The Fleshtones — Speed Connection Live in Paris ’85

Holy cats. You know how some with some bands, their studio work doesn’t really translate to live performance, and others can’t seem to capture their remarkable live performances in the studio? That is not a problem for The Fleshtones, in either direction. Their studio stuff is as energetic and exciting as can be, and their live performances are off the charts. This album captures them at peak excitement, 1985 in Paris . . . so crazy good. You have to see some of their early performances to really understand the level of crazy fun, so I’ve embedded a few below.

Speed Connection
Speed Connection front cover – absolute PEAK 1985 graphics

This album featured heavily on the cassette that was my sole source of Fleshtones for a number of years. There are two amazing medleys — the Kingsmen-like Medley (that’s what it’s called) in which they mash up Trouble, Haunted Castle, and Twelve Months Later, and the Super Rock Medley, which meshes Theme From ‘The Vindicators,’ Hexbreaker, and Roman Gods.

The Brooklyn-based Fleshtones have a Troy connection — drummer Bill Milhizer is originally from Troy. I can only assume that’s a reason they have played in The Collar City any number of times through the years. A lot of the shows seemed to be during the week, which was just not an option for us as parents, and there were a lot of years when we were not going to bar shows (we don’t drink), so unfortunately we missed many chances to see them play, even when they were practically in our back yard. We did, however, finally get to see them play at a memorable outdoor, daytime, weekend Father’s Day show in Troy, a family show when the kids were still in their early teens. We all just got to go hang out on the end of River Street on a lovely summer day while they played their hearts out on a tiny street stage. Especially nice was that my friend Dan, whose advice regarding worshiping the Fleshtones I had ignored for too long, was there as well.

Speed Connection back cover
The Fleshtones have gone 4,000 miles to create this package — packing a triple wallop of old Fleshtones favorites, all time crowd pleasers by other artists as well as brand new never before heard cuts from the boys. Steel-plate your speaker cones, because, to paraphrase Jackie Gleason, the Fleshtones don’t just happen, THEY EXPLODE.”
Speed Connection label

To give you a real sense of how fantastic they are, here’s a fantastic video of “Screaming Skull” and “I,” from 1984:

And wailing through “American Beat”:

Here are the boys doing The Dreg in 2012 – in case you wondered if they’ve still got it:

And don’t miss this treasure – The Fleshtones backing up Ian McKellen on Andy Warhol’s TV show:

Last Vestige price tag
At some point I gave up getting labels off any albums that I treasured, preferring the marring of a label to a torn cover. In recent years I’ve gotten much better at label removal, but in this case it at least lets me know where I picked this up: Albany’s Last Vestige Records.

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