine at first, we would just sit there and be drunk and lay on the floor and play our guitars. Then, we got the drum machine over at your dads (editors note: Elizas dad Dave, who is also the soundman for The Meat). Even Angel still wanted to play with the drum machine at first.
Angel: I was nervous because I didnt like playing in front of people.
Eliza: We didnt have a whole song even. We didnt have any endings until we played our first show.
Angel: We didnt have any endings until like our third show. We just kind of stopped.
Steve: Was the first gig at the Bottle Rocket (editors note: a club in Toledo) for the Creedence Clearwater Revival show?
Megan: Then we played at UT. That was like the worst thing ever, and we sucked.
Eliza: There was nobody there, except for like Amjad [Doumani, proprietor of B-Bop Records in Toledo].
Angel: I couldnt put my high-hat together.
Phoebe: She was in the bathroom drinking Jack Daniels.
Megan: There was a lot of drinking involved when we first got together for about like the first year.
Steve: Thats what I wanted to ask you about to was the shaking and the vomiting. (laughs) Did you finally get down a routine so that you could relax before a show?
Angel: It took awhile for me to relax, but I stopped drinking.
Megan: I just heard somebody recently, like Flea or somebody, was saying that he puked before shows or something.
Angel: Well, now I dont feel so bad.
Megan: Somebody like that. It was somebody really famous.
Steve: Perry Farrell (editors note: lead singer of Psi Com and Janes Addiction)?
Megan: Well, maybe for different reasons.
Steve: Was there a particular sound that the band was trying to go for when it first began, or did it develop over time?
Megan: Well, we were writing collarboratively, so it wasnt like one person was writing saying, I want you to play this particular kind of way, and you play this kind of way. It was just kind of like, Make up a part, and well see what happens.
Eliza: Thats how all of our songs are written. We did want to rock, but it didnt really happen.
Megan: Rocking is relative though.
Eliza: We kind of wanted to rock, and then we thought we were going to start rocking after No. 9, but we really didnt start rocking that much, but I like it. Its not that if it doesnt ROCK rock its bad.
Steve: As far as the vocals go, I know that Megan and Phoebe sing a lot of the time. Do you both usually write the lyric parts.
Megan and Phoebe: Mmmm, hmmm.
Steve: Then, as far as the song ideas, as far as the lyrics go, are you usually pulling those from somewhere in your life or from somewhere subconsciously?
Megan: Yes, they are usually things from our lives presented much more obscurely than what they really are, because to us they seem really obvious, but to other people, they probably think were really like
I dont know. What do you think [Phoebe]?
Phoebe: Yeah, Ive had songs that Ive written about specific people, and they come to me, and Im like, This song is about you, and theyre like, I dont get it.
Phoebe: Id much rather speak in code. My songs are whiny, crush songs.
Megan: Weve all been through a lot of transitions in the last two years. When we first got together, Eliza and I were still full-time school and working, and that effected a lot of what we were doing at that time and relationships and things like that.
Steve: Is everyone finished with school then, or are some of you still going?
Megan: Were all done.
Angel: I sometimes go back. (laughs) I want to be a chef.
Steve: I think I heard the bass player from Hüsker Dü became a gourmet chef in Minneapolis.
Angel: You guys will regret it when Im not around when Im a chef.
Steve: Well, you could go on tour with them and cook.
Megan: She never cooks for us.
Steve: Is there a particular song that each individual member of the band enjoys playing live the most, and is there a particular reason why?
Angel: I could probably tell you the one I least like to play. I like playing the birthday song, because its the only time I ever get to play the drums hard and crazy. Whats [the song] called?
Eliza: Miss 21. Most of the song is quiet.
Angel: But, at the end, its like (imitates metal drummer) duhn, duhn, duhn, duhn, duhn duhn duhn. Then, its like Im in charge of the ending and everything, so sometimes I drag it out longer until I start getting looks. (laughs) But, I really like playing [A Song for] Jeremiah to.
Steve: I like the fills in there. Whats the one with the cowbell?
Eliza: He noticed the cowbell.
Angel: I like that one to.
Eliza: Everybody loves the cowbell.
Steve: I just kept thinking Blue Oyster Cult. (laughs)
Eliza: That comes up all the time.
Steve: How about the rest of the group? Are there any particular songs what you like playing more than others?
Eliza: I hate playing the birthday song, Miss 21, because I play like the same thing the whole song, and I get really bored, but they love it. My favorite song to play is probably
I dont know. Ill figure it out.
