Fishbone forging ahead to the future

— Fishbone's latest CD, "Live at the Temple Bar and More," is the soundtrack to a documentary about the band that has been crazy on stage since most of their fans were middle school skaters and misfits searching for music more interesting than Richard Marx.

Many of those fans are still with them, Fishbone bassist Norwood Fisher said.

"A lot of them are rock stars now or accountants and business owners," he said. "I look out at the crowd and think, 'Wow. I remember that mother from 1984 from the first time we ever left Los Angeles.'"

The documentary, filmed by the woman responsible for Henri Rollins' spoken word and music videos, will tell the story of a band that started playing Bootsy Collins and Led Zeppelin tunes together in junior high and evolved into a jazz-based, experimental band that stayed current and original through all the musical trends of the '80s and '90s.

Fishbone features "Dirty Walt" on trumpet and vocals, John "Wet Daddy" Steward on drums, Fisher on bass and vocals, Spacey T on guitar and Angelo Moore on saxophone, percussion and an unlikely instrument, the theramin. The theramin is most recognizable as the spooky, wailing instrument in old horror movies.

"When Angelo discovered the theramin, it was like something out of a Jerry Lewis movie," Fisher said. "We were working in this recording studio and every day we would pass this box. One day, Angelo just turned it on."

The instrument has been incorporated into the band's sound and can be heard in several songs on "Live at the Temple Bar."

The album moves from gospel sounds to heavy brass ska. It was released by Nuttsactor 5 Records in 2002, but the film, "Everything Went Nuttz," is still being edited.

"We decided to forge our way into the future by trying this film thing," Fisher said. "I love being in the band still. We get to do crazy things together."

But the band is ready for more.

They have formed their own music label, Nuttsactor 5 Records, and have produced new bands like Dead Weight and Weapon of Choice.

"You should start watching for Dead Weight," Fisher said. "They sound like a freight train."

Dead Weight, made up of a violin, cello and drums, is getting a lot of exposure touring with Primus' Les Claypool.

As for Fishbone, they are on a short tour of Colorado. They have a day off in Steamboat Springs and Fisher will get a chance to try out the Never Summer snowboard he bought last year.

The band promises to still be high energy after a day on the slopes and to psych the crowd up for their soon-to-be-released greatest-hits album.

"We're beginning to concentrate on the oldies," Fisher said. "I think there is good reason to start giving props to the past. We'll play a lot of songs that people can recognize with a sprinkling of new stuff."

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