Eater were there when it mattered. Their authenticity is legion. Young, drunk & full of spunk Eater were Punk Rock before it became a passion of fashion.
In many ways, Eater were the true spirit of UK Punk Rock - as it was always intended. They were fiercely proud of both their age & their questionable musical ability attributes that absolutely qualified them to be at the very heart of the Punk Rock explosion of 1976/77.
Eater possessed a clinical appreciation of the vibe required to play Punk Rock affectively they had a healthy distain for those they viewed as fakes & an admirable sense of purpose that many of their older contemporaries simply couldnt muster convincingly.
Revisionism has continually strived to write groups like Eater out of the equation along with The Pop Rivets, The Shapes, The Stiffs & their ilk. In reality, it was the predominantly younger groups formed whilst the Punk Rock scene was in its infancy that truly summed up what it meant to be young & easily influenced in the UK in 1976.
The Eater Chronicles (Anagram CD 133) captures their full glory to perfection on 2 discs allowing old fans & new the chance to fully appreciate what was going down in the clubs of London Town as 1976 bled into 1977.
Capturing everything Eater recorded for Dave Goodmans The Label on CD 1 - & featuring a set of 1977 4-track demos, a 1997 r-union 45, 2 lost gem cuts from 1979 & an exclusive spoken word extract from The Andy Blade Chronicles on CD 2 - The Eater Chronicles is the last word in Eater finery - an exemplary release that absolutely demands a place on the shelves of any serious Punk Rock aficionado.
Jean Encoule recently took genuine pleasure in tracking down Eater leader, Andy Blade, to bug him with the usual bag of implied mythology, tedious revisionism & unfathomable respect. This is how it went down:
trakMARX - How did you first become exposed to the delinquent appeal of Punk Rock - & what/who was your personal catalyst in this respect?
We kind of stumbled into it - the band came together just as the punk scene appeared in its fledgling form. As soon as I read the first Sex Pistols article in Sounds I knew we belonged in this new scene and luckily, very soon after, we started meeting the people at the heart of it.
trakMARX - What type of sounds had you been listening to circa 74/75?
My favourite bands were Sparks, Be Bop Deluxe, Doctors Of Madness and Lou Reed/Velvets.
trakMARX - Were you aware of what was happening in NYC at the time?
I read whatever the music press wrote on it, so yeah - I was pretty clued up on it. I bought the Ramones album on import before it was released here and went with the rest of Eater to see them at the Roundhouse where we met them backstage. I asked Joey and Dee Dee to sign the back of a flyer to Eater - love from... - but they didnt hear me properly and signed it to Peter - love Joey and Dee Dee Ramone instead. They said they thought Peter was a great name for a band! Maybe we should have taken their advice?
trakMARX - Your first gig (Sept 20th 1976) featured Buzzcocks as your support. What memories do you have of their performance that night?
It,s all pretty much documented on the CD and in the book lets just say Buzzcocks were a lot more organised and together than us! They were fantastic.
trakMARX - Was there any notion of a North/South divide around this time?
A BIG one. It remains that way.
trakMARX - How did you get involved with Rat Scabies & The Damned?
Rat came to see us at a very early rehearsal and suggested we employ his protégé, Dee Generate, so we did. We stayed close to The Damned and played a lot of gigs with them.
trakMARX - You once gigged at your school with The Damned. How did that go down?
Again this is in the book and on the CD excerpt. It was a great gig, if slightly unusual surroundings - and all pulled off without the Headmaster knowing anything about it.
trakMARX - Which of your fellow 1st wave groups did you admire - & why?
The Pistols, Buzzcocks, The Damned, The Clash I admired and liked because they were just so good and had style that you knew was simply cool.
trakMARX - Which of your fellow 1st wave groups did you despise - & why?
