You Ain't Got No Alibi

"They should have been the band that went way beyond any of us who were influenced by them," says Primus' Les Claypool about groundbreaking African-American band Fishbone in the documentary Everyday Sunshine. The film, co-directed by Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler, is a love letter to the group. Packed with fantastic performance footage, the film presents Fishbone as one of rock's best live acts ever — furiously energetic, innovative, leaping multiple genres in a single song. A slew of talking heads, from Vernon Reid to Gwen Stefani (who should pay Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore royalties), sing the group's praises as Laurence Fishburne narrates a whiplash-inducing career spanning the '80s and early '90s: High school friends form a punk/ska/funk/fill-in-the-blanks band, create groundbreaking music, travel the world, influence countless other bands, but crash and burn before achieving the success they deserve. The reasons for failure are familiar: record-label ineptitude, and love/hate group dynamics that eventually gave way to alcoholism, mental breakdowns, and bitterness. Anderson and Metzler get it all down, but are so enamored of the band that they don't shape their material too tightly, and it occasionally drifts into redundancy. An unexpected upside to the film is its timeliness. As conversation about race drifts from the art world and academia onto the op-ed pages — see Touré's controversial book Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? — it's refreshing to hear group members repeatedly stress that their art was rooted in black culture and consciousness as the film becomes a dialectic on black masculinity.

"Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" - documentary trailer

Jan. 6-19, 2012

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