Fishbone is my all time favorite band. You can only imagine my excitement when I heard a film was being made about the Ska-Punk-Funk-Metal mob. “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” is an incredible piece of work and a funktasticly awesome time! Co-directors, Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler were kind enough to chat with me about the experience.
1. Why did you choose to tell the Fishbone story?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – As co-director’s, we like to tell stories about those of us that live on the margins of the mainstream as there are a lot of fun and interesting characters out there, but also because exploring these stories can tell us a lot about the mainstream, or we as Americans in general. Fishbone has had rock ‘n’ roll dreams like a lot of us but they were so unique in their approach and their abilities to blend all kinds of influences that it is a distinct American story. How these guys go from Black Panther breakfast programs to integrating the L.A. punk rock scene, and further shaping the alternative music scene seemed like a great story to tell.
2. I loved the film and am so thankful you guys made it. What has the response been from others those who have seen the film?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – In general, the audience reaction from all over has been great. Whether the film has screened on a Sunday night in a heavily Mormon town in Utah, or Little Richard’s hometown of Macon, Georgia or punk rock hipsters in San Francisco, people seem to dig it, even if they weren’t familiar with Fishbone before they stepped into the theater. Our hope is that in telling the story of Fishbone, we are telling a story about ourselves and people can identify with it. They are not aloof punk rock stars in a little bubble but really are fun, charismatic guys that deal with a lot of the same issues we all do in this world. So people seem to get that and we couldn’t be happier with how the film has reached people thus far. .
3. How long were you on the road getting the footage? What was that experience like?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – We were on the road and at home with the band over a period of 3 to 4 years. Shooting stuff with them in Europe or different spots in the U.S. We learned that it can be an exhausting experience touring and that it isn’t really all that glamorous. The band was fun to follow because they’ll put on a great show whether it is for a dozen people in a small Austrian resort town or 10,000 people at a music festival in France. And it is amazing how Fishbone, not a big band in the US, has a large contingent of fans all over the world. I think their legacy of punk-funk, and the reactions they get from their live shows, is what keeps the band going and what made us appreciate them as individuals and artists.
4. What have you learned about the band?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – A lot of bands do not function as a democracy but it really did shape Fishbone’s sound and led to their early success. All the different personalities that made up the band really created their unique sound that would be hard to replicate if it was any other way. At the same time, when you are making music with others, you need to strike a critical balance of cooperation and mutual respect on the one hand, and the need to satisfy your individual artistic aspirations on the other. And these guys are loyal to their visions. Even if they may not get played on the radio, they are staying true to their art and leaving it to the rest of us to catch up.
5. “Unyielding Conditioning” is my absolute favorite Fishbone song, what’s yours?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – We’re not sure that we have a favorite Fishbone song but “Ma and Pa”, “Bonin’ in the Boneyard”, and “Monkey Dick” are among our favorites.
6. Where can we see the film?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – Right now, we continue to screen the film at festivals in the US and abroad. The best way for people to keep track of these screenings is to go to our website, www.fishbonedocumentary.com and to join the film’s fan page on Facebook. We are planning on a theatrical release later this Summer where we will be hitting all corners of the U.S. and hope to have the band hit some of the cities in conjunction with screenings so that when the film opens you can go see the band play that night.
7. Any advice for aspiring filmmakers?
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – With all documentary films, you have to work your ass off, and be patient but persistent. If you have a good idea of the story you are trying to tell and have solid, honest relationships with your subjects, that provides the foundation on which to build.
8. Shout Out’s
Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler (co-directors) – There are a lot people we’d like to thank, as is evident by our long list of thank yous in the film’s credits, but we’d like to give some props to our ever faithful and creative D.P. and editor, Jeff Springer, who traveled with us to the ends of the earth and the darkness of the editing room to craft what we think is a pretty kick ass film. And additional thank-yous to Steve Tozzi and Click3x for designing a really neat poster for the film and Fat Albert on acid style of animation, Silverback Management for their guidance and assistance in making this movie happen, the fans, and of course to each member of Fishbone, past, present, and future. We are honored to tell the story of your zany and wonderfully creative legacy.