Popular Music History, Vol 7, No 1 (2012)

A cool reception to the American Beat: The Fleshtones in Britain, 1981–83

Philip Kiszely
Issued Date: 5 Feb 2013


The Fleshtones visited Britain on several occasions between 1981 and 1983, but their presence on the UK’s alternative live touring circuit is now all but forgotten. Although their fans include influential figures such as Peter Buck and the late Joey Ramone, this New York Citybased quartet—IRS Records stable-mates to the Cramps, the Go Gos and R.E.M.—were roundly rejected by British audiences. In fact, the Fleshtones’ performances in the UK often sparked confrontation in one form or another. In its exploration of their experiences on British tours (they appeared with the likes of Gang of Four, Echo & the Bunnymen and a host of other now legendary names), this article seeks to reveal as much about that wider cultural moment in Britain as it does about the attitudes of the band themselves. The article writes them back into the Anglo-American post-punk exchange narrative, and considers how their failure can be read in that context.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v7i1.82


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