Fishbone

Fishbone is an American alternative rock band that plays a fusion of ska, punk rock, funk metal and more. The band was formed in 1979 in South Central Los Angeles by Angelo Moore, also known as "Dr. Madd Vibe" (vocals, saxophones ranging from sopranino to bass, and theremin); Kendall Jones (guitar); John Norwood Fisher (bass); Philip "Fish" Fisher (drums); "Dirty" Walter A. Kibby III (vocals, trumpet); and Chris Dowd (keyboards, trombone, vocals). The group came from the same Los Angeles scene that spawned the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction.



History



Early career (1979-1987)

Fishbone first gained attention with their live concerts, earning a reputation as one of the most diverse bands in the alternative rock genre. Their unique stew of different styles, mixed with hectic energy and pounding rhythms, was a huge influence on the funk/rock/new wave/metal/rap hybrid that would become popular in the 1990s. The band did not have any official recordings until the release of their self-titled EP, Fishbone, in 1985, which featured the classic ska favorite "Party at Ground Zero". In 1987, in support of their first full-length album, In Your Face, the band performed "Jamaica Ska" (the classic Jamaican ska single specifically written as a breakthrough U.S. pop-charts hit) in the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon reunion movie Back to the Beach. Fishbone toured with the Beastie Boys across the US and other parts of the world.



Rise to fame (1988-1994)

Though the band had a manic, kinetic sound and stage presence, the group was mainly a ska/reggae band in its early years. But by 1987, the band had turned up the distortion, and heavy metal and hardcore sounds started creeping into their music. 1988's Truth and Soul brought Fishbone wide critical acclaim. A diverse piece of social commentary, Truth and Soul covered important topics such as the breakup of families, early 1900s racism, fascism, nuclear war, and oppression in lower income housing projects. The album was highlighted by a metal version of Curtis Mayfield's classic "Freddie's Dead" from the soundtrack of the movie Super Fly. The music video, directed by Douglas Gayeton, became the band's first hit on MTV. That same year, the group toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and became nationally known as a major player in the burgeoning alternative music scene, a legacy sealed by live shows that were unrivaled in their fury and intensity. Also that year, Fishbone and Little Richard recorded the Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter song "Rock Island Line" for the album Folkways: A Vision Shared-A Tribute To Woody Guthrie And Leadbelly.


In 1989, the band added a seventh member, former Miles Davis music director John Bigham on guitar and keyboards. Fishbone's winning streak continued with The Reality of My Surroundings in 1991, a critical and commercial success. An hour-long mini-epic, The Reality of My Surroundings is widely considered Fishbone's greatest triumph. A psychedelic swirl of manic energy and witty commentary, the album showcased the very different personalities of Fishbone's seven members. One month before the album's release, the group played a memorable performance on Saturday Night Live, with Moore doing a back flip into the camera pit a mere five seconds into their performance of "Sunless Saturday" (a song which later featured an MTV video directed by Spike Lee). The sunny soul number "Everyday Sunshine" also became a modest hit on radio and MTV.


Their sound remained rooted in funk and ska, but focused more on hard rock and heavy metal on 1993's Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe. With the burgeoning popularity of alternative rock, Fishbone was suddenly gaining popularity in the mainstream, but the band was beginning to tear apart internally.


Just before hitting the road on the 1993 Lollapalooza tour, the band experienced their first personnel loss as guitarist Kendall Jones, after suffering many traumatic events that led to a severe mental breakdown, left the band and joined his father's religious cult. John Norwood Fisher tracked him down and attempted to rescue him. He was arrested and sued over the incident but no charges were filed against Fisher as Jones was deemed mentally ill. The band suffered another blow in 1994 when keyboardist Chris Dowd left the band for unknown reasons. Fishbone was then dropped by Sony Records. Dowd recorded with a band including Jeff Buckley under the name "Seedy Arkhestra", releasing the album The Puzzle, which included the incendiary anti-Fishbone track "Flog Your Dead Horse".



Post-Sony years (1995-2002)

Now a five-piece, Fishbone released the extremely heavy/punkish Chim Chim's Badass Revenge in 1996, which did well in the underground music scene, but went completely unnoticed by the general public. By 1998, the band went through more major personnel changes as founding member/ drummer Philip "Fish" Fisher (Norwood's brother) left the band (to be later definitively replaced by John Steward); John Bigham also left the band to pursue his own career (The Soul of John Black) and was replaced by former Sound Barrier and Mother's Finest guitarist Tracey "Spacey T" Singleton. John McKnight (from Ben Harper's band) joined on keyboards, trombone, and guitar after a short stint by Anthony Brewster. During the latter part of the 1990s, Fishbone earned their keep on the road through constant touring, as they remained one of rock's most respected live bands.


