Cygnus Radio playlist 7/12/13: The Fleshtones and the American Beat

The Fleshtones in action -- they're never at rest -- this past Saturday at Sailfest, at the Hygienic Art Park in New London, CT. From left: Ken Fox, Peter Zaremba, Bill Milhizer and Keith Streng.

The Fleshtones in action — on stage, they’re never at rest  — this past Saturday (July 13) at Sailfest, at the Hygienic Art Park in New London, CT. From left: Ken Fox, Peter Zaremba, Bill Milhizer and Keith Streng.

Franorama 2.0 airs live every Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT (9-noon CDT, 7-10 a.m. PDT, 2-5 p.m. GMT) on Cygnus Radio, and in the archives in semi-perpetuity. For the link to the archived shows, click here.

“The Fantastic Johnny C! Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon! The incredible James Brown! Roy Brown! Chuck Brown! The Reverend Richard Penniman! Elvis Presley and all the kings of rock’n’roll. Lou Costello! The Intruders! The Illusions! Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly! The Dell-Vikings, Del Fuegos, Del Shannon, MC5. The Velvets! The Stooges! Louie Jordan, Rosco Gordon! The Raiders and the Wailers and The Kingsmen and The Sonics. Phast Phreddie, The Last! The Unclaimed, The Plimsouls! The Lyres and The Real Kids. The Modern Lovers! Alan Vega, Los Lobos, The Gentrys, The Dantes and The Headhunters, too. Mitch Ryder! Ritchie Valens! The Osmonds! Parliament and The Jackson 5. The Rivingtons! Donna Summer! Martha Reeves! Richard Berry! Berry Gordy! Hoo — Chuck Berry! LouieLouieLouieLouieLouieLouieLoueeeee! Come on, Louie! LouieLouieLouieeee!”

The above roll call comes at the tail end of the Franorama 2.0 national anthem — the song I use to open nearly every show, be it on Cygnus Radio online or WPKN in Bridgeport — “American Beat ’84” by my eternal favorite band, Brooklyn’s uncrowned kings of pop and soul since 1976, The Fleshtones. A re-recording of their very first single, from 1978, it ran in the end-title credits of Tom Hanks’ first starring feature, Bachelor Party (where he shared marquee time with the illustrious Adrian Zmed and Tawny Kitaen).

Peter taking his chances out in the crowd.

Peter taking his chances out in the crowd.

And in this re-done version. Peter Zaremba, the group’s kinetic frontman, honored some of the people who’ve shaped rock and soul — both familiar and unfamiliar names.

And since they were playing in Connecticut for the first time since my move home last August — this last Saturday (July 13) as part of New London’s annual Sailfest, and playing in the prime pre- and post-fireworks slot once held by The Reducers, I devoted the whole show to them. And, in particular, the American Beat. Took me more than 20 years to finally do this show, based on the roll call. I’m not the first person who’s done this, but hey — it doesn’t happen very often. And I had more fun than a barrel of people.

Keith impersonates Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" album cover.

Keith impersonates Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album cover.

Anyway, by the time I put together all the songs for the roll call, I realized, “Holy shit! I have over three hours of music for a three-hour show! And no Fleshtones!” So I texted Gary Gone, the head G of this Cygnus operation, seeing if he minded if I go over an extra hour; he was fine with it — after all, there were four hours until D.J. Lotto’s Happy Hour show, and I draw (hopefully) better ratings than the autobot that runs during the dead-air times — so all’s well that ends well.

And their show Saturday night was as fun and energetic as I’ve seen them in years. They were firing on all cylinders. I’ve seen both good and bad shows over nearly 30 years, and this was one of the good ones. The Fleshtones are the most fun you can have on a Saturday night without a prescription, and this show was proof.

Keith and Eddie Munoz during The Split Squad's opening set.

Keith and Eddie Munoz during The Split Squad’s opening set.

And the opening act was a revelation. ‘Shtones guitarist Keith Streng also plays in The Split Squad, all of whom have other jobs. Surrounding singer/bassist Michael Giblin (of The Parallax Project) are Keith and Eddie Munoz of Plimsouls fame on guitar, organist Josh Kantor of The Baseball Project and Fenway Park, and, normally on drums, Clem Burke. But since Clem was away with some other band he plays with (Blondie), pinch-drumming was Linda Pitmon, also of The Baseball Project and, with husband Steve Wynn, The Miracle 3. Lots of unexpected fun.

