Fishbone – The Reality of My Surroundings


The Reality of My Surroundings
Producer: Fishbone, Dave Jerden, David Kahne
Released: April 23, 1991

Angelo Moore – saxophone, vocals
Walter A. Kibby II – trumpet, vocals
Kendall Jones – lead guitar, vocals
Chris Dowd – keyboards, trombone, vocals
John Bigham – guitar, keyboard
John Norwood Fisher – bass guitar, vocals
Philip “Fish” Fisher – drums

1. Fight the Youth 4:59
2. If I were a…I’d 0:52
3. So Many Millions 5:48
4. Asswhippin’ 0:37
5. Housework 4:43
6. Deathmarch 0:31
7. Behavior Control Technician 3:06
8. If I were a…I’d 0:27
9. Pressuer 4:46
10. Junkies Prayer 2:59
11. Pray To the Junkiemaker 4:01
12. Everyday Sunshine 4:56
13. If I were a…I’d 0:27
14. Naz-Tee May’en 4:54
15. Babyhead 5:29
16. If I were a…I’d 0:51
17. Those Days Are Gone 5:22
18. Sunless Saturday 4:17

The Reality of My Surroundings is the third full-length album by Fishbone, released on April 23, 1991. It was the first Fishbone album to include former Miles Davis music director John Bigham (guitar, keyboards), who joined in 1989 during the Truth and Soul tour.

Fishbone took the rest of 1989 off before beginning to write songs for the follow-up to Truth and Soul. The project was plagued by production delays until November 1990, when the band entered Ocean Way Recording, booking two months of studio time in which to record the album. Fishbone, David Kahne and Dave Jerden produced the album, which includes the singles, Fight the Youth, Everyday Sunshine and Sunless Saturday.

The album’s title comes from a line in track 3, So Many Millions, which reads “I cannot get over legitimately, the Reality of My Surroundings do not point to the sky”.

The CD cover shows only John Norwood Fisher, with a larger picture of the band sitting in a living room being visible when the CD cover is unfolded. The vinyl version shows the full band’s living-room portrait, spanning both sides of the outer gate-fold cover.

With this album, Fishbone obtained critical and commercial success with a ranking of No. 49 on the Billboard 200 on May 18, 1991. The album is widely considered by fans and critics as the creative peak of the band. Fishbone experienced a large growth in concert tickets and record sales during this period, making two memorable television appearances: performing Sunless Saturday and Everyday Sunshine on Saturday Night Live, and Everyday Sunshine on The Arsenio Hall Show. (The SNL performance of “Sunless Saturday” has been re-edited in reruns. The original television broadcast showed a brief glimpse of Angelo Moore doing a back flip on stage. The re-edited version simply switches the camera angle, making it possible to see the full flip right after signaling “Special K” (Kendall Jones) to do his guitar solo.)

If you get the chance to get a copy of this, go get it.

Rating: ** * two out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Some years back a friend of mine was trying to put together a music festival, out of state. He was going to fly me out and I was going to sign my books and possibly read.

He had problems with the venue, equipment was stolen and ultimately the building, I think, burnt down.

Finally, new location, bands booked, but with all the cash spent it was too expensive to fly me out.

One night, he called and asked if I could help secure an out of town band to headline, I said sure. I messaged or called a bunch of people, most were interested, but needed to line up shows to and from to make sure they had travel money. Makes sense.

One of the bands killed me. I hit one of the members up and asked who booked the band, he said he did. I explained the fest and gave the dates (two days, they were only needed for one). I asked if it was possible for the band to play. He said yes, and then rattled off his demands: First class round-trip airfare for all four members. Five star hotel, at least two rooms required, if possible, four rooms. $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 playing fee. All booze paid for, from landing to taking off.

When I read this I smirked, I wrote something back, like, are you fucking serious? He said, yeah, it’s what we make for out of town shows. I said, something like, you’ve never been further than Oakland. And never made more than $500.00.

He didn’t respond. Doing the punk touring is difficult, I understand, but trying to cash-in on a first time promoter is pretty shady.

Since that incident, I’ve stuck to what I know; talking shit on paper and let bands and promoters do what they do.



