February 9, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Fishbone

For four years, from about 1985 to 1989, Fishbone were a mainstay on the So Cal mod scene, which at the time was increasingly obssessed with ska. No Doubt got their start at the time, and other young ska bands like Let's Go Bowling, Sublime, the Skeletones and others were challenging The Untouchables reign over California as the ska kings of the era. Only Fishbone was able to really make a go of it at the time.

Whenever they took the stage raw agression was unleashed and it wasn't uncommon for fights to break out during one of their many shows at Fenders, The Golden Bear, The Country Club or whichever venue happened to be the unlucky locale of a Fishbone onslaught. The music was raw, and sprang forth from as unruly a group of musicians as had ever been in the mod scene. It had a solid ska and rock steady foundation, but more and more funk and soul were seeping into the show -- much to the audiences delight.

This particular track, "Ugly", first appeared on their 1985 self-titled debut EP along with other faves of mod scenesters at the time, "Party at Ground Zero" and "Lyin' Ass Bitch". "Ugly" seems to be about Ronald Reagan, and indeed I seem to remember Fishbone's lunatic leader Angela Moore donning a Reagan mask at a gig in the late 80s while frantically skanking around the stage. Ah, the good ol' days. Sadly, in the 90s Fishbone melted into a mediocre party band who's schtick of heavy metal mixed wtih funk was never as interesting as their early ska beginnings.

Fishbone -- Ugly