The Candy Snatchers News
Obituary for matt odietus from blabbermouth
THE CANDY SNATCHERS Guitarist MATTHEW ODIETUS Found Dead - June 30, 2008
Guitarist Matthew Odietus of the legendary punk band THE CANDY SNATCHERS died on June 28 in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
An official cause of death has not yet been released.
Taking their name from an obscure, bizarre, and trashy 70's horror flick late one night after drinking heavily, THE CANDY SNATCHERS formed in 1992. According to a November 2006 write-up on
ToeStubber.com, "the band's tried-and-true array of destructive gimmicks kept the bookers guessing.
Depending on mood, singer Larry May or axer Matt Odietus would sometimes cut their own scalp, '70s pro-wrestler style - up by the hairline or wherever the blood would flow most effusively. Once, at CBGB, Matt bled out so much he almost fainted, and eventually had to be carted off to the ER with a t-shirt turban wrapped around his noggin. Larry would smash glass bottles at random. Willy used lighter fluid to set his bass on fire, with the aid of excited audience members who'd often get outta hand with the flammables and torch Willy himself. Drums were routinely collided with and obliterated."
In November 2006, Matt spent 17 days in jail. When asked how long he had been out a short time after he was released, he said, "four scores and seven eight balls ago they let me out," and "went on to tell of the good times he had, friends he had made, the free food, and needed rest he got," according to the band's MySpace page.
A eulogy of sorts for matt
July 1, 2008
Fucked up news. I have been bummin' over this all day. This dude was a true rock n roller, the real thing for sure. Some of the best shows I ever saw were on their infamous 1996 tour, 4 shows with The Humpers. The sets were always short and ferocious. Lead vocalist Larry May had a broken leg and would start the set off on a stool but would inevitably be hopping all over the stage on one leg. Sometimes Matt would end the set covered in his own blood, wounds inflicted by the glass from a broken beer bottle. Traveled all the way to San Diego for 28 minutes of the Candy Snatchers and 35 minutes of the Humpers, then hung out all night waiting for the trains to start running again and it was so totally worth it. Saw them 2 more times after that and had been listening to them a lot lately hoping they would come to L.A. again sometime.
Beyond the Punk Rock Persona
Beyond the Punk Rock Persona
Candy Snatchers guitarist was talented, fun, even introspective
By Leona Baker
Portfolio Magazine #146 circa July 2008
My friend and former band mate prepped me for my first Candy Snatchers show. There would probably be bloody self-mutilation involving broken beer bottles, he said. More than likely there would be fire. Possibly nudity. And without a doubt, there would be a lot of alcohol-induced behavior.
There was all of that. But there was also rock-n-roll at its ugly, nasty, middle-finger-in-your-face best – and much of it came screaming out of a Marshall stack courtesy of Snatchers guitarist Matthew Odietus, who died at the age of 40 at his home in Virginia Beach on June 28.
Formed in 1992, local punk rock icons The Candy Snatchers gained notoriety for their outrageous, often dangerous live shows, which earned them a small army of underground fans and even got them banned at one point from the legendary CBGB’s in New York.
Odietus was a founding member of the band and , along with singer Larry May, one of two members who remained constant through a series of lineup changes. The Candy Snatchers released a string of recordings including their self-titled full-length in 1996, Human Zoo in 1998, and Color Me Blood Red in 2000. They had recently recorded tracks for a new CD (tentatively titled Down at Delilah’s), and they had a gig scheduled for July 19 at Steppin’ Out in Virginia Beach.
On stage, Odietus was the beer-spitting, cocky badass in spread-eagle punk rock stance-low-slung guitar, thrift store western shirt and skinny black jeans with a long sweaty mop of black curls flying. But behind the antics, there was raw talent. He ripped out Chuck Berry-esque riffs over a rude wall of frenetic noise, lending old-school cred to the Snatchers' raw punk sound.
Odietus' penchant for the hard-partying lifestyle was no secret. Though no official cause of death had been released as of press time, rumors about a possible overdose swirled on the internet and in the local music community last week. The entire band's reputation for debauchery, in fact, was a big part of their act.
"I was devastated when I first heard [the news] but I wasn't totally surprised," Odietus' longtime friend and producer of all of the Candy Snatchers' major recordings, Dean Rispler, told me following Odietus' funeral last Wednesday. "It was almost like a joke, almost sort of betting on who was going to die first in that band from some sort of drug overdose or some sort of drunken related accident, because those guys are real hardcore rock-n-roll guys.
"People would say, "oh, those guys in the Candy Snatchers, they're drug addicts.' And I would say, they're not drug addicts they just love drugs. They just love them. Those guys love to have fun and that was fun for them.''
But the party lifestyle wasn't a 24-7 thing, says Rispler, who lives in New York, where the band often recorded and played gigs.
"[Matthew] was a really great person. I think a lot of people, they go to see the band and see him in this crazy element and they think there's only one side to him, but he was very fun to hang out with. It wasn't all crazy all the time. There were definitely parts to him that were introspective and he was a lot smarter than a lot of people believed."
The entire band - including Odietus - was all business in the recording studio, says Rispler. As a guitar player, Odietus carved out a niche.
"Everything that he played was basically simple - like simple, three-or four-chord rockn-roll with blues-based solos or country-based solos. It wasn't hard to play but he could plug into any guitar, any amp and it always sounded like him. There are very few people that you could say that about. He had his own distinctive sound that you couldn't duplicate.''
Not long ago, Rispler says, Odietus came to visit him in New York. He had brought with him a collection of Matchbox cars he had as a kid and some childhood photos of himself for Rispler to keep, a gesture Rispler found odd.
"To myself I said, this is weird, this is like someone who is going to end their life soon…I don't mean to infer that there was any premeditated action in that, I don't think there was, but it was just a little bizarre."
Bizarre and somewhat out of character.
"And this was from a guy who had nothing," he says. "When he was playing in the band, he didn't have a guitar. He didn't even own an amp. Everything was borrowed. Today, when he was in the coffin today, in the casket, he was wearing my shirt and holding [a borrowed guitar]. It was insane, we show up and he's buried with this classic Matthew Odietus ... grin on his face. Everyone who knows him looked at that and was like, 'That's perfect.'"
Odietus is survived by his mother. His father and sister are deceased.
The Snatchers' final recording with Odietus does not have an official release date but fans can count on having it available at some point says Rispler.
For a taste of classic Snatchers insanity, search “Candy Snatchers ‘Why I Drink’” on YouTube.
Interpunk Candy Snatchers Review
The Candy Snatchers are an experience. It’s a drunken rock n’roll free for all. They are a mix of 60’s garage, the Detroit sound and late 70’s punk with the energy and intensity of any hardcore band. They’ve been compared to the Weirdos, NY Dolls, Iggy and Stooges, and the Dwarves. They’re no retro-trip or late 70’s punk wanna be band. Live it’s a nihilistic free-for-all. Taking their name from an obscure, bizarre, and trashy 70’s horror flick late one night after drinking heavily in 1992, the Candy Snatchers formed and haven’t stopped drinking or rockin’ since. 2005 finds them going into the studio for a new record that should be out later this year.
The Rocket Candy Snatchers – Candy Snatchers album review by Dan Johnson
Two-minute songs. Three chords. Booze. Chicks. Stooges. Dead Boys. Sound cliché? It is and I love it. The Candy Snatchers dip from the same well as New Bomb Turks, The Didjits, and The Putters. That well has yet to go dry, thank the good Lord. I can’t get enough of this stupid stuff.
