by Jack Diablo
On Friday evening, October 15 at the 5 Points Theatre the 2010 Jacksonville Film Festival will include a program featuring EU Jacksonville’s Music Video Revival select videos and presentation of the “Emerging Director” award at 6:30 followed by Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, an Atypical Arts, Music In Motion series documentary profiling the influential, eclectic ska-punk band that defied genres, racial stereotypes and expectations as they blazed new musical trails.
To someone such as myself, the need to identify Fishbone seems almost absurd, but for the uninitiated, perhaps a brief introduction is in order. It would be easy to label Fishbone as a ska-punk but in truth they are equal parts funk, hip hop, hardcore, metal and experimental. Despite all of that they managed to become a sensation and left a legacy that persists to this day. Since then the Fishbone skeleton has become just as ubiquitous in the annals of punk rock iconography as the Black Flag bars, Milo, and the Dead Kennedys’ DK logo.
Everyday Sunshine is as much a documentary about the African-American experience in LA during the tumultuous decades spanning the 70s through the 90s as it is a movie about a band. The film points to Fishbone’s genesis as being a result of the bussings that brought inner-city black kids into Valley schools thereby exposing them to the punk rock movement that began to form in the suburbs of LA during the 80s. From there, we get their reaction to the riots following the Rodney King verdict and the steady decline of their popularity.
In a somewhat bizarre but certainly understandable twist, the film also documents the band’s struggle with and lack of acceptance from “Black Radio” while simultaneously finding widespread success in the punk scene and later, after signing to Columbia Records, the MTV crowd. The same qualities of originality and fusion that gave them their initial appeal, eventually became the very thing which hindered them most in what became a rigidly segmented industry. Inner turmoil rears its ugly head as well, threatening to undo the powerful unity between the members.
Years after their heyday, the band continues to record and tour, living essentially hand-to-mouth, one at least back under his mother’s roof. The movie does not shy away from the inevitable awkward moments that arise, documenting lackluster turnouts and less-than-enthusiastic crowds.
Narrated by Lawrence Fishburne and featuring interviews from the likes of Flea, Perry Farrell, Branford Marsalis, Les Claypool and Gwen Stefani, the film has enough humor and real-life drama to appeal to old fans and those without a clue alike.
The Friday evening program also includes a lecture from writer and musician Greg Tate, a founder of the Black Rock Coalition who has written several books on black artists such as James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.
Everyday Sunshine is the second in a four-part talk + music film series produced by Jimmy Saal of Atypical Arts. With the Music in Motion series, Saal, who has held staff positions at Spin and Vibe magazines, will bring unique and interesting films about musicians such as Miles Davis and Bob Marley as well as engaging discussions with guest experts.
Jacksonville Film Festival Friday Highlight –
by Jack Diablo