Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bird & Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part fifteen

Let's continue our article series about "bird" and "animal" names and groups in rock and roll history, this time heading back to the water; exploring a couple Lollapalooza veterans.

Formed in 1979, while most of the band members were in junior high, the L.A.-based band Fishbone has effectively mixed humor, ska-metal and sheer funk rock to create their own distinctive sound all the while building up a legion of hardcore fans. Albums such as “In Your Face” (1986) and “Truth And Soul” (1988) and the LP “The Reality Of My Surroundings” (1991- the band added second guitarist John Bigham for this release) captured the band at it’s best, skillfully blending social commentary, high energy punk with frantic ska and electric funk; even adding an acoustic number and a cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead" on “Truth and Soul.”

However “The Reality Of My Surroundings” didn’t establish the group as a mainstream success and the follow up 1993’s “Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe” and their appearance at the third Lollapalooza failed to garner much attention for the band either. Their 1996 record “Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge” which was their first album for Arista Records, was largely ignored, as was their double-disc compilation “Fishbone 101 Nuttasaurusmeg Fossil Fuelin.”

But despite the group’s poor sales, they remained a very popular concert attraction and in 2000, the band was signed to a major record deal and given the chance to record a new album with several special guests, such as Gwen Stefani, George Clinton, Rick James, H.R. of Bad Brains, Donny Osmond, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. The result, Fishbone and the "Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx," was a critical success, but again saw poor sales.

In 2002, on their own independent record label, they released "Live at the Temple Bar and More" which contained all brand new original material recorded throughout 2001 and 2002. Throughout many personnel changes, the band retained their cult status and the new Fishbone continued to widen their musical horizons, releasing their first studio recording in 6 years titled "Still Stuck In Your Throat" in April of 2007.

In 2008 and 2009, the prospect of a reunion of the original members grew closer, when on different occasions, Walter Kibby, Christopher Dowd and Kendall Jones joining Fishbone on stage, most notably for the shoot of the Pepsi "Pass" commercial which aired in January 2009 and with the original members all on friendly speaking terms with each other.

The Eels, were named because band leader E (Mark Oliver Everett) wanted the group’s records to be next to his solo efforts in alphabetical order-they later realized that the Eagles would fall in between. After achieving minor success as a solo artist (as A Man Called E, Mr. E or simply E), Everett teamed up with Jonathan “Butch” Norton and Tommy Walter to form the Eels and they became one of the first groups to sign a record deal with Dreamworks.

The Eels debut album, “Beautiful Freak” featured an unsettling album cover (a bug-eyed prepubescent girl), melancholy pop, eccentric musical composition and quirky production and yielded the Top 40 hit “Novocaine For The Soul” (which also was the number one Modern Rock hit for two weeks). The group toured extensively to support the release and built up their name in both the U.S. and Europe. The song “My Beloved Monster” was featured on the soundtrack for the blockbuster movie “Shrek” and two other cuts could be heard in the fifth season of the television show “Homicide: Life On The Street”- “Not Ready Yet” and “Guest List.” Additionally, the song “Lucky Day In Hell” can be heard on the soundtrack for the movie “Scream.”

After some very difficult personal experiences (friends dying, his sister’s suicide and his mother being diagnosed with cancer), E wrote a collection of dark, somber songs for the next album called “Electro-Shock Blues.” Not nearly as commercially successful as their debut, the Eels had some success with the single “Last Stop This Town” and a second single called “Cancer For The Cure,” which was used on the soundtrack for the film “American Beauty.”

The next releases “Daisies Of The Galaxy” (2000) and “Souljacker” (2001), saw the band return to prominence with more of an upbeat and accessible sound. They included the songs “It’s A Motherxxxxxx” and “Selective Memory” and the single “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues” (co-written by Michael Simpson of the Dust Brothers)-from “Daisies Of The Galaxy” and the single “That’s Not Really Funny,” which was used as the theme for the BBC comedy series “Monkey Dust,” the song “Souljacker Part I,” is included in the movie “Hot Fuzz,” while the cut “Fresh Feeling” appears in the American sitcom “Scrubs.”

