Derf Scratch has died
August 2, 2010 12:53 AM   Subscribe

Derf Scratch, founding member and bassist for Fear, has died. His sister says he was 59.

Some of us saw Fear on Saturday Night Live, and some of us were lucky enough to see Fear live. Bet none of us have forgotten it.
posted by goofyfoot (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Bleah. Too many cool musicians dying this year.
posted by Palindromedary at 1:18 AM on August 2, 2010

Fear on Saturday Night Live. Video improves at 2:20.
posted by PHINC at 1:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by lapolla at 2:33 AM on August 2, 2010

Fear on SNL epitomized the chaos that punk rock meant to us. I just happened to stay home that night and saw the show. One of the highlights of the era for me.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:02 AM on August 2, 2010

Great video.

posted by awfurby at 4:44 AM on August 2, 2010

Never listened to saxophones the same way since.

posted by Chichibio at 5:17 AM on August 2, 2010

I just saw this on Derf's Wikipedia entry, which I had never heard before: Scratch, wishing to concentrate on guitar and saxophone, sold the Fender bass he used on The Record to then-Minutemen bassist Mike Watt. Watt played the instrument on another future punk classic, the 1982 release What Makes A Man Start Fires?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:01 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

An introduction to Fear is one of the many ways that Repo Man improved my life.

posted by dirtdirt at 6:28 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Its funny, I always want to post fear clips from The Decline of Western Civlization to my Facebook page, but then I watch them and remember just how politically in your face they were.

posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 6:38 AM on August 2, 2010

Derf Scratch 2004:

So I've got this band called Derf Scratch & Friends where I'm gonna share publishing with everybody, and screw all that. My wife's playing in it.

What does she play?

She sings and she plays keyboard.

Oh, okay. How long have you been married?

Mrs. Scratch and I have been together for almost 12 years now - married for 8 of them.

Oh, okay! Very nice.

I played the field quite a bit, and I've - enough's enough!

. . . "Oh, another question: did you end up liking punk rock? Or at least liking. . .

Oh, fuck yeah! Yeah yeah yeah! Oh yeah. I totally jumped into it. It totally won me over. Oh totally.
posted by goofyfoot at 6:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by joe lisboa at 7:35 AM on August 2, 2010

Oh yeah, saw the SNL incident live. I remember when they pulled the plug, and I thought, "WTF? this was just getting really good." It was one of those great punk TV moments.

Related: a firsthand account of the incident, which has probably become exaggerated over the years to the point where it stretches credulity. The riot caused $250k of damage? Unlikely.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:19 AM on August 2, 2010

dirtdirt, same here. That film burst into my life at just the right moment, too.

posted by atlatl at 8:49 AM on August 2, 2010


Sad news. Never got to see the original line-up of Fear. I saw them mid 80s when Flea was in the band.
posted by cazoo at 8:56 AM on August 2, 2010


What a great band they were—pure punk. I used to play The Record a lot in my early NYC days.

> Related: a firsthand account of the incident

That was wonderful; thanks for sharing it.
posted by languagehat at 10:49 AM on August 2, 2010


That first record is absolutely an all-time great. I did not know about the Mike Watt connection.
posted by mwhybark at 10:58 AM on August 2, 2010

I had just seen mention of his passing ... but oh my god, I hadn't seen that SNL clip until I saw it live. I have vivid memories of explain just how crazy it was to a drummer friend of mine who was a huge fan of the band.

Coincidentally, he just found me after decades a few weeks ago ... time for me to email that clip to him.

Too bad about Derf shuffling of this mortal coil - hell of a band, and a lot of fun to see live.
posted by Relay at 11:50 AM on August 2, 2010

Oh, and one other thing ... in the SNL video, one of the stage diving punks is Ian McKay.
posted by Relay at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2010

Nthing all the 'Decline' love here... buying that soundtrack album, when I was like 15 or whatever, messed my life up in a really good way. Even though Fear never seemed as 'serious' as the other bands on there (Black Flag, X, the Germs... well, I guess they weren't any jokier than Circle Jerks), the performances of 'I Love Living in the City' and 'I Don't Care About You' from that movie are about as Punk as Fuck as anything's ever been.

posted by hap_hazard at 12:27 PM on August 2, 2010

posted by Rykey at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2010

Rumor has it that John Brannon of the Michigan hardcore band Negative Approach was also in attendance at the FEAR SNL performance.
posted by orville sash at 4:24 PM on August 2, 2010

Man, The Album just about made High School bearable for me.

posted by lumpenprole at 4:30 PM on August 2, 2010

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