When the original Fishbone lineup was at its peak during the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, there was no band, which was as unpredictable. A palpable sense of danger was in the air when the energetic band took the stage.
And then there were the songs. The versatile Fishbone veered from raw rock to muscular metal to groove-laden funk.
So how did the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a fellow Los Angeles based band with a similar sonic formula and live approach, make it but Fishbone, which will perform Tuesday at the World Cafe Live, end up a cult act?
“There’s white privilege in America,” vocalist Angelo Moore said during a telephone interview from Albuquerque, NM. “ When your ancestor’s are on the dollar bill you have a better chance than a minority of achieving stardom. You can play whatever style of music you want or dress however you would like and you can steal what you would like. So bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and No Doubt were inspired by Fishbone or Fishbone-esque bands. I’m not saying those bands are made up of those who are bad people. It’s just the way it is. Black rock bands like us, Bad Brains and Living Colour got ripped off.”
Moore never gave up the ghost when his band’s fortunes diminished during the mid-90s. When former members of Fishbone dropped out after the band went from theater headliners to club act, Moore kept the faith.
“I’m glad all those guys left the band,” Moore said. “If their heart isn’t in it, that’s their problem. I don’t care. I love being in this band. It would have been great if we made it further. Sony (Fishbone’s former label) didn’t promote us. They didn’t advertise us and when the albums flopped, I didn’t give up. We just moved on.”
Fishbone went the independent route. The band is on its ‘Party At Ground Zero’ tour, which marks a quarter century since the inspired, frenetic track dropped. “It’s crazy it’s been that long since the song has been out,” Moore said. “It still gets a great response when we play it. I love to play that song with this band.”
Moore and fellow original member, bassist Norwood Fisher are touring with trumpeter ‘Dirty’ Walter Kibby, who rejoined the band recently after a seven-year hiatus. “It’s great to have Walter back since he was with us from the beginning,” Moore said. “He adds so much to this band.”
Rumors have been floating around about the initial Fishbone lineup reuniting. “People have been talking about the original Fishbone getting back together,” Moore said. “I’m not saying no to that. The only thing is that I say that it’ll take a lot of money to get that going. The problem is that it’ll also take some money to go to the guys in the band, who are not original members of the band. What do I tell them? It would be like telling your wife, ‘hey, I gotta go back with my ex-wife to shoot a pornographic film.’ So the guys in the band now should get some money to sit on the sideline while the original band tours. It’s complicated but I try not to think about that. I’m happy going out with the band (as it’s presently constituted). We’re locked in right now. It’s a good thing.”
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