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Fishbone

From Academic Kids

Fishbone is an extremely influential band that plays a unique fusion of funk, ska, punk, reggae, heavy metal and more. The band formed was in 1979 (1979 in music) in the ghettos of South Central Los Angeles by Angelo Moore (saxophone), Kendall Jones (guitar), John Norwood Fisher (bass), Fish (drums), Walter Kibby II (trumpet) and Chris Dowd (keyboards, trombone). The group came from the same Los Angeles scene that spawned the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction.

Fishbone first gained attention with their incredible live concerts, earning a reputation as one of the most original bands in the alternative genre. Their unique stew of different styles, mixed with hectic energy and pounding rhythms, were a huge influence on the funk/rock/metal/rap genre that would become popular in the 1990s. The band did not have any official recordings until the release of a self-titled EP in 1985, featuring their classic song "Party at Ground Zero". In 1987, in support of their first full-length album, In Your Face, the band toured with the Beastie Boys across the US and other parts of the world.

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, and is considered one of alternative rock's greatest albums. A brilliant 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 movie Superfly. That same, year, the group toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and was nationally known as a major player in the burgeoning alternative music scene.

In 1990, 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 (1991 in music), a critical and commercial success. An hour-long masterpiece, Reality is widely considered Fishbone's greatest triumph. A psychedelic swirl of manic energy and witty commentary, the album successfully 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 Angelo doing a back flip into the camera pit a mere 5 seconds into their performance of "Sunless Saturday", whose video was later 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 left the band to join a religious cult. Norwoord Fisher tracked him down and attempted to kidnap him with duct tape and a stun gun, and was arrested and sued over the incident. The band suffered another blow in 1994 when keyboardist Chris Dowd left the band. Fishbone was then dropped by Sony records.

Now a five-piece, Fishbone released the extremely heavy/punkish Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge in 1996, which did well in the undergroud music scene, but went completely unnoticed by the general public. By 1998, the band went once more through major personnel changes as founding member drummer Fish Fisher (Norwood's brother) left the band (to be later definitively replaced byJohn Steward), John Bigham left the band to pursue his own career (The Soul of John Black) and was replaced by former Sound Barrier/Mother's Finest guitarist Tracey Singleton (aka Spacey T) and John McKnight (from Ben Harper's Innocent Criminals) joined on keyboard and trombone (after a short stint by Macy Gray's 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 amazing 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 a slew of special guests, such as Gwen Stefani, George Clinton, Rick James, H.R. from Bad Brains, Donny Osmond, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The result, Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Presents The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, was a critical success, and featured some of the band's best material in nearly a decade. However, the record company did not promote the album properly, despite the fact that it was the most accessible Fishbone release to date, which resulted in poor sales. The band was dropped from their label and headed back on the road, where they continued to be a top-drawing live act. John McKnight left the band in 2001, and the group continued on as a 5-piece. Their latest album, Live at the Temple Bar and More was released in 2002 (2002 in music) and contained all brand new original material recorded throughout 2001 and 2002.

While Fishbone has not yet gained the popularity of some of their early peers, the band has established a strong reputation of one of the best live acts in rock and roll, and continues to tour extensively despite the lack of exposure or record-label support. The band suffered a blow with the departure of founding member Walter A Kibby II in 2003, as well as longtime guitarist Spacey T. Kibby, a tough man to replace, was replaced by newcomer Dre Holmes. Guitarist Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies), later joined by Torri Ruffin of (The Time) replaced Spacey T, and the band once again added a keyboardist, Dre Gipson. John McKnight re-joined Fishbone in early 2005 on trombone.




Contents

Discography (Full Length Releases)

In Your Face - (1986) (Moore/Kibby/Jones/Dowd/Fisher/Fish)

Truth and Soul - (1988) (Moore/Kibby/Jones/Dowd/Fisher/Fish)

The Reality of My Surroundings - (1991) (Moore/Kibby/Jones/Bigham/Dowd/Fisher/Fish)

Give a Money a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe - (1993) (Moore/Kibby/Jones/Bigham/Dowd/Fisher/Fish)

Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge - (1996) (Moore/Kibby/Bigham/Fisher/Fish)

Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Presents: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx - (2000) (Moore/Kibby/SpaceyT/McKnight/Fisher/Steward)

Live at the Temple Bar and More - (2002) (Moore/Kibby/SpaceyT/Fisher/Steward)

Live in Amsterdam - (2002)(Moore/Kibby/SpaceyT/Fisher/Steward)

Current Members

Angelo Moore, Dr Madd Vibe - vocals, saxophone (1978 - present)

John Norwood Fisher, Wood - bass (1978 - present)

John Steward, Wet Daddy - drums (1998 - present)

Dre Holmes, Pastor Dre - vocals, trumpet (2004 - present)

Dre Gipson - keyboards (2004 - present)

Rocky George - guitar (2003 - present)

Torri Ruffin - guitar (2003 - present)

John McKnight - keyboards, trombone, guitar (1998 - 2001), trombone (2005 - present)

Original Members

Angelo Moore, Dr Madd Vibe - vocals, saxophone (1978 - present)

John Norwood Fisher, Wood - bass (1978 - present)

Walter A. Kibby II, Dog King of the Freaks - vocals, trumpet (1978-2003)

Chris Dowd - vocals, keyboards, trombone (1978-1994)

Kendall Jones - guitar (1978-1993)

Fish - drums (1978 - 1998)

Other Members

John Bigham, JB - guitar, keyboards (1990-1997)

Spacey T - guitar (1997-2003)

Anthony Brewster - keyboards (1997-1998)

John McKnight - keyboards, trombone, guitar (1998 - 2001), trombone (2005 - present)


External link:

FishboneLive.org (http://www.fishbonelive.org) : dedicated in bringing you the nuttness of the nutt, made by the band's fanbase to share photos, reviews, live recordings, discography, posters ...

Fishbone.net (http://www.fishbone.net) : Official band website.

The Atomic Underground (http://www.efn.org/~cschatz/fishbone.html) : The first Fishbone website (1995), and still probably the best one around. Comprehensive discography and picture gallery.fr:Fishbone de:Fishbone

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