Fishbone was the seminal college band for Gen Xers. Their music led many young listeners down a musical rabbit hole that brought the funk to the punks, with a side fusion of ska, metal, reggae, and soul. By all accounts, the band should be mentioned in the same breath as Red Hot Chili Peppers, De La Soul, and Tribe Called Quest in terms of legacy. However, the same ferocity in their music echoed backstage with its members. The lead singer and the bassist have been the sole remaining members through a revolving door of musicians. Fronting the band was the ever-charismatic Angelo Moore, a mohawk-sporting firebrand who reveled in defying audiences’ expectations and the center of the documentary ForeverMoore: The Angelo Project.
But Fishbone’s story is only a fraction of director Tisa Zito’s film, as Moore has dedicated his life to the same genre-defying art and enthusiasm toward creatively deconstructing any so-called norms in his path. Speaking with those within his eclectic constellation, we follow his unbridled positivity despite struggles along the way. For the past two decades, the inexhaustible musician has been recording and performing as Dr. Madd Vibe and in Angelo Moore & The Brand New Step, both featuring his charismatic kitchen-sink approach to sound with bouncy-but-politically charged lyricism. In addition, he has released books of poetry, art, spoken-word compilations, and lent countless contributions to albums.
“…[Moore] dedicated his life to the same genre-defying art and enthusiasm toward creatively deconstructing any so-called norms…”
ForeverMoore: The Angelo Project gives us but a glimpse of the man’s Los Angeles-based life today (a town he affectionately dubs “Lost A******s”). We hear from Moore’s family, colleagues, and fans, including his partner Michelle Harper (who helps him navigate social media and ensures he eats), his daughter (who has inherited his love of creating music), his mother (who acts as his archivist of her son’s accomplishments), and Fishbone bassist John Norwood Fisher (who is equally loving toward and frustrated by him), among others.
At a little over an hour, it’s a brief visit, but we witness his indefatigable energy. Moore does not so much sleep as he just collapses for short periods. One producer refers to his life as “a series of explosions and naps.” One only wishes we were given access to the endless font of creativity under his formerly mohawked dome. Because he is such a force of creativity, we still walk away wondering how he maintains that level of enthusiasm. Hearing his perspective on the current social movements throughout the country would no doubt prove fascinating.
ForeverMoore: The Angelo Project marks the debut for Zito, who serves as director, cinematographer, producer, and editor. She deserves credit for selecting a subject such as Moore as her focus, as it seems to be the equivalent of trying to bottle a hurricane. When the final credits roll, and we see the sheer volume of names with whom Moore has collaborated in the music industry, it seems almost criminal that the man has not risen to the iconic status of his peers. But each time we witness that infectious, ornery smile light the screen, we are just happy to vibe out with Dr. Maddvibe.
"…[an] endless font of creativity..."