FEAR has always been regarded as a vital element of the early Los Angeles, California, United States punk scene by those who witnessed their fury firsthand. Formed by the mysterious Lee Ving (b. Lee James Jude Capallero) and his friend Derf Scratch (b. Fred Milner) in 1978 after the former attended a Black Randy concert, the two quickly recruited scene regulars Burt Good and Johnny Backbeat to play guitar and drums, respectively, in their new project.
Their early lyrics delivered a humorous and often negative look at urban life, the middle class, homosexuality (especially in the punk rock scene), and women - by the time they released their first album years later, they had a song to offend everybody. The group released their first single, the iconic "Now Your Dead b/w I Love Livin' in the City", in mid 1978, around the same time they started playing live, opening for well-known acts such as The Plugz and The Bags. Backbeat was ditched in favor of newcomer Spit Stix (b. Tim Leitch) in late '78, and Good was ejected around this time and replaced by the eclectic but extremely talented Philo Cramer, as Lee took up rhythm guitar in addition to his lead vocal duties.
This personnel change signaled the beginning of FEAR's unique sound - crunching guitars with bent notes, tappa-tappa tight drums, and a bass that utilized power chords in many songs. The foursome played multiple gigs a week, often headlining shows at the Masque and the Hong Kong Café as early as April of 1979. Their song repertoire slowly grew, and crowd favorites such as "No More Nothing" and "Strangulation" were introduced into the setlist. In late '79, FEAR was filmed performing a vicious set at the Fleetwood, the footage being used in the famous punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.Make Fear Playlist