The Flesh Eaters

The Flesh Eaters

Arising from a punk rock party scene that exploded in the wasted midst of Hollywood tinsel and trash, The Flesh Eaters first mutated into a punk-fueled "roots rock voodoo blues" group (marked by the masterful A Minute to Pray, A Second To Die LP and a classic line-up of LA scene heavies) and later into a "speed metal esoterrorica" four-piece who throttled American hardcore with their mix of amped-up guitar hellfire and rough-hewn Jagger/Richards blues. Singer and band constant Chris D. (Desjardins) was able to sprout new heads for his band every couple of years while keeping a supremely intense, performance-as-catharsis ethos very much alive, and always charting fertile new musical ground. Live, Chris D. would shriek like he was conducting the last performance before Satan’s bloody rapture, and as if he just might be taking the audience down with him. The rock pundits of the day thus brought forth much enthusiasm, enthusiasm now all but buried in the yellowing copies of local fanzines.
Formed in 1978 and disbanded in 1983, when Chris D. started a new project, Divine Horsemen; reformed around 1990 and active till 2003-2004.

Tom Heyman & the 22nd Street Irregulars

Tom Heyman didn’t set out to write a pub-rock magnum opus, but if you read the tea leaves you’ll find it was pretty much inevitable. With Show Business, Baby the venerable sideman (Chuck Prophet, John Doe, Alejandro Escovedo, Sonny Smith, Hiss golden Messenger, etc) and accomplished singer / songwriter turns up the reverb and lets himself get loose, shuffling out of mythical saw-dusted barrooms and squinting into the California sunlight.

Heyman started playing and recording in the late 1980s with the Philadelphia based band Go To Blazes. The band released 5 full-length records featuring Heyman’s songwriting and lead guitar work, and toured the US and Europe extensively before breaking up in 1997. After relocating to San Francisco in 1998, he began working both as a solo artist and sideman, eventually joining local favorites The Court and Spark, as well as Chuck Prophet’s band. His second solo record Deliver Me was critically acclaimed, receiving 4-star reviews in both Mojo and Uncut magazine, and songs from the record were heard in the TV shows True Blood, Justified, Damages, and the feature film, Tammy.

By 2012 Heyman found himself at a bit of a loose end. It had been a half-dozen year since his last solo record, and about five since he’d left Prophet’s band. Sideman gigs and pedal-steel session dates were keeping him busy, but it wasn’t gratifying. “I started to get to get the itch to put together a band that was a looser, more rock and roll affair, closer in spirit to bands that I loved when I was in my early twenties – Rockpile, The Flamin’ Groovies, NRBQ, Mink DeVille, Dr. Feelgood” explains Heyman. “Acts from an era that maybe never was, but at least in my head was populated by bar bands that were smart, funny, rocking, and had great record collections.”

Heyman and his new gang of shiny-suited rock and roll sharps started rehearsing a set full of obscure covers by the likes of Bobby Fuller, Larry Williams, Dion, rare Chess Records rockabilly artists, and the like (Show Business, Baby features two covers amongst its originals; "Baby My Heart" from The Bobby Fuller Four, written by the great Sonny Curtis, and "Daddy Rollin' in Your Arms" by Dion, the B-side of his hit "Abraham Martin and John" , and long a holy grail amongst rock critics, 45 collectors and assorted cognoscenti.) Almost by accident, Heyman found himself writing songs for this band. “I felt free of the usual confessional singer/songwriter rules” says Heyman. “Plus, I got to play a bunch of short, sharp guitar solos and make liberal use of the word 'baby” without feeling self-conscious about it.”
They played out often, recorded a bunch of sides, and then everybody got busy with other projects and things sort of fizzled out. In the interim, Heyman recorded, released and toured on his last record, That Cool Blue Feeling (“A singular talent - That Cool Blue Feeling is contagious,” – No Depression). His cool new pub rock jams sat in limbo. That is, until he played them for Dan Stuart (Green on Red) and Eric Ambel (Joan Jett, Steve Earl), who strongly encourage Heyman to finish the record and let it loose on the world.

Produced by Heyman and erstwhile Flamin’ Groovies bassist, Chris von Sneidern, the record was recorded at the legendary Hyde St Studios in SF, and mixed in Brooklyn, NY by Heyman’s old friend Eric Ambel. Thematically, all the requisite subject are covered: Love (lost, found and begged for), working, drinking, and getting old (not necessarily in that order, and occasionally all three at once…) The tunes are steeped deep and long in the boogie, and delivered with a nod, a wink and a great big beat.

Scheduled for a mid-fall release via Bohemian Neglect Recording Works, Heyman implores us all to throw the Telecaster in the back of the Caddy, drop the top and come along for the ride. After all, it’s just Show Business, Baby.

D.J. Bonebrake

Drummer and vibraphonist from Los Angeles (CA, USA). He began drumming at the age of 12, and studied classical and traditional music. His first band was called Rocktopus, and via this band he came into contact with the underground rock scene and joined Eyes and some time later X (5). He then started building his reputation as session musician. Later he formed the Latin-flavored jazz ensemble Orchestra Superstring, and joined Bonebrake Syncopators and The Knitters.

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