These guys play that snotty, swaggering brand of punk rock that has been done many time before, but in this execution sounds as fresh as the day it was born, squawking and screaming. The breakneck, chopping guitar work, the omnipresent ride cymbal, the barking vocals that are barely tuneful enough and unapologetically cocky keep me coming back time and time again Just don’t come around here looking for innovation or superb musicianship. The Candy Snatchers will give a black eye and quote you the lyrics of the tune “Why I Drink” for an explanation: “I gotta get my kicks somehow/so get outta my way/now you know that’s why I drink/I don’t care what people think.” Beautiful.
Smug Magazine The Candy Snatchers – The Candy Snatchers album review by John Fortunato
Virginia’s Candy Snatchers would be committed to a halfway house if they didn’t make the most unpretentious three chord punk you’re likely to love/hate. Reminiscent of the freewheelin’ DIY ethic the Ramones, Sex Pistols and the Germs, brought to this aesthetically decadent, bohemian anti-style in the late ‘70s, this venomous, quartet defines, the words “piss” and “vinegar.” Their live shows are incredibly violent barrages of audience bating, participation, and confrontation, led by Larry May’s ludicrous, corrupt, incessantly hysterical shouts, guitarist Matthew Odietus’ indefatigable guitar attack (not far removed from X or the Dead Kennedys sound), bassist Willy Johns’ lurking, sinister antics, and drummer Barry Johnson’s unrelenting banging and slamming.
On record the band never matches the humility, sweat and disturbing violence the riotous stage show offers. But that’s only because you usually can’t get physically involved – moshing, spitting and wasting liquor – while listening in a car or living room. (Recently at CBGB;s, they did what every club owner dreads: get drunk, stir trouble, ignore time constraints, and share spit and blood with the already pumped up, intolerable audience. They didn’t light Johns on fire at this venue, probably because he was so lubricated he puked out whiskey given him by some fans. But this never deterred his playing, completing the punk ethos with grandiose conviction.)
Snotty two minute rubbish like the rip-snortin’ “She’s Getting’ Loose,” the finger-pointing “Fed Up With You,” and the self-indicting “Sauced Again,” and, “Why I Drink” slag conservative soft-offs (as opposed to hard-ons – something dead-man-walking Bob Dole, phlegm-a-nazi Rush Limbaugh, and wife dumper Newt Gingrich may have trouble achieving) with one gigantic FUCK YOU. If these disdainful sons of bitches come to your neighborhood and you miss ‘em you’re either a coward, a pacifist, or someone who listens to your parents useless drivel too often.
Chatterbox Isse #2 Spring 1995 Candy Snatchers/Gimcrack – split 7” EP
Three new songs from Virginia Beach, VA’s The Candy Snatchers. “Lil’ Lolita,” “Deadbeat” and “Loner” prickle with energy, rock with Raw Power, and vocalist Larry “Mud” May really sings it from the gut. Like we said last issue – next time they play around your town, go experience them live, but in the meantime – buy any of their singles, crank the stereo, and you’re almost there! Florida’s Gimcrack offer up two songs, first is a punk rock ode to “Diane,” and the next is a punchy tune about the apathy of “Excuses.” This is the first time we’d heard them, and it’s a good effort.
Punk Planet #3 September Candy Snatchers/Gimcrack – split 7” EP
This is straight forward three-chord punk rock. Pretty ’77 with sort of a garage feel to it. GimCrack leans much more towards ’77, and The Candy Snatchers lean much more towards the garage side. Both bands are really good, and go great together. Cool team up! (WD)
New Brand #7 September ‘94 Candy Snatchers/Gimcrack – split 7” EP
Three rockin’ Candysnatcher tunes on the AA side of this 7” make you want more. “Deadbeat” is possibly my favorite of their songs. Imagine The Avengers with male vocals… sounds good doesn’t it? Gimcrack’s side is no less energetic. Very reminiscent of Battalion of Saints! Fast, aggressive music with an edge. Two thumbs up!!
Maximum Rocknroll Oct 1994 #137 Candy Snatchers/Gimcrack – split 7” EP
The Candy Snatchers play an odd combination of a sort of quirky (early) Oingo Boingo type sound combined with a raw Dead Boys influence. Gimcrack pay straightforward Blitz-like punk, complete with the fuzzy guitars and the strained vocals. KK
Maximumrocknroll April 1994 #131 Candy Snatchers – “Pinto Pony” EP – TY
Sounds totally like if Richard Hell were fronting raging punk hardcore band. Kinda in the Jeff Dahl vein of music, but the singer’s quirky voice makes it stand out a bit from that norm. Pretty decent.
Gearhead Vol 1 No 2 June, 1988 The Candy Snatchers – Pinto Pony EP
I remember the first time I saw these guys, I thought Candy Snatchers was a dumb name. But alas, it’s always fun to run into a band that winks faster than an A&R man. You know, like “takin’ candy from a baby.” Wise guys. Smart asses. I could only have hoped. When they hit the stage, I was fulfilled. Finger pointin’ foot kickin’ stoopid violence previously manifested in such statesmen as Blag Jesus and Rick Sims, the kind where steel toe comes in real real close to fan face, but barely ever connects. Conflict as comedy. Real life Warner Bros. cartoons. The ragin’ riffs doing the aural for the singer’s fists visual. So same old same old – their recorded output so far hasn’t matched the live blast, but this one’s damn close. “Pinto Pony” is the face-peeling punk rock midnight ride of this year. Two more rockin’ sommumbitches on the flip. Get a box of Pampers ‘cause you’re going to shit, baby.
Flipside #89 Candy Snatchers – Pinto Pony EP – Thrashead
All three songs on this are ass kicking older style punk rock with a real thick guitar and a psychotic vocalist. Great Shit.
Speed Kills no. 6 Candy Snatchers – “Pinto Pony” 7” EP – Eric Davidson
I remember the first time I saw these guys, I thought Candy Snatchers was a dumb name. But alas, it’s always fun to run into a band that winks faster than an A&R man. You know, like “takin’ candy from a baby.” Wise guys. Smart asses. I could have only hoped. When they hit the stage, I was fulfilled. Finger pointin’, foot kickin’, stoopid violence previously manifested in such statesmen as Blag Jesus and Rick Sims – the kind where steel-toe comes real, real close to fan face, but rarely ever connects. Conflict as comedy. Real life Warner Bros. cartoons. The ragin’ riffs doing the aural for the singers’ fists visual. So same old same old… their recorded output so far hasn’t matched the live blast, but this one’s damn close. “Pinto Pony” is the face-pealing punk rock midnight ride of the year. Two more rockin’ summumbitches on the flip and, well, it would behoove you to bring along a truckload of Pampers ‘cause you’re going to shit, baby.
Bowling Doughnuts – issue 5 Candysnatchers “Pinto Pony” 7” – Kev
This record scorches from the start. It is immediately realized that Larry’s vocals get a well needed boost and stand out better now. “Pinto Pony” is one of the best punk ditties I’ve heard in a while and has you jumping around the room running in the walls from beginning to end. The flipside has “Buzzsaw” and “My Sleaze”, two more punk rock ragers. Down and dirty rock n roll the way it was meant to be played.
