A Song and a Story: “Everyday Sunshine” #AtoZChallenge


Today’s story is about more than a song.  It’s about an entire concert of songs.  Specifically the first concert I ever attended.  Fishbone is a Los Angeles band that plays ska, punk, funk, and alternative rock.  At the time I saw them in concert, they were touring behind their most commercially-successful album, The Reality of My Surroundings, which contained the single:

Everyday Sunshine

It was November 1991.  I had just turned 18, and was a freshman in college.  And I may be wrong, but a majority of the student body of the College of William & Mary joined a caravan to Norfolk to see Fishbone and Primus in concert.  I had six people in my car alone.

Now, this wasn’t the very first time I saw a live music performance.  I’d been to gigs for kids and families, seen jazz and world beat acts play at First Night, and even a group of Beatles impersonators play en plein air.  But this was my first REAL concert.  And as first concerts go, it kind of spoiled me for concerts.

The venue was The Boathouse which was literally a boathouse on a pier in the Elizabeth River of Norfolk.  The low ceilings, wooden pillars, and chicken wire fences only added to the clausterphobic crush of the crowd packed within.  Nevertheless, my companions and I made our way to the area in front of the stage known as the pit.

Do kids these days still mosh?  Because it was 1991, and that’s what did, slamming bodies into one another for the two plus hours that Primus and Fishbone played.  The dense crowd actually helped here because the bodies absorbed the shock.  It was more dangerous at the edge of the crowd where a mosher could find themselves violently thrown across the room.  There was also body surfing.  I tried it, but being tall and heavy, I was not easy to support and soon found myself heading head first toward the cement floor.  My downward progress was blessedly stopped within an inch of contact.  I didn’t try again.

At a point during “Everday Sunshine,” Fishbone’s lead singer Angelo Moore jumped into the crowd, climbed up into the rafters, dangled upside down by his legs, and initiated everyone in the room into the Fishbone Family.  I assume I’m still a member all these years later


2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story

A: Always on My Mind
B: Baby Come Back and Baker Street
C: Cheek to Cheek
D: Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Doctor Jones

If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:

And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:

And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.

Bands I Broke Up With


Recently, the All Songs Considered podcast rebroadcast an episode called Breaking Up With Your Favorite Bands.  It’s all about the moment when your realize that the band or artist you loved so much, you just don’t love anymore.  It could be them, it could be you.  You might still love the old stuff, or you might make a clean break.

So here are some of the bands that I broke up with and the reasons why.

eddie from ohio

Through the 1990s I was a huge fan of this folk-pop band who are actually from Virginia and I saw them in concert more times than any other performer.  They were an energetic and fun live band with great banter between songs. Their songs were introspective and witty (some songs made me laugh every time I heard them), they alternated vocals among three singers, and everything was powered by a unique percussion of Eddie Hartness’ drumkit.  Then in 2001 they released an album called Quick, the music sounded more light rock and the funny bits made me laugh once if at all.  Worst of all, in concert they seemed to abandon all the old songs I loved as well as their silly personas to become more button-down.  I think they’ve only released one album since our breakup and don’t tour much anymore, so maybe the time was up for them as well.

Dave Matthews Band

Another band I came to like when I went to college in Virginia.  During my freshman year they were playing bars in college towns, but by my senior year they were doing national arena tours.  In between that I saw them open for a concert at William & Mary for Toad the Wet Sprocket (who were actually a big deal at the time).  Their sound was unique for the mid-1990s and I liked the emphasis on the virtuoso performances of the fiddler, saxophonist, and drummer.  Then I went to  New Year’s concert in 1997 and realized that Dave Matthews himself was a obnoxious dudebro.  But what really brought an end to our affair was that after the first two albums, the sound of the band turned more into the typical bland, post-grunge sound that was common in that era.  I broke up and didn’t look back.

Sting

I first became aware of Sting and The Police when their Synchronicity album came out in 1983.  My sister was a big fan but I could take it or leave it.  But something about Sting’s …Nothing Like the Sun album appealed to me and I went back and discovered the earlier Police albums and I became a fan.  For a bit.   I was excited when The Soul Cages came out and it seemed profound that it was all about the death of his father at the same time that my own father died.  But the more I listened to it, the less I liked it. Ensuing Sting releases were increasingly bland and I reverted to my earlier take on Sting.

Lenny Kravitz

Let Love Rule came out in 1989 and I randomly selected the tape from Columbia House.  While the music is deeply derivative of 60s and 70s psychedelia and soul, it also didn’t sound much like anything else released at the time.  Add to the fact that I was coming out of my Klassik Rawk phase and it was nice to have a currently released album I could enjoy.  Perhaps it was a bridge to more contemporary released music for me?  At any rate, subsequent releases by Lenny Kravitz were cheezier and poppier, and I quietly stepped off the Kravitz bandwagon.

The Doors

Speaking of the Klassik Rawk period, I suppose there’s a time when many a teenager starts listening to The Doors and thinks that Jim Morrison was a tragic poet.  I didn’t get too deep, although I did read No One Here Gets Out Alive.  Nevertheless, it didn’t take me long to realize that after their debut album, most of the music released by The Doors was crap, a view I still hold to this day.

