|Origin||Finchley, North London, England|
|Years active||Late 1976-early 1979; 1996; 2006|
|Past members||Ashruf Radwan (aka Andy Blade)
Brian Haddock (aka Brian Chevette)
Roger Bullen (aka Dee Generate)
Phil Rowland (aka Social Demise)
Eater were an early British punk band from London who took their name from a Marc Bolan lyric. In 2001, the band’s second single, "Thinking of the USA" (originally released in June 1977), was included in a leading British music magazine’s list of the best punk-rock singles of all time. In 1999, the track also appeared on the five-CD box set 1-2-3-4: A History of Punk & New Wave (MCA Records/Universal Music Group).
The band was formed in 1976 by four high school friends: Anglo-Egyptian singer and guitarist Andy Blade (real name: Ashruf Radwan). guitarist Brian Chevette (real name: Brian Haddock), drummer Dee Generate (real name: Roger Bullen) and bassist Ian Woodcock. The band's name came from the song "Suneye", taken from the 1970 album T. Rex:
“Tree wizard puretongue, The digger of holes, The swan king, The Elf lord, The eater of souls.
Lithon the black, The rider of stars, Tyrannosaurus Rex, The eater of cars”.
Despite originating in north London, the band made its first public performance in Manchester, featuring Buzzcocks as their support act. Eater’s live set at this November 1976 was built mainly around speeded-up versions of Velvet Underground and David Bowie songs such as "Queen Bitch" and "Sweet Jane".
Closer to home, the band became one of the pioneering punk bands that played live in the first few months of the now-legendary Roxy Club. They topped the bill twice in January 1977; the second time they were supported by The Damned. They headlined again in February, this time supported by Johnny Moped, and twice more in March, supported first by The Lurkers and then by Sham 69. They also supplied two of their tracks, "15" (a version of "I'm Eighteen" by Alice Cooper) and "Don’t Need It", to the seminal live compilation album Live at the Roxy WC2. Extracts from their performances at The Roxy were also included in Don Letts' Punk Rock Movie (1978).
The band signed to a small London independent label called The Label, and released five singles and The Album LP before splitting up in 1979.
Blade published a book about his times with Eater and beyond, called The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker, in 2005.
Eater reformed to play the 1996 Holidays in the Sun Festival in Blackpool.
Eater also reformed briefly in 2006, playing a one-off gig at the 100 Club, supported by TV Smith of The Adverts. They also supported the Buzzcocks on the 30th anniversary of their original tour, at the Forum.
In their heyday 1976–1978, the band had been variously appraised:
- “Run-of-the-mill dole queue punk rock”.
- “Basic boy-ish punk rock”.
- “The band’s original punkish abrasiveness giving way only slightly to a petulant pop sheen”.
- “They were basically young kids, striving to master their instruments and out to shock”.
- “All songs on their sole full-length release sound about the same, played with one stiff light-speed beat and a snotty vehemence to each track, adding up to a ridiculous classic. As fast and clumsy as the material is, there's an undeniable tunefulness at work, particularly in irresistible singalongs like "No Brains" and "Room for One," and the sprightly single "Lock It Up" even attempts some naïve vocal harmonies as they sneer at the upper classes”.
- The Album (November 1977: The Label, LP 001)
- The History of Eater (February 1985)
- The Complete Eater (April 1993)
- All of Eater (May 1998)
Appearances on various artist compilations (Selective)
Listing of those various artist compilation albums mentioned in the text of the main article:
- "15" and "Don’t Need It" featured on the Live at the Roxy WC2 compilation LP (24 Jun '77: Harvest Records SHSP4069) No. 24 UK Albums Chart
- "Thinking of the USA" featured on 1-2-3-4: A History of Punk And New Wave 1976 - 1979 (MCA/Universal, 1999)
- "Outside View" / "You" (March 1977: The Label, TRL 001)
- "Thinkin’ of the USA" / "Space Dreamin’" / "Michael’s Monetary System"' (June 1977: The Label, TLR 003)
- "Lock It Up" / "Jeepster" (October 1977: The Label, TRL 004) Also released as a 12" single (TRL 004/12)
- Get Your Yo-Yo’s Out E.P. ("Debutantes Ball" / "No More" / "Thinkin’ of the USA" / "Holland") (September 1978: The Label, TRL 007)
- "What She Wants She Needs" / "Reaching for the Sky"' (November 1978: The Label, TRL 009)
- Mojo (October 2001) - 100 Punk Scorchers , Issue 95, London;
- Punk Profiles: An Inside View With Andy Blade (Eater). May 2003
- Thompson, D. (2000) Punk, Collector’s Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada, p. 61 - 62;
- Steve Gardner (1996) “Hiljaiset Levyt: 100 Best Punk LP's”;
- Strong, M.C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, Edinburgh, p. 61;
- Thompson, D. (2000) Punk, Collector’s Guide Publication, Ontario, Canada, p. 78;
- Joynson, V. (2001) Up Yours! A Guide to UK Punk, New Wave & Early Post Punk, Borderline Productions, Wolverhampton, p. 136;
- Fred Beldin's review of 'The Album', Allmusic;
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.