Flipside #89 Candy Snatchers “Pinto Pony” 7” – Martin McMartin
This came outta nowhere and blew me away. The hyped tempo and attitude of pure punk, plain and simple. Like a cranked out hungry young Ramones with that kook from the Digits singin’ lead with a psychotic warble. Title cut, along with “Buzzsaw” and “My Sleaze” are equally spazzed and sick. Virginia’s got something goin’ here, baby. Send more. If they can do this live there won’t be any reason to miss the Dwarves. 500 pressed.
New Brand September ’94 #7 The Candy Snatchers – Pinto Pony 7” EP
The title track reminds me of “Golddigger” off of one of their previous 7”s. That was an excellent tune as is this one. The song “Buzzsaw” is equally as good. Larry’s voice reminds me of Misfits’ era Glenn Danzig and everyone knows what a fan I am of that! I’ll use one of the band’s own exclamations… “Sexcellent”!
BAD TRIP #6 Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Great rockin’ tunes ala Thunders, but the vocalist sounds like Misfit era… what’s that guy’s name? Danzig! Yeah, that’s it. Glenn Danzig! But the difference between him and that shrimp Danzig is this siger (Larry “Mud” May) sounds like someone I wouldn’t want to piss off! So, Larry, Uh… don’t take that the wrong way…OK? I liked The Misfits! Honest! You wouldn’t hit a man with glasses would ya? Larry? Wait, c’mon man, you got it all wrong! You wanna kick my ass? Shit, I’m outta here!!!!!
Chatterbox Issue #1 Fall 1994 Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Straight ahead punk rock from Virginia via a new single on Ultra Under Records. We saw them play in Miami, in your face punk rock with a crazier than crazy singer, a slasher guitar player and a tight rhythm section, we liked them a lot. On this single they translated the live energy of their shows straight into the studio, especially on the killer B side “Now Who’s Crying.” Next time they play around your town, go check them out!
Flipside Number 92 Oct/Nov 1994 by Martin McMartin Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Whatta coincidence. I just get off the phone with Grant from The Smugglers and he’s tellin’ me how fucking nuts these guys are live and then this comes in the mail. Ya’ just know they’re gonna be raging with a tune called “Fuck My Family.” Frantic over the edge punk rock in the spirit of Dwarves, Jeff Dahl, or even Clawhammer on a murder rampage. One to watch, for sure. Keep me on your mailing list, fellahs.
Full Blast Fall 1994 Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
The Candy Snatchers are known for being a down and dirty punk band but maybe with more musical competence than you might expect. The irreverent “Fuck My Family” makes up the A-side, but the B-side’s my fave with the snotty and powerful punked-out “Now Who’s Crying” that makes this a record worth getting. Also check out the previous release on SLS Records for yet another fine example of this band’s vile style.
Flipside Number 92 Oct/Nov 1994 by Thrashed Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Two more butt kicking tunes from the Candy Snatchers. Great in your face punk rock. Get it.
New Brand #7 Sep 1994 Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Another kickin’ installment of Candysnatcher brand punk music! As usual it’s (sort of) melodic, fast and full of harmonies. A good comparison would be the Dwarves on uppers! Surpassing each record with their next, the Candysnatchers are surely on their way!!
Welcome to the Dahlhaus!!! Fall 1994 Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
FINALLY!!! The four new UU single are on the streets and in the stores! YEE-HAW! Some of the coolest stuff yet if yer askin’ me. The CANDY SNATCHERS are quickly becoming a huge favorite within the underground network and this is absolutely their best yet. Like an unholy marriage of the Dead Boys and the Misfits. Very over the top stuff and their live show has folks talkin’.
Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Virginia Beach’s Candy Snatchers tread that fine line between Earth A.D. era Misfits hardcore and good old-fashioned Detroit rock city Grudge ‘N’ Roll. Cool, aggressive music for the car; sweaty, authentic shit that Luna fans should stay the fuck away from!
READY TO SNAP! Candy Snatchers -Fuck My Family/Now Who’s Crying 7”
Up next is the latest batch from Jeff Dahl’s Ultra Under Records. Raw rocking punk is what the Candy Snatchers are about. Hailing from Virginia, this is their 3rd great single. Sounds like Clawhammers’ singer fronting a tough punk band.
Maximum Rocknroll No122 July 93 The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP by Rockin Jeff Bale
Also in the authentic rock vein is an EP by the Candy Snatchers from Virginia. It takes a couple of listens to become accustomed to the peculiar lead vocals, which sound like they were produced by an unholy combination of Danzig, Jello Biafra, and the singer from Oingo Boingo, but the music itself is the sort of raw satirical garage punk that never fails to appeal to me. They’ve got an off-color sense of humor, and if you don’t appreciate it, fuck you.
Thwack! #4 The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP
This record has a very raw sound. It gives you a good idea of what this band probably sounds like live. Gritty and balls out rockin’.
Richmond City Paper June 25th, 1993 Singles Grab Bag by Mike Gangloff The singles sack has busted wide! Seven-inch mayhem as the tiny monsters duke it out for the turntable.
First to the needle: Virginia Beach’s Candy Snatchers, throwing it to us with “Gold Digger,” backed with “Pain Stains” and “Motion.” The cover gives this one away – singer Larry Mudd’s bloodied face stares out from the front, while the back boasts “Recorded 1/93 at Midease Studios for $75” and includes both Crazy Horse Malt Liquor and Milwaukee’s Best beer in the thank you list. And then there’s the photos of the band members: shades, studded dog collar and bleeding chest; tuxedo jacket, shirtless and grimacing; rolling on the floor playing, etc, etc. You guessed it, this is straight up punk, a high speed run through the alleys with bass, drums and guitars tumbling over each other and Mudd’s holler pushing its way through the blare. I bet there’s a lot of movement at Candy Snatchers shows. Probably a lot of empties too. An invitation to slam bodies or beers, released by Sounds Like Shit Records and available from the Candy Snatchers themselves.
New Brand #5 The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP
This VA Beach punk band surely has it’s own sound! They’re almost as good on record as they are live! This 7” is packed with so much energy that the first song (Golddigger) sounds like it could explode at any moment. The second song (pain stains) has a melodic feel, sort of like Green Day, but the third song picks back up and slaps you in the face! It’s devilishly good! There’s no way anyone could describe this record the way it should be described!
Maximum Rocknroll issue 121 June 1993 The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP by KK
Faster-paced, melodic-style punk with vocals that sound frighteningly similar to ?... I can’t think of it… OINGO BOINGO …I’m not sure. Good overall, though.
Cryptic Times #5 Spring 94 The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP
Despite their label’s moniker (Souds Like Shit), these guys are certainly not shit! With a particularly odd sounding vocalist who has a warbly voice, they pump out some melodic punk rock stuff with tasty guitar licks and a pretty crazy sound. The A-side’s quite good, but the two songs on the B-side are way cool, also!
Flipside! The Candy Snatchers – Gold Digger 7” EP Review by Shane
Out of Ed Perry’s home stomping grounds of Virginia Beach these guys sent me a letter that was totally into the night music and happily provided the info that Supersuckers blew Mudhoney away on the show of the tour Larry of the Candy Snatchers saw – me – Well I believe it can happen but the night I saw them mudhoney more than held their own. This single is an extremely snazzy one of short punk songs that sound a little like Rocket without the horns or else Misfits with Bobby Steele fronting or something pretty damned punk rock.
