The Flesh Eaters Are Back—and Still Spellbinding

Chris Desjardins enlists old friends from X, the Blasters, and Los Lobos.

Album Review

The Flesh Eaters
I Used to Be Pretty
Yep Roc

Howling and snarling with crazed panache, Los Angeles’ Chris Desjardins, a.k.a. Chris D, is a wild-eyed, drunk-on-words, rock-and-roll poet in the tradition of Patti Smith and Jim Morrison. He’s been practicing his own rowdy brand of punk shamanism since the late ’70s, as leader of either The Flesh Eaters or The Divine Horsemen. “I Used to Be Pretty” reunites Chris D with his Flesh Eaters collaborators from the early ’80s—Dave Alvin (guitar) and Bill Bateman (drums) of The Blasters, John Doe (bass) and DJ Bonebrake (percussion/marimba) from X, and Steve Berlin (sax) of Los Lobos—for a jagged, grimy set that’s abrasive and oddly elegant at once. Mixing new originals, new versions of old originals, and covers of The Sonics and Gun Club, not to mention a Fleetwood Mac tune from that band’s blues era (“The Green Manalishi”), Chris D may seem pretentious at first, but give the dude half a chance and he’ll cast a spell on you.