While punk poet Chris Desjardins, aka Chris D., is the only constant, members of X, The Blasters, The Plugz and Los Lobos, among others, have passed in and out of the ranks of local punks The Flesh Eaters. The band have a new album, I Used to Be Pretty, and they're playing a handful of local gigs. We spoke to Chris D. about it all.
L.A. WEEKLY: Because of the musicians involved, it feels like an event when you guys reconvene — does it feel like that to you?
CHRIS D.: It still does in a way because each time we’ve done it, it’s been something that I work very hard not to take for granted, because all these guys are doing it because they have a lot of fun doing it and they enjoy working not only with each other but with me. We owe Mudhoney a big debt of thanks, because they’re the spur that created the spark back in 2006. They were creating the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England. They really wanted The Flesh Eaters to play, and particularly the A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die lineup. John Doe and I started sending the feelers around to the other guys and it all fell into place. So we did three warmup shows in California in April and then the U.K. show in May of that year. We tried to do more after that, and it didn’t work out. But we did some shows in January 2015, and had so much fun that we vowed to not let that much time go by before we did it again. So we did eight shows in January of 2018, from San Diego all the way up through Vancouver.
How did the new album come about?
Halfway through the shows, I thought that we have to preserve this for posterity because we’re sounding so good, so tight, and yet it’s a different sound than we had in 1981. Everybody’s honed their musical chops. Yeproc gave us a deal without hearing the material, so everything has fallen into place this year.
The album features two new songs, and then rerecordings, correct?
“The Green Manalishi” is a cover, so that is a new song but not an original. I’ve periodically sung “She’s Like Heroin to Me” with other Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute bands, and this lineup of The Flesh Eaters started doing it, I think, in 2006. That was a natural to record. Some of them were on some of the later lineup’s lineups, and both of those CD releases were self-financed and not distributed too well.
Now you're back out with Mudhoney…
Yeah, they’re doing Pappy + Harriet's and the Echoplex with us, which is great. They’re getting revved up for an anniversary year. They were gung-ho to pair up with us on that. They’re a great bunch of guys and we’re all gratified that they’ve been so supportive.
What can we expect from the sets?
We’re gonna be doing some stuff from Minute to Pray, of course — those are our signature songs. But we’ll do some songs from the new album. We don’t want to wear out our welcome. The good thing about Minute to Pray is there’s only 30 minutes of material, so there’s plenty of room for other stuff.