In 2003, the Eels released “Shootenanny!,” an album that was recorded “live” in the studio over a ten-day period and the song ““Saturday Morning” was released as a single. But, band member “Butch” Norton left the group over 'monetary concerns' and would go on to work with Rufus Wainwright. In 2005, the thirty-three track album “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations” was released and was the band’s first album for their new record label Vagrant Records. Contributions to the LP were made by Tom Waits, Peter Buck and John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful). A tour followed and as a result a live album called “Eels With Strings: Live at Town Hall” was released.

In early 2008, Eels released their first greatest hits package as well as a compilation of b-sides, rarities, soundtrack singles and unreleased tracks. "Meet the Eels: Essential Eels Vol. I" spans the first decade of the Eels with singles from all their albums. Useless Trinkets contains 50 B-sides and rarities as well as a DVD of their 2006 Lollapalooza performances.

The Eels may not have a huge following here in the States, but you have probably heard some of the songs and not know exactly who the band is. The Eels are probably more well-known in the UK and other parts of Europe, but since signing on with Vagrant Records, they will tour the United States with more frequency and hopefully capture more fans to add to their already budding fan base.

Look for part sixteen next week!

Fishbone Tidbits:

The band made headlines in April of 1993 when band member John “Norwood” Fisher was arrested (along with four others) for trying to kidnap former band-mate Kendall Jones in California. Jones had left the group the previous month and reportedly was obsessed with the apocalypse and denouncing the band as “demonic.” Fisher claimed he was just trying to take Jones to see psychiatric experts, while Jones said he had left the band over philosophical difference. Fisher ultimately was acquitted of the kidnapping charges and the band continued on.

Fishbone was led by vocalist/saxophonist Angelo Moore, and the band formed in 1979 while the members were still in junior high; the original lineup comprised Moore, Chris Dowd, Kendall Jones, Walter Kibby II, and John Norwood Fisher. They honed their skills performing in local clubs during the early '80s and then the group signed with Columbia Records in the mid-'80s, releasing a self-titled EP in 1985.

In 1987, in support of their first full-length album, “In Your Face,” the band performed "Jamaica Ska" (the classic Jamaican ska single specifically written as a breakthrough U.S. pop charts hit) in the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon reunion movie Back to the Beach.

Buy Fishbone Music

Eels Tidbits:

"Hombre Lobo," is the title of the seventh Eels studio album and is scheduled to be released on June 2, 2009. "Hombre Lobo" is Spanish for "wolf man" or "werewolf" and may be a reference to E's unusually long beard which he originally grew when writing the song "Dog Faced Boy.”

There have been several collaborations between the band and their fans. For example, in 2001, Eels held a contest that encouraged fans to submit song titles by e-mail, reporting that one would be picked, written around the title, and published as a b-side. Instead, they recorded a song called Hidden Track that used the submitted song titles pieced together as lyrics, as sung by Butch.

The soundtrack of the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy film “Yes Man” featured nine songs by the Eels, including "Man Up," a brand new song.

Buy Eels Music

Classic Rock Vidoes

Rush - Tom Sawyer

Music News & Notes

Lynyrd Skynyrd "God & Guns"

The new Lynyrd Skynyrd album is scheduled to be released on September 29 and has been named "God & Guns." The 13-track album was recorded in Nashville with Bob Marlette, who has worked with Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne, producing. The single "Still Unbroken" will be out in July.


Jamie Foxx Releases In UK Hot New Single 'Blame It' On June 29, 2009

2009 Academy Award winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx releases hot new single 'Blame It', taken from his new album 'Intuition', through RCA Label Group on June 29th.

'Intuition' entered at No 3 on Billboard's album chart and follows Jamie's critically acclaimed album 'Unpredictable'; which was a UK top ten and US No 1 album, also winning Jamie an American Music Award for favourite R&B/soul male artist.

