In an uncharacteristic moment near the end of the documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, charismatic front man Angelo Moore—widely known for his oddball behavior and high-energy stage antics—suddenly becomes quiet and serious.
Without looking at the camera, Moore relates that, as his years continue to roll by, he has grown weary of living famous but not rich. This moment is brief, and before one can so much as blink, Moore is back to his silly, wide-eyed self.
This fleeting act of restrained sadness perfectly encapsulates the rock-u-drama from San Francisco filmmakers Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson.
“Really, this is a story about families and friends, and I think these are aspects that will resonate with audiences,” Metzler tells SFR.
Through archival footage, candid testimonials from musicians influenced by the band (Flea, Gwen Stefani, Ice T and more) and present-day interviews with Moore and bassist Norwood Fisher, Everyday Sunshine tells a perilous and emotionally charged story of a band that should have crushed lesser acts.
Obstacles the group faces in the film include attempts to satisfy different artistic visions, the repeated departure of founding members—including guitarist Kendall Jones’ descent into religious/cultish obscurity following the death of his mother—and the band’s inability to fall within a specific genre.
Fishbone’s mixture of punk, ska, funk and rock has always been hard to define, and despite an album deal with Columbia Records before the members had even left their teens, nobody knew for sure what to do with the band. “Back when we started, white people were playing rock or metal, black people were playing rap or funk, and [we] were these black kids playing so-called white music,” Fisher tells SFR. “It was really hard for people to place us, or figure out what it was they liked about us.”
Fisher and Moore insist that the love of music has made their troubles tolerable. “At the end of the day, I don’t need to have a day job, and I ain’t out there digging a fucking ditch,” Fisher says. “No matter where we go or what happens, I can always say that we have lived it—good times, painful times and all, and I get to wake up every day knowing that I’m going to do what I love.”
However, their frustration with remaining permanently on the cusp of commercial success is palpable, and to see such hard-working and clearly talented musicians toil away for much more than two decades is heartbreaking.
“There is usually this catalyst for any period of creative explosion,” Metzler says. “There are these incredible bands that kind of start things off, and these tend to be the bands that aren’t rewarded as much as those that follow.”
Regardless, Moore and Fisher continue to stay true to their original dream. “We’re still here…fighting to win,” Fisher says. “The main thing for me is that we’re actually still in the game.”
Everyday Sunshine gives precedence to the band’s humanity rather than spending all its time on music, which isn’t to say the film neglects Fishbone’s recognizable tunes.
The film comes to Santa Fe for a limited engagement at CCA, and as an excellent bonus, Metzler will be on hand for some Q-and-A following showtimes on Dec. 10 and 11. Everyday Sunshine is a must-see for fans of any genre.
“If Fishbone hadn’t happened the way it happened, we wouldn’t be living in the musical reality that we do today,” Metzler says.
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 9-11
CCA Cinematheque 1050 Old Pecos Trail
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