The Flesh Eaters (band)
|The Flesh Eaters|
1980; L-R: Chris D, DJ Bonebrake, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Steve Berlin, Bill Bateman
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Labels||Upsetter, Slash/Ruby, Homestead, SST, Atavistic|
|Associated acts||The Divine Horsemen, The Plugz, X, The Knitters, The Blasters, Los Lobos, Bonebrake Syncopaters, The Gun Club|
|Past members||DJ Bonebrake, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Steve Berlin, Bill Bateman, Texas Terri, Wayne James, Glenn Hays, Ray Torres, Juanita Myers, Christian Free, Stuart Lederer, Bobby Bones, Madonna M.|
The Flesh Eaters are an American punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1977. They are the most prominent of the bands which have showcased the compositions and singing of their founder, punk poet Chris Desjardins, known as Chris D. While Desjardins is the group's only continual member, the Flesh Eaters' lineup has drawn from some of the most famous bands of the L.A. punk scene, such as The Plugz, X, The Blasters and Los Lobos.
The band's greatest success was in the early 1980s. Though a part of that era's productive punk rock scene, their music was distinctive for its morbid lyricism and often for its sophisticated arrangements, as heard, for example, on 1981's A Minute to Pray, A Second To Die. Desjardins's poetry has been described as "wonderful bleeding collages of B-movie dementia, street crime, Mexican Catholicism and Dionysian punk spurt poetics.".
The band recently reformed and tours the Los Angeles area on occasion.
The Flesh Eaters were started in the fall of 1977 by punk poet Chris Desjardins, a singer known for morbid lyrical themes. Their first gig was December 21, 1977, at The Masque in Los Angeles. Musicians in various Flesh Eaters line-ups included John Curry (The Flyboys), Scott Lasken (The Flyboys), Dennis Walsh (The Flyboys), Tito Larriva (The Plugz), Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), John Doe (X), DJ Bonebrake (X), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). A precursor of deathrock, their music was a pastiche of punk rock, road-house blues, rockabilly, and jazz.
The first release by The Flesh Eaters was the 1978 7-inch EP entitled Flesh Eaters (aka Disintegration Nation). The effort was produced by Randy Stodola and Chris D. and released by Upsetter Records. The Flyboys ([John Curry, Scott Lasken and Dennis Walsh]) co-wrote and performed on this first release. The band’s debut album No Questions Asked, was released in 1980, also by Upsetter Records. The band also weighed in with three tracks on the Upsetter compilation Tooth and Nail[disambiguation needed], along with the Germs, UXA, the Controllers, Negative Trend, and the Middle Class. All of this early material has been reissued on the CD release of No Questions Asked.
Their next, most acclaimed album A Minute to Pray, A Second To Die, featured a veritable supergroup of LA scene musicians: Dave Alvin (guitar), John Doe (bass), Chris D. (vocals, maracas), Steve Berlin (saxophone, rhythm sticks), DJ Bonebrake (maracas, snare, marimbas) and Bill Bateman (drums). In his review on Allmusic, Patrick Kennedy states, “A classic album of trashy-noir darkness, seamy Hollywood dreck, campy blues horror, and Stax-influenced, stripped-down guitar punk, (…) A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, truly delivers what it promises: simple, direct, roots-flavored early L.A. punk.” Forced Exposure founder Byron Coley has gone on record saying "A Minute to Pray . . ." is his favorite album of all time, the Flesh Eaters being his favorite group of all time.
The next album, Forever Came Today, was released in 1982 by Ruby/Slash Records in the USA and Expanded Music in Italy. Produced by Chris D., this album featured Don Kirk (guitar), Robyn Jameson (bass), Chris D. (vocals), Steve Berlin (saxophones), Chris Wahl (drums) and Jill Jordan (backing vocals). The same lineup released A Hard Road to Follow in 1983.
During this time they contributed a song to the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.
The Flesh Eaters initially broke up in 1983. However, a greatest hits album entitled Destroyed by Fire was released by SST Records in 1987 and a live album called Flesh Eaters Live was released on Homestead Records in 1988. Desjardins performed with his new band, The Divine Horsemen until 1988. In 1989, Desjardins recorded an LP with the one-time group Stone By Stone. Shortly after this they changed their name back to The Flesh Eaters. They continued to perform on the west coast, and in 1990 released a second greatest hits album on SST Records entitled Prehistoric Fits – Flesh Eaters Greatest Vol. 2. Over the next three years, The Flesh Eaters released three more albums on SST Records: Dragstrip Riot (1991), Sex Diary of Mr. Vampire (1992) and Cruicified Lovers in Woman Hell (1993). All three of these albums were produced by Chris D and featured the musicians Wayne James, Glenn Hays, Ray Torres, Texas Terri Laird, Juanita Myers, Christian Free, Stuart Lederer, and Madonna M. During this period they also appeared on Gabba Gabba Hey: A Tribute to the Ramones on Triple X Records (1991)
The Flesh Eaters discontinued performances in the spring of 1993. Since then, Desjardins has performed intermittently with a variety of musicians under this name. In 1999, the band released Ashes of Time on Upsetter Records (produced by Chris D. and Robyn Jameson). The most recent Flesh Eaters album Miss Muerte was released in 2004 on Atavistic Records and produced by Chris D. This label has also reissued No Questions Asked and Hard Road to Follow. In February 2006, it was announced that the original Flesh Eaters would perform several live shows. This particular line-up of The Flesh Eaters had not played together since the spring of 1981. John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos were scheduled to appear for these shows. The tour included three dates in California and one date in England at the All Tomorrows Party Festival.
- Flesh Eaters (1978), Upsetter Records – 7-inch EP
- No Questions Asked (1980), Upsetter Records – Debut album
- A Minute to Pray, a Second To Die (1981), Ruby Records/Slash Records, USA
- Forever Came Today (1982), Ruby/Slash Records, USA; Expanded Music, Italy
- A Hard Road to Follow (1983), Upsetter Records
- Destroyed by the Fire – The Flesh Eaters’ Greatest Hits (1987), SST Records
- Flesh Eaters Live (1988), Homestead Records
- Prehistoric Fits – Flesh Eaters Greatest Vol. 2 (1990), SST Records
- Dragstrip Riot (1991), SST Records
- Sex Diary of Mr. Vampire (1992), SST Records
- Crucified Lovers in Woman Hell (1993), SST Records
- Ashes of Time (1999), Upsetter Records
- Miss Muerte (2004), Atavistic Records
- The Wedding Dice