Early in Laurence Fishburne's narration for the documentary "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," it is posited that the band could have come together only in Los Angeles, not least because when they first united in the early 1980s, the then-teenage members were mostly being bused to school from South Central to the Valley. But the band also captured that essential, indescribable mix of styles and ideas that is the city's cultural hallmark.
With its frantic blend of ska, punk, funk, soul and rock, Fishbone made music that was like the greatest party mix ever, and its frenetic live shows were all the more remarkable for the level of musicianship achieved even with all the jumping about. Their influence on bands that would far surpass them commercially, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Primus and No Doubt, is apparent, and it seems telling just how many other musicians were willing to participate in the documentary to attest to the outfit's influence.
As much as filmmakers Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler capture the energy and attitude of the band's early days, it is the more recent footage of Fishbone still making the most of it — despite years of personality conflicts, personnel changes and commercial disappointments — that has an emotional appeal.
"Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, West Hollywood.