Gunther The Candy Snatchers – “Ugly on the inside/Party Girl/Cocaine County”
It’s fitting that the new single from this wild bunch is on Get Hip, since my first Snatchers experience was back in May 1993 at the Kings Head Inn. Also on the bill that evening were The Cynics, whose “Rock ‘N’ Roll” album was largely responsible for changing the musical outlook of one 18-year-old introverted Salem High School grad. Over twenty shows, 20,000 gallons of beer and twenty-hundred self-imposed AA sessions later, The Candy Snatchers still keep me intoxicated. With this latest attempt to overtake The New Bomb Turks in the ongoing “let’s record as many singles on as many different labels as possible” tournament, butchers Larry, Matt, Willy and Serge cut their leanest-and-meanest side of beef since the “Dead” EP on Centsless. $3.99 isn’t one hell of a price to get your kicks. Hell yeah!
Flipside December 1993/January 1994, #37 Candy Snatchers “6 Song Demo” Cassette Review - Shane
When John Rippey got back to LA from the abortive tour with the SuperKools, he told me the best band they played with was these guys. He said he knew they were no posers when the guy raked the bottle across his own forehead ala Jerry A. - - but the tuneage here is even closer to Dead Boys territory than the (RIP) Idea who of course were heavily on that hardcore tip. Write for this stuff the Candy Snatchers really are something special.
Unknown Reviewer The Candy Snatchers – Dead 7” EP (Centsless)
Full throttle Dead Boys cover that really does the job. These guys were really good live and on record they sound a lot like a fuller Didjits outfit. This is really a helluva lot better than their earlier shit, too.
Unknown Reviewer Takin a Ride – Candy Snatchers CD
This E.P. is better than the release I reviewed above. The snatchers sound on the ball. It’s funny, great riffs, short, sweet. It reminds the listener of why they like the Candy Snatchers to begin with. Contains official version of “I’m a Bastard” (my theme song). “Ass, Grass, or Crack” is good as well. Buy this instead of the split, spare yourself the grief.
Angry Thoreauan/WWMU #9 “One Nation Underground” compilation CD from Monkeyland Records
This compilation is pretty good. It is mainly made up of rock ‘n’ roll bands, but there are many different styles. A couple of groups are fast & thrashy, some have a heavy folk influence, others are sad & sappy, some are dark, and a few are dumb. The better cuts were contributed by Cupid Garde, Zen Parade, Real Cool Rain, Nightshade, and The Candy Snatchers. There is one cut, the one by Nightshade, which is not at all like the other songs, and definitely not rock ‘n’ roll. The Candy Snatchers sound a lot like Clawhammer: loud, fast, & crazy rock ‘n’ roll.
Slanted Spring 1994 Issue #3 “One Nation Underground” compilation CD from Monkeyland Records
As with most compilations, the majority of the songs are crap. And this one holds to that formula. However, there are some good songs that make it worth trudging through the crud to find them. Among them, the R.E.M./Ramones mush of “Tommy” by Klump and “Lil’ Lolita”, a blues punk foray by the Candy Snatchers. Give this a try, you might find something you like.
Sounds From the Gutter – Spillie D. Williams The Candy Snatchers, The Mashers, The Daggers (March 3rd @ Fireside Bowl, Chicago)
We got to the show just in time for the Daggers who played sloppy-drunken skaterock in front of an old Skull Skates-parody banner. Crazy drunken bass player dumped beer all over himself, then they went into a cover of “Fuckin’ Drink” by the Diesel Queens, which brought them up to their trashed climax. One of the band members tossed a real cow’s head into the audience (a la Eater in the 70s). Everyone screamed and some veggie-types gagged back in fright as flesh particles littered the filthy floor. The band was having a helluva good time, and continued to have their kicks by engaging in some soccer-style cow head dribbling, until anyone even slightly offended ran for mercy, leaving the “fresh-from -the -butcher” cranium resting in the doorway greeting the night’s patrons. Yeah!!!! The next band, the Mashers were quite a spectacle. Overweight and outta control, their drummer looked about 350 lbs, and even hid his sour mug with a wrestling mask. As for their music, I thought it resembled a pre-pubescent Revelators or Spider Babies sound with the looks of Unnatural Axe after two straight years of dealing with the munchies. They were truly hilarious without any intentions. The Candy Snatchers came up next and had the guitar player spewing blood down his face before they even hit the first note. They pulled the ultimate move by exploding into the first song, “This is Rock ‘N’ Roll,” by legendary Belgian 70s band, The Kids. Everyone seemed to know the song, and therefore went completely nuts, as I did. A bottle flew from the back of the crowd and nailed Larry (singer) right in the ol’ noggin. Clink! The Snatchers were amazingly brutal and drunk from the get-go, and they gave everyone exactly what they wanted… loud, fast head-through-the-windshield Rock ‘N’ Roll! The set was all balls, with blood on the walls, and even included covers like DMZ’s “Bad Attitude” and their newest installment of Dead Boys’ “Dead or Alive.” A real barnstormer.
New York Press July 17-23, 1996 Thursday 18: ½ Japanese/Candy Snatchers by Grad
The Candy Snatchers is simply the ugliest, most drunkenly maniacal band in the world and in between some of the most blistering punk rock ever made, you can always expect lots of self-mutilation and excess. So we can only hope that ½ Japanese precedes The Candy Snatchers on this bizarre bill – the prospect of seeing Jad Fair attempt to deconstruct the pop artifact amid pools of blood stains the imagination. At Continental.
Brand New #5 Show review Sat. Jan. 8 – Twister’s – Richmond, VA Fallout, Bent, Candysnatchers, New Bomb Turks.
Punk Rock extravaganza! You couldn’t ask for four better bands in one show. A great start with Fallout. As usual, they played all of their greats. “No, not you!” is still about my personal favorite. Bent was up next and played a great set as well. Kick-ass punk that reminds me of ‘Headwound’. The Candysnatchers are from the beach (VA), and they kicked ass! The singer was crazy (with a K, and two ee’s)and the band had an insane set! Punk music with a great beat (and a little blood!). Finally up came the New Bomb Turks. I never thought that they could be better live than on their album, but I was wrong! There was so much energy in that room! There were no disappointments in their set list, either. It covered all the ones everyone wanted (Born Toulouse, Dragstrip Riot, Tattooed Apathetic, I want my baby…DEAD!, etc.) Even ‘Mr. Suit.’ The only thing that I regret is that I didn’t know that one of my BEST friends needed a ride, and he’s a bigger fan than I am! (That’s pretty big!) SORRY ROB! This was one of only THREE East Coast shows so I feel very lucky to have seen them. Incredible Show!!!!
New Brand – T.J.
This interview was conducted by mail with singer, Larry Mudd, and guitarist, Matt Odietus.
The Candysnatchers are one of the craziest bands I’ve ever seen or heard! I’m still not sure if they’re ever serious, but I kind of like that. Please read this interview with an open mind, and realize that they had probably already put down a case of BUD between them. Enjoy!
New Brand (T.J.) – How long has the band been together?
Larry Mudd – Too long! It’s time to die!!! Jishdinsklet! (His exact word)
Matt Odietus – Since Prohibition!
NB – Any Previous Bands?
LM – Yeah, “Face Reality, Nuncakes, Fudgling Underneath”
MO – “Fool’s Holiday, Treefort, Zappa’s Band, Kempsville High(school) Band.”
NB – I think that your 7” is really good! Is it self-produced?
MO – Thanx! No it’s not (yeah, right)
LM – Our first 7” smells bad due to our piss-poor producing capabilities.
MO – I hate studios, they suck!!!
