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Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone - Review - 2011

Making Music History

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Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone - Review - 2011

Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone Poster Art

Grindstone Media
This fine music documentary shows how the madly talented musicians of Fishbone defied genre with their intoxicating blend of funk and punk, hard rock and soul. And how they defied the music industry by persisting in their unique creative process and their highly original and volatile performance style.

Fishbone and its members have followed a rocky road, but they are widely acknowledged as one of the most talented and highly original bands of the last quarter century by both musicians and music critics, many of whom contribute commentary for this well researched film about the band and its evolution.

The Story of Fishbone

Everyday Sunshine chronicles the professional arc of Fishbone, one of the leading and most unique bands on the alternative rock scene, from the group's inception in 1979 to the present. That's a long run for a rock band, and there have been many changes, many of which are revealed in the film.

It all began when Fishbone's founding members -- Norwood Fisher, his brother, Phil 'Fish' Fisher, Angelo Moore, Kendall Jones, 'Dirty Walt' Kibby and Christopher Dowd -- were students in a South Central Los Angeles junior high school. Their neighborhood was the center of hard times -- it was rife with crime, infested with drugs and subject to street riots. The kids stuck to their music.

From the outset, the film establishes the band members; personalities -- particularly of Norwood, Angelo and Kendall -- and shows how they played off of each other, collectively creating their sets, rivaling each other on stage. It covers Kendall's emotional problems and eventual split, the rift in the group and their very touching reunion, and recovery.

There's also some fascinating music history. At the time the group was formed and gained early recognition, the music business was ruled by strong preconceptions about what sounds would appeal to blacks and what other sounds would appeal to whites. But the members of Fishbone, all of whom were solidly strong and extraordinarily gifted musicians, weren't having any of that. They wanted to play their way, with a bold mix of musical genres that was all their own. They were, as the film shows, quite quickly noticed and developed a devoted following.

Fishbone's Massive Influence

Throughout the film, fellow musicians, music critics, scholars and famous fans -- including Ice-T and Tim Robbins -- comment on the strength and uniqueness of Fishbone's sound, and point to the massive influence it had on the music produced by other groups.

Filmmakers Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler effectively use archival news footage of events that contextualize the band's career within the social and political milieu, and photos from family albums that establish early influences on each of the band members. There's also wonderful video of early and recent Fishbone performances, rehearsals and backstage life.

You don't have to be a big Fishbone fan to enjoy this film. The sheer scope of Fishbone's career arc, the groups longevity despite all of the difficulties they've faced, the quality of the music, watching Angelo's amazing antics on and offstage, and seeing how Norwood hangs in there and keeps things together add up to a very engaging audience experience.

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Film Details:

  • Title: Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone
  • Directors: Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler
  • US Theatrical Release Date: October 7, 2011 (limited)
  • Running Time: 107 mins.
  • Parental Guidance: Advisory for Parental Guidance for content, language.
  • Location: Los Angeles and on tour
  • Language: English
  • Production Country: USA
  • Distribution Company: Grindstone Media
  • Official Website
  • Trailer

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