It's Super Rock Time!
Pardon us for gushing but they're
By THE BARMAN
Share Let's get personal. If there's one band on the stunning Dig It Up bill that this humble barkeep's been hanging to see live in Australia it's the Fleshtones.
It's been more than 20 years since the Fleshones made it down this way and it was a case of "blink and you missed 'em" back then. This time, fans in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth will see them on the main event line-up. Sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney are the icing on the cake.
Exponents of the self-styled genre of Super Rock, the Fleshtones are a heady mix of garage rock, soul and dance rhythms. Sweat is a by-word for these contemporaries of the CBGB and Max's Kansas City scene who have been delivering the goods in spades since 1976.
While the likes of Blondie, Television and the Ramones took leave of NYC's Lower East Side and experienced varying degrees of mainstream success, the Fleshtones have never charted higher than 174 on the US Billboard charts.
The band's been somewhat written out of historical accounts of the time, but you can experience the whole story by downloading the sensational documentary "Pardon Us For Living But the Graveyard Is Full" here.
What brings them to Australia this time is a strong link to Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner, who first crossed paths with them on a stay in New York City in 1983. Faulkner is an unabashed fan who's seen the Fleshtones live countless times.
"We met Dave when the Hoodoo Gurus first came to NY," says guitarist Keith Streng.
"His road manager located us and invited us to the show at CBGB. We wound up on stage playing with them that night!!!"
Faulkner went on to produce the Fleshtones' 1992 "Powerstance" album and they were the first act to spring to mind when promoter Tim Pittman asked them to come up with a bill for the Dig It Up tour.
"Pardon Us For Living" portrays the band as weekend warriors, by-passed by today's scenemesiters but playing for the love of what they do. Is it accurate?
"We are more than a weekend concern. I have already played 45 shows this year and now i am in Australia for the next two weeks!
"However when home some of us do have part time work! I rent myself and my van (Man with Van) to transport art and Ken the bass player is a contractor.
"Most of the 40 plus shows we just did were in Europe. Spain, Italy, and France where we have a wonderful audience and tour every year, plus Scandinavia!!!
"As for how rock is faring there, Europe will ride the currency problem out, It has already improved considerably."
The band's been impressed by re-issues of their classic IRS material and a best of on Australia's Raven label. If you want to catch up with a current dose of the Fleshies' recorded output you can do worse than procure "Brooklyn Sound Solution" where they're joined by music critic, "Nuggets" compiler and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye.
"Lenny Kaye has been a friend for a long time and he always wanted to do an instrumental album backed by the Fleshtones! It took time for it to come together because of conflicting schedules as Lenny is very busy with Pattii!!
"Originally the album was supposed to be all instrumentals. I thought it was a better and more interesting approach to make it half and half. and alternate the sequence with instrumental followed by vocal.
"Next is a 12-inch four song EP of the Fleshtones singing in Spanish, We recorded it while on tour in Spain in Gijon, We do also intend to make a Fleshtones album this northern summer."
The documentary showed the Fleshtones working up songs in the most organic way - sitting around a coffee table with acoustic guitars, drum sticks and little else. It's a great insight.
"That is typical for our song writing process. First we meet and put together material acoustically and then go into a rehearsal space and put it together at full volume plugged in.
"Material we bring in is realised and just has to be learned and rehearsed and finessed."
Apart from quickfire tours and driving his van, Keith Streng keeps busy with The Master Plan, the band whose ranks include Fleshtones drummer Bill Milhizer and ex-Dictators bassist (and briefly a 'Tones bandmate) Andy Shernoff.
There are six degrees of separation at play here: The Master Plan are playing a handful of US dates with ex-Radio Birdman leader Deniz Tek. He's also on the Sydney Dig It Up bill, playing Radio Birdman songs with Rob Younger, billed as Tek & Younger.
"I'm looking forward to hooking up with Deniz," Keith says, " We are playing a total of three shows together - two in the NYC area and one in Philadelphia.
"Deniz and the Master Plan make a great hard hitting double bill!"
DIG IT UP HOODOO GURUS INVITATIONAL
Friday April 20th The Tivoli Brisbane QLD
Featuring Hoodoo Gurus, performing Stoneage Romeos in its entirety (plus other smash hits), The Sonics (USA) & The 126.96.36.199’s (Japan). Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au, feelpresents. oztix.com.au, ph: 132 849 or in person at all Ticketek and Oztix outlets (including Rockinghorse Records). Doors open 7.30pm
Sunday April 22nd Enmore Theatre, Notes Live and The Green Room Sydney NSW
Featuring Hoodoo Gurus, performing Stoneage Romeos in its entirety (plus other smash hits) + The Sonics (USA), Died Pretty Redd Kross (USA), the 188.8.131.52′s (Japan), Tek & Younger (ex-Radio Birdman), The Fleshtones (USA), Hard-Ons, Belles Will Ring, Royal Headache, The Lovetones, The Straight Arrows; plus alternative comedy, spoken word, guest DJ’s.Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au, feelpresents.oztix.com.au, ph: 9550 3666 or in person at the venue box office and all Ticketek outlets. Doors open 1.00pm
Tuesday April 24th HQ Adelaide SA
Featuring Hoodoo Gurus, performing Stoneage Romeos in its entirety (plus other smash hits), and The Sonics (USA). Tickets from www.venuetix.com.au, feelpresents.oztix.com.au, phone (08) 8225 8888 or in person at any VenueTix or Oztix outlet. Doors open 8.00pm
Wednesday April 25th The Palace Melbourne VIC
Featuring Hoodoo Gurus performing Stoneage Romeos in its entirety (plus other smash hits) + The Sonics (USA), Died Pretty, Redd Kross (USA), the 184.108.40.206′s (Japan), The Fleshtones (USA), Hard-Ons, The Lovetones and more acts to follow.Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au, feelpresents.oztix.com.au, ph: 132 849 or in person at all Ticketek and Oztix outlets (including Greville & Polyester Records). Doors open 1.00pm
Saturday April 28th The Astor Theatre Perth WA
Featuring Hoodoo Gurus, performing Stoneage Romeos in its entirety (plus other smash hits), Redd Kross (USA) & The Fleshtones (USA). Tickets from www.bocsticketing.com.au, feelpresents, oztix.com.au, phone (08) 9484 1133 or in person at all BOCS and Oztix outlets (including 78 Records). Doors open 7.30pm