Chris Metzler is the co-director/writer of the documentary “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone”. The film chronicles the 30 year career of the band Fishbone a band considered to be one of the biggest bands to come out of early 80’s punk/ska movement. Media Mikes recently had the chance to speak with Chris about working on the film.
Adam Lawton: What prompted you to make a documentary about the band Fishbone?
Chris Metzler: Generally I don’t like music documentaries as they are a hard thing to get right. A lot of times they are made only for fans of the band or for promotional purposes. The thing I really liked about Fishbone was if we were able to do it right we might be able to break the mold of music documentaries. Fishbone makes really good music and they helped change the musical landscape in California. In reality this is a story of family and through a moment of serendipity these 6 guys met each other during a desegregation experience in Los Angeles. They all fell in love with punk rock and carved their own path. The guys as outsiders really attracted me to the project.
AL: Were there any difficulties in dealing with the variety of personalities the members have?
CM: The thing that was surprising with the film is that even though we did have some obstacles we had to get over everyone was really easy to work with. Working with the guys in the band and those who we interviewed outside of the band was essentially the easiest part about making the film. Everyone was very thoughtful and reflective. The biggest challenge in making the film I think was it being a very independent, do it yourself effort. My co-director Lev Andersen and our DP editor Jeff were like a 3 man band trying to take down 30 years of history. It was tough when we had to hit the road as one of us had to be on the bus and there was only one bunk space. The other two guys would have to follow behind in a van we rented. We were driving 500 miles a day and while trying to shoot the rock star life. There are a lot of endless hours and monotony. We drank a lot of Red Bull to keep up.
AL: Can you tell us how Lawrence Fishburne became involved with the project?
CM: We really lucked out there as Lawrence had been a fan of the band and is friends with the guys. Their friendship actually started in the early 80’s when Lawrence was a bouncer at some of the punk rock clubs the band played at. Lawrence really admired the band and their friendship has continued on since then. He was really excited to be a part of the film. The only thing he gave us a problem with is he was hoping to be interviewed for the film. Sadly we couldn’t have him be the narrator while being interviewed at the same time. Lawrence was very generous.
AL: What was the idea behind using a variety of art and animation in the film?
CM: The band has been around for 30 years. They have broken the mold on so many different genres and scenes. We thought using a variety of eclectic art would allow the viewer to not only see the events historically but throw them into the moment as well. We really wanted do what we could to put the viewer in that moment. With cartoons we could characterize the people which helped establish their personalities early on in the film.
AL: Will there be any deleted scenes or bonus material on the DVD release?
CM: Absolutely! The DVD will feature 100+ minutes of bonus features. That will include deleted scenes, interview outtakes, archival footage and some clips with Angelo’s character Doctor Mad Vibes. There also will be live footage of Fishbone playing CBGB’s the last week it was open. We really jam packed that portion of the DVD.
AL: Was it hard finding a lot of the older memorabilia and footage to include in the film?
CM: The band its self didn’t really have much as they tend to live their life in the present. A lot of the things we were able to find came to us by calling out to the larger community of fans. We were very patient as things trickled in. After being out on the road and telling people we were working on a documentary about the band we got some amazing leads. It took a lot of time and we were still finding things a couple weeks prior to releasing the movie. There are still some great things that are popping up that we wished we had gotten sooner.
AL: What other projects do you have in the works?
CM: Right now we are in the final stages of getting the DVD out there. There is a shorter version of the film airing on PBS and the full version is available on iIunes. The DVD will come out Feb. 21st. The band is on tour right now and they are also working on a new album. We are going to let the film live out there in the world at let people discover it. We have a few ideas for our next project as I am always out looking for cool ideas. I haven’t quite decided which one we are going to plunge into just yet.