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Interview with Norwood Fisher of Fishbone

"Some pretty crazy adventures"


Interview with Norwood Fisher of Fishbone


Photo courtesy of It's Alive! Media and Management

RC: So, where've you guys been?

NF: We've been going through a lot of changes, some pretty crazy adventures. About six years ago we were touring, supporting our Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx record and shortly after we began to put together what became Live at The Temple Bar, and then not too long after that we lost members - Dirty Walt, who was an original member, and we lost Spacey T.

RC: And now it's just you and Angelo as original members.

NF: Yeah, in 2003, after we lost those guys, we put the band back together, and me and Angelo just wondered, "what would 100% look like?" And we began to put together the guys we have now.

RC: It's a great lineup, too. I mean Rocky George, that's some powerhouse guitar.

NF: Yeah, he's a true legend.

RC: How did that come about?

NF: Well, I've known Rocky for a few years and he just happened to be ready to do something different. He was playing with the Cro-Mags, and he just wanted to do something different.

RC: And then, this lineup put together this album?

NF: We'd begun before the other guys left, so me and Angelo never stopped. We just kept pushing forward, and once all the band members came together, then we began to put this current lineup on all those tracks. We didn't have a lot of tracks, just a few, and we rerecorded all of them except for one.

RC: And it's a great bunch of tracks. Like "Jackass Brigade" - is that Fishbone theme or what?

NF: (Laughs) Yeah, it applies to us as people, but it really is a true story about one of our soundmen. His name is Dan Destructo, and he's from a Florida punk band called No Fraud. And Dan missed the bus - well he didn't just miss the bus - we were on our way to Rome, it was a long drive, and he got up to take a s**t and when he came out, the bus was gone. It was like three in the morning, and all he had on was a pair of boxer shorts and a pair of flip flops. No money, no nothing, dude. And with just determination and f***ing ingenuity he made it to the gig before we played, and he was like 60 miles away from the gig at least.

You know when it comes down to it, me and Angelo, we have tons of stories that apply.

RC: And also, on the album, "Skank 'N Go Nuttz" - that's just classic Fishbone. I saw you guys at Club Soda years ago, and that song, it just captures the feel of what a Fishbone show is like.

NF: Yeah, we really set out to bring that kind of feeling to the whole record. I looked at it like if I was a fan - No, I am a fan of this band - and what kind of record do I want to hear from this band that I love? Then we set out to make it.

RC: So, then what is your favorite track on the record? As a fan, not as a band member.

NF: Well, right now, "Let Dem Ho's Fight" really is about my favorite. But it's hard to get away from being in the band, it's just, you know I was there when Angelo wrote those lyrics at the side of the f***ing boxing ring at this club in Atlanta where they were having foxy boxing. And we didn't make that term up, that was something the audience was saying.

RC: That's where "Let Dem Ho's Fight" comes from?

NF: Yeah, dude, it was like, we didn't create that s**t, it was real life, that s**t was going down.

RC: Then also, along with putting this record together, you've been doing a lot of film stuff. I know my favorite film you guys did would have to go way back to Back to the Beach.

NF: Right, yeah, it's classic.

RC: Then going back to that, as long as I have you on the phone and can ask you, what was it like working with Frankie and Annette?

NF: You know, I was totally amazed to be able to work with them. My thought process was like, we did a song with America's Sweetheart. I could talk to my dad about Annette Funicello going through puberty in front of the whole nation. I thought that was incredible. I didn't surf back then so I didn't have the full appreciation of what it would possibly mean to the surf community, but I definitely had respect.

I still look back, and I'm going like, "Wow dude, that's a deep rich part of American culture. And the one thing that makes it all make a lot of sense to me, and that make me proud is that Annette Funicello introduced us to a part of America that maybe never would have looked at us, and that Annette Funicello brought ska to America in the first place.

RC: Really?

NF: Yeah, what makes ska truly a part of surf culture is that she covered that song back in the '50s.

RC: So that's where ska hit surf, the old beach blanket movies?

NF: Yeah, exactly. She covered that song in the late '50s or early '60s, and introduced America to true ska music like the Skatalites and Desmond Dekker, and through that, we got to love Bob Marley and the Wailers.

RC: That's just amazing.

NF: It's a f**king amazing thing, dude!

RC: You've got me speechless on that.

NF: (Laughs)

RC: So, I'm going to segue then. You also have some side stuff going on right now. You're playing with Banyan right now.

NF: Yeah, I play with Banyan when Mike Watt can't, and right now he's running around playing with Iggy Pop, but they also get Rob Wasserman to play as well, and if Rob can't make it, they call me.

RC: That's a superstar lineup right there.

NF: Yeah it is.

RC: You know when I hear about you playing with Stephen Perkins, I think back to the era of early Fishbone, and I think of Fishbone, Jane's Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and now only two of the bands are still together, and only one of the bands is still good.

NF: (Laughs) Well, you know I love playing with Steve Perkins. He's a f***ing amazing percussionist and my whole thing is that I come in there and we make it up as we go along and it's a beautiful experience, and I think back to when Steve was like 17 and I first met him, and Perry was like "this is my band", and it makes me really appreciate the journey of my life.

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