BEST LOCAL BAND OF ALL TIME

The Eat

There have been any number of local rock outfits that have graced Miami's stages in search of national glory or just the heart of Saturday night. But few caused as much of a ruckus -- and then promptly disappeared -- as the Eat. Its debut single, 1979's "Communist Radio," still has die-hard fans guessing at its political sympathies: pro-Fidelista rant or anti-commie screed? Of course naming your record label "Giggling Hitler" should give some indication that the Eat wasn't devoted to any philosophy save offending as many people as possible. Which is exactly what its brief existence managed to do: another single in 1980, a disastrous East Coast tour, and (to hear the leather-jacketed survivors tell it) plenty of fights and tense club dramas sparked by patrons none too fond of this new "punk" thang the Eat was blasting out. And that was it. By the mid-Eighties, the Eat was consigned to the dustier pages of history; a brief 1995 reunion is best left forgotten. What the band left behind, though, is "Communist Radio"'s throat-grabbing immediacy, a ferocious meld of sing-along choruses and piercing guitar work that add up to one of the choicest slices of garage-rock glory this side of "Louie Louie." But don't take our word -- sightings of "Communist Radio" regularly fetch upward of $500 on eBay from collectors desperate to snatch a copy of punk's Holy Grail. Sure, musicians such as Charlie Pickett or Nil Lara may be more, ahem, technically accomplished. And characters like Marilyn Manson and the Mavericks may have gone on to greater financial success. But no other Miamian has yet to stake his or her claim to immortality so authoritatively in barely two and a half minutes of joyous scree.

 
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