Not so many of the first wave - but I really didnt like Chelsea - mainly because you just knew Gene October wasnt for real. Claiming to have written a song called Pretty Vacant, and that it was just mere coincidence that the Pistols also had a song of that (not so run of the mill) title!! Also Right To Work, was hilarious, the last thing in the world Gene wanted was a job! Funnily enough, I heard it the other day and I decided I liked the riff.
trakMARX - How did you hook up with Dave Goodman & were you aware of what he'd been doing with the Pistols?
I couldnt fail to not know he worked with the Pistols, hed constantly remind us. He contacted us through an ad we put in Melody Maker looking for a bassist. He wasnt applying he just saw punk in the ad and decided he might be able to hoodwink a few kids into signing to a label he told us he was starting with Johnny Rotten. Which turned out to be untrue, by which time it was too late.
trakMARX - 1977 was the year it all happened for Eater. What was it like at the eye of the hurricane?
A blur of fun and activity like wed never dreamed of happening to us.
trakMARX - Can "The Eater Chronicles" safely be regarded as the definitive anthology of Eater?
There are a few things missing, like original b-sides and a few long lost, pre-album demos - and some stuff that Brian (gtr) & I did with the drummer before Dee Joined. Theres some old video footage too. Id love to know if our gig in Manchester with Buzzcocks was recorded by anyone.
trakMARX - What other releases would you advise interested parties to check out?
Any Andy Blade solo stuff of course! Quite hard to find now - but theres a new album next year. Theres actually a site called - theturkeyzone.com - or something like that - that sells records by people who only have 5 fans (this aint a plug as Im pretty sure all 5 people have bought my stuff by now).
trakMARX - "The Album" still commands a very respectable price on the collectors market. What other Eater rarities are there to track down?
The Yo Yos coloured vinyl EP I guess. I dunno really, not into that kind of thing. I believe theres the original pigs head that was chopped on Don Letts movie on sale in Portobello Rd Market somewhere - smells a bit, mind.
trakMARX - "The Eater Chronicles" features a brilliant spoken word extract from the forthcoming book: "The Andy Blade Chronicles". When can we expect to the book to hit the shelves & are there any plans to record further (the entire story?) extracts in the spoken word format?
It would take forever and about 50 CDs to put the entire book in that format! Maybe therell be a bit more on the solo album next year.
The book is out in the Spring. Orders & info; firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to be doing one or two spoken word/acoustic dates around then too.
trakMARX - You told a US journo you'd never reform - & then promptly did - to play 'Holidays In The Sun'. You never got paid. What went down?
We got ripped off by the promoter, Darren Russell. He paid us half the fee up front and gave us a cheque that bounced for the remainder. How are you Darren?
trakMARX - Allegedly Roger Bullen ended up a social worker. How ironic is that & what are the rest of Eater up to these days?
Brian is a decorator but he only ever uses pink. Hes currently decorating Elton Johns bathroom. Ian, I have no idea - last I heard he was attempting a similar stunt to David Blane's 'above the below' - but his was called 'below the above' and involved him being lowered into the Thames in a glass box. As far as I know he's beaten Blane's record but I doubt if he's still alive. Phil Rowland does something in films and lives in LA.
trakMARX - Punk, rock n roll 2000-2003 has allegedly been one of the hottest periods for gtrs since the British heyday of 1977. What do you make of today's contemporary gtr abusers?
Its not quite as exciting as 1977 is it? But I like the fact that loud guitars are cool again. I,m not really mad on any of the bands though.
Not that theyre guitar abusers, apart from when they, no doubt, use them for sex play, but an interesting fact for you: Busted come from Finchley and apart from Eater, are the only band of 16 year olds ever to do so. Charlie, the gay looking one (thatll cause a bit of confusion), has an Eater tattoo up the inside of his left thigh, apparently.
trakMARX - To wrap it all up - in retrospect - who were the poseurs & who actually mean it - maaaaaaaaaan?
We meant it, even if no one knew what we meant. Most of the first wave of bands were cool. Most of the bands who formed post 1977 werent. You can add Sham 69 to the latter list even though, technically, they were first wave, (very late first wave!).
I know it sounds childish - but its true!!!
Jean Encoule tMx12 11/03