They were started in the fall of 1977 by punk poet Chris Desjardins, a singer known for morbid lyrical themes. Their first gig was December 21, 1977 at The Masque in Los Angeles. Musicians in various Flesh Eaters line-ups included Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), John Doe (X), DJ Bonebrake (X), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). Considered by many to be a precursur of Death Rock, their music was a pastiche of rockabilly, road-house blues, punk rock and jazz.
The Flesh Eaters initially broke up in 1983. Desjardins performed with his new band, The Divine Horsemen until 1988. In 1989 Desjardins recorded an LP with the one-time group Stone-By-Stone. Shortly after this they changed their name back to The Flesh Eaters. They continued to perform on the west coast, ultimately recording two albums. They discontinued performances in the Spring of 1993. Since then, Desjardins has performed intermittently with a variety of musicians under this name. The most recent Flesh Eaters album Miss Muerte was released in 2004 on Atavistic Records. This label has also reissued "No Questions Asked" & "Hard Road To Follow". In February 2006 it was announced that the original Flesh Eaters would perform several live shows. This particular line-up of The Flesh Eaters had not played together since the Spring of 1981. John Doe and DJ Bonebrake from X, Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman from The Blasters and Steve Berlin from Los Lobos were scheduled to appear for these shows. The tour included three dates in California and one date in England at the All Tomorrows Party Festival.
Desjardins also issued a solo semi-acoustic LP on the French New Rose label, "Divine Horseman" later released in Australia by Dog Meat Records of Melbourne. It features many old friends as guest musicians, including Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Linda "Tex" Jones and Dave Alvin.
He issued a second, rockier solo effort entitled "I Pass For Human" as "Stone By Stone"- basically a paean of loss following the breakup with his wife and partner in The Divine Horsemen Julie Christensen. It is a harrowing piece of work, reflecting on his life, his loves, and his ongoing battles with heroin addiction.
Henry Rollins published "Double Snake Bourbon", a collection of Desjardins' poetry, lyrics and prose under his 2.13.61 imprint. (Now out of print)
Desjardins had previously written for Slash and Forced Exposure, and has recently completed a book on Japanese yakuza films, as well as providing liner notes and annotation for several DVDs of classic reissues os such films.