Long-running ska-funk-metal-punk act Fishbone hasn't been to this neck of the woods in over a decade, but it's finally making a triumphant return on Tuesday, March 15. The band is playing an early, all-ages show at Aftershock, in Merriam, on the way down to Austin's South By Southwest music festival, where Fishbone headlines a showcase at the Austin Music Hall on Thursday, March 17, with Wu-Tang Clan and Das Racist, and a DJ set from Erykah Badu.
We were lucky enough to catch up with one of Fishbone's founding members, bassist Norwood Fisher, by phone. We spoke with him about the band's tour and storied history, as well as the forthcoming documentary about the band, Everyday Sunshine.
The Pitch: Is this winter tour you're on in conjunction with Everyday Sunshine?
Norwood Fisher: Everything we're doing is in conjunction with that documentary, thankfully. We did some dates with Slightly Stoopid, and routing towards South By Southwest, that fortunately led us to cross paths with Kansas City. I'm happy to be going there.
How did the documentary come about?
We weren't looking for them; they came looking for us. There was some trepidation on our end, because we've had a few people actually let inside [our inner circle] to film, and nothing came of it. They actually hit us up with copies of a documentary they'd done, called Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea. Angelo and I were familiar with it. We'd done a movie called Phoenix Point, which was shot on the Salton Sea, so I knew how bad it smelled, and that somebody needed to do a documentary on that thang. Really, what took it over the top, was that John Waters was the narrator, and we're big John Waters fans.
Were any trepidations you had due to the fact that most documentaries come at the end of a band's career?
Maybe that wasn't so much of it, but I had this perfect picture in my head of doing it in my 60s. That doesn't mean it would be at the end of my career -- just, at that point, the story could be told. But I'm glad that we did it, really. That was initially my thing like, "I don't know, we're still writing the story."
You're no stranger to being on film, having been in quite a few movies. Was Tapeheads the first movie you were in?
As a band, yes. We'd done extra work, as well. Right out of high school, we started doing extra work. I was in things that I can't even remember exactly what they were called. John Cusack, Tim Robbins and the director, Bill Fishman -- we were all kinda related, as friends. I was a big fan of those guys, as actors.
How did you get hooked up with Idlewild?
Would you believe that Bryan Barber (the director), Big Boi and Andre 3000 -- all three of them -- are heavily influenced by Fishbone? [Laughs.] So they just reached out and gave us so much love, and we were party to them as they entered into a whole other phase of entertainment.
In addition to the documentary, you guys are working on a new album. Any idea of a release date or title at this point?
It's an EP -- six or seven songs. We know that it'll be toward the summer when it comes out, maybe even as a companion piece to the documentary. We don't quite have a title yet. Right now, it's kinda leaning toward the punk-rock zone.
311, Outkast, etc. all cite Fishbone as an influence. Does being influential work, or would you rather trade that for more financial success?
I'm gonna put it like this: I have a good time being me. I'm a happy person. I smile more than I grimace. Whatever might have been, whatever might seem like it didn't occur, I'm cool right where I'm at. I still have dreams and aspirations, and in my heart, I believe that I can achieve anything that I want.
I look at my life like I made choices, and I'm very much so choosing right where I'm at right now. With just the flick of a switch, my life could be very different. I've got very many friends that have enjoyed a lot of financial success.
Yep, it'd be nice if I could buy my mom that home, but I think I'm still on course to achieve that. It just didn't happen in the time frame that it happened for other people. My life is interesting, nonetheless. But I'd be lying if I didn't wish that I had a pocketful of money and could spend it like it didn't mean anything. [Laughs.]