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The Flesh Eaters

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Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Dave Alvin, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men, Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women, John Doe, Stan Ridgway and Pietra Wexstun, Chris D., Stan Ridgway, Stan Ridgway / Pietra Wexstun, John Doe and The Sadies

All Music Guide:

Flesh Eaters was the nominal group founded by post-punk poet Chris D. (Desjardins), a singer renowned for his poor social skills (causing a revolving lineup which featured Stan Ridgway, John Doe, and Dave Alvin, among a host of others) and a penchant for obsessively morbid lyrical themes. The first Flesh Eaters full-length, No Questions Asked, appeared in 1980 on Upsetter Records. Its follow-up, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, fleshed out Chris D.'s rather unique vision with a tight band including Alvin, Doe, and another X mainstay, DJ Bonebrake. Though Desjardins rarely had backers as sympathetic and talented after that, he continued to record with 1982's Forever Came Today and the following year's A Hard Road to Follow.

By the mid-'80s, however, Desjardins had grown tired of recording a Flesh Eaters LP every year, virtually disbanding the already ramshackle group and founding Divine Horsemen for the 1984 LP Time Stands Still. The change of direction, to a more dry and folksy style -- though no less pointed and occasionally disturbing -- must have stimulated him, for the Horsemen delivered three albums for SST during 1986-1987. After a 1988 EP, Desjardins moved on to a different alias, Stone by Stone, for another SST LP, I Pass for Human.

In the meantime, SST had released two Flesh Eaters compilations and one live LP, and by the turn of the '90s, the predictably unpredictable Desjardins again formed a group around the Flesh Eaters. The first album by the second convening of the band, 1991's Dragstrip Riot, was a double-LP with an astounding variety of material ranging from cowpunk to metal to gutbucket blues. The following year brought two more albums, Crucified Lovers in Woman Hell and The Sex Diary of Mr. Vampire. The new millennium, however, saw the release of Ashes of Time in early 2001.

Desjardins spent some of his post-millennial time making a film, I Pass for Human, that shared a title with an earlier album. He also worked on new Flesh Eaters material in conjunction with the film that was eventually released in 2004 under the title Miss Muerte.