LM – The new 7” is good DUMB – Ultra Under 7” should be good SUCKS! We suck, Fuck You!
NB – When I saw you here in Roanoke, you mentioned going on a tour.
LM – We’re going on an Indonesian Panty-Raid next week!
MO – It started June ’93, and will end 3/11 in Columbus, Ohio with the New Bomb Turks. I love to tour and shoot smack! YEA!
NB – Your live performance is CRAZY!! What gets you motorvated to act that way (Is it the BUD)? The broken beer-bottle on the forehead and chest really freaked me out!
LM – Bloodletting is not just for medieval ding-a-lings! It’s SEXellent!
MO – Drinkin’ copious amount o’ beers! Yes, I prefer derinking my own veine to get more blood!
NB – Are you pissed off on stage? I’ve seen you guys spit on people, throw beer on them, push them, kick them, hit them, and such. I think that this makes for a really enjoyable time (I laughed my ass off!), but most get mad.
MO – No, not piss offed. We got drunk in Knoxville & offed these two winos. We killed ‘em and got six dollars for more beer!
LM – Most people die after very boring, pathetic trips to “Wall Drug”
NB – What do you guys do (JOB)?
MO – I don’t work, I just drink pee-pee from guys dingees.
LM – I pick up trash. The others are bums, they drink piss.
NB – I’ve been wondering how the clubs are at the beach?
LM – They Rule! I love hangin’ out with butthairs!
MO – They suck! Cept for Cheezblow’s. It rules! Chico’s makes a satanic dick hard!
NB – O.K.. I’ve avoided it long enough. Who influenced you to play punk rock music?
LM – Pee Pee the Sailor!
MO – Iggy, Frampton, Page, Townshend, Twisted Sister.
And although I forgot to ask, Matt Odietus had a few words of wisdom:
“Got any Cocaine, or chicks who like to get drunk and fuck?”
On the back of this section of a 12-pack container was scrawled:
“Drink more of this shit, P.S. – Take speed! Lots of it!”
Veer Magazine March 1996 Invasion of The Candy Snatchers - The Before They Got Rich & Famous Interview
Like so many punk bands today, Norfolk’s Candy Snatchers will be getting their opportunity to climb up the ranks of new indie bands fighting to be heard in the over saturated world of new music. The task seems mountainous since only a few chosen groups make the ever-important MTV play list. Their self-titled album will be released March 1st on Safe House Records, the same innovative label that gave the Lunachicks and Southern Culture on the Skids their start. Additionally, a good selling point for them is the first track of the CD will be a CD-ROM track containing their shocking music video. So now let’s hear what they have to say.
Veer: How did your record deal with Safe House come about:
Singer Larry May: Jim (owner of Safe House) came to see us at the Continental. Dean Rispler who produced the album suggested that he come out and see us and he didn’t want to see the last band and said, “I’m going home.” But he stuck around and ended up loving it. He gave us a record deal based on that.
Guitarist Matt Odietus: He saw us that night and said, “Expect a contract in the next couple of weeks.” We got the contract and it looked as good as those that bands on our level were getting so we signed it.
Veer: What sort of deal did you get from Safe House Records?
Matt: We got a very minimal amount of money, which it should be good in that we don’t have to sell a massive amount of albums… we’re not going to be in debt. We didn’t sign some major label bull shit deal where we’d have to work washing dishes for the rest of our life to pay off the record debt. It didn’t cost us much to record our album, because our producer was good and we just got in there and bashed the shit out. We just stood there played the songs live, got it done, got out of there instead of racking up a bunch of cash.
Veer: Safe House has launched a lot of bands to larger labels. Is that a goal of yours?
Larry: Not necessarily. We’re not into any major label shit. We just want to play rock and roll and get treated fairly. We do our job and they do their job and hopefully the distributors don’t rip off the label. We don’t want to get in over our head.
Veer: How many songs are going to be on the CD and explain this CD-ROM track?
Matt: There are 16 songs on the CD and one CD-ROM track. We made a video up there that’s going to be on the disc. They complied a lot of video footage and film footage of live shows we did in New York with an entire day of us going around bars in New York drinking our asses off. It was fun as shit, the video looks great. It’s split screen, half of it is the drinking and the other half is the live action and it’s going to be on the disc for people that have a computer.
Veer: Did the rawness of your sound live come across on your recording?
Larry: I think so, I think Dean did a good job of getting a live sound which is what we want. There is one extra guitar track on there to give the double guitar sound which is what we used to have.
Bassist Willie Johns: Yep, Yep
Veer: Is there any rationale for the things you do during live performances, like cutting yourselves and setting your guitars and selves on fire?
Larry: We don’t think about it. If we start thinking about stuff like that and taking yourself seriously then… We really don’t do it that much. It gets old after awhile. Things that are predictable are pointless. It started because you get pissed off at people that bored us. You can’t cut them because you’ll end up in jail, so you have to cut yourself. But it’s stupid shit, but we did it.
Matt: It’s nothing that anyone’s planning on. It’s just now that it’s happened so much we chose not to do it.
Veer: When the disc is released, what are your tour plans in support of the recording?
Larry: We’re leaving in March with the Humpers… doing a big tour and then going to Europe with the Humpers in June. We’ll see what happens.
Veer: How much beer do you drink before a show?
Larry: As much as we can afford. We try to get free beer from the clubs. And the clubs that don’t give us free beer or a big discount, we try never to play those clubs again.
Moronic Pleasures: The Saga of the Lost Candy Snatchers Album or One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Treasure
Sometime in late 1997, Dave Champion (my heterosexual life partner) and I drove down from Washington, DC, to Norfolk, Virginia, to see our favorite band, the Candy Snatchers, play at some sketchy dive. We had done this several times already, so we knew it was a guaranteed good time. We were also lucky to be friends with the band and stayed at guitarist Matthew Odietus’ apartment most of those times. This time at his place before we left for the club, Matt played us a cassette of the new Snatchers album: Moronic Pleasures. Dave and I were so blown away that we insisted on dubs of the cassette on the spot. Little did we know what would happen (or not happen as it were) next.
Let’s back up a bit. After a handful of killer punk rock-n-roll 7” singles, the Candy Snatchers had signed a deal with Safehouse Records in NYC and recorded/released their self-titled debut album in 1996. It was, quite frankly, some of the best rock-n-roll ever committed to tape. Here was a band that was part Raw Power-era Stooges, part New York Dolls, part Ramones, part Misfits, and part every other sleazy, tasty morsel. The band featured the Über-Toxic Twins in guitarist Matthew Odietus and singer Larry May. Both were blessed with shocking acumen on their instruments: Matt channeled Johnny Thunders and James Williamson in his playing and Larry was a psychotic gene splice of Glenn Danzig, Gerry Roslie, and Roky Erickson with his voice… plus add a touch of the Tasmanian Devil and you’ve got Larry to a tee! All the while, Uncle Willy Johns kept things solid and simple on the bass.
Now it was early 1997. With explosive new drummer, Sergio Ponce, they had written an impressive amount of new songs and were ready to start tracking them to tape. The first attempt to capture the magic took them to Compactor Studio in Brooklyn, NYC, with Paul Johnson engineering. Nineteen songs were laid down with seventeen planned for the new album titled Moronic Pleasures and two (Bum and You Want What) slated for a 7” single on Solamente Records. The 17 album tracks were given only a rough mix and dubbed onto cassette for the band to review; the two 7” single tracks were given a proper, final mix and sent to the record label for pressing. For some inexplicable reason (to me) that has gone to the grave, Matt rejected this session. When I spoke with Larry, Willy, and Serge at the time, they all thought the songs, performances, and production were solid.
