The Locust

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The Locust
The Locust.jpg
Justin Pearson (bassist) in concert.
Background information
OriginSan Diego, California
Years active1994–present
Associated acts
Past members

The Locust is an American grindcore band from San Diego, California, United States known for their unique mix of grind speed and aggression, complexity, and new wave weirdness.[1]

The band is noted for their use of insect costumes when performing live.


Prior to The Locust founding members Justin Pearson and Dylan Scharf were in the hardcore punk band Struggle together, formed in late 1990.[2] The band only lasted three years. Despite this they had opportunities to share musical space with other significant bands with similar ideological perspectives such as Born Against, Downcast, Bikini Kill, and Econochrist.[2] The band disbanded in 1994.

The Locust was formed in 1994 by Bobby Bray, Justin Pearson, Dylan Scharf, Dave Warshaw, and Dave Astor. After a number of personnel changes, they arrived at the current four-piece lineup in 2001, consisting of Bray, Pearson, Joey Karam and Gabe Serbian. The Locust was initially a powerviolence project whose first release was a split with genre pioneers Man Is the Bastard. Later releases incorporated synthesizers and became increasingly theatrical.[3] The band regularly played shows in all-ages punk clubs in Los Angeles and San Diego,[4] usually donning insect costumes.[3]

In September 1998, The Locust released their first full-length album, The Locust, through Gold Standard Laboratories.

On June 24, 2003, The Locust released their second full-length album, Plague Soundscapes, through ANTI-.[5]

On March 20, 2007, The Locust released their third full-length album, New Erections, through ANTI-.[6] After lengthy touring following the release of New Erections, The Locust went on hiatus.[7]

On May 18, 2010 The Locust released an archive recording of their Peel Session recorded 9 years prior in 2001, simply named The Peel Sessions, released through Radio Surgery.[7] This 16-track recording was the first time Gabe Serbian had started playing drums for The Locust, finalizing the lineup of Bobby Bray, Joey Karam, Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian that has remained ever since.[7]

On July 31, 2012, The Locust released a compilation album, The Gold Standard Labs, through ANTI-.[8] The album contains all the band's material released on the Gold Standard Laboratories label which is all their material from 1997 to 2002.[9]

Style and influences[edit]

The Locust are known for their unique mix of grindcore speed and aggression, complexity, and new wave weirdness.[1] The band's musical genre is typically described as grindcore,[1][10][11] hardcore punk,[12] powerviolence,[13] and noise rock.[14]

About the band's aesthetic, vocalist/bassist Justin Pearson has said, "I wanted to change the way people perceive music, or maybe just destroy it in general."[15] The Locust's music is complex, dynamic and fast-paced, often featuring abrupt and inconsistent time-signature changes. These erratic elements are, according to vocalist/guitarist Bobby Bray, "a reflection of perhaps how our brains have to function in order to be able to do anything in the Western societies we live in."[16] Stylus described the band's sound as "Relentless blitzkriegs of high velocity noise, skinny tie keyboards and bloody screaming that often last less than a minute, Locust songs are tightly-wound, dynamic and bizarre expressions of frustration and hatred whose intensity and creativity are currently unparalleled in punk rock."[17] The New York Times stated "If noise-rock had superheroes, the Locust would surely be among them."[18] The band was praised by Dave Lombardo of Slayer, who said "There's a band called The Locust. Their drummer is named Gabe Serbian, and their music hits me now like D.R.I. hit me in the early '80s."[19]

The Locust have a unique stage presence: costumed in skin-tight, full body nylon suits (which the band refer to as uniforms), they have at times come across to first-time viewers as frightening. The last 5 different suits were designed and made by Ben Warwas.[20] Unlike most bands, which normally have the drums set up behind the other members, the four members of The Locust are usually all positioned in a line at the front of the stage. The group recommends that in order to get the full impact of the music, one should see them live.

The Locust boycotts Clear Channel Communications and refuse to play in any Clear Channel-owned venues.[21] This boycott affected a 2005 tour with Fantômas, as well as another tour with Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They also have a policy of only playing all-ages shows.