Fishbone's dedicated fan base was, for the most part, happy to travel down whatever musical path the musicians pursued, but the band's record sales dropped consistently after 1991. However, in 2000, the band was signed to a major record deal and given the chance to record a new album with several special guests, such as Gwen Stefani, George Clinton, Rick James, H.R. of Bad Brains, Donny Osmond, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The result, Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, was a critical success, but saw poor sales. The band was dropped from their label and headed back on the road. John McKnight left the band in 2001, and the group continued on as a 5-piece. In 2002, on their own independent record label, they released Live at the Temple Bar and More (2002) which contained all brand new original material recorded throughout 2001 and 2002. This was later complemented by another live CD/DVD, Live in Amsterdam, containing most of their hits and filmed at the 2002 Cannabis Cup Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands.



Recent history (2003-present)

In November 2003, Fishbone suffered another blow with the departure of founding member and trumpeter Walter A. Kibby II, as well as guitarist Spacey T. Walter Kibby had previously released a solo album with The Columbus Sanitation (featuring many of his current and former Fishbone cohorts including Spacey T). The two would later help form The Year Of The Dragon, releasing the album, A Time To Love Is A Time To Bleed in 2006.


Founding members Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher, along with John Steward did not give up and Fishbone was soon reincarnated with Rocky George of Suicidal Tendencies and Tori Ruffin of The Time on guitars (though Ruffin left soon thereafter), with Dre Gipson on keyboard and finally with the comeback of John McKnight on trombone and guitar in 2005. Walter Kibby's replacement was more problematic, his position on trumpet alternately filled by Andre (PaDre) Holmes, Curtis Storey, Fernando Pullum or Mervin (Kid Merv) Campbell.


The new Fishbone continued to widen their musical horizons, releasing in April 2007 in the US their first studio recording in 6 years titled Still Stuck In Your Throat. This recording saw the return of the collaboration between Fishbone and producer David Kahne (who worked on the band's 80's recordings). It includes a cover of the song "Date Rape" by Sublime (which can also be found on the Sublime tribute CD and DVD Look at All the Love We Found) for which New Congress Pictures produced their first music video in ten years, directed by Renee Tod and Josh Fischel. Another video was also shot for the song "Let Dem Ho's Fight".


In 2008 and 2009, the prospect of a reunion of original members grew closer, with on different occasions, Walter Kibby, Christopher Dowd and Kendall Jones joining Fishbone on stage, most notably for the shoot of the Pepsi "Pass" commercial which aired in January 2009 and with the original members all on friendly speaking terms with each other.


In April 2008, Stephan Kraemer directed the shoot of the first official live CD/DVD in Bordeaux, France. The DVD Fishbone Live was released on May 10, 2009.


The band is also currently involved in a documentary film, tentatively titled Everyday Sunshine, directed by Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler, due to debut in early 2010.



Film appearances


Members of Fishbone appear both on the street as hecklers of Antonio Fargas' character Flyguy, and as a "back-up band" in the blaxploitation-spoof I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.
In 2007 Fishbone appeared in the David Arquette movie The Tripper.
The band is featured in the 1987 movie Back to the Beach, performing a rendition of "Jamaica Ska" with Annette Funicello singing lead vocals.
Fishbone appears in the 1988 John Cusack/Tim Robbins film Tapeheads as "Ranchbone" in the bar scene, playing the song "Slow Bus Movin' (Howard Beach Party)."
Angelo Moore, John Norwood Fisher and John Steward appear in Idlewild as members of the band led by Rooster, the character played by Big Boi of Outkast.
Fishbone shirts were often featured in movies and TV throughout the late 80s and early 90s, mostly fashion choices by fans who were actors: the characters Freddie and Lena of Diff'rent World wore the shirts (both are fans), as did John Cusack in Say Anything. (In that movie's iconic "boombox scene" Cusack is actually blasting Fishbone from the radio. Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" was added later.) Early episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 had scenes filmed against a set of lockers that featured a sticker logo in almost every shot.


