by Chris Terry
Flesh Eating Creeps were a Richmond, Virginia hardcore punk band from 1995 to 2000. Over that time, they had 6 bassists, released a few EPs, and played a lot of shows in Virginia and its neighboring states.
New in Richmond from Alexandria, VA, guitarist Brendan Trache begins playing with drummer Joey Fitchett after meeting through a “musicians wanted” ad at Soundhole Records. The band goes through numerous lineup changes early on, and plays one show under the name Protoculture at Henry Street Gallery with a lineup that includes future Flesh Eating Creeps bassist Nat Wachman.
Jonathan Holloway of Monacan High School joins on bass. After meeting Brendan during a tour of arts magnet school Open High, Chris Terry, new in town from Boston, MA, joins the band as vocalist.
On September 30, 1995, Flesh Eating Creeps play their first show, at the James River High School Battle of the Bands. The lineup was Joey Fitchett on drums, Jonathan Holloway on bass, Brendan Trache on guitar, Chris Terry on vocals. All members were in 11th or 12th grade. Earlier that day, Brendan and Chris had been extras in the Gwar video, “Meat Sandwich.” At the show, Brendan still had stage soot and dirt on his face from the video shoot.
Over the holidays, Jonathan Holloway’s family moves to Indiana, and he is replaced on bass by Matt Neagle of the pop-punk band Phelics. The band begins practicing on the Neagle property in rural Amelia, VA, following directions from Richmond that include the phrase “turn left at the Coke machine.”
After playing a couple more battles of the bands, Flesh Eating Creeps play their first all ages club show in January. The show is at Twisters (929 W. Grace St., a long-running Richmond venue that has had multiple names, and, as of the time of this release, is called Strange Matter), with DC/NoVa band The Neurotiks, old friends of Brendan’s.
Over high school spring break, the band records its first demo, “Wear Green On Thursdays,” on Chris’s father Henry’s Tascam four-track cassette recorder.
Flesh Eating Creeps continue to play shows at Richmond all ages venues like Twisters, St. Edward’s Church (Huguenot Rd.) and the Biograph Theater (814 W. Grace St.).
The band’s sound grows less melodic, and more influenced by early ‘80s DC hardcore, and they record a second demo, also on the four-track.
Having been booted from Brendan’s parents’ West Ave. basement because of noise complaints, Flesh Eating Creeps begin practicing above a record store just east of Lombardy on W. Broad St. The space is shared with a garage rock band called The Halfways, and Brendan’s other bands, Rukus and an early incarnation of Tri-State Killing Spree.
In December, the band borrows Joey’s mother’s minivan to play their first out-of-town show, at a gutted tire shop turned show space called Character One in Portsmouth, VA. The headliner is Fuckface, from the Probe Records scene in the Bay Area. The promoter is Dave Allison of Façade Burned Black and Amendment Records. He offers to release a Flesh Eating Creeps record.
With the help of Chris’s father, Flesh Eating Creeps record four songs for Amendment Records, on the four-track, in the practice space.
The band’s second out-of-town show is in January at the 180 Club in Hagerstown, MD.
As the band begins listening to more heavy metal, as well as more technical punk like Born Against, Heroin, and All, their sound grows more complicated. That spring, they record another four-track demo, featuring the song “Bullshit Vein,” and cover art inspired by the heavy metal horror movie Black Roses.
In April, the band plays an all ages matinee with The Infertil at the Grog and Tankard bar in Georgetown, Washington, DC. After the show, Chris, who had an undiagnosed seizure disorder, has a grand mal seizure on Infertil drummer Will Cole’s neighbor’s lawn.
Chris and Brendan graduate from Open High School. Matt Neagle leaves Flesh Eating Creeps, and the band temporarily becomes a three-piece, with Brendan playing in stereo through a guitar amp and a bass amp that is hooked up to an octave pedal.
The band borrows Joey’s mother’s minivan for their first weekend tour, playing Spartanburg, SC with The Style Kings, The Milestone in Charlotte, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC. Charlotte becomes a favorite stop for the band. On this tour, a dog pees on Brendan’s pillow while he’s asleep, Joey takes the band to a Myrtle Beach hotel and shows his bandmates where he carved “GWAR” on the sauna wall when he was twelve, then pees on the sauna rocks. On the drive home, at dawn on the outskirts of Richmond, the band runs over a dog on the interstate.
Later in the summer, the band plays a skate park in Virginia Beach with Spazz and His Hero Is Gone.
Chris and Brendan begin attending Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
Brendan rents the bottom floor of 3123 Park Ave. with Joey and a few friends, including Tony Bitch from The Neurotiks and Joey’s childhood best friend Kenneth Harris. Flesh Eating Creeps begin practicing in the dining room.
The four songs from that spring are released by Amendment Records, on a three-way split 7” with The Infertil from Alexandria, VA and They Live from Buffalo, NY.
Brendan is kicked out of Tri-State Killing Spree for breaking a window during a live set at a house show in Oregon Hill.
Nat Wachman briefly joins the band on bass. When he quits, the band recruits avid skateboarder and VCU art school student Jon Altfeld, formerly of DC band Unabomer.
Chris and Brendan buy a 1977 Dodge van for $750 from a guy in a trailer park on Route 301, who describes screwing his girlfriend in the shag carpeted back of the van.
In March, Chris moves into the long-running 805 W. Cary St. punkhouse.
Over college spring break, Flesh Eating Creeps do a weekend of shows in Tennessee and Roanoke, Virginia, playing with crust band Kakistocracy.
The band records their self-titled 7” with Michael Hearst at Urban Geek Studios on Southside Richmond.
Altfeld leaves the band after breaking his leg, losing his job, and moving back to Northern Virginia.