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Murder City Nights – Podcast


Murder City Nights
Est. 2011

Jennifer Diamond – Podcaster

April 2012 Show
Cherry Cola – Eagles Of Death Metal
Motor Bikin’ – Chris Spedding
Angry Inch – Hedwig & the Angry Inch
California Man – Cheap Trick
Hot Stuff, Hot Shit – Turbonegro
She’s Alright – The Real Kids
Pills – New York Dolls
Dyna-Mite – Mud
I’m Gonna Be Your Man – Eddie & the Hot Rods
Queen Bitch – David Bowie
Gimme Danger – Iggy & The Stooges
God Killed The Queen – Louis XIV
New York Groove – Hello
Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
Trash – Suede
Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
Satellite Of Love – Lou Reed
I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra – Ian Dury
The True Wheel – Brian Eno
Quark, Strangeness And Charm – Hawkwind
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – Steve Harley
Hot One – Shudder To Think
Baby Strange – Marc Bolan & T. Rex
On With The Show – The Rolling Stones

There are so many different podcasts out there nowadays it’s difficult to find one you like, and it’s even more difficult if you’re a podcaster to find a way to stand out. Jennifer Diamond did something very different in today’s internet market, she a great diverse cast with quality music. Novel, huh?

Murder City Nights is a monthly cast, and is part of the network.

One of the key reasons why I dig this cast is the diversity; she has everybody from Bowie to Joy Division to Hollywood Squares. If there is a good band hidden somewhere she will find them and broadcast ‘em. So why are you still reading this? Go to her site!

If you get the chance give it a listen.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

On to the story

I’ve written about religion a few times over the years, but I don’t really like doing it. I know what I what about religion and the bible and that’s it. Whenever you write about religion or politics you get a bunch of people that start spouting opinions. And the stupider the person the louder they are, and unfortunately I attract a crowd that is a few DNA strands away from being mongoloid. My apologies to anyone reading that has an enlarged head.

In November of 2005 my dad passed away, we’re coming up on seven years now. When he first passed, I saw him everywhere. I’d go to a mall and there would be a guy who could’ve been his clone. Same shirt, jeans, hair color and glasses. It would weird me out.

When my son was born, he would see things, and unseen people would talk to him. It really worried members of my wife’s family at first. An example, he would complain about a guy named Chet who would roughhouse with him when he was two or three. He never met a Chet. Find out later that my Uncle Chet had died on my son’s first or second birthday.

Right around the fourth or fifth anniversary of my father’s death, I was feeling very bluesy. I didn’t say anything to anyone, but felt out of sorts. I’m driving to the store and my son says, “Hey, dad.” I say, “Yeah?” “Grandpa Tom is doing well.” I almost shit.

For a few years anytime my son would see a religious painting or statue, he would stop, nod his head and mumble. I don’t know what the conversations were or what he heard, because the less I know, the less freaked I was. Then when he turned five . . . it all disappeared. No more invisible friends, no more debates with statues, nothing. The hardest thing about this was, where do you go for help? This kind of thing isn’t in many childcare manuals.

I think the weirdest thing that happened, and it happened on two different occasions, was driving down the street shortly after my dad died, talking to my wife about my dad. I don’t know if it was good or bad, it could’ve been, “Why didn’t he leave me and my brother a thing?” or maybe it was “I miss him,” don’t know. Anyway, we’re driving with the windows up and all at once the car fills with the scent of roses. So much so I turn to look in the backseat to see if there was a bouquet that I hadn’t seen before. Then just as quick as it came it disappeared. And my son says, “That was beautiful.”

Then, almost the same exact thing happened six months later, I was talking about how I had met Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, and how I went to call my dad to tell him, but as soon as I picked up the phone it clicked that he was gone. At that moment the car filled with the scent of roses again.

People have told me over the years that smelling roses when there aren’t any is a sign from the Virgin Mary, me, I think it’s a sign that I’m starting to lose my mind!



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Public Nuisance, The Pins, The Runts, Battle Flask, Circle One, Symbol Six, Fang – LIVE


Public Nuisance, The Pins, The Runts, Battle Flask, Circle One, Symbol Six, Fang
Cobalt Cafe, Canoga Park, CA
Friday, September 9, 2011

Back somewhere around 1997 or 1998 I lived in Canoga Park, within a block or two of the Cobalt Café. When my future wife was at night school studying to be a surgical tech, I would wander up the street to the Cobalt. Every night had a different theme, one night would be poetry night, another would be open mike night for would be musicians and on those rare occasions there would be an art exhibit going on. I spent many nights with a cup of coffee in my hand wandering or most times sitting in the place. It was a good place to zone out. They often times had a cover fee, but for whatever reason I was never charged.

