Frederick Milner, better known as Derf Scratch, bass player for FEAR from 1977-1982, passed away on July 28 after a long battle with an unspecified illness.
Scratch was an original, founding member of the legendary punk band.
Fear was formed by vocalist/guitarist Lee Ving and Scratch in 1977. The Los Angeles band's probably most notoriously remembered for their controversial performance on the 1981 Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live, per request of punk rock fan John Belushi. Fear went on to perform the most offensive/awesome tunes possible--"I Don't Care About You," "Beef Balogna"--peppered with the most offensive/awesome language possible. The whole thing was topped off by a slew of bussed-in punkers (which included Minor Threat/Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and Belushi himself) slam dancing around the band on stage, eventually destroying the set. The entire thing was cut short after the band jumped to "Let's Have a War."
Full clip here--trust me, it's worth your time:
Fear released their debut album, The Record, in 1982. Scratch was "let go" from the band soon after touring in promotion of the album. According to a Citizine interview with former drummer Spit Stix:
"Derf was just not pulling his weight. It was like none of us had roadies in the early days. Actually we never had roadies. Just a very few on a couple of tours, but not regular roadies. Okay, we did have a couple of roadies. But at any rate, in the early days we didn't, when Derf was around. And if you didn't pull your gear, other people had to pull it and they'd get really resentful towards you. And I think that was one of the factors. And then just not wanting to rehearse as athletically as the rest of us. What none of us realized is what Derf brought to the table--this kind of Dean Martin classy drunk vibe. "
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While not much is known about Scratch in the public eye post-Fear, he did own a MySpace music page. The "About Derf Scratch" section reads:
"On Wednesday, May 24th, 2006, Derf played a set with his new band, The Werewolfs, at the Mint in Hollywood. On the way home from that show, he was in a very serious car accident, but he's fine now. He say to one and all, 'Eat my fuck with love.'"