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Veteran band that's famous for not being famous playing Up Here

The Fleshtones '60-year-old badass dudes' who toured with The Ramones
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New York band The Fleshtones is one of the headliners at the Up Here Urban Art and Music Festival. (Supplied)

The last gig The Fleshtones played in Sudbury — at The Townehouse Tavern in the mid-1990s — wasn't exactly what you'd call a resounding success, but at least they got a few stories out of it.

Only a couple of people listened to them play. But Peter Zaremba, the band's frontman, said they “fondly remember” that long-ago trip.

“We visited the Big Nickel, which we intend to re-visit,” he said. “We saw the Big Stack. We did the whole thing.”

He's hoping The Fleshtones' upcoming appearances at the Up Here Urban Art and Music Festival go a little better. They're playing shows at the festival on both Aug. 18 and 19 at the Townehouse.

“We're coming all the way to Sudbury, so the least you can do is come see us,” said Zaremba, who told Sudbury.com in a phone interview he plans to nosh on a few Tim Hortons donuts while he's here.

“We're looking forward to it. As I said, there's nothing but fond memories, and we want to come back and add to those.”

The Fleshtones is a garage rock band from Queens, New York which formed in 1976. They've released 21 albums, which Zaremba said probably isn't a lot, given the band's longevity.

The current members are Zaremba, Keith Streng, Bill Mihizer and Ken Fox (who's from Toronto), but there's a list of seven other guys who have also been a part of the band over the years.

Up Here organizer Christian Pelletier said he was introduced to The Fleshtones during another festival appearance by the band.

“They toured with The Ramones,” he said. “They were hanging out with Andy Warhol in New York in the '70s. They're just like these 60-year-old badass dudes who've been doing garage rock, punk and rock and roll since the '70s.”

The Fleshtones are famous for not being famous — they've never really become a household name.

That's why Pelletier thought they'd be great at Up Here, an emerging music festival, because they've never fully emerged. “We couldn't pass up the opportunity to have them,” he said.

The band genuinely enjoys producing music, and doesn't need the trappings that come with fame, Zaremba said. There's plenty of people who respect the band's work, anyway.

“I forget who it was who said we looked in the face of success and laughed,” said he said.

“We were too busy being kind of crazy in the '80s when we had the most opportunity. In the '70s, we were busy being ignored and having fun.

“Since then, we skirt with fame. A lot of people call us the kings of garage rock, which we may or may not be.”

Zaremba tells a story about the band being hired to pen a theme song for a movie in the 1980s called “A Bachelor Party.” It was Tom Hanks' last movie before he became extremely famous.

“They invited us to the director's screening at the studio,” he said. “Some of us fell asleep loudly during the screening in front of Tom. We were derisive of the movie, and as such were not invited back to do that kind of thing again.”

For tickets or more information about Up Here, visit the festival's website, Facebook page or download the Up Here app.