Friday, November 16, 2007

Do you rememba Zaremba?

See more grainy, blurry, faraway Fleshtone fotos here.
I'm about two-thirds of the way through Joe Bonomo's mega-entertaining-and-edumacating Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America's Garage Band (New York: Continuum, 2007). A couple of cringeworthy copy-editing oversights managed to sneak into the final product ("Surfer Bird"? "Bomp Newsletter, run by hip label-head Gary Shaw out of Burbank, California"???), but nevertheless Sweat is a monumental achievement in rock writing, and will soon take pride of place on my streetsyoucrossed research bookshelf as the Ultimate NYC Rock & Roll Tome. I do believe I'll devote the next few entries to some of the joints the Fleshtones called home in their formative years. First, lemme update my old Bond's Casino post--somehow this factoid didn't turn up in my original searchin'...

"On April 16 [1981], the Fleshtones headlined the enormous Bonds International Nightclub in Times Square...An historic link in the move toward rock dancing, Bond's was immense, the biggest disco that New York City ever saw, boasting a capacity of eighteen hundred. The Fleshtones played a 'Spring Vacation Party' in front of an enthusiastic if thin crowd. 'Three hundred fans showed up downtown to go up to see us and dance, and they essentially formed a row two-deep in front of the stage!' Marek remembers. 'It was disheartening to be in such a huge place and not fill it, but the Fleshtones never could.'"

And here's forgotten-ny's recent featurette on another Fleshtones haunt, the Lone Star Cafe--itself housed in a former Schrafft's. After the Lone Star closed, but before the building was converted into a Korean deli, it briefly operated as a music club under a different name in the early '90s. I can distinctly recall seeing some ska shows there, but of course I cannot recall what the joint was called.


kingofnycabbies said...

The Lone Star moved uptown after closing down on Fifth; the 1990 ad in the Forgotten New York piece is from that incarnation (not a satellite, as the copy implies, but its successor). Strangely enough, when that shut down, the space--across the street from Roseland--became the new home of Art D'Lugoff's Village Gate, which had just shut down on Bleecker Street. It fared as poorly as the new Lone Star; the space is now some generic nightclub.

Here's a piece from 1997 on the peregrinations of the legendary rooftop iguana.

Another website says the Lone Star space became a bar called Mr. Fuji's Tropicana; ring any bells? (This seems to be the same period when Irving Plaza was some weird Polynesian dinner theater; WTF was going on in the Dinkins era?)

The now-closed deli, I believe, was the object of a successful lawsuit by workers claiming they were paid well below the minimum wage; that may be the cause of its shuttering (owners like to do that, to fuck over complaining workers). And about seven years ago, the space next door became a briefly hot spot; the appeal was that it was supposedly owned and run by the Baldwin brothers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug, and Roman Gods and Hexbreaker are amongst my favorite LPs!