Megan: I like playing Diversions. That ones fun. Its silly. I dont know. I used to like playing No. 9 the most, but something happened to that song along the way. The rhythm is all off now.
Angel: I hate that song. I dont hate it. Its just hard for me to play it.
Eliza: When we started, we used to play at a slower speed than we play it now. So, when we play A Song for Jeremiah, I cant play it, and Im like, Why would I write something I cant play? But, its because my hands are small, so I have to do a lot more moving around than somebody else. I cant do it. I get major hand cramps. So, some songs we cant even play anymore, which we should just slow them down. Diversions always makes me happy, but only if its towards the end of a set, and then Im like, Yeah! I get like a burst of energy.
Megan: I dont like playing that song, but thats just because I have to sing it. I like Diversions, but its a slow song. I hate it when I have to sing slow songs. Phoebe?
Phoebe: You write very, very slow songs.
Megan: Thats why I dont like playing it. (laughs) Its so much more obvious when youre singing a slow song. Your vocals are more important than when youre singing fast.
Phoebe: I like playing No. 9. Its fun. It feels like our most rocking song. Especially the last part of it.
Eliza: I like playing No. 9, for the very end of No. 9.
Steve: You sing on No. 9, dont you?
Eliza: I talk.
Megan: She didnt want to sing.
Phoebe: I like playing Miss 21. I always try to picture myself like Im in a movie scene, like were just some crappy-ass background band.
Eliza: Oh, thanks! (laughs)
Phoebe: I mean, just like a band thats singing their heart out, and [the audience] is a bunch of cheese dicks, like nobodys paying attention, because thats what it kind of feels like sometimes when were playing at the bars.
Steve: So, you hate playing No. 9?
Eliza: I dont like HATE IT hate it, but Im very bored all the time. Then, I feel like a sucky bass player, because Im playing the same
And, I dont want anyone to look at me while Im playing it.
Megan: Thats how I feel.
Eliza: I dont want anyone to judge me playing that, because then they would think that Im a really sucky bass player that plays the same thing the whole time.
Megan: But, songs are like that. People are playing the same thing for a long period of time.
Steve: Is there a reason for the particular instruments, like the Danelectros or anything like that? Of course, I guess [Phoebe] plays a Gibson.
Megan: Well, I have a Fender now.
Steve: Oh, you play a Fender now?
Megan: I just got it.
Eliza: I have other basses, but I dont know. I like that one better.
Megan: Danelectros have a surprisingly nice sound for being really cheap.
Megan: Yeah, theyre like Masonite. Theyre really light. Like when I played with my Danelectro, and now I got a Fender, it felt like something was digging in my shoulder for the longest time.
Steve: What is the Virgo Club? (laughs from band)
Eliza: I dont even know about any of that.
Steve: I didnt know if it had any significance.
Megan: No, Phoebe and I are both Virgos. Our birthdays are like two days apart, and we just kept meeting people that were Virgos all within a week and a half of our birthdays.
Phoebe: We would just randomly run into people and be like, Hey, whats your sign?
Megan: Yeah, then it was Genes birthday (editors note: a friend of the band), and I was like, Oh, it was just mine and Phoebes birthday, and it was Tonys [Lowe] (editors note: guitarist for the former Toledo band Streamlined and boyfriend of Megan), and we met all kinds of people. We know all kinds of Virgos that play music, and they always say that Virgos shouldnt play music.
Angel: Virgos are nice, but you shouldnt get a big group of them together. (laughs)
Angel: People stepping on each others tails all day.
Eliza: What animal is a Virgo? Im a lion.
Megan: Were a woman; a virgin woman. (laughs)
Angel: No wonder theyre such bitches. (laughs)
Steve: How about you Angel? What are you?
Eliza: Angels a world-class lover.
Angel: Scorpio. The best sign in the Zodiac.
Eliza: No, Leo is the best sign.
Steve: Who recorded the Summer Links demo?
Megan: Micah Shimborske.
Steve: Was that over at Owens [Community College in Toledo]?
Megan: Yeah, they have like a recording
Eliza: (laughing) I havent heard that in so long, but I know that its really bad.
Phoebe: That was stressful to.
Megan: That was an extremely stressful experience, because he didnt really have the equipment figured out at first. He was learning it as we were going along, and your dad (editors note: Elizas dad Dave) came in and was doing some things that werent really helping.
Eliza: Yeah, but Micah didnt even know how to turn stuff on though until my dad got there.
Megan: I know. Im not blaming your dad for anything, so just relax. All Im saying is that nobody knew what the hell was going on.
