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Derf Scratch of punk band Fear dies at 58

August 5, 2010 |  3:01 pm
When the influential punk band Fear formed in the late 1970s in the San Fernando Valley, Derf Scratch -- birth name Frederick Charles Milner III -- played bass guitar for the group that helped define “the sound and style of L.A. hardcore,” Steve Huey writes on

Scratch, who had liver disease, died July 28 in Camarillo. He was 58.

On Halloween 1981 the band made what is perhaps its most famous appearance, on “Saturday Night Live.” Comedian John Belushi was a fan, and they were booked at his insistence. But chaos and controversy ensued, along with some profanity, when slam-dancing fans got carried away and reportedly caused costly damage to NBC studio equipment.

Fear’s first full-length album, “The Record” -- considered the band’s best by many critics -- came out in 1982 and Scratch left the band soon after.

Since then, he played in various groups, including the Werewolfs and Derf Scratch and Friends.

-- Valerie J. Nelson