FISHBONE

Non-Metal / Funk Metal / Metal Related • United States
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Fishbone are an alternative rock band from Los Angeles, California that formed in 1979. Throughout their 30 plus year history, Fishbone has incorporated aspects of a wide variety of music genres into their sound. As well as blending elements like ska, funk, and reggae with rock music, they incorporate enough metal into their sound to warrant inclusion on the site. In fact, the band is often cited as one of the earliest practitioners of "Funk metal".

(Bio written by Stooge)
Thanks to Stooge for the addition and Unitron for the updates

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FISHBONE Discography

FISHBONE albums / top albums

FISHBONE In Your Face album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
In Your Face
Non-Metal 1986
FISHBONE Truth And Soul album cover 3.30 | 6 ratings
Truth And Soul
Metal Related 1988
FISHBONE The Reality Of My Surroundings album cover 4.79 | 3 ratings
The Reality Of My Surroundings
Funk Metal 1991
FISHBONE Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe album cover 4.55 | 6 ratings
Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe
Funk Metal 1993
FISHBONE Chim Chim's Badass Revenge album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Chim Chim's Badass Revenge
Funk Metal 1996
FISHBONE The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx
Non-Metal 2000
FISHBONE Still Stuck In Your Throat album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Still Stuck In Your Throat
Funk Metal 2006

FISHBONE EPs & splits

FISHBONE Fishbone album cover 4.67 | 2 ratings
Fishbone
Non-Metal 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)
Non-Metal 1987
FISHBONE Bonin' In The Boneyard album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Bonin' In The Boneyard
Non-Metal 1990
FISHBONE Crazy Glue album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Crazy Glue
Funk Metal 2011
FISHBONE Intrinsically Intertwined album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Intrinsically Intertwined
Non-Metal 2014

FISHBONE live albums

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

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FISHBONE singles (0)

FISHBONE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

FISHBONE Reviews

FISHBONE Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe

Album · 1993 · Funk Metal
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FISHBONE really stepped things up with their 1991 classic “The Reality Of My Surroundings” by adding stealthy doses of alternative metal to their already electric palette of ska, punk, funk and soul which allowed the band to experiment in myriad directions beyond the hyperactive funk ska of their earlier years. The band experienced minor success with that album which reached as high as No. 49 on the Billboard album charts, but sadly FISHBONE didn’t quite break free from their cult status as one of the sharpest badass fusion bands that delivered the social commentary of gangsta rap dressed up with the goofiest sense of humor and outstandingly brilliant compositions played by seven of the dopest musicians in the entire rock scene.

Two years later they followed up with the fourth full-album GIVE A MONKEY A BRAIN AND HE'LL SWEAR HE'S THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE which gets my vote as one of the coolest album titles in all of rock history. Stylistically FISHBONE continues expanding their musical tentacles into the furthest reaches of what they had been known for but also crafted a darker more inauspicious lyrical delivery with biting critiques of society and life under the perpetual thumb of the US empire. Unlike the smooth delivery of the previous album, GIVE A MONKEY with its incessant delivery of disparate musical styles proved to be too much for the fanbase and the album despite its utter brilliance got panned by the critics and went over the heads of the fans despite the fact that the metal was more metal, the funk tracks were funkier than ever and the humor while tamped down was still lurking under every cadence in a less in yer face manner.

It is so true that the album lacks the cohesiveness of its predecessor and instead GIVE A MONKEY exercises a series of mood setting units. The album slaps you in the face with the two heaviest tracks “Swim” and “Servitude” with the thundering grunge distortion and frenetic metal riffing with pummeling percussive drive dripping with snarling attitude. Considered the heaviest tracks of FISHBONE’s entire canon, they deliver an unexpected douse of heavy metal that nothing on “The Reality Of My Surroundings” even came close to. However, after the two headbangers, the freneticism cools off a bit with “Black Flowers” providing more of a transitory metal ballad type of energy despite the darkened lyrical content free of any cliche love song antics. The track provides some stellar church organ as well as ending with a sort of “Hey Jude” type of outro that loops around for a lengthy time. After these three heavy guitar units rear their ugly heads, the band surprisingly reverts back to their origins with the hyperactive ska funk track “Unyielding Condition” which also hosts stellar vocal tradeoffs.

The Funkadelic and Parliament funk rock influenced prowess continues on the sarcastic “Properties Of Propaganda” but the band throws another curve ball with the return to the heavy metal in “The Warmth Of Your Breath” but also breaks out some serious off-kilter funk riffs which makes this the ultimate funk metal track of all time IMHO. The album turns sombre with the funk and horn sections in “Lemon Meringue” and “They All Have Abandoned Their Hopes,” two tracks that are upbeat in sound but provide downer lyrics as does the guitar driven “End The Reign” which drops the funk and ska and focuses more on a standard hard rock sound in mid-tempo. The strangest track on the album is clearly “Drunk Skitzo” which features a funky groove and some completely unhinged vocals that leads to a frenetic jazz section with guest musicians Branford Marsalis providing a sultry sax freakout. The ending is augmented by atonality, weird sound effects and a dip into the truly surreal.

The album ends with the return to a nice mix of the church organ, rock guitar and bass and funky groove underbelly with the two closers “No Fear” and “Nutt Megalomaniac” which after a playing time of over 64 minutes always leaves me wanting more. This album may have been a let down at first following the perfection of “The Realities Of My Surroundings,” but in time this one has emerged to be just as prophetic and utterly addictive. The melodies are infectious, the compositions are divine and the performances are outstanding. The lyrics are tantamount to a brilliant hip hop album only dressed up in rock / funk / ska / metal clothing. Not to mention the mesmerizing album cover that folds out into one of the coolest astrological art scenes in music history. This album doesn’t have a bad track on it and although it doesn’t flow as perfectly as it should, the collection of disparate tracks is a perfect one and while certain tracks may hook you instantly, they all will if you give this album enough spins. Somehow, some way, this one has weaseled its way into my top 100 albums of all time.

Sadly the album failed to generate the momentum that carried FISHBONE to the next level and fizzled out at No. 99 on the album charts. The album was simply misunderstood and lacked the instant connection factor that so many modern music fans require. The financial frustrations of carrying on were too much for several members and the two primary songwriters guitarist Kendall Jones and keyboardist / trombonist Chris Dowd would leave the band after this album. The band continued in name but the magic had been lost as starting with the following “Chim Chim’s Badass Revenge” having much simpler song structures that were clearly trying to generate a pop hit or two. This is the end of the line for the classic FISHBONE era and together with “The Reality Of My Surroundings,” GIVE A MONKEY A BRAIN AND HE'LL SWEAR HE'S THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE is a bona fide masterpiece of musical accomplishment. Woefully underrated this one is. I simply cannot understand why others don’t find this to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

FISHBONE Bonin' In The Boneyard

EP · 1990 · Non-Metal
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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 · Funk Metal
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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 · Metal Related
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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 · Non-Metal
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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.

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