Angel: (makes cat attack sound) (laughs)
Megan: We couldnt get any of the songs right, when they did get things to work, and then wed get the song, and it didnt record. It was all on digital recorder.
Phoebe: I had a little cubical to hide in. I was really glad for that. (laughs)
Angel: Yeah, they stuck you off in that little thing.
Phoebe: Wed always take a break, and I brought a camera along and took a bunch of pictures of very pissed off people.
Steve: Was that for somebodys [school] project, or was it for a demo?
Megan: No, it was free, and we just wanted to get some songs recorded that we didnt have recorded yet.
Eliza: We didnt have anything recorded before that though. We had some bad tapes.
Megan: Well, yeah, we would set up the four-track at your dads, but those never turned out fabulous either. The vocals would be too loud.
Angel: It would just be us talking for 10 minutes and a little bit of a song.
Eliza: Yeah, wed have like three-hour practices and talk for two hours.
Megan: In between songs and stuff, so thats why [we did the recording].
Steve: When did [Elizas dad] become involved [in running sound]? Hes been running sound for quite awhile, hasnt he?
Eliza: Kind of. Well, my dads kind of a musical hobbyist. He plays music, and he likes to buy a lot of stuff. And, so, hes got all of his stuff, and he really likes going around with it. Actually, he kind of recorded Ryzzen, because he had gotten like this digital four-track or something. He just kind of likes to mess around with stuff like that. So, he didnt ever really do sound anywhere before that, which now hes doing it for some acoustic people somewhere on Thursdays or something. But, yeah, hes just really, really into music, and he plays guitar and stuff. He can play anything really, but he plays guitar the most.
Steve: Why did you decide to go to Chicago to record the new CD? Did you know Randy [Wilson, recording engineer at Cave Barn Studios in Chicago] before that?
Megan: Yeah, because I knew him through people, and Id heard some recordings hes done over the years. Like, he just started recording bands, but hes been doing his own projects for a long time, and he does like music for video games and stuff.
Steve: Yeah, I was reading something about that [on your Web site].
Eliza: Yeah, we did, Hey, hey, hey. The yetis got to stay.
Megan: Yeah. That was our line. Its this video game called Urban Yeti thats going to come out on Nintendo Gameboy, and what it is is the yetis in the town and the people dont like him, because hes tearing apart the town. Well, its like the cops dont like him, but then theres like the activists that want the yeti to stay, and they dont want him to be persecuted and kicked out of town. So, we were the crowd. So, look for that one coming out. I got to play the prototype for it. It was OK, but Im not really good at video games.
Angel: I had to play that stupid Tom and Jerry game while I was there. That sucked. I mean, not that it sucked, but it was just a little basic.
Eliza: Angel has a hard time being quiet.
Megan: We got to stay with a professional yo-yoist.
Eliza: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He taught me how to do some cool tricks.
Megan: This guy that lives in the building where we recorded, because Randy lives there to.
Eliza: Everybody thought he was so weird. Of course, then I had to go and hang out with him.
Megan: It was weird that he was a professional yo-yoist. Hes like sponsored by Duncan.
Eliza: He has this ball that hes making of all the broken yo-yo strings, because he breaks them all the time, because hes a professional.
Megan: He did this one thing that was like a helicopter. Youve never seen anything like it. Thats what broke the tension of the recording.
Steve: So, was the building similar to the Collingwood Arts Center (editors note: the Collingwood Arts Center is a rental space for musicians and artists in Toledo) the way it was set up?
Megan: No. Its like a
Angel: It was a house, wasnt it?
Megan: Its like a house.
Eliza: Kind of like a duplex.
Megan: There was a downstairs.
Angel: Didnt that woman live there?
Megan: Yes, that woman lived there.
Eliza: There was like a downstairs and then an upstairs, which is where they lived. The yo-yo guy lived in like a closet, and Randy didnt have a bedroom either. [Randys place] is where the gaming soundtrack people work. So, people come there during the week and theyd sleep there. Theyve got a kitchen and all of these computers and stuff. Then, in the attic Randy had a bubble, where he sleeps.
Angel: He sleeps up there?
Megan: Yeah, he sleeps on that leather couch.
Eliza: Yeah, he sleeps on the couch. Then, they have like this bubble.
Megan: And, our soundproofing cubical thing for the vocals was like a big thing of mattresses. We had mattresses going up both sides and then one on top and behind. We slept on it and then we used it. It was interesting. Id definitely record there again. He was really, really patient with us.
Angel: Very patient. And, the cops. They were patient to.
Steve: I was going to ask you about that.
Megan: [Randy] might have to go to court and stuff. I havent talked to him in awhile.
