The Flesh Eaters

John Doe & DJ Bonebreak of X, Dave Alvin & Bill Bateman of The Blasters, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and legendary poet Chris D.

FLESH EATERS were started in the fall of 1977 by punk poet Chris Desjardins, a singer known for morbid lyrical themes. Their first gig was December 21, 1977 at The Masque in Los Angeles. Musicians in various Flesh Eaters line-ups included Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), John Doe (X), DJ Bonebrake (X), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). Considered by many to be a precursur of Death Rock, their music was a pastiche of rockabilly, road-house blues, punk rock and jazz.
The Flesh Eaters initially broke up in 1983. Desjardins performed with his new band, The Divine Horsemen until 1988. In 1989 Desjardins recorded an LP with the one-time group Stone-By-Stone. Shortly after this they changed their name back to The Flesh Eaters. They continued to perform on the west coast, ultimately recording two albums. They discontinued performances in the Spring of 1993. Since then, Desjardins has performed intermittently with a variety of musicians under this name. The most recent Flesh Eaters album Miss Muerte was released in 2004 on Atavistic Records. This label has also reissued "No Questions Asked" & "Hard Road To Follow". In February 2006 it was announced that the original Flesh Eaters would perform several live shows. This particular line-up of The Flesh Eaters had not played together since the Spring of 1981. John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos were scheduled to appear for these shows. The tour included three dates in California and one date in England at the All Tomorrows Party Festival.

Desjardins also issued a solo semi-acoustic LP on the French New Rose label, "Divine Horseman" later released in Australia by Dog Meat Records of Melbourne. It features many old friends as guest musicians, including Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Linda "Tex" Jones and Dave Alvin.

He issued a second, rockier solo effort entitled "I Pass For Human" as "Stone By Stone"- basically a paean of loss following the breakup with his wife and partner in The Divine Horsemen Julie Christensen. It is a harrowing piece of work, reflecting on his life, his loves, and his ongoing battles with heroin addiction.

Henry Rollins published "Double Snake Bourbon", a collection of Desjardins' poetry, lyrics and prose under his 2.13.61 imprint. (Now out of print)
Desjardins had previously written for Slash and Forced Exposure, and has recently completed a book on Japanese yakuza films, as well as providing liner notes and annotation for several DVDs of classic reissues os such films.

Sean Wheeler and The Reluctant Messengers

Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers perform both originals and unique, indelible interpretations of relatively obscure songs from the American canon. Exploring the country, folk/traditional, gospel, and soul idioms, Desert Legend Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag) demonstrates a storyteller's love of a good tale and an understanding that there is nothing separating classic American musical forms — it can all be played together, and often in the same song. The seasoned musicians who comprise the Reluctant Messengers are Billy Pitman on guitar (Jimmie Vaughn), Danny McGough on keys (Tom Waits, Dave Davies), and Gregory Boaz on bass (Dave Alvin, Tex & the Horseheads).

In addition to newer interpretations of Americana classics, the band will be performing songs from the Sean Wheeler solo album Sand in My Blood, released in 2017 on the Little Village Foundation label. “Less is definitely more in the case of this recording. A deeply felt voice, guitar, spare percussion, occasional keyboards, and harmonica are all this special rough-hewn music need. Open your mind and broaden your horizons with this lowdown masterpiece.”
— Bluesblast Magazine

Sean Wheeler, whose bands Mutual Hatred, Sun Trash and especially Throw Rag have kept him at the forefront of the desert punk and rock community since the 1980s, will be trekking into town from the Coachella Valley each Wednesday for shows at the Redwood Bar in Downtown LA. Last week Gabriel Hart opened, and next Wednesday the decibels are guaranteed to spike with Fatso Jetson; like Wheeler, FJ bassist Mario Lalli (who ran Sierra Madre’s music-friendly Café 322 for several years in the early ’00s) is also revered in the desert rock scene. Other friends slated to join Wheeler & Co. in coming weeks include Generation X guitarist Derwood Andrews (May 16), Lightnin’ Woodcock and the Bad Muthafuckers (May 23), and Spanish band Bala plus Best Western (May 30).

Wheeler will be backed by his Reluctant Messengers, a cheerfully bad-ass combo of veteran sidemen who have also traversed the highway connecting punk to rootsier realms: bassist Greg Boaz, a groove master still affectionately remembered as “Smog Vomit” from his ’80s days with Tex & the Horseheads, before he joined Dave Alvin’s Guilty Men; Social Distortion keyboardist Danny McGough, an invaluable musician whose astute playing tends to elevate the creativity of any project; and Billy Pitman, whose tasteful tones backboned 2017’s “Sand in My Blood.” Released last year, “Sand in My Blood” was the first album to be issued by Wheeler as a solo act, and followed his 2011 duo recording with Circle Jerks alum Zander Schloss, “Walk Thee Invisible.” (On a side note, the inimitable Schloss is conducting his own May residency at the Redwood, on Monday nights.)

Watching the fedora-hatted Wheeler smoothly balance passion and polish at the mic, and listening to his open-throated pleas during Captain Beefheart’s “I’m Glad” and his own “Now That You Know (Funky Wicked World),” the mind is tickled by the thought of him crooning a Sinatra-style torch song. He’s drawn more than a few comparisons to Tom Waits — but, no offense to Waits, who as an artist reigns in ravaged splendor over his own surreal area code, Wheeler’s yearning rasp still carries full, intelligible melodies. At recent club gigs he’s performed material from “Sand in My Blood,” a discerningly choice collection of blues, country, gospel and jazz by the likes of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, the Rev. Gary Davis, James Hand, Gil Scott-Heron, Blind Willie Johnson, James Montgomery, Washington Phillips, and Geeshie Wiley. That’s a deep setlist in anyone’s hands, and Wheeler and his Messengers give it a gutsy edge.


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