FISHBONE

Jazz Related Rock / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Dub/Ska/Reggae • United States
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Combining equal parts of deep funk, high-energy punk, and frantic ska, the Los Angeles-based Fishbone was one of the most distinctive and eclectic alternative rock bands of the late '80s. With their hyperactive, self-conscious diversity, goofy sense of humor, and sharp social commentary, the group gained a sizable cult following during the late '80s, yet they were never able to earn a mainstream audience.

Led by vocalist/saxophonist Angelo Moore, the band formed in 1979 while the members were still in junior high; the original lineup comprised Moore, Chris Dowd, Kendall Jones, Walter Kibby II, and John Norwood Fisher. After performing in local clubs during the early '80s, the group signed with Columbia Records in the mid-'80s, releasing a self-titled EP in 1985. The following year, Fishbone released their first full-length album, In Your Face. While it was marred by a somewhat slick production, the sheer energy of their performances burned
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FISHBONE Discography

FISHBONE albums / top albums

FISHBONE In Your Face album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
In Your Face
Jazz Related Rock 1986
FISHBONE Truth and Soul album cover 3.46 | 3 ratings
Truth and Soul
Jazz Related Rock 1988
FISHBONE The Reality of My Surroundings album cover 4.75 | 3 ratings
The Reality of My Surroundings
Jazz Related Rock 1991
FISHBONE Give a Monkey a Brain... album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Give a Monkey a Brain...
Jazz Related Rock 1993
FISHBONE Chim Chim's Badass Revenge album cover 2.25 | 2 ratings
Chim Chim's Badass Revenge
Jazz Related Rock 1996
FISHBONE The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx
Jazz Related Rock 2000
FISHBONE Still Stuck in Your Throat album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Still Stuck in Your Throat
Jazz Related Rock 2006

FISHBONE EPs & splits

FISHBONE Fishbone album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Fishbone
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1985
FISHBONE It's a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
It's a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have a Good Time)
Jazz Related Rock 1987
FISHBONE Bonin' In The Boneyard: Set The Booty Up Right album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Bonin' In The Boneyard: Set The Booty Up Right
Jazz Related Rock 1990
FISHBONE Fishbone's Familyhood Nexperience - The Friendliest Psychosis of All album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fishbone's Familyhood Nexperience - The Friendliest Psychosis of All
Jazz Related Rock 2002
FISHBONE Crazy Glue album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Crazy Glue
Jazz Related Rock 2011
FISHBONE Intrinsically Intertwined album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Intrinsically Intertwined
Jazz Related Rock 2014

FISHBONE live albums

FISHBONE Live at the Temple Bar and More album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Temple Bar and More
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2002
FISHBONE Live in Amsterdam album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Live in Amsterdam
Jazz Related Rock 2005
FISHBONE Fishbone Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fishbone Live
Jazz Related Rock 2008

FISHBONE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

FISHBONE re-issues & compilations

FISHBONE Fishbone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fishbone
Jazz Related Rock 1987
FISHBONE Singles album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Singles
Jazz Related Rock 1993
FISHBONE Fishbone 101: Nuttasaurusmeg Fossil Fuelin' the Fonkay album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fishbone 101: Nuttasaurusmeg Fossil Fuelin' the Fonkay
Jazz Related Rock 1996
FISHBONE Party at Ground Zero album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Party at Ground Zero
Jazz Related Rock 2001
FISHBONE The Best of Fishbone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Fishbone
Jazz Related Rock 2003
FISHBONE The Essential Fishbone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Fishbone
Jazz Related Rock 2003

FISHBONE singles (0)

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FISHBONE Reviews

FISHBONE Bonin' In The Boneyard: Set The Booty Up Right

EP · 1990 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
FISHBONE released their third EP - BONIN' IN THE BONEYARD after their full album “Truth And Soul.” In fact the title comes from the track off that album and contains two variations of it. The first is called “New And Improved Bonin” and the second is called “Bonin' In The Jungle.” The style on this album totally neglects any punk and metal leanings from the previous album and instead reverts back to the full jazzy ska sound from their debut EP. This five track EP is chock full of funk more so than any other FISHBONE release. The bass is on fire here and the zaniness and spontaneity have at least come back into play. The best tracks are “Love And Bullshit” and “Hide Behind My Sunglasses” which are fully fueled funkified madness and display a biting sense of humor that the band seemed to have reclaimed. Up to this point they seem to shine more brightly on their Eps than full albums but that was about to change starting the next year. As for this one it is a decent listen but really there's nothing on here that's outstanding. A late addition to my collection but not one I feel I have been deprived of. Good but nothing more.