Karam plays an assortment of analog synthesizers, including various Moog models[22] and a patch-panel modular synth. Bray plays a Gibson SG, and Pearson plays a see-through body Dan Armstrong bass made by Ampeg.[23] Serbian plays Ludwig drums with Paiste cymbals.


Pearson appeared as a “rock-star slut” in an episode of The Jerry Springer Show. It culminated in a French kiss with Scott Beiben, owner of the record label Bloodlink.[24] Pearson wore a T-shirt for The Locust during the appearance.[25] Pearson later stated "I was beat up during a commercial break by one of the 'security guards' pretty bad for blowing snot on the carpet."[25]

The Locust have been accused of encouraging the use of cocaine because the band sold vanity mirrors as merchandise, fans and others mistook the act of selling the mirrors as an implication to use cocaine off of them.[26] In an interview with Scene Point Blank Justin Pearson was asked "You guys make Locust compacts, modeled after cocaine mirrors. Do you feel it's irresponsible to sell these to your younger fans?"[26] Pearson responded "I'm not sure what you are talking about. I have never done cocaine and we never modeled any sort of merchandising product or idea after cocaine mirrors. However we did have vanity mirrors. In case you were not aware, they could be used for a variety of things such as make-up application, picking food out of your teeth, popping zits, fixing your bangs, etc. About the second part of your question, we are not responsible for anyone besides ourselves. We are a band and in no way are we a babysitting service."[26]

The Locust organized a number of "gender-baiting incidents," including Pearson and Serbian staging a fake same-sex marriage while on tour in Hawaii.[24]

In media[edit]

  • "Nice Tranquil Thumbs in Mouth" and "An Extra Piece of Dead Meat" are featured in the film Cecil B. Demented.[27]

Related bands[edit]

Prior and during The Locust, band members have played in numerous bands/side-projects together, some of these bands where short-lived while others became more long term:

In late 1990, Dylan Scharf and Justin Pearson alongside Cliff Cunningham and Jose Palafox formed Struggle.[28]

In 1994, Justin Pearson alongside Eric Allen, Michelle Maskovich and Jose Palafox formed Swing Kids. The group later featured Jimmy LaValle. In 2011, Pearson, Palafox, LaVelle and John Brady accompanied by Nathan Joyner toured Europe performing the songs of Swing Kids under the name Blue Note.[29]

In 1996, Gabe Serbian and Dave Astor alongside vocalist/guitarist Scott Miller formed Cattle Decapitation.[30] Serbian left the band in 2001 followed by Dave Astor who left in 2003. With Serbian and Astor the band released the EPs Ten Torments of the Damned, Human Jerky, ¡Decapitacion! and the album Homovore. Astor also performed on the band's second album, To Serve Man. The band also have a some releases on Justin Pearson's label, Three One G.

In 1998, Justin Pearson and Jimmy LaValle alongside Christopher Sprague, Damean Alexander and Michael Cooper formed The Crimson Curse.

In 1998, Dylan Scharf and Dave Warshaw alongside Braden Diotte and Rob Morrison formed Tarantula Hawk.

In 2001, Gabe Serbian, Justin Pearson and Bobby Bray alongside Mark McCoy and Ron Avila formed Holy Molar.

In 2004, Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian alongside The Blood Brothers members Jordan Blilie and Cody Votolato and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs member Nick Zinner formed the supergroup Head Wound City. The band was short lived going in to hiatus in 2005 after their debut EP, Head Wound City. However the band reunited for a string of shows in 2014.[31] The band continued their reunion by releasing their debut album, A New Wave of Violence in 2016.

In 2010, Joey Karam and Gabe Serbian formed Skinwalker.

In 2011, Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian alongside Thor Dickey and Michael Crain formed Retox. Serbian left the band in 2013, shortly before the band recorded their second album, Serbian was replaced by Brian Evans. With Serbian the band released the EP Retox and the album Ugly Animals.

