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Down on the farm with the MeatEaters


Nestled uncomfortably in an inglorious boob tube no-man's land between "WCW War Zone" and repeats of "Silk Stalkings," the show (USA, Mondays at 11 p.m.) still claims a weekly audience of around two million viewers. That's probably a drop in the bucket next to even the "Andy Griffith Show" reruns it's up against, but for Rome, Georgia's most famous DIY rockers, the Sloppy MeatEaters, it's the biggest single crowd they'll likely ever face. It's impossible to say how many curious eyes stayed glued to the set for the July 24th show, which featured the trio for a relatively lengthy seven-minute segment after headliners Eminem and Sevendust, but the experience helped put the energetic young band on the map.

Formed just over a year ago, the MeatEaters recorded their debut album of 13 surprisingly tight, snotty, pop-punk nuggets "in some guy's basement" as the liner notes explain. But all it took was stumbling onto the TV show and a savvy Web master for the group, who still rehearse in their parent's laundry room, to find their first 15 minutes of fame. Before you could say, "A Dumb Guy in a Stupid Band," -- the title of one of their typically tongue-in-cheek, two-and-half-minute, hyperactive, Blink-182-styled ditties -- the catchy "Out of Control" became one of the most downloaded tunes (out of about 5000 entries) on the website.

That led to a Farmclub camera crew being dispatched to Rome to compile a jittery day-in-the-life documentary. Then band flew out to L.A. for the live-on-tape show, which band member Josh Chambers (at 22, the eldest Eater) calls "a sort of American Bandstand for 2000," an event the group found a bit surreal. "They cue the people, and this fake audience gets all happy. Then they yell 'Cut' and they go back to being bored to death. There was a handful of Playboy bunnies they invited to jump around and rock out to the Sloppy MeatEaters. It was kind of weird."

Welcome to showbiz. Before the program even aired they fielded interviews from "Access Hollywood" and The New York Times. The Eaters are playing a date on this year's Warped Tour and are currently shopping for a "multi-million dollar" label deal. Maybe then they can practice in a real garage.

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