Steve: What was the deal?
Eliza: Well, I played the drums early in the morning, and then, I think he played the drums afterwards.
Megan: He played before you. That was one of the first things I remember happening that morning.
Eliza: I thought I did it first.
Megan: No, you guys went out to breakfast. Yeah, [Randy] got up at like 9 oclock in the morning and was playing the drums really loud, and the woman who lived in that first apartment downstairs got really pissed, and so, he stopped. But, he told her that we were going to be making noise later, and then, the cops ended up coming later. The cop was like, Well, its not like you have a recording studio here or something. You dont have to do this that early. And, [Randy] was like, Well, yeah, this is a recording studio. And, the cop was like, Well, you need to get some soundproofing up. I can hear you all the way down the street.
Eliza: Yeah, it was all wood in the ceiling.
Angel: I dont think he really heard us down the street. Theres no way.
Megan: It was fun though. It was like the coldest weekend in Chicago.
Steve: Was that in January that you went?
Megan: March. March 1.
Steve: What was the deal with the van?
(editors note: The group explains how their van spun out on an icy patch of a bridge only to come to a stop facing oncoming traffic. Luckily, no one was injured.)
Steve: So, is there a title for the new album?
Megan: Nobody could think of a title as far as I know.
Angel: I even recommended Boobs. Boobies, Boobs. (laughs)
Megan: Boobies Boobs? Like Boobies a person?
Angel: No, like a pair. (laughs)
Eliza: No, we just didnt talk about it. We dont see each other as much as we used to.
Megan: Since weve known we were breaking up, we put less time into writing songs.
Steve: Is the CD available anywhere right now, or are you selling it online?
Megan: We have it online, which nobody buys it online. (laughs) And, we sell it at our shows, which does pretty well. Like we were going to put some at Boogie (editors note: local Toledo record store).
Steve: Ive got to refer to the diary [on the bands Web site]. Did [Megan] really tell a cop that, You cant stop the rock in this town, when you were pulled over the night of June 24? (laughs)
Megan: No. I had this period of time where I kept getting pulled over.
Steve: Also, I remember reading, If we could design a bar with a preferable atmosphere rather than Easystreet (editors note: Easystreet is a bar in Bowling Green and Toledo). If you had the opportunity, what would your ideal club be like to play in?
Megan: Well, one that we get food and free drinks
Thats always nice. There used to be places in this town that would do that, but dont anymore, but we wont mention their names. (laughs) One that people are going to be there to listen to music, rather than to socialize.
Eliza: If you could get all 25 people who like us
Megan: No, I dont want just our friends to be there. I want people who are there who like music, because in Toledo, people are either there because theyre friends with the band, or because the band is cool, so therefore, they go there to look cool and be cool and talk to other people that are cool, rather than to support the band. Like people around here dont care about supporting a band. Thats like their last concern. Its just a social means. Its less a club than it is the audience I guess, but a club where it had that type of atmosphere.
Angel: And, a platform for the drums.
Steve: What are the remaining members going to do after [Elizas] move to Spain? Are you going to try and form a new group, or are you just going to lay low for awhile?
Megan: Ive already been working on stuff, but I dont know when Ill be playing.
Steve: [Are you going to be playing] with these two?
Megan: No. I dont know what theyre doing.
Angel: Were going to work on some stuff, but were going to take a small break and get our shit together and try to approach it a little bit differently and hand select people to be in the band for different reasons.
(editors note: a discussion ensues about how Eliza could distribute the CDs at various airports in Europe)
Steve: So, I suppose youve been to Spain before then?
Steve: So, whats going on then? Are you moving for school?
Eliza: Im moving with school as my excuse. It was the easiest way to do it, because I get a student visa. I can leech off my dad. He didnt ever have to pay for anything for me college wise at all. So, hes cool with paying for me to go to school and paying me to live while Im in school. If I stayed here, I would still have to be having a stupid job and just moping around. So, its like my only way out. If I move anywhere else, I dont get any money, unless I go to grad school, which Im not ready to do, and I havent applied for anything yet. And, I want to be in Spain.
Steve: Are you planning anything special for the last show that you want to divulge?
Megan: Ive heard several rumors about things?
Steve: Fire eaters?
Angel: Well give you a list of those later.
Megan: A list of rumors that are circulating.
Angel: Yes, weve heard most of them, but were not sure if we can believe most of them.
Eliza: But, youll have to come and find out.
Megan: There will be something special.
Steve: I better bring my camera for this.
Megan: Thats right. Cameras are definitely encouraged.
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