By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Kendall‘s father took notice of the situation, and manipulated it. “He told him if he really wanted to get close to God, he had to do a 24-hour prayer and a 24-hour fast for seven days,” says Norwood. “Don’t eat anything, and don‘t sleep.” a
“We were making the record, and Kendall was staying up till all hours,” adds Walt. “He just went haywire by the end of the mix.”
“Later, when we were in court,” says Norwood, “they looked at his phone bills and found out that on the first day of the fast, Kendall had been on the phone with his dad for 10 hours. And every day after that it was, like, nine or 12 or 15 hours. He’d be talkin‘ to his father from the studio and reading his Bible in the corner. By the fifth day, shit just got more and more bizarre. Him and his brother threw out all his records -- even Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits. He thought it was all satanic. He thought I was being demonically influenced to write the music and that Angelo was demonically influenced to write the lyrics. Then he became convinced that everything he‘d ever done was demonically influenced. It was the scariest thing I had ever been through -- and that’s when he flew up to be with his father.”
“It was so sudden,” recalls Walt. “That‘s why Norwood wanted to take Kendall’s ass to the hospital.” Norwood adds, “After he left, we talked to the people at Cedars-Sinai and the Psychiatric Evaluation Team at L.A. County, trying to figure out what happened, what we can do. From the things we said, they assessed that Kendall had had a severe nervous breakdown and suggested we do an adult intervention.
”As a result of us going there to try and help him,“ says Norwood, ”the district attorney of Marin County put me through a six-week jury trial. Kendall was there every day to help the D.A. in his case against me. We never denied anything we did. We just said the reason why. We had to tell everything in court, and it hurt him like hell, but we were facing nine to 11 years in the fuckin‘ federal penitentiary, so we laid everything out. In the end, they gave us a full acquittal. During the trial, Kendall displayed some odd behavior, so everyone was, like, ’Okay, maybe there is something to what they‘re saying.’“
While Fishbone played out the court case, they also finished Give a Monkey a Brain and He‘ll Swear He’s the Center of the Universe and prepared to hit the road. As always, the album found all the members of the band writing, and this time there was even less cohesiveness. Kendall‘s and Chris’ songs had become much darker. ”JB“ Bigham was going in a heavy-metal direction, while Norwood and Angelo kept the funk alive. The album was released in 1993 to little fanfare.
Fishbone did, however, nab a slot on Lollapalooza with Primus, Alice in Chains and Rage Against the Machine. Midway through the tour, Donny Ienner, then president of Columbia, informed the band that the label wanted them to return to the studio to cut a new album, mere months after Give a Monkey a Brain had been released. ”He came backstage and told us we needed to do another record,“ says Walt, ”and we were, like, ‘Do another record? That’s crazy! Why?‘ He said they had fucked up and dropped the ball on the last one, so we needed to go make another. It was a big battle after that. We’d been there a long time and learned a lot, but it was time. It was getting real sour.“
Since neither the band nor the label was happy with the relationship, they agreed to sever ties. The only other Fishbone album that Columbia released was a 1996 greatest hits--rarities double album, called Fishbone 101: Nuttasaurusmeg Fossil Fuelin‘ the Fonkay. The studio album the band had been yanked from the road to record never materialized.
By the end of Lollapalooza, Chris, too, had decided to leave. ”He wanted to do his own thang and go solo,“ says Walt. ”We was, like, ’Whatever. Go ahead. Do your own thing,‘ because he was an asshole, and the less assholism around the better.“
Chris Dowd is mellower about the split-up: ”Kendall leaving is part of why I left, because I felt this band wouldn’t be the same. And they‘ve gone on, and that’s cool. But I love those guys. It‘s cool. I hope their shit blows up, always have. The type of friendship we had goes beyond even a little quibble, spat, spout or bullshit. It’s just your dreams just don‘t represent my dreams anymore. When you have intense personalities in a band, and you’ve known each other since you were that young, a lot of times people always like to see you in a particular light. It‘s kinda like ’That is your space,‘ but you may not want to be in that space anymore. You may have grown out of that space.
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