What constitutes a perfect Southern California day for Fishbone bassist and vocalist, John Norwood Fisher?
“I love all of Southern California,” he says. “Where else can you live and wake up and go surfin’, ride up to the mountains or Big Bear and snowboard before noon…then come off the hill and be in the desert to hit the stage and rock an audience. A perfect day…that’s California livin’.”
Norwood could possibly do just that when he and his Fishbone band-mates join Slightly Stoopid, and Ozomati on the Main Stage as a trio of headliners at the Fourth Annual Rhythm, Wine & Brews Experience on Feb. 28 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Strangers You Know and The Suffers round out the entertainment, playing earlier on the Buzz Box stage.
photo courtesy of Fishbone on facebook
John Norwood Fisher is among Fishbone's original members.
Going beyond it’s R&B roots, this year’s festival offers a diverse musical lineup designed to appeal to all ages and musical tastes with an eclectic mix of reggae, folk, rock, blues, Latin, funk, and hip hop. Regional craft beer and wine tastings will take place from 3-7 p.m. with trucks and local restaurants preparing mouth-watering menu options to purchase.
Los Angeles’ native band Fishbone hit the alternative rock music scene in the mid-1980s, and have been playing their blend of American ska, funk, punk, rock fusion and (so-called) black rock for more than 25 years. Their creative influence and legacy inspired a critically acclaimed full-length feature documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, narrated by Laurence Fishburne.
The band’s current artists include original members Fisher, Anglo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe, and Dirty Walt, as well as Rocky George, Paul Hampton, John Steward, and Jay Armant. Their high energy rocked the crowd at Coachella 2014, and they have cultivated a reputation as one of the best live acts in music history.
Palm Springs Life spoke with Fisher about returning to the desert to play at this year’s Rhythm Wine and Brews Experience.
photo courtesy of fishbone on facebook
Fishbone audiences feed off the band's on-stage energy.
How does it feel to be playing back in Indio?
“I love playing these festivals. It’s a good scene. Most of members of Fishbone, past and present…we like to encounter our audience on a personal level. We watch bands from the audience, take pictures, and sign autographs. It brings about a profound relatedness. We appreciate the fact that anybody likes what we do because we are being honest with ourselves musically. To this day, having a career at this stage in our lives…I’ve never taken it for granted and I appreciate the audience even more. We take their good vibe to the stage.”
In the documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, there is a reference to “the dream of Fishbone." What is that dream?
“We have ultimately lived the dream of Fishbone… to make honest music and to have the privilege to explore musically with a profound freedom so others can follow more freely. To musically expand the playground and artistic license for all artists to push the boundaries… and we hope we do it tastefully. “
Something you can’t live without: Music
A Good habit: Working out
A Bad habit: Avoiding chores
On your bucket list: Kite boarding
A closing thought:
“I travel for a living so it’s hard for me to leave the house when I’m home. But when I go to the desert…I’m so happy when I get there. The beauty of the landscape is incredible. I like to climb on a rock and watch the sun come up and the colors of the desert. I appreciate things like that.”
The Rhythm, Wine & Brews Experience, Feb. 28 at the Empire Polo Club, 81-800 Ave. 51, Indio. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Casey Le Ball Foundation to support pediatric kidney research. Tickets: www.RWBfest.com