FISHBONE The Reality of My Surroundings

Album · 1991 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
FISHBONE had been struggling to find a new sound after a phenomenal debut EP. On the next two albums they stumbled around grasping at straws trying to see what would stick with some successes and some to the contrary. On their 4th release (counting the debut EP) all that experimentation came together to create an artistic vision of fusion frenzy perfection. THE REALITY OF MY SURROUNDINGS ushers in former Mile Davis music director John Bigham who contributes his keyboard and guitar talents to the mix of an already impressive musical cast that includes seven full time members and a whole list of guest musicians and background vocalists. This album truly exhibits a circus ring atmosphere where a rotisserie of musicians weaves their magic into the overall tapestry and exuding a huge party feel despite the dark, depressive and biting social critique. Despite it all there is plenty of room for their odd sense of humor to create a swirling dervish of hyperactivity encompassing a passion pit that always make me think of a Voodoo ritual in Haiti where in the heat of the moment you end up dancing on sizzling hot coals and draped with poisonous snakes.

On this album it is clear right from the getgo that this band was busy in the alchemy kitchen of sound fueling the fires to create an alloy of sonic bliss so sincere and advanced that it can hardly fall into any particular genre any more. They jettisoned none of their previous ska punk, groove funk or gospel soul but rather melded it all together with a healthy dose of a stronger groovy funk metal, jazz dissonance and even some slightly progressive time signature tendencies. The first track “Fight The Youth” hits the ground running as it incorporates funky metal riffing to an activist's plea to fight the powers that be. The album is accented by small little ditties in between the actual songs to add as an atmospheric direction change or simply to provide an intro for a following track. The four part “If I Were A... I'd” finds itself strewn about the album using the same music with different lyrics. These bits are under a minute but each time they improvise on a basic riff. The bleak little segment “Asswippin'” is the sound of an African slave being whipped with curdling screams of pain accompanied by tribal drums which ushers in the following “Housework” which seems to be a mix of jazzy funk with honky tonk and New Orleans brass followed by the depressive “Deathmarch” which sounds like a New Orleans funeral parade.

The fusionfest continues with the funk metal pleas of “Pray To The Junkiemaker” to the gospel tinged funk metal contemplativeness of “Everyday Sunshine.” The most humorous side of the band comes out on a story from a pimp's perspective on “Nasty Man” with its incessant funk groove and a bleak ending track called “Sunless Saturday” which is the perfect metal laden rock n' soul finale for an album laden with darkened depressive motifs that are the undercurrent of an exciting upbeat spiritual musical foreground that uplifts and depresses in every brilliantly mastered moment. This is one of my all time favorite albums that never ceases to amaze me of how magical certain moments in time can be for a band when all their stars align. Unfortunately despite having slight success with this album FISHBONE never broke into the big time however their sound was truly inspirational for countless bands that followed ranging from Jane's Addiction to more successful ska punk bands like Sublime and No Doubt. This is one for those who love fusion music so hot and smokin' that it verges on creating its own genre all together. It unduly gets lumped into all encompassing tags such as alternative rock or funk metal, but FISHBONE proved on this album that they could master the storytelling aspects of the best hip hop, the musicianship of the best of jazz and metal and the ability to hold the listener's attention throughout an hour long musical journey. The production is not the best here and FISHBONE albums need to be remastered for the new millennium but neither is it so horrible as to be unlistenable. EXCELLENT album!/;

