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
are vegetarians."

Steve: Did everyone in the band know each other prior to forming?

Megan: We didn’t know Angel [Danger].

Angel: I didn’t know any of these girls. I’d seen you (editor’s 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: I’d seen you singing karaoke at Blue Jean’s before though.

Steve: Were you all students at the art school (editor’s note: University of Toledo’s 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] didn’t know how to play drums.

Angel: It just looks that way on stage. (laughs) No, I’ve 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: I’ve 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 hadn’t 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 that’s the worst thing ever. Then, we broke up shortly after that. I don’t 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, it’s when I was 21. There’s 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 drummer’s 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 didn’t 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, didn’t we?

Megan: When we didn’t 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 dad’s (editor’s note: Eliza’s 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 didn’t like playing in front of people.

Eliza: We didn’t have a whole song even. We didn’t have any endings until we played our first show.

Angel: We didn’t have any endings until like our third show. We just kind of stopped.

Steve: Was the first gig at the Bottle Rocket (editor’s 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 couldn’t 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: That’s 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 don’t feel so bad.

Megan: Somebody like that. It was somebody really famous.

Steve: Perry Farrell (editor’s note: lead singer of Psi Com and Jane’s 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 wasn’t 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 we’ll see what happens.”

Eliza: That’s how all of our songs are written. We did want to rock, but it didn’t 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 didn’t start rocking that much, but I like it. It’s not that if it doesn’t ROCK rock it’s 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 we’re really like… I don’t know. What do you think [Phoebe]?

Phoebe: Yeah, I’ve had songs that I’ve written about specific people, and they come to me, and I’m like, “This song is about you,” and they’re like, “I don’t get it.”

Megan: Yeah.

Phoebe: I’d much rather speak in code. My songs are whiny, crush songs.

Megan: We’ve 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: We’re 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 I’m not around when I’m 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 it’s the only time I ever get to play the drums hard and crazy. What’s [the song] called?

Eliza: “Miss 21.” Most of the song is quiet.

Angel: But, at the end, it’s like (imitates metal drummer) “duhn, duhn, duhn, duhn, duhn duhn duhn.” Then, it’s like I’m 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. What’s the one with the cowbell?

Megan: “Diversions.”

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 don’t know. I’ll figure it out.

Megan: I like playing “Diversions.” That one’s fun. It’s silly. I don’t 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 don’t hate it. It’s 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 can’t play it, and I’m like, “Why would I write something I can’t play?” But, it’s because my hands are small, so I have to do a lot more moving around than somebody else. I can’t do it. I get major hand cramps. So, some songs we can’t even play anymore, which we should just slow them down. “Diversions” always makes me happy, but only if it’s towards the end of a set, and then I’m like, “Yeah!” I get like a burst of energy.

Megan: I don’t like playing that song, but that’s just because I have to sing it. I like “Diversions,” but it’s a slow song. I hate it when I have to sing slow songs. Phoebe?

Phoebe: You write very, very slow songs.

Megan: That’s why I don’t like playing it. (laughs) It’s so much more obvious when you’re singing a slow song. Your vocals are more important than when you’re singing fast.

Phoebe: I like playing “No. 9.” It’s 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,” don’t you?

Eliza: I talk.

Megan: She didn’t want to sing.

Phoebe: I like playing “Miss 21.” I always try to picture myself like I’m in a movie scene, like we’re just some crappy-ass background band.

Eliza: Oh, thanks! (laughs)

Phoebe: I mean, just like a band that’s singing their heart out, and [the audience] is a bunch of cheese dicks, like nobody’s paying attention, because that’s what it kind of feels like sometimes when we’re playing at the bars.

Steve: So, you hate playing “No. 9?”

Eliza: I don’t like HATE IT hate it, but I’m very bored all the time. Then, I feel like a sucky bass player, because I’m playing the same… And, I don’t want anyone to look at me while I’m playing it.

Megan: That’s how I feel.

Eliza: I don’t want anyone to judge me playing that, because then they would think that I’m 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 don’t know. I like that one better.

Megan: Danelectros have a surprisingly nice sound for being really cheap.

Steve: Formica?

Megan: Yeah, they’re like Masonite. They’re 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 don’t even know about any of that.

Steve: I didn’t 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, what’s your sign?”

Megan: Yeah, then it was Gene’s birthday (editor’s note: a friend of the band), and I was like, “Oh, it was just mine and Phoebe’s birthday,” and it was Tony’s [Lowe] (editor’s 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 shouldn’t play music.

Angel: Virgos are nice, but you shouldn’t get a big group of them together. (laughs)

Eliza: Seriously.

Angel: People stepping on each others’ tails all day.

Eliza: What animal is a Virgo? I’m a lion.

Megan: We’re a woman; a virgin woman. (laughs)

Angel: No wonder they’re such bitches. (laughs)

Steve: How about you Angel? What are you?

Angel: Trouble.

Eliza: Angel’s 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 haven’t heard that in so long, but I know that it’s really bad.

