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Originally formed in Finchley, North London in 1976 by Anglo-Egyptian singer and guitarist Andy Blade, just in time for the punk rock explosion (much to the chagrin of Blade’s strict Muslim headmaster father), Eater were the youngest band on the scene with an average age of fifteen. Their first gig had Buzzcocks as the opening act, while several shows at the legendary Roxy Club in 1977 saw them supported by the likes of The Damned, Johnny Thunders and Generation X. They were also lauded by the likes of Lou Reed and Marc Bolan, while Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy even offered the band a song he had written.
Their 1977 singles ‘Outside View’, ’Thinking Of The USA’ and ‘Lock It Up’ are often cited as early punk classics, while among the sixteen songs included on ‘The Album’ in November that year (exactly a month before Abba nabbed the title) were covers of songs by David Bowie, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, plus their version of Alice Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’ altered to ’Fifteen’.
Splitting in early 1979, the group reappeared sporadically from the mid-1990s with line-ups put together by Blade to play dates with the likes of Fugazi, Dinosaur Jr. and, notably, Buzzcocks for a 30th Anniversary celebration of their live debut.
’The Album’ was remixed and remastered for released on the US label Cleopatra in 2022 with the title ‘Ant’, gaining Eater a legion of younger fans on both sides of the pond. The year also saw Blade combine forces with London-based glam/art-rockers Jo Jo & The Teeth to launch a fresh incarnation of the band, playing sold out shows around the UK, writing new songs and re-recording old favourites. “We got together by chance when I met some musicians at a gig,” he explains. “We chatted about music and got on. It turned out that they were already in a group, who are great and very different to Eater, but somehow the schizophrenic existence of two bands at once works. It might be the same people, but they are entirely different entities.”
Eater’s new single, ‘Ann’, was originally on ‘The Album’, but in unfinished form and entitled ‘Anne’. It has been newly re-recorded for this release. Blade points out that “it should never have been released and was wasted on that record, plus I had always intended it without the ‘e’. Actually. it was going to be called ‘Ant’, until I was reminded that it isn’t a girl’s name.” As for its flip, ‘Point Of View’, he adds that “we recorded a demo back in 1978 but split up before it was recorded properly, so now it is getting the airing it deserves.”
Aiming to please life-long followers of the group as well as attract new fans, Blade nevertheless concludes by venting spleen at “a small amount of haters amongst the punk purists, who would prefer corpses of dead ex-members rather than something worth going to see, but they are outnumbered by converts, so whatever. Eater is very much a band, not just me and whoever. With any other musicians, possibly it might have felt like that – but only I can make that call.”