Fishbone releases on May 10th their first official live DVD. And it inevitably raises questions : What went wrong that we had to wait a good 20 years before this finally happens when Fishbone has always been labelled as the ultimate live act whose records never really matched their stage energy ? Isn't it too late now that the glorious lineup of the early 90s has mostly disbanded and the two remaining original members, Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher are well into their 40s ?
Answering the first question is almost impossible : Fishbone's errance in the show business is probably a good showcase of everything that can go wrong. My love for Fishbone, besides their incredible music, mainly comes from the fact that when 99.9% of all other bands, confronted whit the same hardships would have called it quits, Fishbone rebounded over and over and is still around today.
Is this DVD still relevant ? Yes ! Of course, the Fishbone of 2009 is no longer the same as in 1991, but it matured like good wine, without diluting the sound nor the energy. To the fans left behind in the mid 90s, this DVD is a great testimony that not only Fishbone is not dead, but it's still red hot as ever. For those who have sticked with the band and all the musical paths they followed in the last 15 years, this live DVD is a must, if only for one thing, because for once Rocky George (guitars) is not buried in the mix. I must have seen 6 or 7 shows with Rocky on guitars, and it's the first time he's audible. (And clearly I'll have to stay in front of his amps next time!). Actually, the whole audio mix is perfect (I have yet to watch the DVD in a decent 5.1 home theater, though), well balanced without being too clean. For sure, this is a live recording of Fishbone without nets. The editing is nervous and generous. It makes you feel right in the center of the Rock School Barbey.
In my view, the song selection is the main compromise of the DVD. It's a best of selection spanning all of Fishbone's career, but four songs had to be dropped for the final 2h10 mix, songs which could have balanced the impression... But all the songs here deserve on their own right their presence on the DVD. This will be the only small spoiler, but the Flamenco-Punk Servitude finale is incredible.
The object itself is a nicely packaged double digipack with a companion audio CD with a subset of the songs on the DVD and an 8 page booklet. The DVD is NTSC and can be viewed on any system, has no zone restriction, and both stereo and 5.1 dolby surround sound.
Is this the ultimate Fishbone live DVD? probably not, but a centerpiece in a quadrilogy featuring these other DVDs: the infamous Hen House Studio Sessions, the upcoming Everyday Sunshine documentary and the underground Live at Warfield PPV from 1992 bootleg.
If you can't wait until May 10th, the DVD will be available starting April 20th from Ter à Terre's webstore at an aggressively good deal.
John Bigham will be showcasing his third record Black John across the country in May and June. He will be backed by Padre Holmes on bass, Kerim Imes (Year of the Dragon) on drums and Jacob Lutrell on keys. In July, JB has a couple of dates lined up in Europe (France and Norway). Check out http://www.thesoulofjohnblack.com/ for tour info.
The information about the first official live DVD from Fishbone is still sketchy, but it keeps coming, so here's a quick update:
The release date has been pushed back to May 10th on Ter à Terre Records. Distribution deals have been worked out for all of Europe and Japan. The US release date is not yet known.
The familyhood should have access to a special online pre-release store in April. The details are being worked out and will be made public here when finalized.
The DVD features almost the whole Bordeaux show and is more than 2 hours long. Tracks that have unfortunately been left out are : Frey'd Fuckin Nerve Endingz, Skank & Go Nutts, Cheyenne Star Forever Moore and Let Dem Ho's Fight.
The companion audio CD is packed with 12 "best of" tracks. The mix is doing justice to Fishbone live. Dropped from the DVD are Party with Saddam, Cholly, Alcoholic, Lyin' Ass Bitch and Servitude.
Filmed in Bordeaux, on April 23rd 2008 by Stephan Kraemer, who could have guessed that it would take almost 25 years since the release of the first EP to see an official live video of Fishbone? The worldwide release date is set for May 10th 2009. The Fishbone Live In Bordeaux DVD sports hi-def 5.1 sound and has the audio on a companion CD. The DVD is 2+ hours long and features almost the whole show. The CD has a selection of 12 FIshbone hits. It is packaged with an 8 page color booklet in a classy digipack.
John Bigham, former Fishbone guitarist (89-97) and Miles Davis musician has just released his third record with his band The Soul of John Black. In this record titles Black John, JB plunges deeper in his explorations of country funk. Black John is available digitally or physically on Amazon. Be sure to check TSOJB's music, the first two records The Soul of John Black and The Good Girl Blues both showcase all the potential JB showed while with Fishbone.
Electric Purgatory is now available in DVD or VOD. The documentary directed by Raymond Gayle examines the struggles of black rock musicians and the industry's ambivalence towards them. Fishbone, as well as Vernon Reid or Jimi Hazel, among others, are featured throughout the documentary. Previously only viewable in (very select) cinemas, you can now see it in the comfort of your home !
Even though it's not showing much in the TV ad, Pepsi has managed to bring back the largest OG reunion on stage with besides Angelo and Wood, Diry Walt and a totally unexpected Christopher Dowd ! The "My generation" commercial starts airing nationally Tues Jan 20th, for the Obama Inauguration. Pictures of last week's shoot are available on Fishbone.net's forum. This is the closest to a reunion ever, no word yet as to this is a one-off stint. It sure opens up interesting perspectives.
Fishbone's fall tour gets rave review on Jambase.com
"They played a fine-tuned show filled with a mature and intellectual take on some of the rawest, funkiest songs ever created" says Jake Krolik on Jambase.com (review also crossposted to allaboutjazz.com) on the 12/02/2008 Philly show. Make sure to check out the full review and the video, a good pot-pourri of 2008 Fishbone.
"We sweat, we bled, we laughed and off we went into a night filled with the promise that Fishbone really was still red hot."