Fishbone

Fishbone was the first band I ever saw in concert, and wow – what a first concert. Intense music, dancing, moshing, crowd-surfing (I was nearly dropped on my head, naturally). Lead singer Angelo Moore even inducted concertgoers into the Fishbone family.  So it was very hard when Give a Monkey a Brain and He’ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe came out in 1993 and the band seemed to have abandoned their consciousness-raising ska/funk/soul for something that sounded like metal with nonsense lyrics.  Apparently the band was going through a troubled stretch and maybe I shouldn’t have abandoned them at such a hard time, but I still love what we had in the good days.

They Might Be Giants

Here’s a band I broke up with but then got back together again.  I was a huge fan in high school and college, and TMBG ended being the second band I saw in concert (back when it was the two Johns and a drum machine).  I listened to Flood and Lincoln endlessly, and their other albums slightly less often.  Then their album John Henry came out in 1994 and it left me cold.  The magic was gone.  Fast forward about five years and I randomly picked up their live album Severe Tire Damage, and suddenly, the magic was back.  I saw them in concert again and it was awesome.  They started releasing family/children’s albums and they were awesome.  I went to one of their family/children’s concerts and it was awesome.  We are now happily growing old together.

REM

Probably one of the most painful breakups.  I became of fan of REM in the late 80s and basically got all of their albums at once.  There was a long break, it seemed, between their last album of the 1980s, Green, and their first album of the 1990s, Out of Time.  When it finally came out, I was excited, but after hearing “Losing My Religion” for the umpteenth million time on the radio I was tired of it and realized I didn’t like much else on the album.  I had big hopes for the next album Automatic for the People, but I liked it even less.  Worse, at the time I was growing disillusioned with REM, the rest of the world was falling in love with them and making these two albums best sellers.  I may have said some nasty things, like “corporate sellout.”  But ultimately, we were just going in different directions.  We get back together now and again – I even liked UP at the time it was released – but mostly REM is pleasant memory of my youth in the 1980s.

So what bands did you break up with? Let me know in the comments.

Ten Favorite Songs of 1991 (x 2)


1991.  The year everything changed.  The year I graduated from high school.  The year I moved from Connecticut to Virginia.  The year I started college.  The year I turned 18. The year I went to my first rock concert (Fishbone, with Primus opening).  The year of Out of Time and Nevermind, and suddenly music that had been relegated as “college rock” and “alternative” was everywhere.

I’m going to get a little crazy and list 20 great songs from 1991.  And if you find that indulgent, well, I could probably list more.

Clare’s Scarf  – John & Mary

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Crazy – Seal

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Dónal agus Mórag –  Altan

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Everybody Plays the Fool – Aaron Neville

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Fight The Youth – Fishbone

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Gett Off  – Prince

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Groovy Train – The Farm

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Gypsy Woman –  Crystal Waters

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In Bloom – Nirvana

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Justified and Ancient (Stand by the JAMS) – The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette

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Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

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Kiss Them For Me – Siouxsie and the Banshees

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Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

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Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine

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A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” – De La Soul

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Sax and Violins – Talking Heads

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3 Strange Days – School Of Fish

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Until The End Of The World – U2

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Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

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Wicked Game – Chris Isaak

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And a handful of shameful, guilty pleasures from 1991:

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It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over – Lenny Kravitz

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I Touch Myself – Divinyls

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Life Is a Highway – Tom Cochrane

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Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones

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Sadeness (Part I) – Enigma

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Unbelievable – EMF

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Are there any songs left?  Let me know in the comments.

Ten Favorite Songs of 1988


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1988.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

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Ana Ng – They Might Be Giants

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Bring The Noise – Public Enemy

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Change – Fishbone

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Cult of Personality – Living Colour

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Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey

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Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction

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A Little Respect – Erasure

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Never Tear Us Apart – INXS

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Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies

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Waiting Room – Fugazi

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Where Is My Mind?– Pixies

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And my song of shame for 1988: Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

Do you remember 1988?  What were your favorite songs?  Let me know, even if it was before you were born.

Favorite Songs of 1985


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1985.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

Bitchin’ Camaro – The Dead Milkmen

Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day – The Pogues

The Show – Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick

Life in a Northern Town – Dream Academy

Lyin’ Ass Bitch – Fishbone

Raspberry Beret – Prince and the Revolution

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13qul7_prince-raspberry-beret_music

Something About You – Level 42

Walk of Life – Dire Straits

West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys

And my song of shame for 1985: We Built This City – Starship

What 1985 musical memories are stirring your brain?  List them in the comments!

Favorite Songs of 1984


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1984.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I sense the quality of music is dropping into the mid-80s trough.  Looking at lists of songs from 1984, I can make a top ten list of songs of shame, and not even ones that are still guilty pleasures.  But there’s still enough good stuff left to make an interesting top ten favorites list as well.

Free Nelson Mandela – The Special A.K.A

Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen

How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths

Jam On It – Newcleus

Let’s Go Crazy – Prince and the Revolution

[Seek this song out on your own, but with caution as Prince does not like sharing on the internet]

The Milkman of Human Kindness – Billy Bragg

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Run Run Away – Slade

Skankin’ To The Beat – Fishbone

Stick ‘Em – Fat Boys

And my song of shame for 1984 is: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

What were you listening to in 1984 that you still remember fondly? Let me know in the comments.