Today I’m listening to the debut album from the Candy Snatchers, which came out in what, 1996? 20 years ago, really ? Man does time sure time fly. Use time and words carefully kids – as neither can be retrieved. Enough philosophising. I did a review of this album when it was originally released, and that review appeared in Vicious Kitten Fanzine issue 5 from 1997. In the mid to late 90s I was listening to, and buying a lot of punk LPs from many US bands including Candy Snatchers, Electric Frankenstein, ADZ, LES Stiches and the B-Movie Rats to name but a few. I was a regular reader of Flipside and Maximum Rock n Roll too. Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, the band took their name from the 1973 exploitation film of the same name, and quickly developed a reputation for playing fast, wild punk – yet still not forsaking the melody. They also had a reputation as a bunch of bleeders, GG Allin style, and would regularly have blood streaming down their faces. Every time these guys played live it was a literal blood n’ guts affair, as they sliced and diced themselves up on stage, encompassing their all or nothing approach to the music – literally bleeding for rock n roll. Instruments and drums would also be trashed ala The Who. In 1996/97 these cats were capital D for dangerous. The sound is a mutated cross between the Misfits with the snottiness of the Dead Boys, yet I can also hear traces of the Humpers and the Lazy Cowgirls. The result is one very nasty record loaded with pure punk aggression. Along with the New Bomb Turks and Electric Frankenstein, the Candy Snatchers back then were on everyone’s lips as the next big punk thing, and rightly so. The 16 tracks on this album are well structured punk tunes, chock full of loud buzzsaw guitars and blistering solos, all enhanced by a thick and clean production. Larry May has a strong set of pipes, well suited to punk. My picks off the album are the hi-energied ‘She’s Gettin’ Loose’, ‘Well I…’, the boozers anthem that is ‘Sauced Again’ and the onslaught of ‘Sympathy Trip’, yet the album as a whole is a standout, each number gelling into the next. The Dolls ‘It’s Too Late’ is even given the muscled up treatment. ‘Why I Drink’ is simply a kick-ass tuneful punk tune. The way I like it. Mr Rockbrat and I were fortunate to have witnessed these guys live on Halloween, 1996 in Phoenix, AZ and they were – as expected, killer live, making every other band on the bill completely forgettable. The term hi-energy is often overused, but these guys had it in spades. 8.5 out of 10.
On a sidenote, when my old label Vicious Kittten Records released a compilation album in 2000, Candy Snatchers were shortlisted for inclusion. I was in contact with the band, but ended up opting for the B –Movie Rats inclusion instead. This album originally came out on Safehouse Records, with latter records coming out on Go Kart and Fandango. I used to own a bunch of other Candy Snatchers record that regrettably, I have since sold. These included the ‘Live On A Five’ 5″ vinyl single, the ‘Pissed Off, Ripped Off, Screwed’ CD which came out in 1997 and also the ‘Human Zoo’ LP from 1999. They also did a ripping version of Teenage Head’s ‘Picture My Face’ which came out as a split single in 1998 with Adam West on Fandango Records.
Long term Candy Snatchers guitar player Matthew Odietus passed away on June 28, 2008 at only 40 years of age, and I write this article in honour of his memory, and his contribution to punk rock n roll in the 90s.
This photo of Matthew was taken in New Orleans 28 October 2001. (c) Gary Loverde.