"The whole recording took about a day and half. We tracked all of it in one session and came back for a half-day to mix it," Cutler says. "The sessions were done in an eight-track country demo studio in Phoenix. My friend Joey Dears was working there as an engineer and had accumulated some free hours. He decided to record The Consumers."
The Consumers did keep it simple and to the point, for sure, but in the same way a lot of the best aggressive music works, their attitude and proficiency allowed them to take something simple and pure and turn it into a masterpiece. There is anger and angst by the bucket, on All My Friends Are Dead, but there also is craftsmanship and oceans of potential. The mere thought of what their follow-up record might have been like is mesmerizing, although you can get some inkling of what it could have been by listening to early 45 Grave (Cutler), Human Hands (Wiley), and The Romans (Borens).
After heading to Los Angeles in 1978, the band were eager to take their place as the wildest, craziest band of desert rats to take over the burgeoning first wave of West Coast punk rock. Phoenix couldn't handle them, and apparently L.A. was not quite ready, either.
"When we got to L.A., there were about 20 to 30 bands in the scene and none of them sounded alike. There were synthesizer punk bands, rockabilly punk bands, et cetera. A lot more fun before the scene began to change in 1979," says Cutler. "They thought we were nuts and called us 'Cactusheads.' They weren't wrong. We didn't have respect for the punk 'scene' or the scenesters in it."
During their short run in L.A., which was just shy of a year, they developed a reputation for violence. Wiley would pull stunts like pretending to commit suicide on stage, or Cutler and Wiley would fake fights and these pieces of performance art would confound their audience. The Consumers were anything but safe and, eventually, their combustible nature took its toll. Cutler, Jones, and then-drummer Vivier moved back to Phoenix while Borens and Wiley stayed in Los Angeles.