Paul Johnson generously contributed his remembrances: “Matt called me about doing a Candy Snatchers record, and although I had never heard or seen the band, I had heard good things about them. I also remember someone warning me that they could be trouble, but I didn’t care about that. I had known Serge for years and had grown up hanging out with the M-80’s, so I was unshockable at that point.
“They were playing at the Continental Club at St Marks Place, so I thought I would go check them out. The place was packed and they sounded great, but I could not see them, so I lifted my head to take a peek and instantaneously got whacked in the face by a flying combat boot Larry had hurled from the stage. ‘I hope this is not a sign of things to come,’ I thought. As it turns out, it wasn’t; although the first part of the first day of recording was spent with Matt, Rob Katherman from the M-80’s, and myself trying to get Serge and Willy to explain to us over the phone where they were in Brooklyn so someone could come and get them. Apparently, neither of them could remember how they got there the night before nor could the people they were with explain to us how to get there. To make it worse, they were in different places.
“Eventually they were rescued and got set up and going pretty quick. I was amazed at how fast they worked. They had me roll the tape while they played the songs from a setlist: one song after another until we were about to run out of tape. I might have stopped the tape only a couple of times during the whole session for mistakes’ sake. No one did that in those days… maybe some hardcore punk bands back in the 80’s.
“I was also unaware that I was ‘producing’ the record until halfway through the session. I thought I was just the recording engineer. Usually a producer gets to hear rough demos or live tapes of the songs to be recorded so they can come up with production ideas. I had been doing mostly 60’s garage sounding bands, so I suggested background vocals, handclaps, and some tambourine. ‘We like that kind of stuff, but it’s not right for us,’ they politely explained. Looking back, I have to agree with them on that one.
“Willy’s bass had been set on fire or something like that, so he used a Gibson SG bass with old strings that I had in the studio. Not sure if that was the right sound for him, but it is what we had. When we took a break, Rob told me Matt was unhappy with the guitar sound. He had heard the Floyds of Flatbush record I had done and told me he liked that guitar sound. I tried explaining that that was done on a four-track and is a very different type of recording than the way we were doing things with a 16-track. I also had very low-budget studio… a couple of cheap compressors and a spring reverb unit. That was it. Most of the bands that came to Compactor Studio requested a lo-fi sound or wanted to sound like Guitar Wolf. That was about what I was capable of.
“After we did the basic tracks, Matt went back and played a second rhythm guitar and solos pretty much the same way: from song to song without stopping the tape. Vocals, same thing. Larry belted out one song after another. Then we mixed and off they went. I had heard they were not going to use the recordings because Matt did not like the guitar sound. I felt horrible that they had spent the money and time and had nothing to show for it. I tried to explain to Matt that my cassette deck was a piece of crap and that it would sound better once it was mastered. ‘It must be the worst thing ever. Why would anyone even make a piece of shit like that?’ he replied over the phone. It was his only point of reference. Oddly enough, they returned to my studio a number of times.
“I’m glad it’s finally going to be mixed and mastered properly. I’m looking forward to hearing it. I wish Matt were still around so he could as well.”
The second attempt to record was a quick stop at Andy Slob’s basement studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, while they were on tour. The band was supposedly unhappy with the overall sound and rejected these sessions as their new album. Most songs, though, eventually were released on various singles and compilations. Larry recalled, “The Cinci session was a blazing performance, but something in the recording made it sound like a drill in the ear!”
With both attempted sessions rejected, the band eventually headed back to NYC with Dean Rispler at the engineering helm to re-record most of the songs for the THIRD time. This final session became their second album now titled Human Zoo, presumably after a Bon Scott lyric. The album was released on Go-Kart Records in 1998 and the previous “Moronic Pleasures” session at Compactor Studio was forgotten for 20 years.
Larry May: “The title ‘Human Zoo’ I named after William Weber’s old band. I used to go to see them in Cincinnati when I was 16. He had recently joined the band on 2nd guitar for touring. We were just being silly, but yes, it’s in ‘If You Want Blood, You Got It’ as well. Hahahaha! William thought it was hilarious that we were actually gonna call it that.”
Now don’t get me wrong, Human Zoo rocks like a motherfucker, but Moronic Pleasures as recorded at Compactor Studio is the Candy Snatchers at their zenith. In my humble opinion, the performances are stronger and the feel of the songs is sleazier; and I must disagree with Matt on his guitar sound!
I took on the crusade of rescuing this session from oblivion. First, I spoke with Dan-O Deckelman (good friend, ex-Adam West guitarist bandmate, and studio entrepreneur) who got the master reels from Paul Johnson and managed the digital transfer. Second, I got the multi-tracks to Dennis Kane (good friend, Delicious Fullness producer, and studio wizard) who freshly and properly mixed and mastered all 19 songs. There were some missing tracks on Ass Casserole, so my cassette version of the song was used for continuity. We now offer this 20-years-in-the-making project to you, the astute listener, in the order the band intended... including some songs that didn’t get re-recorded and make it onto Human Zoo. And as Larry sings on the album opener: “I’ve got no time to waste! I’m just a drunk-ass motherfucker who ran outta space!” After 20 years, there’s no more time to waste…
-Jake Starr, April 2017
Safe House Records Press Release
The Candy Snatchers hail from Virginia Beach, VA where (in an old plantation house turned whorehouse in the ‘20s, turned hippie crash pad in the ‘90s) the band debuted its potent brand of mayhem to a live audience. That was back in September of ’92. Since then, the group has toured the U.S., opening for the likes of The Humpers, The Devil Dogs and The New Bomb Turks – all the while amassing an impressive repertoire of blistering, original punk tuneage. Unlike the current crop of “radio-friendly”/”mtv-ready” pop-punksters who derive their sound from watered-down imitations of punk and Nirvana, The Candy Snatchers; musical lineage connects the dots between The Stooges and The Pistols (snarling vocals, spitting and bloodletting), The New York Dolls (cheekiness/substance [abuse]/fun), and The Dead Boys and The Misfits (intensity).
The foursome – consisting of Larry May (vocals0, Matthew Odietus (guitar), Willy Johns (bass) and Barry Johnson who, in October of ’94 replaced Greg Miller on drums – has released several singles, including “Fuck My Family” b/w “Now Who’s Crying” on Jeff Dahl’s Ultra Under label and the Pinto Pony 7” EP on Sounds Like Shit. They also contributed a track to Flipside’s RAFR compilation released earlier this year. As good as these recordings are, they do little to prepare you for the band’s self-titled Safe House debut album. Captured live, with few overdubs, in one drunken day and night in New York’s Loho Studio, The Candy Snatchers was impeccably produced by Dean Rispler. The CD version of the album will contain the band’s first video (“Why I Drink”) and will be released in the new Enhanced CD format, playable on both audio CD players and computer CD Rom drives. All this, and a major tour, unleashed in September of ’96. It’s time to lock up your pets and get your daughters on the pill, because trouble is coming and no one can stop it.
Safe House Records Press Release Candy Snatchers launch “Salute to the Marines Tour” in spite of tragic beating suffered by lead vocalist at the hands of Marines
The Candy Snatchers of Virginia Beach, VA suffered a serious blow to their tour plans recently when singer/drunken lunatic Larry was beaten by two United States Marines in downtown Norfolk.
