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Derf Scratch: Wikis


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Derf "Fred" Scratch is best known as the original bass guitarist for, and former member of the punk rock band Fear.

Scratch played bass for Fear since the band's formation in 1977. Scratch met John Belushi during this time in Los Angeles. Belushi loved Fear and was their biggest booster; the two became good friends and cocaine abusers -- this period is well documented in the Bob Woodward book 'Wired'. Belushi got Fear a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live that essentially ended in a semi-planned melee.

After their Saturday Night Live appearance, they recorded their debut album The Record, now a classic punk album. Scratch not only played bass on most of the record, he played saxophone on the song "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones" (while lead singer Lee Ving played bass, as they had been doing the song live). Scratch also co-wrote one song with Ving on the album, "Fresh Flesh", and wrote and sang lead vocal on another, "Getting The Brush". Scratch was also seen with the band in the movie The Decline of Western Civilization and on an episode of Casey Kasem's syndicated America's Top 10 TV show.

Fear hung on until the mid-1980s, eventually breaking up due to the death of the Hollywood punk scene and Ving's increasing interest in acting and performing country music. During the punk revival generated by Nirvana in the 1990s, vocalist Lee Ving did one last performance with the original lineup of Fear before putting together a new version of Fear containing no original members other than himself.

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?



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