Follow TV Tropes


Music / Fishbone

Go To
The debut EP

"Party at ground zero
A "B" Movie starring you
And the world will turn to glowing
Pink vapor stew"
Fishbone, "Party At Ground Zero"

"Fishbone is a group of brothers that play that heavy metal music. It's the stuff that you see on MTV and turn from."
Damon Wayans

Fishbone are an African-American Punk-Funk-Reggae-Ska-Rock band from Los Angeles who formed in 1979. They are best known for their songs "Party At Ground Zero," (about World War III) and their cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" (from SuperFly).

As usual, the basics about their career can be found at That Other Wiki

"Tropes and Soul":

  • Album Title Drop: "Junkie's Prayer", from The Reality of My Surroundings, ends with "The rest are the reality of its surroundings."
  • The Alcoholic: "Alcoholic," "Beergut," "Drunk Skitzo"
  • Angry Black Man: Suggested in "Rock Star"
  • Animal Motif/Dem Bones: Their logo is a fish skeleton
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "Just Call Me Scrooge"
    "Spillin Jack Daniels all over the drapes
    Spray-painting a bad finger over the fireplace
    Tattoos on his arms and knees
    I never thought Santa Claus would be such a sleaze"
  • As Themselves: Performing "Jamaican Ska" in Back to the Beach
  • Bunny-Ears Guitarist: Literalized, as seen in some performance clips near the end of Everyday Sunshine.
  • Advertisement:
  • But Not Too Black/But Not Too White: Musically, this was one of their biggest roadblocks early on in their career, as black radio stations weren't interested in them because of the punk rock element, and white radio stations weren't interested since they were a black band that didn't resemble anything else.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Some of their songs
  • Cover Version: "Freddie's Dead, " on Truth And Soul
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Sunless Saturday"
  • Death by Music Video: The band gets nuked at a party during the "Party At Ground Zero" video, leaving white shadows on the walls.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Junkie's Prayer," "Pray to the Junkiemaker"
  • Emergency Broadcast: Mentioned in "? (Modern Industry)."
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The nuclear anxiety of The '80s is reflected in "Party at Ground Zero".
  • Advertisement:
  • Fatal Flaw: From "Lyin' Ass Bitch," as sung by guest Lisa R. Grant:
    "I still care and that's my fatal flaw"
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: From "Hide Behind My Glasses":
    "Incompetent... Moron... Son of a... Son of a... Son of jerk!"
  • The Grim Reaper: Mentioned in "Junkie's Prayer"
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Norwood
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Lacking any footage of themselves from when they started the band in high school, the documentary Everyday Sunshine uses animated recreations instead.
  • Instrumentals: "Post-Cold War Politics," "V​.​T​.​T​.​L​.​O​.​T​.​F​.​D​.​G​.​F.", "Interlude 1," "Interlude 2" and "Pre Nut" (all three from Chim Chim's Badass Revenge), "One Planet People" and "Dear God" (from The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerk).
  • Intercourse with You: "Bonin' in the Boneyard," "Naz-tee May'en"
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Mentioned in "Hide Behind My Glasses"
  • List Song: "? (Modern Industry)" rattles off the call letters of various radio stations.
  • Live Album: Live In Bordeaux
  • Long Title: The It's A Wonderful Life (Gonna Have A Good Time) EP
    • Give A Monkey A Brain...and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: From Fishbone through The Reality of My Surroundings
  • New Sound Album: To some extent, Truth and Soul is this, since it introduces Funk Metal, Alternative Metal and Hard Rock aspects to their previously mostly Ska Punk (with the odd stab at Funk) sound.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: "Party At Ground Zero":
"Johnny goes to Sally's house to kiss her goodbye
But Daddy says to spend the night
They make love 'till the early morning light
For tomorrow Johnny goes to fight"
  • Protest Song: "Party At Ground Zero," "Slow Bus Movin' (Howard Beach Party)," "Subliminal Fascism," "Give It Up," "Movement in the Light," "Fight the Youth," "Change," the list doesn't end. Their alt-radio hit "Sunless Saturday" counts as well.
    • Notably averted with "Post Cold War Politics," from 1985's In Your Face, which is an instrumental. However, as this was four years before the end of the Cold War, and six years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is understandable.
  • Record Producer: David Kahane, at least for their first few albums.
  • Revolving Door Band: 17 different members over a 30+ year career.
  • Rock Star Song: "Rock Star"
  • Rockumentary: Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone
  • Self-Titled Album: The debut EP
  • Sexiness Score: "I Wish I Had A Date" has the fictional date being imagined as a "ten" that could impress everyone.
    Show her off to all the rest of my friends
    I'm not good lookin' but at least she's a 10
  • Shout-Out:
    • "V​.​T​.​T​.​L​.​O​.​T​.​F​.​D​.​G​.​F." stands for "Voyage Through the Land of the Freeze Dried Godzilla Farts"
    • It's a Wonderful Life (Gonna Have A Good Time)
    • "Junkie's Prayer" is modeled on "The Lord's Prayer" as presented in The Book Of Matthew
    • The fade-out of "Party At Ground Zero" repeats the line "this is not a chawade!"
  • Singer Namedrop: From "Party At Ground Zero":
    "Please do not fear
    Cause Fishbone is here to say"
  • Single Stanza Song: "One Day"
  • Slut-Shaming: "Lyin' Ass Bitch"
  • Special Guest: The music video for "Sunless Saturday" was directed by Spike Lee.
  • Stage Name: Frontman Angelo Moore is also known as "Dr. Madd Vibe"
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Cholly"
  • Take That!: In Everyday Sunshine, Perry Farrell talks about how Fishbone's lack of success in the mid-90s led to the record industry deciding, "No more freaks. Let's just get a little girl with a song," followed by pictures of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
  • Theremin: According to the documentary Everyday Sunshine, Angelo's discovery of this led to him developing his "Dr. Madd Vibe" persona, which annoyed everyone else in the band.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: Some of their songs fall into this category.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The superfluous apostrophe in "Let Dem Ho's Fight"