Nat Wachman fills in on bass. The self-titled 7” is self-released, with Gullible Zine #14 included.
The band does a weekend tour to New York to play Long Island and ABC No Rio, and Steve Roche records them at WNYU. The Dodge breaks down in Long Island, stranding the band for almost a week. They stay on Long Island, where they meet the band The Insurgent, then off Myrtle Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn with Chris and Brendan’s future roommate Sera Bilezekian. Most days in New York are spent sitting around Tompkins Square Park, watching crusty punks fight over drugs.
Brendan moves in 805 W. Cary St. and Flesh Eating Creeps begin sharing the basement practice space with Lewistown, The Exploder, Four Hundred Years, and Wheelbite. Nat quits. Former Neurotiks drummer Steve Ritt, who has also moved into 805 W. Cary St., joins on bass.
A lot of bands play shows in the 805 basement, including Hickey, Milemarker, Zegota, Operation: Cliff Clavin, Kill Your Idols, and The Last Crime. The band becomes entrenched in the thriving DIY show scene around VCU, playing living rooms, basements and warehouses in The Fan, Oregon Hill and Jackson Ward.
Joey and Tony move deeper into Oregon Hill, on the 300 block of S. Laurel St. At a show in the living room, Steve jumps through a divider with his bass, exposing Joey’s roommate Garth Broox, who is passed out on his bed. Garth gives the metal sign.
Brendan releases the Richmond punk comp LP “The Aggression of Progression.” The band’s songs were recorded in a home studio in Chesterfield, VA along with tracks for a 7” comp with Lewistown, Our Time, and Tri-State Killing Spree.
Joey begins missing practice a lot. One day, Steve Ritt sits in on drums. His playing meshes well with the faster, more technical new material that Brendan is writing, and Joey leaves Flesh Eating Creeps. Steve is replaced on bass by VCU freshman from Virginia Beach, Ryan Joy, who heard Brendan talking at a party about needing a bassist.
The Dodge van dies and the band buys a minivan from a guy off Staples Mill Rd., who has them test-drive it on a beer run for him.
The 805 W. Cary house is evicted in June, after the landlord erects a fence directly behind the house, and someone spraypaints “SLUMLORD” on it in huge letters. There is a giant house-trashing party, played by Flesh Eating Creeps, Kojak, and PCP Roadblock.
The band embarks on their longest tour, playing fourteen shows up and down the east coast and as far west as Indiana over the month of July. Highlights of the tour include playing the Legion of Doom house in Columbus, OH; swimming in a quarry in Bloomington, IN; being attacked with beer bottles during a night walk in Asheville, NC; playing the Pink House in Asheville with Astrid Oto and White Collar Crime; recording an 11-song set with Steve Roche at WNYU; playing a fest in Western Massachusetts with Devola, Saetia, I Robot, Atom and His Package, and Reversal of Man, and having someone in the audience dub bearded Steve “Jesus Crust.”
Upon returning to Richmond, Chris and Steve move into 1620 Floyd Ave., Ryan moves into 1231 W. Cary St. and has a lot of shows in his garage, and Brendan moves into 1007 Park Ave. and the band practices in his basement.
1007 Park, AKA The Parkhouse, becomes the band’s home base. Basement shows are hosted for Strike Anywhere, Jerome’s Dream, Sassafras Jones & Bucko Biggs, Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children McNuggets, Pg. 99, Majority Rule, Devola, and I Robot. There are regular vegan potlucks, and multiple nights spent on the porch yelling at the alterna-frat across the street.
Ryan leaves Flesh Eating Creeps and forms Municipal Waste with Brendan on drums. Adam Juresko, an old roommate from 805 W. Cary, comes back to Richmond after a few months in the Bay Area, and joins the band on bass.
New York label Mountain Collective expresses interest in releasing the band’s next record.
Pleased with the lineup’s chemistry and tired of the revolving door policy on members, Brendan says that if anyone leaves the band, it’s over. He begins writing what would become the band’s final eight songs, rehearsing in the basement of 1620 Floyd after noise complaints shut down practice at The Parkhouse.
Worn out from the tour, the minivan dies and Chris sells it for scrap.
Steve is accepted to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC and announces that he will be quitting Flesh Eating Creeps before summer.
Over spring break, the band does a weeklong final tour of the south and midwest with Richmond/NoVa band Churl, featuring Jonny Z on drums. The tour is called “Sweet Week.” The bands travel in Churl singer/guitarist Johnny Fink’s blue 1990 Oldsmobile and Steve Ritt’s grandmother’s old yellow pickup truck that has the word “Mine” painted on it in swirly blue letters. The musical equipment is in the back of Steve’s truck and needs to be unloaded every night, or parked in a garage. Half of Flesh Eating Creeps have to ride in the perpendicular-facing chairs behind the seats in Steve’s truck. Steve takes a vow of silence for the week, which leads to awkward encounters with hitchhikers and other bands, along with some miscommunications while navigating.
Highlights include a rowdy night in Chattanooga, TN with Face Down In Shit, where host Jeremy Johnson entertains the bands by alternately passing out on a bag of dumpstered bagels and shooting bottle rockets out of his mouth; playing with Crucible at the Mad Lab in Columbus, OH; playing Café Metropolis in Wilkes-Barre, PA with All Scars and Radio Four; playing Rhino’s in Bloomington, IN; and playing with Marion at a Charlotte, NC house show.
The band records its final eight songs with Duncan Adams and Jay Coleman at Duncan’s parents’ house near Salisbury Lake in Chesterfield, VA.
Flesh Eating Creeps play their last show at The Parkhouse on Adam Juresko’s birthday, May 19, 2000, with Waifle, Churl, Sassafras Jones & Bucko Biggs, and Lewistown.