(Please note: This is part one of my Fishbone article. Part two will be posted this month after an interview with Chris Metzler, Director and Producer of “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone.”)
It isn’t often that a band breaks onto the music scene and sets the world on fire. In 1979, Los Angeles musical pioneers Fishbone did just that. Their music is a mixture of punk, hard rock, funk and soul, and they have been influencing younger bands for over twenty-five years. Many bands of today have stated Fishbone as their musical influence such as No Doubt and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The band was founded by bassist Norwood Fisher, along with his brother, Phillip “Fish” Fisher (drums). The album Truth and Soul (1988) brought Fishbone critical acclaim, and through the years, the band has had their share of ups and downs. The upcoming documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone tells their personal story very well.
I recently had an opportunity to talk with Fishbone bassist Norwood Fisher about his legendary band. Fisher says that his earliest musical influences include The Beatles, Sly & the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix and The Ohio Players.
When asked what he thinks it is about the band that has kept the music going for more than twenty-five years, he said, “At a certain point, we became aware of our legacy. We do it for the love of the music and for the love of our fans. 95% of what we do is what we want to do.”
In celebration of their 25th anniversary, the band has recently released a new EP, Crazy Glue (DC-Jam Records). Fisher said that his favorite song off the album is “Deep Shit Backstroke”. “It’s about letting life take its course and gracefully gliding through the hardships of life.” He is a very thoughtful person who has a lot of wonderful insight on the challenges in life.
The new documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishboneis a must see film for any music fan. It will take you through the bands ups and downs. At the heart of the story is Fisher and lead singer Angelo Moore. They have overcome many things to re-invent themselves in the face of dysfunction and ghosts from a painful past. I asked Fisher what it was like to see the documentary for the first time. “The directors did it right. That’s what I said and that’s what I did. It’s honest and real. They (the directors) did a good job allowing the words to stand on their own.” (More on the documentary in part two…)
Fisher told me that he has had some exciting moments in his career. “I’ve had some incredible, colorful journeys. I remember being younger and touring with bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. Awesome and hilarious things happen all the time,” he commented.
Some great advice he gives to up and coming musicians is this: “Program or be programmed.” He talked about how the music industry has changed so much since Fishbone first got started. “The music business is evolving in a way that we’ve never seen before,” he said. Basically, he believes that if you stay true to yourself and to your music, then that’s all you need.
Fishbone has many great things in store for their fans. They are working on more tour dates now, and plan to spend a lot of time on the road this spring and summer. The band will be performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday, January 30th. They have also been asked to shoot a scene in a movie next month. Watch the band’s website for more information in the weeks ahead.
Fisher will be presenting a fundraiser concert to help the children of Haiti this weekend in Simi Valley, California. All for Angels – The Rockin’ Soul Skankdown Festival takes place Saturday, January 28th at 2 p.m. PST and will feature performances by Fishbone, Pour Habit, The Untouchables, Graveyard Bandits, Knock Out, The Divine Crime and others. To purchase tickets: http://allforangelsfundraiser-therockinsoulskankdown.eventbrite.com/ and for more information about this charity, please visit: www.angelcare4children.org
Fisher is very proud to host this event. “Last year, it was in a small club in Santa Monica, and this year it’s bigger. My life’s not easy, but it’s not bad either. The people of Haiti have been through so much. Talent can help, and it makes me very happy to use my talent to help people,” he told me.
He concluded the interview by saying this: “Fishbone is moving forward in the future and even though it’s not been easy, it’s happy and bright.”
For more information about everything Fishbone: http://fishbone.net/