*My friend and former band mate* prepped me for my first Candy Snatchers show. There would probably be bloody self-mutilation involving broken beer bottles, he said. More than likely there would be fire. Possibly nudity. And without a doubt, there would be a lot of alcohol-induced bad behavior. There was all of that. But there was also rock-n-roll at its ugly, nasty, middle-finger-in-your-face bestÐand much of it came screaming out of a Marshall stack courtesy of Snatchers guitarist Matthew Odietus, who died at the age of 40 at his home in Virginia Beach on June 28. Formed in 1992, local punk rock icons The Candy Snatchers gained notoriety for their outrageous, often dangerous live shows, which earned them a small army of underground fans and even got them banned at one point from the legendary CBGB's in New York. Odietus was a founding member of the band and, along with singer Larry May, one of two members who remained constant through a series of lineup changes. The Candy Snatchers released a string of recordings including their self-titled full-length in 1996, /Human Zoo/ in 1998, and /Color Me Blood Red/ in 2000. They had recently recorded tracks for a new CD (tentatively titled /Down at Delilah's/), and they had a gig scheduled for July 19 at Steppin' Out in Virginia Beach. On stage, Odietus was the beer-spitting, cocky badass in spread-eagle punk rock stanceÐlow-slung guitar, thrift store western shirt and skinny black jeans with a long sweaty mop of black curls flying. But behind the antics, there was raw talent. He ripped out Chuck Berry-esque riffs over a rude wall of frenetic noise, lending old-school cred to the Snatchers' raw punk sound. Odietus' penchant for the hard-partying lifestyle was no secret. Though no official cause of death had been released as of press time, rumors about a possible overdose swirled on the internet and in the local music community last week. The entire band's reputation for debauchery, in fact, was a big part of their act. "I was devastated when I first heard [the news] but I wasn't totally surprised," Odietus' longtime friend and producer of all of the Candy Snatchers' major recordings, Dean Rispler, told me following Odietus' funeral last Wednesday. "It was almost like a joke, almost sort of betting on who was going to die first in that band from some sort of drug overdose or some sort of drunken related accident, because those guys are real hardcore rock-n-roll guys. "People would say, "Oh, those guys in the Candy Snatchers, they're drug addicts.' And I would say, they're not drug addicts they just love drugs. They just love them. Those guys love to have fun and that was fun for them." But the party lifestyle wasn't a 24-7 thing, says Rispler, who lives in New York, where the band often recorded and played gigs. "[Matthew] was a really great person. I think a lot of people, they go to see the band and see him in this crazy element and they think there's only one side to him, but he was very fun to hang out with. It wasn't
all crazy all the time. There were definitely parts to him that were introspective and he was a lot smarter than a lot of people believed." The entire bandÐincluding OdietusÐwas all business in the recording studio, says Rispler. As a guitar player, Odietus carved out a niche. "Everything that he played was basically simpleÐlike simple, three- or four-chord rock-n-roll with blues-based solos or country-based solos. It wasn't hard to play but he could plug into any guitar, any amp and it always sounded like him. There are very few people that you could say that about. He had his own distinctive sound that you couldn't duplicate." Not long ago, Rispler says, Odietus came to visit him in New York. He had brought with him a collection of Matchbox cars he had as a kid and some childhood photos of himself for Rispler to keep, a gesture Rispler found odd. "To myself I said, this is weird, this is like someone who is going to end their life soon...I don't mean to infer that there was any premeditated action in that, I don't think there was, but it was just a little bizarre." Bizarre and somewhat out of character. "And this was from a guy who had nothing," he says. "When he was playing in the band, he didn't have a guitar. He didn't even own an amp. Everything was borrowed. Today, when he was in the coffin today, in the casket, he was wearing /my/ shirt and holding [a borrowed guitar]. It was insane, we show up and he's buried with this classic Matthew Odietus¼grin on his face. Everyone who knows him looked at that and was like, `That's perfect.'" Odietus is survived by his mother. His father and sister are deceased. The Snatchers' final recording with Odietus does not have an official release date but fans can count on having it available at some point, says Rispler. * For a taste of classic Snatchers insanity, search "Candy Snatchers `Why I Drink'" on YouTube. * Comments: Friday, July 18, 2008 11:54:17 PM by *Anonymous* The eulogy for Candysnatchers Matt was awesome. Thanks for paying tribute. There are some pictures on three quarter slug s myspace page and a few on mine (just find me on their friends page.) I hope to post more soon. The Outer Banks scene has always been stoked to see a snatchers show. Megan Friday, July 11, 2008 10:32:53 PM by *Anonymous* Thank you for writing about writing "Matthew was a really great a person". Matthew was not only talented, he was smart, witty and kind when he wanted to be. My friends and I are all truly saddened by his death and we will miss him.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:47:04 AM by *Anonymous* Rest in peace, Matthew. You will be missed! Wednesday, July 09, 2008 7:08:26 AM by *G.* R.I.P. Matt! Wednesday, July 09, 2008 1:48:51 AM by *Anonymous* Dean, great interview... nice way of succinctly recounting what you knew of Matthew with real humor and aplomb... I ll miss him... -Rob