The Fleshtones, 2001. Back then, they'd only been at it 25 years. Front: Peter Zaremba. Back, from left: Bill Milhizer, Keith Streng and Ken Fox. Photo by Anne Laurent.
Editor’s note: Once in a while, music writers are lucky enough to get the chance to write about their favorite musicians and bands. I was lucky enough to have been able to do interviews/features with Brian Wilson and the band that’s been my favorite since 1984, The Fleshtones.
This story ran as the centerpiece of the Friday, March 23, 2001 Weekend section of the New Haven Register. They were playing the next night as part of a Junk Culture Festival at the late downtown club the Tune Inn, and had recently released the album “Solid Gold Sound” on Blood Red, a small indie label out of Portland — run by a guy who worked, if I remember right, full-time as a nurse to fuel his passion for music.
And they’re still going, nearly 36 years after Peter Zaremba and Keith Streng played their first gig, at CBGB. The early days of CB’s. Before punk was punk.
The piece comes to me thanks to the good graces of one Jay Mucci, a fan of my music writing since my Waterbury days — and a big music fan, period. Jay has a blog called The Beat Patrol, where you can find countless music stories and reviews, by me and a lot of other people. Jay was kind enough to have included this on his site.
By Fran Fried, Register Entertainment Editor
You’d think they would have quit a long time ago. Instead, The Fleshtones just released their 16th album, Solid Gold Sound, on Blood Red, a Portland, Ore., indie label. They’ll also return to the Tune Inn Saturday night to play in the club’s two-night, 20-band Junk Culture Festival, going on at 9:30.
So why are they doing this? They’re not getting rich — or younger. Why put themselves through the grind, long past the point where others’ hearts would have shattered?
The answer can be easily seen at one of their shows. Like all the Whos down in Whoville, singing around where the Christmas tree once stood, The Fleshtones’ hearts haven’t been tarnished by material disappointments.
Singer Peter Zaremba still sweats and strains, frugging and swimming himself into a medallion-swinging frenzy out of a ’60s discotheque. Guitarist and fellow original member Keith Streng still bashes chords as if a young man. Bill Milhizer, in the band since 1979, still pounds the sweat-soaked beat that drives the hybrid of ’60s rock and soul that Zaremba calls “super rock.”
Bassist Ken Fox, the junior member, with 11 years in The Fleshtones since leaving Jason & the Scorchers, still has as much fun as he did when he was a fan of the band in the mid-’80s.
They just love what they do.