Since being released 'Intuition' has spent an amazing 13 weeks in the Billboard top 10 and has already amassed 1 million digital units to date; fuelled by the first US hit single 'Just Like Me' featuring T.I. Second single 'Blame It' is currently No 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, No 1 Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart & No 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop airplay chart.


Sean Paul Releases New Album Cover For 'IMPERIAL BLAZE'!

The newest Sean Paul album entitled Imperial Blaze is going to be released on August 18, 2009.

The lead single, 'So Fine', which was produced by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, premiered on Sean Paul's official website on April 25, 2009.

Up until now there have been seven music videos: "Always On My Mind (with Da'Ville)", "Give It To You (with Eve)", "Watch Them Roll", "Back It Up" (with Left Side/Mr. Evil), "(I Wanna See You) Push It Baby" (with Pretty Ricky), "Hit 'Em" (with Fahrenheit and his brother Jason "Jigzagula" Henriques) and "Come Over" with Estelle. However, it is unknown which of these songs, if any, will be featured on the album with the exception of the first single.


Third Man releases three new singles, including Dead Weather

Third Man Records — the label owned by Nashville resident rock star Jack White — will release three new vinyl 45s on Memorial Day, including a new single from his latest musical endeavor, The Dead Weather.

The band’s “Treat Me Like Your Mother” is backed by a cover of Them’s “You Just Can’t Win,” and will be released alongside new singles from Mildred and the Mice and Rachelle Garniez.

All of them were produced in White’s Third Man Records compound in Nashville (623 7th Avenue South) which includes a studio, performance stage and record store. A set of all three 45s can be purchased at


Death Threat set to release new EP

Connecticut hardcore band Death Threat will release a new EP next month. The effort is titled "Lost At Sea" and will feature three new songs in addition to an Outburst cover. The limited edition 7" vinyl will be available on June 30th via Reaper Records.


Idol News

I am not a really big fan of American Idol, but admit to watching this season and rooting for the underdog (as many who voted did as well) and I think the right singer (Kris Allen) won the competition.

This from Rolling Stone:

After Adam Lambert’s killer performance with Queen on Wednesday night’s season finale of American Idol, rumors flew that he had already been offered a job singing with the band. That’s slightly premature, according to the band’s guitarist, Brian May.

“Amongst all that furor, there wasn’t really a quiet moment to talk,” May tells Rolling Stone in an e-mail interview. “But [drummer Roger Taylor] and I are definitely hoping to have a meaningful conversation with him at some point. It’s not like we, as Queen, would rush into coalescing with another singer just like that. It isn’t that easy. But I’d certainly like to work with Adam. That is one amazing instrument he has there.”

This from Gene Simmons (who always seems to have an opinion about everything related to music):

“Respectfully, I don’t think Adam is a rock singer,” Simmons writes. “He sounds much more convincing singing ballads and Broadway shows. His voice doesn’t seem to have a ‘rock quality.’ But, I’m sure he’s going to do just fine.”

When asked, based on Lambert and Allen’s performances with the band during the season finale, which of the two he’d throw his own money behind as they build their careers, Simmons was succinct.



The Doors "From The Outside" Documentary To Be Released

MVD Visual and Sexy Intellectual have announced the home viewing release of The Doors "From The Outside" for North American distribution on DVD. This brand new documentary film tells the story of The Doors, not from the perspective of the surviving members - as has been told so many time before - but from the recollections, memories, stories and anecdotes of those who knew the group and its members best.

The panel is headed by a woman who was as close to Jim Morrison as anyone ever was; his widow Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. Kennealy-Morrison has rarely spoken on film about her relationship with Morrison, or about her own memories of The Doors. This is a once in a lifetime contribution from someone who knew just about everything that went on.


Job For A Cowboy unveils new album cover

California deathcore band Job For A Cowboy is reving up to unleash their new release "Ruination."

In anticipation of Ruination, their sophomore release due out July 7, these metal cowboys have just unveiled the cover art for the release. Designed by artist Brent Elliott White, White has also worked with the band Trivium in addition to the rest of his very intense craftwork.