Description: Revered for his work with the band Fishbone in the largely white underground music scene, Angelo Moore is one of the most underrated musicians of our time.
Ageless, dapper, and eternally cool, Angelo Moore is one of the most underappreciated musical artists of our time. Best known as the lead vocalist/saxophonist of the seminal punk/funk, ska revivalist band Fishbone, Moore has been electrifying audiences since 1979. And with his latest project currently on tour, the 52-year old virtuoso shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The fact that Moore remains musically active will not come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed his career. His reputation is based almost as much on his frenetic stage antics as on his virtuoso talent. And although Moore has certainly evolved as an artist over the years, his energy remains impressively unflagging. This overview of Moore’s dynamic career will merely hint at his dazzling array of musical accomplishments.
The Latest Installment of a Dizzying Career
Though Fishbone still plays together on occasion, Moore is currently touring with his most recent side project. This project is called Angelo Moore and the Brand New Step, and on June 13, they’ll be gracing the stage of the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina. But although the eclectic funk-based band has been together since 2016, the audience won’t quite know what to expect until they actually appear onstage.
The only certainty is that Moore will be front and center. The rest is anyone’s guess. The Brand New Step only has three ‘official’ members– Moore, Kris Jensen, and Jim Greer– but some 20 other musicians have been affiliated with the band during its brief existence. This means that any one (or more) of them might make an appearance. Alongside their genre-bending melodies and complex instrumentation, The Brand New Step’s rotating membership helps make them perhaps the sole member of the ‘psychedelic electronic soul dance’ genre that’s mentioned on their Facebook page.
You can watch videos of the band by clicking here and here. But while these songs are truly impressive, they can’t possibly do justice to the band’s live performance. Nothing so static as a music video could ever capture the whirling dynamo that is Angelo Moore. For that, you’ll need to see him in person. Now let’s have a look at how he got here.
Early Life and Career
Angelo Carmen Christopher Moore was born on November 5, 1965 and grew up in Southern California. Moore came from a very musical family. His father had played saxophone for the legendary Count Basie and his mother helped introduce young Angelo to funk, soul, and jazz. He met the members of Fishbone’s original lineup during junior high before graduating from high school in the early 1980’s.
Moore’s musical career ‘officially’ began in 1979, when Fishbone was first assembled as a sextet. Despite a tremendous number of personnel changes over the past four decades, the band continues to be active today. While other members have continuously shuffled in and out of the band, Angelo’s charismatic presence always has been a constant. He has spent his entire career surrounded by incredibly skilled musicians, but it’s always been Angelo Moore that’s held it all together.
The Fishbone Years
Mixing elements of soul, funk, hard rock, and punk, Fishbone’s sound is impossible to categorize. They first played their first club show at Los Angeles’s highly influential Madame Wong’s, which was a prized venue for punk bands throughout the 1980’s. Fishbone’s emergence as an all-black punk band gave them the ability to expand the genre, to the point where it began to include horn sections, funk riffs, and elements of rap.
Columbia records signed Fishbone to a record deal in 1983. This deal eventually led to the release of their first single and a self-titled debut EP. Their 1987 album, ‘In Your Face’, gained them a spot on their first international tour, as the opening act for fellow punk/rap group The Beastie Boys. And at the center of it all was Angelo Moore’s versatility, talent, and boundless energy. Along with their hard driving funk-infused punk rock, it was this set of qualities that made Fishbone underground heroes from the late eighties onward.
Rise, Descent, and Rebirth
The band achieved their greatest commercial success from the late eighties through the mid nineties. This period began with the album ‘Truth and Soul,’ which launched Fishbone onto the national scene and garnered great critical acclaim. This album contained elements of social commentary as well, as the band began to use their music to focus on issues like racism, fascism, and poverty’s oppressive conditions.
Fishbone’s 1991 release ‘The Reality of My Surroundings’ gained both critical acclaim and modest commercial success. Successive albums and live shows put more and more emphasis on the hard rock and punk elements present in Fishbone’s sound, but they never abandoned their ska and funk-based roots. Fishbone began to experience internal rifts in the mid nineties, leading to a sharp decline in their popularity.
Fishbone has not released a studio album since 2006, but they continue to perform live, often with their original line-up onstage. And yes, Mr. Angelo Moore is still as smooth, electric, and dapper as ever. Though he has never quite received the massive recognition and fame he deserves, Angelo Moore continues to exert a profound influence on the music scene. And yes, the man still puts on one heck of a show.
Author: Kirk Markey is a content writer for nostop.net. He loves music, art, and literature in all of its forms.