Tuesday, July 28

Videos from Purgatory #20: Fishbone - Servitude

Fishbone is an important band. A very important band. During the mid-808's they help pioneer the sound of modern ska along with The Untouchables and England's Madness to forge a sound that has resonated through dozens of other groups from 311 to No Doubt to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime and the Long Beach Dub All-Stars. You name it Fishbone did it first, and about half the time they did it better.

Besides some occasion R&B and funk - they even did more than a little Metal too= and they did it good.

Swim & Servitude.

Fishbone are also masters of Funk with songs like "Fight The Youth" and Curtis Mayfield's "Freddies Dead". Then you have a gorgeous songs like Black Flowers.

Certainly a long way from their firs Ska Hit "Party At Ground Zero". in 1985 - but the point is if you can do it - why not do it? Fishbone flies directly in the face of the theory of music promotion that says you need to just stick to one type of music and build an audience solely around that and only that sound.
Fishbone don't play dat.

The only member of Fishbone I really ever got to know was their original guitarist Kendall Jones at a couple Black Rock Coalition events including a party t the park that sits between LAX and the Beach. He nabbed a couple Guiness my wife had brought specifically to save, so when I later ran into him at the side of the stage during the Gathering of the Tribes Tour which also included King's X and Primus, and he promised to pay us back (with another couple beers) sometime in the future.

That never happened as Kendell left the group not that much later and put a signficant dent in the quality of their writing with his departure. In recent years they've picked up former Sound Barrier guitarist Spacey T (who also did a stint with Mother's Finest during the 90's, and who has since been replaced by Rocky George of Suicidal Tendencies), and have managed to soldier on despite all hardships and despite anything the labels have to say about how they should sound and how they should be playing.

I've seen how crowds respond to this band, big ones like at Tribes and Lollapalooza and it's like a Thermo-Nuclear BOMB going off. (This is why they wrote "Swim", cuz that's what their shows were like) People would lose their entire minds and MOSH like there's no today, no tomorrow and no yesterday. It's was amazing.

But still these guys remain the most influencial almost unknown group in musical history - except maybe for King's X.



Rev. AlexG said...

Thanks for the write-up. Good stuff. Just a quick note, Electric Purgatory was filmed a few years ago, while Spacey-T was still the guitarist. Rocky George (formerly of Suicidal Tendencies) has been the guitarist for a while now.

Vyan said...

Ok, that makes sense - I saw Spacey with his new band Year of the Dragon a couple months ago. Bernie K (Sound Barrier) and I think Ernie C (Body Count) was there. So was Oscar Jordan.