Fishbone's Norwood Fisher on Brainwashing, Breakups, Ska-Punk, and Loving Life
The band's first trip to Miami took place "around 1986 or '87," Norwood recalls, "with the Beastie Boys, on the Licensed to Ill tour.
"They were fans of Fishbone and came to see us at The Ritz in L.A., and we knew them from 'Cooky Puss.' So we were like, 'Yeah, let's go!' We'd play to, like, 15,000 people one night, and maybe a smaller venue the next with 3,000, all over the country."
But not all the memories are golden. The American South was shocking. "I saw the new Jim Crow for the first time on that tour in Georgia or the Carolinas or some shit," Fisher says. "They brought the guys from jail to do the work to set up the concert, the stage, the lighting rigs. I was like, 'What the fuck is this shit! Slave labor. Legalized slavery.'
"The privatizing of the prison system is atrocious. I've toured the world, and the U.S. more than anywhere else, and I've seen firsthand that white people are doing more fucked-up shit than anybody. I didn't get it till we started playing a bunch of ski towns and everybody was on drugs, but nobody got arrested. And the police were doing that shit too."
But the good road trips far outnumber the bad memories. And one of Norwood's favorite Fishbone tours was with heavy fuckin' metalheads Biohazard, who took the law into their own hands and dealt out fistfuls of street justice all over the States.
"They were rugged as fuck. Real people," Fisher laughs. "They would get out there and fight every night. They had little weapons and shit too. They handled business. And musically, they were really fun to listen to.
"We partied really hard. It was sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. But some of the best memories is just playing pool in the venue, drinking beer, smoking pot, hangin' with the fellas, shootin' the shit, and laughin. The simple shit is all that's really necessary."
Norwood and Fishbone like to keep the music simple too. Yeah, it can be wild, weird, and filthy. But it's really just a fast and furious mix of ska, punk, reggae, funk, rock, and soul, executed with maximum aggression and superhuman precision.