Why The Black Rock Coalition is still necessary Pt 2

Following up on the whole ‘Women In Black Rock’ debacle, I got more news regarding a movie that is very near and dear to me.

I was very fortunate to see ‘Everyday Sunshine’, an incredible documentary on the group Fishbone.  For those who don’t know, Fishbone is one of the most underrated, underappreciated, yet highly influencial bands of the last 30 years.  Without them, there’s no Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Sublime, No Doubt, 311, Primus, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the list goes on and on.  As of this writing, the film is still looking for a distributor, but it has been doing great business in L.A. and plans are underway to screen it here on the East Coast.

I’ve become friendly with the filmmakers and asked some contacts I have to see if was possible to have ‘Everyday Sunshine’ air on cable TV.  Through a long time friend of mine, I was able to bring the film to the attention of a network whose forte is airing these types of documentaries.  Through this same person, I was told that the network wasn’t interested because they didn’t think the band – and this is a direct quote -‘was mainstream enough to have interest’.

I was shocked.  Fishbone has appeared at Lollapalooza, The Warped Tour and appeared on ‘Saturday Night Live’.  Here’s a film featuring Gwen Stefani, Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Perry Ferrell of Jane’s Addiction, Les Claypool of Primus, among others saying how Fishbone directly influenced them and in some cases, outright took their look and sound, but this story wouldn’t have enough interest?!?

Now this is the same network that featured a documentary about an even more obscure, yet highly influential metal band and their ups and downs.  This same network even co-sponsored a tour by the aforementioned band, which is made up of all-White musicians.

Fishbone is a rock n roll band comprised of all Black members.  I don’t want to play the race card, but when it’s the only card you have…

‘Everyday Sunshine’ is rolling out slowly and is on track for wider release in the spring.  You can go to http://www.fishbonedocumentary.com for more information.

The struggle continues…

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About earldouglas

Author of the book, 'Black Rock Volume 1', which is available now at Blurb.com and as an e-book on Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com. Executive Director of the Black Rock Coalition New York Chapter. Photographer, music fan, Yankee fan, supporter of the arts!
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3 Responses to Why The Black Rock Coalition is still necessary Pt 2

  1. This is frustrating, but not surprising…. It seems to me that folks like one of two things: 1) Mega-stars that are guaranteed to sellout or 2) obscure shit that will make them seem hip for “discovering” it before everyone else. And Fishbone is in between. I’ve seen it from a distance and upclose with those guys. I’ve seen much lesser talents get pushed by both the black and non-black musical communities. I spent the better part of three years trying to get both black and non-black folks interested in them, their music, and the side projects I put out and managed with varying degrees of success -none of which with better than average success. I’ve pestered black rock folks to play their albums on radio shows, to write reviews on webzines, and to plug shows and have repeatedly been frustrated at the lack of a response while other acts that are nowhere near as accomplished, known, talented, or polished are repeatedly hyped to a level that looks like payola. So, I don’t know if the race card is the proper one, because I think black folks -even your black rock crowd -neglect Fishbone and it’s various offshoots something fierce. You -Earl Douglas -are an exception and not the rule if you ask me. Another issue at play is watching that movie there are a lot of prominent music folks with juice talking about how Fishbone is either their favorite band or so influential or this that and the other thing. Which begs the question: How come none of them are doing anything to help out Fishbone, the individual members, or the movie?

  2. Lainad says:

    Hey Earl, I agree with Kris in relation to questioning the support of such bands like Fishbone and other black rock / laternative artists. In the process of writing my book, I’ve faced more resistance by black folks towards black women in metal than anyone else. While I agree ( because I’ve been pitching stories to mainstream and “urban” publications on black women in rock for over a decade with little success) that generally, black rock artists are not seen as socially and / or economically viable by the “mainstream” either, what is really interesting is how the same people whom verbally, champion black rock artists will not lift a finger to assist them in getting the word out.

    As racial authenticity is so tied up in the music we choose to listen to, I have had black folks tell me that none of their friends or family members even know that they prefer rock, and would never attend a show or purchase an album for fear of being called out on their musical preference.

    In order to help out an artist or band who needs some PR, it seems that you either have to be somehow involved with the music industry( and know and care how rough it is) or feel really passionate about the musical, cultural and social contributions made by the artist and how, with a little PR, could benefit the larger community. Fishbone was and is, one of those bands who has defied so many naysayers and created some incredible music, intergrating their experiences in SoCal in the punk scene, mixing it with ethno-cultural inlfuences (reggae, Ska) and social politics that only one or two other black artists dared to discuss.

  3. sleeves says:

    I saw Fishbone at a tiny club in Cambridge back in the 90’s (the middle east I think). I’d never heard of em before but they bleewwww me away. I went home that night and tried to figure out why they weren’t rich and famous and playin big clubs…

    good luck with the getting that flick aired…

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