Phoebe: That was stressful to.

Megan: That was an extremely stressful experience, because he didn’t really have the equipment figured out at first. He was learning it as we were going along, and your dad (editor’s note: Eliza’s dad Dave) came in and was doing some things that weren’t really helping.

Eliza: Yeah, but Micah didn’t even know how to turn stuff on though until my dad got there.

Megan: I know. I’m not blaming your dad for anything, so just relax. All I’m saying is that nobody knew what the hell was going on.

Angel: (makes cat attack sound) (laughs)

Megan: We couldn’t get any of the songs right, when they did get things to work, and then we’d get the song, and it didn’t 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: We’d 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 somebody’s [school] project, or was it for a demo?

Megan: No, it was free, and we just wanted to get some songs recorded that we didn’t have recorded yet.

Eliza: We didn’t have anything recorded before that though. We had some bad tapes.

Megan: Well, yeah, we would set up the four-track at your dad’s, 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, we’d have like three-hour practices and talk for two hours.

Megan: In between songs and stuff, so that’s why [we did the recording].

Steve: When did [Eliza’s dad] become involved [in running sound]? He’s been running sound for quite awhile, hasn’t he?

Eliza: Kind of. Well, my dad’s kind of a musical hobbyist. He plays music, and he likes to buy a lot of stuff. And, so, he’s 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 didn’t ever really do sound anywhere before that, which now he’s doing it for some acoustic people somewhere on Thursdays or something. But, yeah, he’s 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 I’d heard some recordings he’s done over the years. Like, he just started recording bands, but he’s 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 yeti’s got to stay.”

Megan: Yeah. That was our line. It’s this video game called Urban Yeti that’s going to come out on Nintendo Gameboy, and what it is is the yeti’s in the town and the people don’t like him, because he’s tearing apart the town. Well, it’s like the cops don’t like him, but then there’s like the activists that want the yeti to stay, and they don’t 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 I’m 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. He’s like sponsored by Duncan.

Eliza: He has this ball that he’s making of all the broken yo-yo strings, because he breaks them all the time, because he’s a professional.

Megan: He did this one thing that was like a helicopter. You’ve never seen anything like it. That’s what broke the tension of the recording.

Steve: So, was the building similar to the Collingwood Arts Center (editor’s note: the Collingwood Arts Center is a rental space for musicians and artists in Toledo) the way it was set up?

Megan: No. It’s like a…

Angel: It was a house, wasn’t it?

Megan: It’s like a house.

Eliza: Kind of like a duplex.

Megan: There was a downstairs.

Angel: Didn’t 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 didn’t have a bedroom either. [Randy’s place] is where the gaming soundtrack people work. So, people come there during the week and they’d sleep there. They’ve 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. I’d 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 haven’t 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 o’clock 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, it’s not like you have a recording studio here or something. You don’t 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 don’t think he really heard us down the street. There’s 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?
(editor’s 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: Boobie’s Boobs? Like Boobie’s a person?

Angel: No, like a pair. (laughs)

Eliza: No, we just didn’t talk about it. We don’t see each other as much as we used to.

Megan: Since we’ve 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 (editor’s note: local Toledo record store).

Steve: I’ve got to refer to the diary [on the band’s Web site]. Did [Megan] really tell a cop that, “You can’t 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 (editor’s 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… That’s always nice. There used to be places in this town that would do that, but don’t anymore, but we won’t 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 don’t want just our friends to be there. I want people who are there who like music, because in Toledo, people are either there because they’re 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 don’t care about supporting a band. That’s like their last concern. It’s just a social means. It’s 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 [Eliza’s] move to Spain? Are you going to try and form a new group, or are you just going to lay low for awhile?

Megan: I’ve already been working on stuff, but I don’t know when I’ll be playing.

Steve: [Are you going to be playing] with these two?

Megan: No. I don’t know what they’re doing.

Angel: We’re going to work on some stuff, but we’re 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.
(editor’s note: a discussion ensues about how Eliza could distribute the CDs at various airports in Europe)

Steve: So, I suppose you’ve been to Spain before then?

Eliza: Yeah.

Steve: So, what’s going on then? Are you moving for school?

Eliza: I’m 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 didn’t ever have to pay for anything for me college wise at all. So, he’s cool with paying for me to go to school and paying me to live while I’m in school. If I stayed here, I would still have to be having a stupid job and just moping around. So, it’s like my only way out. If I move anywhere else, I don’t get any money, unless I go to grad school, which I’m not ready to do, and I haven’t 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: I’ve heard several rumors about things?

Steve: Fire eaters?

Angel: We’ll give you a list of those later.

Megan: A list of rumors that are circulating.

Angel: Yes, we’ve heard most of them, but we’re not sure if we can believe most of them.

Eliza: But, you’ll have to come and find out.

Megan: There will be something special.

Steve: I better bring my camera for this.

Megan: That’s right. Cameras are definitely encouraged.

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