The situation arose when Larry, in a car traveling with a woman known only as, “this bitch Willy (Candy Snatchers bassist) used to go out with,” started mouthing off to a couple of Marines who were giving her “the look.” Larry, in an extremely intoxicated state, attempted to quiet the woman before it was too late, but alas the Marines chose to drag Larry out of the car and proceed to stomp on his leg until his ankle was fractured.
Larry, known as a heavy drinker, decided to ignore the pain, assuming it was only bruised, and went on until he couldn’t move the following morning. He went to the doctor, who prescribed barbituates, and began final rehearsals for their upcoming month and a half long tour slated to begin in New York City on October 12th and end somewhere in the Midwest right before Thanksgiving. In spite of Larry’s nagging injury, the band will probably not tone down the usual mayhem that goes on at their shows.
Candy Snatcher shows have been known to get out of hand and band members usually bleed, get set on fire or provoke the throwing of large fish. For a copy of their album which sports a bloody Larry, and photo evidence of their shows, call us.
The Record Exchange Music Monitor Issue No. 63 August, 1994 Notes From Home – Local and Regional Music by Jamie Blood, Norfolk
After speaking with Matthew Odietus of the Candy Snatchers, I came to the conclusion that they must be the busiest band in Norfolk.
They finished a cross-country tour this spring, traveling all along the East Coast, through Texas and Arizona and on to California, playing such famous venues as CBGB’s and the Berkeley.
The four man band consists of Willie Johns on bass, Larry May on vocals and guitar, Greg Miller on drums and Matthew Odietus on guitar. They are heavily influenced by early garage rock and punk from the ‘70s. Larry writes the lyrics to their songs while Matthew writes the music. The Candy Snatchers’ songs do not deal with weighty matters like politics and such, but just simply drinking, girls and people they have encountered along the way.
They have had quite a busy schedule in the studio as well. Their first 7” was put out on their own label, Sounds Like Shit Records (SLS) and a second SLS single will be out in January with broader distribution. They also appear on a split single with Gimcrack on Stiff Pole Records out of Tampa, Florida. While in Los Angeles on their tour, they recorded two singles on a Dionysus 7” with the Super Kools. Two more singles will be coming out very soon, one on Ultra Under Records, which is distributed by Triple X, and another on Dionysus. And they have a 7” release on a Dutch label called Freak Out.
They also appear on a couple of compilations. The Richmond Co-op Volume 2 “Several Dead Presidents Are Buried In My Backyard: compilation came out in November of last year and is close to being completely sold out. Other bands appearing on this compilation with the Candy Snatchers include Fulflej, Car Bomb, Used Carlotta and Seymores.
They are also included on One Nations Underground on Monkeyland Records out of Los Angeles. They are now planning to record a full-length album in Boston, with Andy Shernoff of The Dictators producing two of the songs.
Bowling Doughnuts #3 – Scott Pepper
Starring Greg, Matt, Willie and that wild and crazy guy Larry. These locals have been in many bands throughout the years of the underground scene, but this band kicks ass the best. Their music is loud, fast and furious, just the way punk rock should be. Larry, the front man, comes off like a ball of fuckin’ fury. He spews out lyrics as he shakes his pelvis. You could call him the janitor of rock n roll compared to Elvis. Matt, the guitarist, strums out killer riffs and leads with the spirit of the 70’s punk while spitting on his fans. Willie, the bassist, takes off his pants and likes people to set his bass on fire while playing. Looking in back you’ll see Greg letting out his aggression on his drum set. Overall they sound like the Dwarves buttfucking the Ramones.
There is hardly ever a dull moment when these guys play. They have one 7” out and are working on another to be out soon. If you are too chickenshit to see them live, then buy it. You might want to go and watch em play before they’re banned from all the clubs and bars around here, or before their live fast die young lifestyles kill them. True entertainment.
Chump! number 5 by Jamie Early
“I can understand just standing around and being bored shitless listening to most of the lame-ass shit coming out these days. I’m so bored I wanna go and put a fuckin’ bullet in my skull!”
This is lead singer, Larry Mudd’s summary of the current state of affairs and this philosophy is the backbone for the Candy Snatchers’ brand of punk rock. This contempt for most modern music is what forced the Snatchers back in time to draw influences from such notables as the Saints, Radio Birdman and the Stooges. The result, however, is far more abrasive than any one of these bands.
In the year since I first heard of this band, I’ve seen them put on outrageous show after show. I’ve seen them whip your typical college party into a frenzy, blow the New Bomb Turks and Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black off the stage and even hold their own up against the Devil Dogs.
One unforgettable show in particular was when they had the opening slot for a packed Karen Black show. The Candy Snatchers fed off of the crowd’s energy and in one songs time landed themselves a spot in the chump! Hall of Fame. As the song started, guitarist, Matt Odietus kicked and spat on the overzealous crows that was falling onto the stage. With the lurch of one crowd member he was tackled and as he leapt up and resumed flailing, there was some commotion at the opposite end of the stage. Nude bass player, Willy Johns had his guitar dowsed with lighter fluid. He kept up the hectic beat as flames billowed from his bass, extending his arm once to shake the flames from his hand. The song ended as debris from the stage burned on the dance floor By the end of the next song, Larry was being spun around by his ankles on the beer drenched dance floor.
Shows such as this are what caused the Snatchers to be kicked out of every club in their hometown of Virginia Beach. Other antics have included Willy breaking the nose of a bouncer with his head and having a more than appreciative fan blow him on stage. Not to mention all of the broken glass and self-inflected slashes. The real problem as Matt sees it, “The bar owners don’t understand what real rock-n-roll is all about down there,” and more specifically, “They fuckin’ freak out and even though they’re makin’ massive cash at the bar, more so than with any fuckin’ lame ass cover band they have playin’ down there, they’re fuckin’ lose their goddamn minds.”
The Candy Snatchers didn’t let that lack of local venues hold them down. Last spring they left on an ill-fated US tour that left them stranded in virtually every city they made it to. Now with new drummer Barry Johnson nothing is holding them back. So, what happened to their old drummer? “Fuck that guy he’s a loser.”
Was their tour actually a success, “Yeah, because now we don’t have to deal with that asshole anymore.”
The Candy Snatchers have released three sonic assaults on 7” vinyl to date and have a whole slew of other stuff slated for ’95. In Matt’s words, “We wanna tour and we wanna drink and shits gonna start happening.”
Oculus Magazine Spring 1996 Vol. V Iss. I Never Mind the Haddock – Here’s The Candy Snatchers by John Slyce
Under Acme is an alternative venue beneath a restaurant in the spurious neighborhood of NOHO in Manhattan. The first floor serves black-eyed peas and hominy to those who have never ventured south of the Mason-Dixon while Acme’s basement offers alternative musical cuisine to the jaded neophytes of the East Village. It is here at “Under Acme” that the Candy Snatchers have decided to unleash their brand of unbridled alcohol-driven punk on New York City. It’s billed as an evening of spoken word and alternative music. And on this night there would be more fish in the house than the upstairs menu knew it could boast.
