The Flesh Eaters Are Back With ‘I Used To Be Pretty’: Listen To Two Songs
Three years ago, I noticed this old car, abandoned around the Silverlake reservoir, and tagged with the ironic lettering: ‘I Used to Be Pretty’. It stayed there for days or even weeks and became a sort of local attraction as the next days the car got a makeover with a cardboard golden crown on its roof… In case you were wondering what happened to this car, which suddenly disappeared after being at the top of her beauty shape as a red velvet cape covering the trunk was even added a bit later, it now can be seen on the cover of the upcoming LP by the Flesh Eaters.
The Flesh Eaters, who have reformed with the classic 1981 lineup, consisting of punk poet and founder Chris Desjardins (Chris D.), Dave Alvin (The Blasters, X), John Doe (X), Bill Bateman (The Blasters), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, The Blasters) and DJ Bonebrake (X. the Germs), have announced a new album, ‘I Used To Be Pretty’, set to be released on January 18th, 2019 on Yep Roc Records.
The band, which formed in 1977 in Los Angeles, has often been called a supergroup because its lineup draws from some of the most famous bands of the L.A. punk scene such as X, Los Lobos, and the Blasters, became famous in the early ’80s and was renown for morbid lyricism and sophisticated arrangements, while Desjardins’s poetry was described as ‘wonderful bleeding collages of B-movie dementia, street crime, Mexican Catholicism and Dionysian punk spurt poetics’.
The band, which hasn’t released an album since 2001, has recorded this new one after a few reunion-shows from 2006 to 2015, which lead Desjardins to wonder: ‘Midway through the eight shows I thought the band was sounding so incredible,’ he told Billboard. ‘I told everybody, ‘Y’know, who knows when we’re gonna do this again. We should really get in the studio and document what we’re sounding like right now.’ I thought I’d get a lot of hemming and hawing, but everyone was really into it — even (Alvin), who’s usually the devil’s advocate. We set up at the studio he usually uses in Hollywood, and he became the most excited of everybody.’
Off the 11 titles, two are already available on Spotify and other streaming platforms, and if they sound a bit familiar, it’s because the album is mostly a collection of new recordings of songs that previously appeared on Flesh Eaters albums and covers, such as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Green Manalishi’, the Gun Club’s ‘She’s Like Heroin to Me’, and The Sonics’ ‘Cinderella’, one of the songs you can listen to. With its proto-punk rock ‘n’ roll punch, the song has kept intact all the dynamism of an old garage rock song of the ’60s, kicking Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley’s ass, with tribal drums and a savage delivery, completed by a wild swinging saxophone and black & white footage for the video. It’s done here as a genuine homage as Desjardins explained: ‘We all love the Sonics, and it was kind of hard picking a Sonics song at first. The Cramps had already done ‘Strychnine,’ but I love ‘Cinderella’ and that kind of updating of a fairy tale in more of a gritty, urban context, which you don’t see too often.’ And maybe the transformation of the old car has something to do with the Cinderella theme of the song, although it doesn’t seem to appear in the video.
The second one, ‘My Life to Live’ is a track previously recorded in 1982, but the new version sounds even more buoyant and vibrant with a biting tone and an enduring will to survive and simply live. Desjardins added: ‘We knew this record was going to be good because we felt we sounded so good and so tight. So even there’s material that had previously been covered by other lineups, we were doing significantly different things with those songs that I really wanted to get onto an album.’
The band will begin a tour in support of the new record starting in January 2019, with a stop at the Echoplex with Mudhoney. Here are the tour dates:
Wed., Jan. 16 PHOENIX, AZ Crescent Ballroom
Thurs., Jan. 17 TUCSON, AZ 191 Toole
Fri., Jan. 18 PIONEERTOWN, CA Pappy & Harriet’s Place, w/Mudhoney
Sat., Jan. 19 LOS ANGELES, CA Echoplex, w/ Mudhoney
Sun., Jan. 20 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Independent
Tues., Jan. 22 PORTLAND, OR The Star Theater
Wed., Jan. 23 SEATTLE, WA The Crocodile
Thurs., Feb. 21 HOUSTON, TX Continental Club
Fri.-Sat., Feb. 22-23 AUSTIN, TX Continental Club
Sun., Feb. 24 DALLAS, TX Club Dada
Sat., March 9 SAINT PAUL, MN Turf Club
Sun., March 10 CHICAGO, IL Lincoln Hall
Mon., March 11 GRAND RAPIDS, MI The Pyramid Scheme
Tues., March 12 DETROIT, MI El Club
Thurs., March 14 BOSTON, MA City Winery Boston
Fri., March 15 PHILADELPHIA, PA Johnny Brenda’s
Sat., March 16 WASHINGTON, DC Union Stage
Sun., March 17 NEW YORK, NY Bowery Ballroom