Anyway, when I heard that this show was going to happen in my neck of the woods (SFV, loco), I figured I had to go. So, thirteen years later Uncle Mike returns to Canoga Park.

Get home from work at 6:30, and as I’m getting ready I get a couple of texts from people that are interested in buying the book. So before walking out the door, I grab my last two copies and head out. Once I park I headed in to the Scotland Yard Pub, have a drink with Hudley Flipside, then wander over to the club and catch the last of Battle Flask. The cool thing about reviewing shows is watching the reaction of the crowd. When Battle Flask was finished everybody was heading out of the club for air and/or cigarette breaks, and everybody had a great comment about the band: “Not bad,” “Pretty fuckin’ good,” “I’d see ‘em again.” The crowd did my review for me.

Turns out I missed The Runts and The Pins.

I head backstage and try to track down my potential book buyers, I get a text from one saying “car troubles,” another “working late.” So, I turn around and I see members of Bad Religion, Wasted Youth and Brandon Cruz from Dr. Know, well, I had to get pictures.

After I was done being a groupie, I head towards the stage just as Public Nuisance starts setting up. From what I’ve been told this is the original line-up. I last saw these guys back in 1982 at Devonshire Downs opening up for Sin 34, DOA and TSOL.

Public Nuisance put on a good set. Good old-fashioned punk rock.

As Public Nuisance was tearing down, Phillyp from Poor Kids Radio flags me down and says he’s been trying to order my book and the order page wasn’t working on his phone, could he buy one of my copies? Hell yeah.

Next up, one of my favorite bands on the scene: Symbol Six. They opened up with a song I had never heard before, and it was a definite soon-to-be hit (what the hell was the title again?). They played the best of their EP and Monsters 11 album, then peppered with a handful of new tracks like Viva.

One of the things about the Cobalt is the huge floor space, the pit gets moving like a massive whirlpool, it looks enticing, but once in – you might not get out. During Symbol Six’s set the crowd was nuts. Mark Conway’s mike stand was knocked over six times, the bandana was snatched from Eric Leach’s head, and the photographer at the front of the stage was doubled over three or four times. Pure mayhem. I saw for the first time in over thirty years a backwards stage dive. A kid got up on the stage jumped, turned in midair and landed on his back into the sea of people. Pretty fuckin’ cool

Next up was the notorious Fang! They were good old-school punk. The way punk should be played.

Throughout Fang’s set, I would say, 90% of the audience were in the pit. Solid fun

After Fang’s set I got to meet Ms. Dinah Cancer from 45 Grave.

As Circle One was setting up (minus their singer) I got a text from Rikk Agnew to hold one book for him, he wanted something to read on his upcoming European tour. Cool.

Circle One’s set became an all-star jam, members of Wasted Youth, Bad Religion and they even drug Dinah on stage to sing. Mike Vallejo, original Circle One guitarist was in top form.

If you were there you had fun, if you weren’t there – you wish you were.



Born Frustrated is available now:

The Bitchfits, Man-Wray, Des & The Cendents – LIVE


The Bitchfits, Man-Wray, Des & the Cendents
The Redwood, Los Angeles, CA
Friday, October 30, 2015

My main reason for going to this show was to see Man-Wray. They’ve been picking a bit of a buzz around L.A. and the coolest thing is when I ask people who they sound like, everybody says, “I don’t know.” God knows we need something different here in the City of Angels.

The doors at the Redwood opened at 8:00 and the first band was scheduled to go on at 9:00. I made good time in traffic. I got there around 8:30 with enough time to grab a plate of nachos and a diet coke. And this is probably the first time in five years that I’ve ordered a diet coke and the bartender hasn’t tried to hustle me and charge for a jack and coke. One club, it’s an accident, nine – it’s a hustle.

“Whoa. Did you add Jack Daniels to this?”

“Yeah, it’s what you ordered.”

Diet Coke really doesn’t sound like Jack and Coke?”

“So, you don’t want it?”

“Diet coke $3.00, Jack and Coke $8.00. I wanted a diet coke.”

“I didn’t hear you.”

“Yeah, you’ve been telling me that the last five years.”

So, the first band on was Des & the Cendents. They are a Descendents cover band. I had not heard of them, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were.

The only downside was listening to their drummer complain to any and everyone in Downtown L.A. that someone had parked too close to his car out in front of The Redwood. This went on for hours.