Anyway, back to “American Beat.” Some notes for the uninitiated:

Peter gave a quick mention to “all the kings of rock’n’roll,” so I took artistic license to conjure as many American Kings as I could muster … Thee Precisions were Phast Phreddie’s band — longtime L.A. scenester Phast Phreddie Patterson … The Unclaimed was an L.A. garage band  from the late ’70s/early ’80s, best known for being Sid Griffin’s first band, before The Long Ryders … Alan Vega was half (with Martin Rev) of minimalist no-wave duo Suicide in the late ’70s/early ’80s … The Gentrys, of “Keep on Damcing” fame, included future famed pro wrestling “manager” Jimmy Hart … The Dantes were a garage band from Ohio whose breakout single from 1964, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” was covered by The Fleshtones in the mid-to-late ’80s … Motown mogul Berry Gordy, of course, was never a recording artist, and Motown was represented already, so I included his first big claim to fame — as co-writer of “Lonely Teardrops” for his Detroit friend Jackie Wilson.

Well, that’s all. No themes planned for this Friday’s show. But I guarantee a fun time. So tune in while you work, tell your friends and, if you haven’t done so yet, please “like” my Facebook radio/blog page. I want this show, and this station, to blow up bigtime. Have fun — I know I did.


American Beat ’84 – The Fleshtones

Boogaloo Down Broadway – The Fantastic Johnny C

Palisades Park – Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon

Hot Pants, Pt. 1 – James Brown

Rockin’ at Midnight – Roy Brown

We Need Some Money – Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers

The Girl Can’t Help It – Little Richard

Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley


Route 66 – Nat “King” Cole

Crosscut Saw – Albert King

Alley Rat – King Coleman

Since I Met You Baby – B.B. King w/Gary Moore

I Can’t Break the News to Myself – Ben E. King

Going Down – Freddie King

Whole Lotta Love – King Curtis

Took My Lady to Dinner – King Khan & the Shakes

Shame – Evelyn “Champagne” King

Let’s Go – Joe “King” Carrasco

Surfin’ School – King Uszniewicz and His Uszniewicztones


Who’s on First – Abbott & Costello

Cowboys to Girls – The Intruders

Jezebel – The Illusions

Somethin’ Else – Eddie Cochran

Rock Around with Ollie Vee – Buddy Holly

Come Go With Me – The Del-Vikings

Nervous and Shakey – The Del Fuegos

Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun) – Del Shannon


Teenage Lust – MC5

Rock and Roll – The Velvet Underground

Search and Destroy – Iggy & the Stooges

Saturday Night Fish Fry – Louis Jordan

Booted – Rosco Gordon

Steppin’ Out – Paul Revere & the Raiders

Dirty Robber – The Wailers

The Jolly Green Giant – The Kingsmen

He’s Waitin’ – The Sonics


Only Lovers Left Alive – Thee Precisions

She Don’t Know Why I’m Here – The Last

The Sorrow – The Unclaimed

Hush Hush – The Plimsouls

I’m Telling You Girl – The Lyres

All Kindsa Girls – The Real Kids

She Cracked – The Modern Lovers


Jukebox Babe – Alan Vega

Don’t Worry Baby – Los Lobos

Keep on Dancing – The Gentrys

Can’t Get Enough of Your Love – The Dantes

Land of a Thousand Dances – Cannibal & the Headhunters

You Get Your Kicks – Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

Ooh, My Head – Ritchie Valens

Yo-Yo – The Osmonds

Unfunky UFO – Parliament

ABC – The Jackson 5


Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow – The Rivingtons

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

Wild One – Martha & the Vandellas

Have Love Will Travel – Richard Berry

Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson

Bye Bye Johnny – Chuck Berry

Louie Louie – The Kingsmen


The Dreg – The Fleshtones

Theme from The Vindicators – The Fleshtones

Stop Fooling Around – The Fleshtones

Never Grew Up – The Fleshtones

I Can’t Hide – The Fleshtones

Kingsmen Like Medley – The Fleshtones


Too Late to Run – The Fleshtones

My Love Machine – The Fleshtones

Let Her Rip – The Fleshtones

Dick Tracy – The Fleshtones

I Am What I Am – The Fleshtones

Hard Lovin’ Man – The Fleshtones

Push Up Man – The Fleshtones

Feels Good to Feel – The Fleshtones


American Beat (original 1978 version) – The Fleshtones

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