Based in Brooklyn, New York, the quartet's origins lie just a few miles north in Queens, where in 1975 Streng and original bass player Marek Pakulski rented "The House," as it was infamously known, and found instruments down in the basement. To quote Keith: "How and why The Fleshtones started was that there was a place to do it!" Countless "Blue Whale Bashes," Lower East Side sightings, and an endless string of gigs and records later, The Fleshtones continue to record and perform with a wit, passion, and energy that few bands can top.
While 2003's Do You Swing? was strong enough to convince any doubters that the Fleshtones were still firing on all cylinders after cranking out the "Super Rock" since 1976, 2005's Beachhead goes that fine album one better -- Beachhead not only matches it for great songs, but actually rocks out with greater muscle and élan. Six of Beachhead 's 11 songs were recorded with nuevo-garage kingpin Jim Diamond at his Ghetto Recorders studio in Detroit, while the remainder of the disc was produced by Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids at his Kudzu Ranch facilities, and the tag-team production seems to have been a shrewd choice -- Miller's recordings boast a bit more production police and nuance, while Diamond captured the Fleshtones while they were fired up and rocking hard, and when you put it all together one gets the best of both worlds. (Though Diamond was behind the board for the moody closer, "Late September Moon," and Miller recorded the rollicking "Push Up Man," proving neither man's skills are mutually exclusive.)
If Peter Zaremba 's voice isn't as smooth as it once was, he's still plenty commanding, and the rest of the band -- Keith Streng on guitar, Ken Fox on bass, and Bill Milhizer at the drums -- sound sharp, powerful, and muscular without losing touch with the smarts and sense of fun that always made this band a hit at social gatherings. And the opening hat trick of "Bigger and Better," "Serious," and "Pretty Pretty Pretty" shows these guys still have the hooks, the riffs, and the gift of gab firmly at their command -- the Fleshtones haven't stopped writing cool songs and playing them right, and Beachhead is one solid blast of Super Rock thunder that will get the party started.--Mark Deming
When The Fleshtones first appeared on the New York City scene in 1976 they were a decidedly retro outfit, celebrating the glorious abandon of sixties garage bands. With the passage of time they've become a tradition unto themselves. Sixteen albums, periods of furious activity and the occasional hiatus, and they're still at it. After trying various contemporary production approaches, their 2003 album Do You Swing? was a return to form, and now Beachhead continues to find them on a roll. The band's strength is their ability to avoid sounding like a museum piece, writing songs that would could have thrived forty years ago, but which are right at home now. The ascendancy of the White Stripes and The Strokes has helped shine a well deserved light on The Fleshtones untainted rocking bravado. --David Greenberger