The Eat – CD

The Eat – It’s not The Eat it’s the Humidity – 2xCD
Alternative Tentacles Records

Unless you lived in South Florida and were privy to punk rock back between 1979-1985 you probably never heard of The Eat. They put out a pair of singles back then that only got about as far as their state and perhaps found their way into the hands of the most obscure seeking die-hard record collectors. It wasn’t until some of their material started appearing on those Killed By Death bootleg compilations that the band got any kind of exposure outside their state, and that was well over a decade after they called it quits. Once these “collector scum” heard the music this little band made, they all started paying top dollar for copies of Eat vinyl, which I’m sure the band enjoyed unloading the stacks of unsold records they had been sitting on for so long.

It wasn’t just the obscurity and rarity that attracted this new fan-base, it was also the fact that The Eat wrote and recorded some really excellent punk tunes that stand up easily to most anything coming out of the more well known punk scenes at the time. The Eat’s most popular and best song, “Communist Radio” easily is the “We Got the Neutron Bomb” of the South East and is just as catchy and vital of a song. Other songs like “”She’s Pissed Off” can rival the catchiness of any punk rock of the time, and the humor of The Meatmen (“She’s pissed off cuz my brother wouldn’t fuck her” goes the chorus”).The music overall was raw, loud, and catchy.

For years the only way to hear the music of The Eat was to pay through the ass to get original copies of the singles, or be lucky enough to score an official reissue of one of them in the short time it was available. Hell, The Eat’s records sell for so much on ebay these days that I’ve been relegated to only having the reissues or bootlegs and haven’t been able to afford to acquire the originals for The Punk Vault as of this writing. I also never got to hear all their recorded works either since it has all been inaccessible for so long.

In these fine days of old punk reissues, The Eat has finally been graced with deluxe reissue treatment. This double CD collects the band’s entire recorded output and then some. Disc one contains everything they ever laid down to tape, all the singles and the posthumous Hialeah EP for a total of 30 tracks. Their sound was pretty consistent in the six years they were together though some of the later tracks were definitely leaning more towards the rock side than the punk side, something that became a conflict within the band according to the liner notes. This first disc is also what you’ll find on the 2xLP version. This CD version comes with a bonus second disc that features 29 tracks recorded live throughout the course of their career, including a reunion in 1996. It is a lot to sit through all at once and most of it is basically decent quality bootleg audience recordings, but it does make for a nice addition and you will get a glimpse of what an Eat show was like since it’s likely most of the people who would be interested in this reissue never heard of The Eat back when they were together, let alone got a chance to see them play live (myself included). I seriously doubt that I’ll play the live disc again anytime soon, but the first disc will be getting repeated play for years to come.

There’s a good reason why original Eat vinyl commands such a premium these days, it is because the band made some really great music and I’m ecstatic that more people will now be able to find out what a good band they missed out on for a regular price.