The soundtrack to the second wave of my formative musical years drew mainly from the first offerings of The Clash and Sex Pistols. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a pair of Gibson cherry reds and dream up a radical neo-Marxist solution to the rising price of vinyl I am still moved by an ideological bass line as I enter another decade, though I haven’t heard much new that inspires overcoming my anachronistic tendencies – I am holding on to those Peel sessions – Green Day just doesn’t do it for me. Give me the Gang of 4 on a reunion tour over any pale corporate construction. Then, just when I was feeling self-assured in my disregard for any reflowering of a ‘90s DIY culture, the fax machine spits out a bio of the Candy Snatchers. I waver incredulously. Snarling vocals!? Fast and furious!! Spit, blood and broken bottles!?! In an age of pale facsimiles why take heed of this plain paper fax? With new batteries in my bullshit detector I headed to Under Acme on this third Sunday to see and hear for myself.
Candy Snatchers debuted their version of drunken mayhem and punk rock in 1992 and quickly made a name for themselves along the Virginia Beach strip. Within no time they had been banned for each and every club in their home town – they were simply too dangerous. Plenty of beer was sold at the bar and money was being made by the owners hand over fist, but “somebody was gonna get hurt out there!” The four-some is made up of transplanted Virginia beach natives Larry May on vocals, Matthew Odietus – guitar, Willy Johns – bass, and the newest member, Barry Johnson, who took over on drums for the failing Greg Miller in 1994. If you can overlook the antics of the crowd and duck the occasional flying fish, the Candy Snatchers are potentially the most excitingly authentic hard core punk experience out there. Candy Snatchers connect such diverse groups as the Stooges and Sex Pistols to the Dead Boys and “maybe even the Misfits” – thankfully the unifying thread is a wholesome nod to the fun-loving antics of the NY Dolls. But be careful and wear your play clothes.
Candy Snatchers have released several singles to critical acclaim and have been included on a punk revival compilation long since sold out. Although, an ill-fated tour of the US in 1994 found them stranded in as many towns as they made it to. At one low point they survived on dry Chinese noodles with mustard. The experience galvanized the band along the line of “what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger” and this life philosophy has lead to the changes in drummers and diet. The band is now on a strictly liquid diet of beer, though fans have as late tried to supplement the regimen. Back to Under Acme.
Two bands played before I could track down the Candy Snatchers. They had been spotted at the sound check only to disappear when the bar refused to give them free beer. I found the band out on the street swilling Budweiser tall boys in the 25 degree evening air. I nudged my way closer to a smiling Matt Odietus. Matt plays lead and rhythm guitar for the Candy Snatchers but for the moment he is cornered by a devoted fan pressing a fresh tall boy into his hand. Matt is a charming young man who on first sight would lead you to believe he is in town for a stamp collecting convention rather than to trade flailing kicks of steel toed boots and saliva with the crowd. Still, while doing so he churns out some of the finest classic rock guitar work I have witnessed live. This is not hyperbole – Matt Odietus is as well steeped in classic guitar licks as anyone out there. Sometimes it’s the thrashing power chords of “Yeah, you…” or “Well I…” work that owes as much to Keith Richards as Johnny Thunders, and then you have a whining slide into to “It’s too late” that harks back to power pop fantasies of the ‘70s. I asked Matt about these influences and he admitted he was equally inspired by The Stones’ Exile on Main Street and the early Stooges. The guitar work is the solid core of Candy Snatchers’ music, but the magic in the band is the dynamic exchange between Odietus and front man Larry May. And the wordsmith May is a story in himself.
Larry May found himself in Virginia Beach as a young teenager – the son of a disco dad. The tension surfaced immediately and May’s hardcore tastes ran against his father’s polyester leisure suited aesthetic. Records were burned and the die was cast – Larry’s rebellion began in earnest. May’s lyrics are spontaneous and drawn from his life and the world it is lived in. May puts down the words and Odietus crafts the music around them. One has songs of drinking, traveling to dead-end towns to play before the alienated flotsam of a decimated working class, and then some more drinking. You will not find any overt reference to the political in the songs, though there is a solid sociological subtext. May says: “writing is too contrived… my lyrics are spontaneous and hate driven.” “MTV is ridiculous and full of shit rock and fake corporate fuckers… It just makes me fuckin’ sick.” On stage Larry May lets the words fly from his gut and his phrasing is fantastic. If Odietus has the blossoming right hand of a Robert Quine, May leads a song with the same kid of showmanship and frenetically controlled chaos that made Iggy Pop.
Those tall boys spoken of earlier were being amply supplied by a host of fanatical fans from the outer boroughs. These are the people who identify with the angst, alienation and anomie that fuels the Candy Snatchers music and stage shows. I interviewed one. For the record let’s call him Jimmy Bovver. Jimmy is in his late twenties and unemployed while living in Staten Island. His wife works at a convenience store and he has a three year-old baby. Jimmy takes care of the child by day and follows the punk rock circuit most evenings. Jimmy says: “Yeah… it’s hell waking up to a screaming kid after being out till 3:00 am.” The solid contingent of fans is in the main made up of this type – they’ve been left behind by the ‘90s; they’re urban and going nowhere fast save down to the corner store for another six pack. They are angry and mad as hell, but can’t channel their frustration into any political action. Instead they take it out on themselves in a rage of self-hatred and destruction. Could this be 1977 all over again?
As the last spoken word performer finishes at Under Acme the Candy Snatchers take the stage. What’s left of the original crowd takes three steps back as the faithful followers lead by Jimmy Bovver move to the front of the stage. They’re pissed out of their heads. I have expectations of broken glass, blood and flaming bass guitars. There is an air of danger and uncertainty in the hall. The band tears into the set. Odietus churns out the punk power chords and May throws himself into the crowd. Just then a school of fish begin to fly through the air. The faithful have smuggled in the day’s catch from the Fulton St. fish market. The weak willed head for the door as scales and guts begin to fly. Those who can’t lay their hands on a dead haddock spray beer throughout the room. Above the roar and din of crowd and fish, the Candy Snatchers tear into the single “Why I Drink” from their first album due to arrive in February 96. As the song finishes the house lights come up and May breaks into his own performance of spoken word. He is a genius idiot-savant rambling in perfectly rhymed couplets. It turns out to be a poem May’s grandfather challenged him to memorize as a boy – he promised to pay him $1 a week for life if Larry could get it down. The grandfather died after Larry collected about $50. Unfortunately this final performance is missed by most. The PA has now been cut and the doorman is marching through the hall – “Alright you cock suckers! You’ve had your fun now get the fuck out!” He looks over at me as I scribble my notes and asks, “What’s gonna happen to the fish?”
May and Odietus take the abridged show in stride. “That’s the way it goes – we had our fun… I doubt we’ll be back here again.” The Candy Snatchers have a simple career agenda, “We want to do our own thing and if people get into it that’s great. We’re here to have a good time,” says Odietus and May. Their forthcoming album captures the thrill of the live show save the flying fish. It is a raucous sixteen track romp through Odietus’ wild guitar hooks and May’s raging vocals. The album was produced by Dean Rispler over four days at a rate of some eighty beers per day. At one point the master DAT was lost and they had to go from the best cassette back to DAT. The result is a recording that feels remarkably fresh and spontaneous. Look for it on Safe House Records. You may even see their video on MTV, but I doubt it. I can’t see success making their world any brighter or tempering their healthy disdain for the corporate music market. In an age that has the surviving Sex Pistols reforming to resuscitate the quintessential rock-n-roll swindle – nostalgia shines. Here nostalgia is the lonely sigh of a punk rock past that has become they play-thing of market strategists. With new boots and a contract the Candy Snatchers intend to show people the authentic number and in doing so they may take this town. That is until they get thrown out of it.