Fishbone are ringing in their belated 40th anniversary with a new self-titled EP, out May 26th, and the ska legends accompanied the announcement with a new single and collab with NOFX titled “Estranged Fruit.”
The track offers the best of both bands, with Fishbone joined by NOFX’s El Hefe on trumpet in the horn-laden backbone of the arrangement, and Fat Mike backing Angelo Moore’s lead vocals. There’s even some fast-paced pop punk in the track, most noticeably during the race-to-the-finish ending. Fat Mike also handled the production of the song and EP.
“‘Estranged Fruit’ is a timeless composition merging the past and present embodied by the irony of us repeating what should be in the rear view mirror of a so called evolved society that still has far to go,” commented Fishbone’s Chris Dowd, who returned to the band in 2018 after stepping away in 1994 (one of four original members filling out the sextet on the new EP).
According to a press release, “Estranged Fruit” is “Fat Mike’s update on one of the greatest compositions in this country’s songbook, Abel Meeropol and Billie Holiday’s 1939 ‘Strange Fruit.'”
Work on the EP began as early as 2019, though it was held up by the sheer number of current and prior Fishbone members who wanted in on the recordings. Co-founder Norwood Fisher called it was one of “the difficulties of being in a whacked-out, everybody-is-somewhat-crazy band.”
“The thing that creates the beauty can sometimes be the thing that creates the obstacles,” he said via the press release.
As for Fat Mike, producing the five-song EP fulfills a wish that was sparked by NOFX touring with Fishbone in 1992.
“Fishbone is the one band I’ve always wanted to produce ever since NOFX toured with them in 1992,” said Fat Mike. “When I got the chance two years ago… I fucking gave it everything I got! I fucking love this band so much as friends and musicians, but I may like this record even more! I thank all of them for the opportunity.”
Fishbone never got to properly celebrate their 40th anniversary due to the pandemic. The ska heroes are making good on that landmark achievement with the new EP, which arrives nearly 38 years after their vaunted 1985 debut — also a self-titled EP. “Estranged Fruit” is the second song we’ve heard from the Fat Mike-produced EP following the previously released single “All We Have Is Now.”
Next week, Fishbone slated to support the opening dates on Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade reunion tour. Their leg begins next Tuesday (May 16th) in Stateline, Nevada, and runs through May 24th in Denver. They’ll also make an appearance at this year’s Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival on May 27th and 28th in Las Vegas. Pick up tickets to Fishbone’s upcoming concerts here.
The upcoming Fishbone EP will be released via Fat Mike’s imprint Bottles to the Ground, though no pre-order information is available at the time of this article. Below you can stream “Estranged Fruit.”