Fishbone has never had it easy, and that is one of the understatements of this new century. In the early days of their career, they surely did seem to have the potential to be a world-class band. Ska, funk, soul, metal, punk, pop -- hell, even country -- these guys could do it all, and do it well. In fact, one of their central problems may have been that they did too many things too well, and were damn near impossible to pigeonhole in an industry built on providing product to a ruthlessly segmented marketplace.
Over the years, they faced other problems, too, both personal (the Kendall Jones meltdown) and familial (Norwood v. Fish), but none was more pervasive and ultimately damaging than good old-fashioned American racism, as they watched acts like the Chili Peppers and No Doubt (two bands they could absolutely play rings around) ascend to the pop firmament while all the best efforts of the 'Bone went relatively unheralded. It was the Elvis/Little Richard syndrome all over again, and Fishbone got frustrated and shot themselves in the foot a time or two (as in a horrible Saturday Night Live performance back in 1991), though any objective observer would be hard-pressed to blame 'em. And these days, their road is even rougher. They've been dropped by their label, and their future is lookin' kinda precarious.
Which is exactly why you should make it out to the Bash on Ash for the concert on Friday. Go for the songs, sure -- these guys have a canon of should-be classics, and they bring the funk like nobody's business. Go for the show, too -- front man Angelo Moore has more charisma in his pinkie than Anthony Kiedis does in his entire overpaid body. And go to show some respect and to lend some support, because one of the best and most underappreciated bands could use a little of both right about now.
Bash on Ash in Tempe
Scheduled to perform on Friday, September 21, Showtime is 8 p.m.
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