In what has become an annual ritual, legendary cult band The Fleshtones will play a free concert Saturday, April 2, in downtown Rehoboth Beach. The show will include a twist this time; their 11 p.m. performance at the Dogfish Head brewpub will be preceded by a 10 p.m. viewing of a documentary about the freewheeling, high-energy band.
The film “Pardon Us For Living But the Graveyard Is Full” chronicles the group’s 25-year career as an underground act on the fringes of the music business. It includes commentary from celebrity friends such as R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, who marveled at the fact that fame and fortune has evaded The Fleshtones despite worldwide tours and a catalog of albums featuring catchy tunes mixing punk, pop and surf-rock elements.
Anyone who has seen The Fleshtones at Dogfish can attest they are one of the most entertaining live acts around. Band members frequently jump off the stage, climb on top of the bar and tables and even get down onto the floor to engage in a pushup contest with audience members during the song “Pushup Man.”
Speaking by telephone from his New York City home, singer Peter Zaremba said the show will feature several tunes from their new album, “Brooklyn Sound Solutions,” which was released nationally last week.
In true Fleshtones fashion, the album’s most commercial song, “We Remember The Ramones,” was relegated to B-side status on a 45-rpm vinyl single and is a bonus track on the digital version of the LP.
“It’s our typical perverse way of doing things,” Zaremba said. “I was trying to shop it to some people who were making a Ramones movie. The tune was lying around, and then I was the one who suggested we do a 45. Then we decided we wanted a non-album B-side on that.”
The Ramones and The Fleshtones were both regulars at CBGB in New York in 1976. “I remember the first time I saw The Ramones. I was a little puzzled by them, and I thought a lot of their songs sounded the same,” Zaremba said. “I was in art school at the time, and my friend said, ‘It’s a combination of all the things you like.’ The second time I saw them, I got it. The Fleshtones formed within months of that.”
Fans who remember the glory days of MTV in the ’80s may remember Zaremba as the host of the network’s first-ever weekly alternative music show, “IRS’ Cutting Edge,” where he interviewed then up-and-comers such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Over the years, The Fleshtones have experimented with different concepts to keep things fresh while recording, including a Christmas album in 2009. The new album features many instrumentals and remakes, the highlight being a cover of “Day Tripper” by The Beatles.
The album is also billed as The Fleshtones featuring Lenny Kaye. Kaye, who guested on the entire recording, is the guitarist for the Patti Smith Group, which is in the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He was also the curator of the popular “Nuggets” box set, which compiled power-pop singles from various ‘60s acts.
“Lenny will playing with us in Hoboken on Friday,” Zaremba said. “He won’t be in Rehoboth, but I think he would actually like it a lot.”
The Fleshtones’ first appearance at Dogfish in 2008 featured another Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame member on the bill — Blondie drummer Clem Burke.