In 2014, Justin Pearson alongside Luke Henshaw formed Planet B. The group later featured Gabe Serbian.[32][33] Planet B made contributions to the Incompresa soundtrack.[32] Their live debut at the San Diego Public Library in conjunction with a screening of the film.[32]

In 2015, Gabe Serbian and Justin Pearson alongside guitarist Michael Crain and drummer Dave Lombardo formed Dead Cross.[34] However, in 2016 Serbian left the band before recording an album with the band. In December 2016 it was announced that Mike Patton would be replacing Serbian as the band's lead vocalist.[35] Dead Cross plan to record and release their debut album in 2017.[35]


  • Dylan Scharf – vocals, guitar (1994–1996)
  • Dave Warshaw – keyboards, vocals (1994–1996)
  • Dave Astor – drums (1994–2001)
  • Jimmy LaValle – keyboards, vocals (1996–1998)



Studio albums
Compilation albums
  • Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs (2012, ANTI-)

Live albums

  • The Peel Sessions (2010, Radio Surgery)
  • split with Man Is the Bastard (1995, King of the Monsters)
  • split with Jenny Piccolo (1996, Three One G)
  • split with Arab on Radar (2000, Gold Standard Laboratories)
  • split with Melt-Banana (2002, Gold Standard Laboratories)


  1. ^ a b c "The Locust - Artist Profile". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Three One G Records". Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  3. ^ a b "Bands and Performers: The Locust". San Diego Reader. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "A Day With the Locust". LA Weekly. September 18, 2003. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  5. ^ ANTI-. "The Locust - Plague Soundscapes | Anti Records". Anti Records. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  6. ^ ANTI-. "The Locust - New Erections | Anti Records". Anti Records. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  7. ^ a b c "Three One G Records". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  8. ^ ANTI-. "The Locust - Molecular Genetics From The Gold Standard Labs | Anti Records". Anti Records. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  9. ^ ANTI-. "THE LOCUST MOLECULAR GENETICS FROM THE GOLD STANDARD LABS OUT JULY 31 VIA ANTI- RECORDS | News | Anti Records". Anti Records. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  10. ^ Mudrian, Albert. Choosing Death: the Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House. p. 265.
  11. ^ "Meet Dead Cross, Dave Lombardo's New Hardcore Punk Band With Members of The Locust and Retox". Noisey. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  12. ^ "The Locust | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  13. ^ Marcus, Andrew (August 6, 2003). "Buzz Clip". SF Weekly. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  14. ^ "The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Daughters, Pop and Rock Listings". The New York Times. April 13, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  15. ^ "Music: Top Ten: Bands That Dress-Up In Weird Costumes". Weird Retro. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  16. ^ "The Locust : Corporation". Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  17. ^ "The Locust - Artist Profile - Stylus Magazine". Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  18. ^ "Pop and Rock Listings". The New York Times. 2007-04-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  19. ^ "Otto Von Schirach Vs Gabe Serbian (The Locust) Manchester Show Announced". DrownedInSound. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  20. ^ "Bands and Performers: The Locust". San Diego Reader. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  21. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)[dead link]
  22. ^ Potts, Ryan (October 2, 2003). "The Locust: Plague Soundscapes - PopMatters". Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  23. ^ "Workspace and Environment: The Locust". April 30, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  24. ^ a b Bemis, Alec Hanley (2003-09-18). "A Day With The Locust". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  25. ^ a b "Justin Pearson Interview | Skatepunk". Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  26. ^ a b c "Feature: Interviews – The Locust". Scene Point Blank. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  27. ^ "Cecil B. Demented". Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  28. ^ "Three One G Records". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  29. ^ "Three One G Records". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  30. ^ "Three One G Records". Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  31. ^ "Head Wound City: A New Wave of Violence Album Review | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  32. ^ a b c admin (March 23, 2016). "LETHAL PREMIERE: Debut Performance by Planet B + Remix". Lethal Amounts. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  33. ^ "Three One G Records". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  34. ^ "Meet Dead Cross, Dave Lombardo's New Hardcore Punk Band With Members of The Locust and Retox - Noisey". Noisey. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  35. ^ a b "Mike Patton Joins Dave Lombardo's Hardcore Supergroup Dead Cross as Lead Singer". Spin. December 12, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017.

External links[edit]