Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Chris Sick.

The Fleshtones – the lost nugget

There are millions of bands that should’ve ‘made it’ and most of ‘em didn’t, simply cos they weren’t good enough. Some split up before getting a chance to prove themselves. Some just weren’t in the right place at the right time. But very few unknown bands truly deserve the suffix ‘-they should’ve made it big’.

Their first serving of vinyl, on Red Star 1979.
 The Fleshtones are one. The main reason was that they could never record the atmosphere of their sweaty, euphoric dancing party live shows on to wax. This happens to only a handful of bands, The Monotonix being the most recent receiver of that accolade. Record labels like little boxes of units that they can sell and some bands are just that – bands, not unit-manufacturers.

1982 'Blast Off' Tour poster
Plagued with bad luck, the Fleshtones play Garage Punk like it’s an extension of traditional Americana music. They have never hit the zeitgeist and therefore will always be timeless.

1984 IRS Release of 'American Beat'
Formed in ’76 in the sleazy filth of the Bowery, New York City. They were always outsiders to the New Wave & Punk scene as they weren’t angry young men with a F**K YOU on their shoulders. They wanted to dance the shimmy, shake, frug and watusi (and drink). Seen as a bunch of outcasts who formed a mindless twist band, record labels overlooked them when searching for that CBGBs market (like Blondie, Ramones, Cramps & Suicide).

The Fleshtones, CBGB's 1976
A degenerate party band with a DIY punk ethos and energy but without the politics. In a time where bands forgot they were entertainers and crowds just stared blankly at the stage, these guys partied & played their take on ‘60s frat rock, born out of long teenage days getting high and listening to The MC5, Stooges, Kingsmen, Kinks, Stones and countless black R&B artists of the ‘50s.

UK Tour 2014
This band has toured relentlessly for 35 years. Driving into town, partying the crap out of it and moving on like Rock ‘n’ Roll pied pipers, usually leading the kids astray in a procession down the street. Never pretentiously cool in the scenester way, never fashionable, this band play timeless RnR to goofballs, outsiders and geeks. If you were too embarrassed to dance at the school disco, then make up for it now. You won’t be alone! Get diseased by the infectious beats of the Fleshtones, designed for drunken dancing…

Another Great sleeve by Serge Clerc 'en plus'

  1. 1979 - their first record was shelved when the label went belly up. “BLAST OFF!!” was not to see the light of day till ’90.
  2. 1985 - Their chance to finally record a live album and finally show them at their best was scuppered as the recording was under-equipped, rushed and released in a week. Oh, and the singer was suffering from laryngitis
  3. 1987 - much in need of good press and exposure, they were asked to produce the title song to an up-and-coming film. However “I Was A Teenage Zombie” was panned by the critics and after a very limited run it sank without a trace.
  4. 1995 – Steve Albini, fresh from his Nirvana success, produced a technically perfect (to the point of sterile) album. It might work for Grunge but not for Garage… where’s the soul, Steveo?
  5. A rolling rosta of managers, bass players, record labels, low turnouts due to bad promoters, under promoted records, poor radioplay, ignored by MTV, perversely juxtaposed with overwhelming critical acclaim and audience adulation.

    Always well received in France !
    With over 20 LPs over 35yrs, where do you start to get the taste for flesh? Most suffer from trying to translate the drunken, messy, fun of their trash ‘n’ roll live shows into a seriously sellable album. Over-produced, under-prepared, over-budget, under-promoted, unfashionable, these guys have been through it all… so here’s my top 10

    Fabulous !
  1.  American Beat
  2. I was a Teenage Zombie
  3. Screaming Skull
  4. Hitsburg USA
  5. Hide & Seek
  6. Shadowlines – Urgh
  7. Hexbreaker
  8. Dick Tracy
  9. Roman Gods
  10. Candy Ass

    The Full Story.
    For the full story of the bands helter skelter ride of a career to date, pick up a copy of  'SWEAT', The Fleshtones story.

    The Fleshtones on Facebook:

    Keep it real !


  1. The Cramps used to share their rehearsal garage with the Fleshtones in NY

  2. Yep, I got a pix - given to me by ex Mrs Streng with th Cramps & Fleshtones in the garage (it's was in fact real "garage car" place).
    I used to love the Fleshtones but I think they are boring now.
    To my the real underrated band are th Flamin' Groovies - 2nd The Real Kids - 3rd The Romanee Counteez

    1. Would love to see that sometime Patrick. Feel free to email it over and I'd be only too glad to post it !