The great loves of your life define you. What you are exists in reaction to them, is defined by them. God. America. People, friends, spouses, children, parents — ideals, art, books, what have you. And somehow they all hang together even if you are the only person on the earth who embodies that particular configuration.
Rock’n’roll –You either get it, or you don’t. I used to think that if someone didn’t get it, that was a moral failing. That is the attitude of an adolescent who gets it. Of the people who have contributed to this blog I know that me, Mitch, Captain Mojo and Carl Ortona get it, for example. But I can still be pals with the rest of ’em. I just cannot have certain conversations with them and make myself understood. This love affair with Miss Rock’n’Roll is more or less ardent, and those of us smitten by her all have our memories of great moments with her, and some foolish escapades, and some regrettable behavior.
The most ardent of her devotees? I will tell you, without question or cavil, without doubt: It is the Fleshtones. They have been at it for more than 30 years. They put on the best live show I have ever seen. They invented Super Rock. Their hearts are in the right place. They make you dance, they make you laugh, they make you sing along. They are survivors, they are relentless, they are visionaries who have clung to their vision like the knights of old growing grey on a ceaseless quest. If you already know and love the Fleshtones, you are already smiling. If you don’t, I can only say, go see them when they come through town. Their records and their videos cannot capture their greatness, as good as they are (There are some here). You have to be in the room.
I just finished a biography of the band, called Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band. I would have given this book 873 stars, but they only let me give it five. Me? I live to read. I lust for the book that I cannot bear to put down. That is what I like, that is what I look for. This is one of those books. A love letter, a labor of love, and a gripping read about people who have brought nothing but happiness to thousands of people for a long, long time. It helps to already have spent some time living in total intoxication of the Fleshtones, of course, but it is a brilliant book no matter what.