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The Cheater Slicks originated in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1988, when brothers Tom and David Shannon — both guitar players — recruited drummer Dana Hatch and bassist Merle Allin (brother of G.G. Allin) to play in an original, bluesy garage rock band. After Allin, the Slicks tried out Alpo (formerly of the Real Kids) on bass before scrapping the bassist idea completely and settling on a three-piece lineup.
In 1990, the Cheater Slicks opened for Jon Spencer's band, Boss Hog. The show made a fan out of Spencer and started a working friendship between the eclectic indie rocker and the Slicks. Spencer produced the band's fourth album, Don't Like You, in 1995. In the Red Records released Don't Like You a year later, launching the Slicks on a tour with Spencer's like-sounding band, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The Cheater Slicks' loud, trashy brand of rock & roll also hooked them up on tours with bands like Mudhoney, who ended up covering some of their songs. By 1997, the Cheater Slicks relocated to Columbus, Ohio, and they released their first double-album, called Forgive Thee, on In the Red. Two years later, they released their sixth full-length, entitled Refried Dreams. The band continued to record and perform through the next two decades — a period that included the albums Yer Last Record (2003), Walk into the Sea (2007), Bats in the Dead Trees (2009), and Our Food Is Chaos: The Allen Paulino Session (2011).