Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fleshtones Fever!

My favorite Fleshtones tracks on 2 discs. Liner notes from the AOTM post last year:

Super Rock: "Super Rock is taking the best, most exciting elements of rock & roll, and exaggerating and amplifying them beyond proportion, with no apology whatsoever." Bill Milhizer, Fleshtones Drummer (1980-present) 

It all began in 1976 in Queens, New York, when roommates Keith Streng and Jan-Marek Pakulski discovered that a previous tenant had left behind some instruments in the basement of their apartment building. Not knowing how to play, they started teaching themselves by playing along with their favorite 60s rock songs by such artists as the Kingsmen, the Raiders, the Coasters and the Kinks. Originally, their ultimate goal was to become a rockin' party band. Streng, on guitar, and Pakulski, on bass, were soon joined by neighborhood friends Peter Zaremba on harmonica, keyboards, and vocals, and Lenny Calderon on drums. The Fleshtones quickly became famous locally for their basement dance parties fueled by *Blue Whale cocktails. 

Possibly their greatest recording was the classic "Hexbreaker", my first and still my favorite Fleshtones disc. The "Hexbreaker" lineup was, in my opinion, their very best, with Keith Streng (guitar & vocals), Peter Zaremba (lead vocals, harmonica & organ), Bill Milhizer (drums & vocals), Jan-Marek Pakulski (bass, vocals), and Gordon Spaeth (sax, harmonica, organ, vocals). I remember encountering this album at Rasputin Records in Berkeley in 1985. I bought it on a whim, took it home and couldn't stop 

playing it. That record was hugely influential on my developing tastes in rock 'n' roll, and I am forever indebted to them for recording it. 

The Fleshtones put on what was probably the best live show I've ever seen, at the DNA lounge in San Francisco in the early 1990s. At one point in the show, they jumped off the stage and (wearing wireless mics) kept playing while they danced with the audience and started making their way around the club. I was on the upper mezzanine (which wrapped around the upper floor) and they came up the stairs, still playing, while making their way around the mezzanine and back down the stairs. Soon after that we lost sight of them, as they'd left the building briefly, played out on the sidewalk for a few minutes and then came back inside to cheers and thunderous applause. That was one rockin' show-- but the thing that stuck with me the most was what they did afterwards. They all stood outside the door and thanked their fans for coming. I went home that night pumped with adrenaline and beaming from ear to ear. Nothing in the world quite beats the Super Rock! 

32 years later, their lineup has gone thought several changes, but they are still channelling the spirit of every great rock 'n roll party band that ever existed, and have rightfully taken their place among them. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present one of the hardest working bands in Rock 'n' Roll: The Fleshtones! 

* The Blue Whale 

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate 

Fill can once with blue CuraƧao 

Fill can twice with Vodka 

Add lots of ice 



1 Take a Walk With the Fleshtones

2 Shadow-Line

3 One Less Step

4 All Around the World

5 Hard Lovin' Man

6 I've Gotta Change My Life

7 Push On Thru'

8 Cold, Cold Shoes

9 Psychedelic Swamp

10 The World Has Changed

11 Legend of a Wheelman

12 Girl From Baltimore

13 Hope Come Back

14 Alright

15 Right Side of a Good Thing

16 Chinese Kitchen

17 Let's See the Sun

18 Beautiful Light

19 Ride Your Pony

20 This House is Empty

21 Accelerated Emotion

22 She's My Baby

23 Whatever Makes You Happy

24 New Scene

25 Roman Gods


1 I'm Back Again

2 Stop Fooling Around

3 What's So New (About You)?

4 Outcast

5 American Beat '84

6 Want!

7 We'll Never Forget

8 Can't Get Enough Of Your Love

9 Double Dipper

10 I Was a Teenage Zombie

11 Screaming Skull

12 D.T. Shadows

13 Deep in My Heart

14 Let's Go

15 Hall of Fame

16 Destination Greenport

17 Pickin' Pickin'

18 Burning Hell

19 Good Enough For You


21 R-I-G-H-T-S

22 A Motor Needs Gas

23 Feel The Heat

24 The Dreg (Hexbreaker-77)

25 Super Hexbreaker

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