Posted by matt
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - 13:04
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Fishbone's Renewed Reality
Interview with Norwood Fisher of Fishbone
by Matt Munoz, Bakotopia / Mento Buru
1985 was a good year to be a pissed-off, fun-loving, punk kid.
Ronald Reagan was president, street-style skateboarding was evolving, and Fishbone's first EP was released on an unsuspecting America.
A frenetic mash-up of ska, punk, funk, reggae horns and bass, the sextet from South Central LA's self-titled debut broke down style and culture barriers with fierce melodic chaos.
Add to the list a “tighter than a mosquito's ass” live show and you had one of the most original groups to come along since Parliament - Funkadelic.
With songs like, “Party At Ground Zero,” “Ugly,” and “Modern Industry,” the Fishbone EP became the standard party soundtrack of the '80s.
“It's still like that with the new line-up,” said founding member and bass player, John “Norwood” Fisher in a telephone interview with Bakotopia.com during the band's latest tour stop in Eugene, Oregon. “It's getting tighter, and we experiment a little more. It's really awesome.”
That awesome experimentation will be held June 2 when Fishbone co-headlines the Budweiser Rockin' Roots Fest, along with Kottonmouth Kings, at Bakersfield's Stramler Park.
The band has had its share of personnel changes over the course of their nearly 28-year existence. But don't think the band is ready to slow down…ever.
“Keep it fresh and fun, that's what keeps me and Angelo going,” said Fisher, referring to co-founder and lead singer, Angelo Moore, the only other original member of the band still performing with the group today.
They started out as just a group of junior high school kids performing in talent shows. But, the band evolved into a wild live act, popular with the high school and college set. Fisher can remember those first rehearsals.
“Angelo had asked his music teacher is we could use the music room to practice, and he obliged,” he said. “We did a couple of talent shows at Compton High and at Dorsey High — at the base of the jungle in South Central L.A. We also had our first club date when we were still in high school.”
Twenty four years after their nightclub debut at the historic Madam Wong's in LA's Chinatown in 1983 and with 8 full-length albums, 4 EPs, and 3 DVDs under their belt, the afro-punk pioneers are bringing back their original brand of “Fishbonery” with a brand-new CD, appropriately titled, “Still Stuck In Your Throat,” their first studio recording in six years.
“I have to say, I totally love it,” said Fisher. “We made it 100 percent independent and put as much as we could into it.”
At its best, “Throat” is a return to form for the band, reminiscent of earlier classics like “In Your Face,” “Truth and Soul,” and “The Reality of My Surroundings,” and it gives nods to their own influences - Bad Brains, The Skatalites, and George Clinton.
Stand-out cuts include “Forever Moore,” “Jack Ass Brigade,” and “Skank 'N Go Nuttz.”
“Song for song, I'm totally in love with it,” proclaimed Fisher.
In addition to a new CD, the band is also experiencing a live revival of sorts, being picked up to headline the 2007 VANS Warped Tour, an invite they humbly accepted as well-seasoned architects of a musical institution they helped create.
“I think that's why we'll do good, said Fisher, “because a lot of those bands took a chunk of what we do and made it their own. You wanna leave the stage knowing that you transcended the age gap.
“If a 15-year-old can dig where we're coming from, then that's the effect we wanna have.”
Renewed and ready to reacquaint Fishbone with the masses, Fisher is more than happy to express his satisfaction with the band's present state.
“We just dropped a new video,” he said. “When I saw it, the first thing I thought was, ‘Goddamn, we look like kids in a new band’!”
-See Fishbone and more live at the Budweiser Rockin Roots Fest!
-Saturday, June 2nd, 2007
-Stramler Park, Bakersfield, Ca
-12pm - 10pm
-$22 / All Ages