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A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die

The Flesh Eaters

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Album Review

A classic album of trashy-noir darkness, seamy Hollywood dreck, campy blues horror, and Stax-influenced, stripped-down guitar punk, the Flesheaters' first release, A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, truly delivers what it promises: simple, direct, roots-flavored early L.A. punk. However, calling this a punk album is reductive at best. Sure, it utilizes the less-is-more, low-rent attitude and musicianship, but Chris D. and crew — and it's an exceptional crew, featuring former Blasters Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman (accomplished roots players in their own right), saxman Steve Berlin, who later played with Los Lobos, and John Doe and DJ Bonebrake of X — succeed in creating a sonic pastiche of true American music. From blues to jazz to rock to rockabilly, the Flesheaters were able to accomplish all, and that is no more apparent in their catalog than on this debut, which captures the fire and directness of early Sun Studios recordings — albeit with more self-consciousness. Later the band would devolve into campier, less invigorating rock, but songs like "See You in the Boneyard," "So Long," and "Digging My Grave" are enduring testaments to this lineup's power, simplicity, and prestige. Chris D., with his whine and shriek — a bit like Darby Crash — later formed the Divine Horsemen, as well.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

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...
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A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, The Flesh Eaters
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