FISHBONE Truth and Soul

Album · 1988 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
FISHBONE stepped things up a bit with their third release TRUTH AND SOUL (counting the eponymous debut EP). After a phenomenal debut and a mediocre second release as a fully realized album the band return with a slightly better album. This album is officially recognized as when they started to incorporate hard rock and metal into their sound but it's certainly not like they put the pedal to the metal full throttle. It is obvious on the first track “Freddie's Dead” a Curtis Mayfield cover that they changed their sound up a bit by incorporating amplified guitars to the mix but straight away on the second track they revert back to what they had been known for at this point by having a nice pleasant upbeat jazzy ska number. This trend would continue throughout most of the album with a few exceptions on the way.

Overall this feels like a transition album where the band was still grasping for straws and hadn't quite settled on any particular sound yet. They borrowed heavily from the past but were obviously intent on creating a newer sounding future. The most convincing foray into the much better fusion sound that is to be fully realized on their next album takes form here on the track “Show Bus Movin'.” This is an album that deserves a listen but if it feels a little awkward keep in mind that this is the collision of a jazzy ska band in transition to becoming a jazzy ska gospel metal band. The songs stand up as great on their own but the album as a whole feels a little clunky. Despite it though there is enough strong material on this to warrant a listen and an excellent introduction to the much better following release.

FISHBONE In Your Face

Album · 1986 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Not sure what happened here. After their phenomenal debut EP they seemed to hit a wall. It sounds like they were forced by the record company to go in a certain direction as all the passion and spontaneity that was on fire on the previous release is absent here. This album could have easily been trimmed down to an EP and even then it would be inferior to the previous one. All the biting social critique, the parody, the zaniness is gone here. Even the musical expression feels somewhat recycled and somewhat stale.

This album as weak as it is is not without its merits. There are a few tracks that keep this from being a complete waste of time. I am fond of the first three tracks “When Problems Arise,” “A Selection” and “Cholly” as well as “Turn The Other Way.” The finale “Post Cold War Politics” is a hint of their up-to-snuff humor but it is too little, too late on this awkward album that has moments of presenting a glimpse of Fishbone wanting to unleash what they do best, but becomes obvious that the forces that kept them on a leash were too strong. A good album with some interesting ideas presented but too obviously prevented from totally evolving into truly interesting completion.

FISHBONE Fishbone

EP · 1985 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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siLLy puPPy
If you're looking for the FISHBONE albums that contain ingredients of metal do not look here! Skip this debut EP and head straight to their 2nd full album release TRUTH AND SOUL. This is a jazzy funkified alternative ska trip here.

FISHBONE is one of those unique entities in music that really cannot be pigeonholed into any particular category or genre of music no matter how hard the critics try. First of all they are all African American musicians who eschewed the straight-on jazz, hip hop, R&B or soul that was popular in the 80s and instead chose all of the above (well except the hip hop I guess )and mixed in a healthy dose of ska and funk to create a unique sound making them one of the most original and eclectic alternative bands of the 80s.

This is most likely going to be a love it or hate it album for most. It will exhilarate or irritate. For me I love this EP from beginning to end. Its ingenuity, its utter contempt for obeying ordained trends in music, its in-your-face attitude and social critique, its zaniness and unexpected cleverness. All packed into a less than 30-minute EP. It is true that the production is not so great and FISHBONE albums are crying out for re-masterings but I tend to judge music by the songs themselves and give a little leniency to production unless its just ridiculously horrendous.

The track "V.T.T.L.O.T.F.D.G.F." stands for "Voyage to the Land of the Freeze-Dried Godzilla Farts", as confirmed on the band's website, and is about a government attempt to convince the public that Hiroshima was actually caused by Godzilla farting. The track "Party at Ground Zero" remains one of the band's most popular tracks which features aspects of a contemporary big band sound. “Lyin' Ass Bitch” is one of the most freakin' hilarious songs i've ever heard.

If you want some ridiculously original and outside-of-the-box music look no further than FISHBONE. They had the talent to mix different musical genres and twist them until they probably could be called a new musical genre if others followed suit. Inspirational, exploitational and gratifying!

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