Next up was Man-Wray. The band’s line-up is a bit of a who’s who of L.A. punk

Paul Votava – vocals

Dina Cox – vocals

Mike Villalobos – bass

Jody Hill – drums

Chuy – percussion

Joshua Berry-keyboards

Sylvia Juncosa- guitar

Guitarist Mike Vallejo (formerly of Circle One) just left the band. I have to admit, I’m not impressed easily, but from the first notes these guys (and gal) knocked it out of the park. Their introduction, to the first song, was a slow, grinding progressive thing. Kind of Emerson, Lake and Palmer meets Suicide. It was good, but I wasn’t sure if this was their sound or the intro, then all at once the music stopped and the bass came in with a real aggressive lick and the rest of the band came in like a steamroller. Things went to a different level once the duo vocalists came in trading vocals. Honestly, fuckin’ great way to start a set. Billed as the second band, they stole the show.

The last band of the night was The Bitchfits. They were very good, but it’s hard to outdo The Misfits or Glenn Danzig’s vocals. It’s kind of like hearing the best wedding band do a cover of your favorite song. Yeah, you like the song, but it’s not quite there. I stood amongst the growing crowd waiting to hear Skulls, one of my favorite Misfits tracks and I was a little let down. No fault to The Bitchfits, but The Misfits have mighty big shoes to fill.

In between bands I attempted a conversation with Bill Bateman from The Blasters. I don’t think either of us understood each other.

If you were there you had fun, if you weren’t there – you wish you were.



Born Frustrated is available now:

Whatever – Youngsters


Producer: Bill Korecky
Released: July 15, 1997
Dr. Strange Records

Ben E. Wrecked – Guitar, &, Vocals
Mike Slapface – Bass, & Background Vocals
M. Fish – Drums & Background Vocals

1 Something New 2:45
2 Nothing to Say 2:08
3 Seek and Annoy 3:19
4 Me Against the World 3:31
5 I Can’t Forget 2:39
6 Happy Face 1:53
7 200 Gibson 2:21
8 Ruby Tuesday 2:12
9 Dog 2:18
10 Ratboy 1:41
11 I Want to Be 2:18
12 I Never Needed You 2:13
13 Peterman 2:00
14 Loser’s Theme/Conclusion 4:40

This is one of the few times that I have popped on an album that I have never heard anything about. Well, I was reading the press comments about Whatever, and they were described as sounding like old Social Distortion . . . well, do you need to hear more in order to grab this album? In all honesty, they are a great blending of The Offspring and Social Distortion, with a pinch of Bad Religion, a real clean, hard sound. Love it. They do a kick ass version of Ruby Tuesday. The Stone’s music always converts well to punk. Check out Dr. Strange’s website, they have this CD on sale for $1.00, for all fourteen songs.

What are you waiting for? Look in your ashtrays, in between your seats, hell I’ll put in a dime on it for you, order it!

If you get the chance to get a copy of this, go get it.

Rating: *** three out of three stars

On to the story . . .

Back in August of 1980 a band called Jethro Tull put out an album called A. When it came out I thought nothing of it, I just vaguely remember seeing the album cover in an ad in, maybe, Creem magazine of something. Well, a month or two later I was at my uncle Rick’s place, and Rick came walking into the kitchen wearing a white dress shirt with a big red anarchy symbol painted on the back. Rick had created a stencil out of cardboard, and painted this thing on the back. It looked cool as heck. The only problem was . . . I didn’t know, at the age of fourteen, what the hell anarchy was. So, in my ignorance, I ask Rick, kind of disappointed, “Do you like Jethro Tull?” He answers, “No, it’s anarchy.” I, again, answer stupidly, I’ve never heard of them. At this point Rick sits me down, explains the theories of Crass, the meaning of the Black Flag, and how anarchy isn’t truly chaos. It’s a concept of self-governing, the concept of elected government and man’s laws being eradicated. Probably, the deepest conversation I had had at this point in my young life, next to my father’s very bizarre version of the facts of life that I received two years earlier.

Fast forward two years, 1982. I am wearing a sleeveless T-shirt that Rick had made for me. It was a huge anarchy symbol on the front of the shirt. Rick had used the stencil twice. Sprayed it with red first, let it dry, and then sprayed it with black. It was cool, the black symbol, and it looked like it had a red shadow around it. Anyway, I’m walking to lunch and this long-haired rocker dude walks by me, looks at me and scrunches his face up and says “You like Jethro Tull?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience that my uncle had with me, so, I said “Hell yeah, Jethro Tull Rocks!” And long-haired kid walked away very confused.



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