Fishbone (1980-present): a Funk Metal band from Los Angeles, California, USA.
ormed by school buddies Angelo Moore (vocals/sax), Kendall Jones (guitar/vocals), Walter A. Kibby II (vocals), Chris Dowd (trombone/keyboards), John Norwood Fisher (bass/vocals), Philip 'Fish' Fisher (drums) and Charlie Down (guitar). Using a variety of musical styles including funk, jazz, ska and hard rock while influenced by Bad Brains, Sex Pistols and Duke Elington. Fishbone initially displayed their eclectic style at live shows supporting the likes of Dead Kennedys (Norwood getting stabbed at one show). The shows were noted for the wacky hairdo of Angelo who played saxophone while doing back flips, and later in their career he was known to play completely naked, although his sax usually hid his essentials.
Their self-titled debut EP Columbia (1985) should have brought them commercial notice, but acts like Living Color and Red Hot Chile Peppers were offering much stronger competition and gaining much wider attention. In Your Face (1986) followed and proved to be an improvement on their previous effort, but it still failed to achieve its goal of market success.
Their third set, Truth And Soul, came in the fall of 1988 and managed to nudge the US charts at 9 mostly on the strength of their version of Curtis Mayfield's Heddies's Dead and Ma & Pa, the latter featuring Bonin' In The Boneyard on the flip-side. After touring, Fishbone returned with a new guitarist, John Bigham to replace the departing Down to play on their follow-up, The Reality Of My Surroundings (1991). This Sly Stone-influenced set got them some attention and a US 49/UK 75 was their reward powered greatly by the Everyday Sunshine track getting 60 UK on its own. But the band's party was cut short when the bible-thumping Kendall took off to join a religious cult. In an amazing twist of fate, the remaining members of the band were subsequently in court defending themselves against kidnapping charges from having tried to "rescue" him from his new found "family".
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The situation aside, the follow-up album failed to accomplish the height of the past by only managing a 99 in the US with Give a Monkey a Brain And He'll Swear He's The Center Of The Universe (1993). It would take them three years to return with the over indulgent, Chim Chim's Badass Revenge (1996).
Although still around, the act releases very infrequently. Fishbone and the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx (2000) and Still Stuck in Your Throat (2006) would follow. The past decade would see membership changes with "Dirty" Walter A. Kibby II (trumpet/vocals) returning in 2010, Philip "Fish" Fisher returning on drums in 2016 after leaving in 1998, Christopher Dowd coming back on keyboards/trombone/vocals in 2018, and Mark Phillips assuming guitar and keyboards in 2019.
Footnote: Fishbone have also appeared in the films Back To The Beach, Tape Heads, Far Out Man' and I'm Gonna Git You.
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