Notable appearances


Angelo Moore can be seen in the video for Sublime's "Wrong Way". He is the man in the suit and barbershop hat that the boy bumps into while running out of the convenience store.
Fishbone can be seen in the Red Hot Chili Peppers video for "Knock Me Down" which also starred Alex Winter.
A short sound clip of "Bonin' In The Boneyard" can be heard during The Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Good Time Boys".
Fishbone can bee seen in the video by George Clinton for "Do Fries Go with That Shake?"
Fishbone have played in Amsterdam on numerous occasions. They were filmed at the 2002 Cannabis Cup awards.
Angelo Moore, Walter Kibby, and Chris Dowd provided horns on Murphy's Law's 1989 album Back with a Bong!.
Angelo Moore and Chris Dowd also provided horns on the Jane's Addiction track "Idiots Rule" (from their 1988 album Nothing's Shocking).
Angelo Moore can be seen in the video for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Simmer Down", a Bob Marley cover. Fishbone was on tour with the Bosstones at the time the video was filmed in New Orleans.
Chris Dowd played trombone on the NOFX track "Dig" (from their 1994 album Punk in Drublic).


Members


For a complete list, see List of Fishbone band members.


Current
Angelo Moore (1979???) ??? Vocals, saxophones, theremin, percussion
Rocky George (2003???) ??? guitar
John McKnight (1999???2001, 2005???) ??? keyboards, trombone, guitar, vocals
Dre Gipson (2004???) ??? keyboards, vocals
John Norwood Fisher (1979???) ??? bass, Vocals
John Steward (1999???) ??? drums


Past
Kendall Jones (1979???1993) ??? guitar, vocals
Chris Dowd (1979???1994) ??? keyboards, trombone, vocals
John "JB" Bigham (1989???1997) ??? guitar, keyboards
Philip "Fish" Fisher (1979???1998) ??? drums, vocals
"Dirty" Walter A. Kibby II (1979???2003) ??? trumpet, vocals
Anthony Brewster (1997???1998) ??? keyboards
Dion Murdock (1998) - drums
Tracey "Spacey T" Singleton (1997???2003) ??? guitars
Tori Ruffin (2003-2006) - guitars
Curtis Storey (2005???2007) ??? trumpet, vocals
Andre?? "Padre" Holmes (2004???2005, 2007-2008) ??? trumpet, Vocals, guitar


Discography



Studio albums
In Your Face (1986)
Truth and Soul (1988) - #153 on the Billboard 200 on Oct. 29, 1988
The Reality of My Surroundings (1991) - #49 on the Billboard 200 on May 18, 1991
Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe (1993) - #99 on the Billboard 200 on Jun. 12, 1993
Chim Chim's Badass Revenge (1996) - #158 on the Billboard 200 on Jun. 8, 1996
Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx (2000)
Still Stuck In Your Throat (2006)


Live albums
Live at the Temple Bar and More (2002)
Live in Amsterdam (CD/DVD - 2005 - recorded live in November 2002)
Fishbone Live (in Bordeaux) (CD/DVD - 2009 - recorded live in April 2008)


EPs
Fishbone (1985)
It's a Wonderful Life (1987)
Set the Booty Up Right (1990)
Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Friendliest Psychosis of All (2002)


DVDs
The Reality of My Surroundings - Past to Present (1991)
Critical Times - Fishbone's Hen House Sessions (2001)
Live in Amsterdam (CD/DVD - 2005 - recorded live in 2002)
Fishbone Live (in Bordeaux) (CD/DVD - 2009 - recorded live in April 2008)
Everyday Sunshine - A Fishbone Documentary (2010)


Compilation albums
Fishbone 101: Nuttasaurusmeg Fossil Fuelin' the Fonkay (1996)
The Essential Fishbone (2003)


Singles
Year
Single
Chart Positions
US Hot 100
US Main. Rock
US Mod Rock
UK
1985
? (Modern Industry)
-
-
-
-
1985
Party At Ground Zero
-
-
-
-
1986
When Problems Arise
-
-
-
-
1988
Freddie's Dead
-
-
-
-
1989
Ma and Pa
-
-
-
95
1991
Fight the Youth
-
-
-
-
1991
Sunless Saturday
-
-
7
-
1991
Everyday Sunshine
-
-
14
60
1993
Swim
-
-
-
54
1993
Unyielding Conditioning
-
-
-
-
1993
Servitude
-
-
-
-
1996
Alchoholic
-
-
-
-
2000
The Suffering
-
-
-
-
2007
Party With Saddam
-
-
-
-

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Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbone