Yesterday, Handstand Records released the comprehensive 58-song discography of the Flesh Eating Creeps, on the 20th anniversary of their first show. I am equally stoked and honored to have had the opportunity to collaborate with my long-time buddies Chris Terry and Brendan Trache to document this piece of RVA hardcore history. It’s been a whirlwind experience, and now that I’ve had a chance to come up for air, I want to express just how much this release means to me, both musically and personally. I was fortunate enough to befriend the members of the Flesh Eating Creeps when I was in high school, and each of them had a significant impact my life and my relationship with DIY punk.
Brendan Trache and I met in the 9th grade before he moved to Richmond. Even at that age, his guitar prowess astounded me. He introduced me to more technical punk bands like Bl’ast, and he taught me how to play the solo to Danzig’s “Mother”. I was bummed when he relocated to Richmond, but that proved a blessing in disguise when he invited my punk band The Infertil to come down to RVA to play shows. As the Creeps’ sound progressed over the years, I was constantly dumbfounded by the guitar riffs Brendan was writing. He manically manhandled his guitar, treating it more like a physical percussion instrument than just a means to a melody. In listening to this discography hundreds of times, I can honestly say I’m still trying to discern just what the hell is happening on his fretboard.
I met Chris Terry at a Flesh Eating Creeps/Infertil show at The Biograph, and was immediately impressed with his work ethic and resourcefulness. He played in a band, he booked shows, he wrote a zine, he even had his own P.O. Box. Over the years we corresponded through the mail, traded demo tapes and zines, played shows together, and even did a split 7-inch record. Apart from being a DIY maven and a good friend, Chris was a formidable frontman: intelligent, energetic, unafraid to perform naked. His writing always stood out to me, whether it took the form of punk band lyrics or personal zine confessions. All the bands he sang for were amazing, and it’s no surprise that he’s now a published author, but the Flesh Eating Creeps always held a special place in my heart.
Steve Ritt was another old buddy from high school. Our bands played together frequently; we even had a one-off cover band, created with the sole purpose of playing a lucrative high school graduation party. At said party, a tuxedo-clad Steve jumped into the pool after our rendition of Metallica’s “Fade To Black.” I also remember accidentally running over his foot with my car, after he leaped out while we were still moving. Steve had a charming combination of talent and crazy, and was a perfect complement to Brendan’s erratic songwriting style. When I heard he had joined the Flesh Eating Creeps, it made perfect sense.
The band’s final opus (the 8-song studio session and 11-song radio set) was originally slated for release by the Mountain Collective for Independent Artists, a label I always had the utmost respect for, and whose back catalog I inherited when Mountain was finally laid to rest. I was sad when the band broke up, but pissed that their last recorded output was going to be shelved. It’s oddly fitting that I’m now able to share this material with the world. We first discussed this project nearly a decade ago, and this is the culmination of years worth of back-and-forth emails, photo/flyer scanning, tour chronicling, tape digitizing, lyric transcribing, etc.
The Book About The Movie, the end product of intensive documentation and collaboration, is now available in both digital and cassette formats. It’s been an undertaking of epic proportions, and I’m extremely pleased with the outcome. In promoting this release, I’ve reconnected with a number of old Richmond friends, and relived a lot of fond memories. I won’t lie… it’s going to feel weird to be NOT working on this release, as it has been a huge part of my life for some time. But above all, it has rejuvenated my enthusiasm for my record label, and has served as a reminder of why I was attracted to DIY punk in the first place.