Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (2010)

WHO: Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson directed this documentary.

WHAT: Like Jamie S. Rich, my first exposure to Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life was not a viewing of the film, but hearing a loose recapping of the plot by singer Angelo Moore of the post-punk, post-funk, post-ska, pre-"alternative" Los Angeles band Fishbone on their 1987 song "It's A Wonderful Life (Gonna Have A Good Time)", the music video for which took advantage of the copyright status of the 1946 film quite brilliantly.

Yes Everyday Sunshine is a music documentary about one of my favorite bands from my days of sincere and devoted rock and roll fandom: the late eighties and early nineties. One that (I'm embarrassed to admit) I was not even aware had never stopped touring over the years after losing members and its record contract around the time of my own obsessional transformation from music-geek to movie-nerd. Twenty years ago I saw them perform one of the most incredible live gigs I've ever seen, a $5 show at the Trocadero Transfer in SOMA that lasted into the wee hours even though it was actually the band's second gig of the day, after having performed in Mountain View that afternoon as part of the Lollapalooza tour.

At the time I had no idea that this was the band's first gig in San Francisco after bassist Norwood Fisher made the trek from his L.A. home to Novato, where guitarist Kendall Jones had retreated to be with his long-estranged father, to take part in an "adult intervention" (which led to kidnapping charges). Everyday Sunshine is an independently-made documentary, not a vanity project, so it doesn't shy away from some of the darker sides to the music business as experienced by this singular band; Jones's intervention being only the juiciest of these. But although the film must make the most of the limited documentation of Fishbone's earliest days, it does so with creativity and joyfulness, using animation, interviews, and most especially the music itself, which if you're like me you'll want to go back and listen to extensively after the final credits roll.

Metzler is now a Frisco Bay resident, and though Fishbone has always been a L.A. band, there are quite a few local connections that make Everyday Sunshine particularly a must for fans in the area. The Novato incident and its bizarre aftermath finds a mirror in a touching present-day reunion in a Berkeley nightclub, and I don't think it's accidental that the segment of the video for the (in Robert Christgau's words) "Devo-meets-Clinton" single "? (Modern Industry)" is sure to include the great radio station KUSF among its audible shout-outs (the moment of the above screen capture is of Jones mouthing those call letters, in fact.)

WHERE/WHEN: 6PM tonight only at the Bay Model in Sausalito, presented by the Tiburon Film Society.

WHY: For more than nine years now, the Tiburon Film Society has held screenings of relatively-recent documentaries and other films almost every month at the Bay Model in nearby Sausalito. Since 2008 these events have been held on the first Tuesday of just about every month, An archive of all past shows is found here

Tonight's event is particularly of note because it will include a live in-person appearance by one of the film's directors Chris Metzler. It's timely for any newfound fans of Fishbone who might emerge from tonight's screening, as the band will be performing at the outdoor music festival Outside Lands this coming Sunday.

HOW: Digital screening of a digitally-created doc.

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