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Interview with Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore, art show preview at Jax Beach gallery

Veering into unfiltered mediums of shape and vibration with the Fishbone singer and artist. Previewing his show and appearances at Gallery 725 in Jacksonville Beach.
Credit: SceneFour
Gallery 725 Presents Angelo Moore: Avant Icons: The Collected Works

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Angelo Moore is the highly combustible singer of the renowned Los Angeles-based punk-funk-ska and soul band, Fishbone (currently stepping out with his band, Angelo Moore and the Brand New Step). He's also a multi-media artist whose pieces pull from an active bag of tricks – theater, satire, graffiti poetry, and paint.

“Angelo Moore: AVANT ICONS - the Collected Works” will be on display Friday through May 29 at Jacksonville Beach's Gallery 725.

Moore’s pieces are a bold hodgepodge, a stream-of-consciousness combo of archetypal images layered with loose hand drawn lyrics and script. He re-imagines and re-interprets historic works.

“The Last Supper” in Moore’s hands is rendered as “The Last Upper” with Moore's musical heroes in place of the Apostles. Another depicts Moses with the Ten Commandments parting a deep blue Red Sea. And Salvador Dali is paired with Public Enemy’s clock-wearing protagonist Flavor-Flav.

Moore (Aka Dr. Madd Vibe) imbues it all with a fly quickness, unafraid to slap a sacred image with earth and zing from the TV minefield of a pop culture world. Moore's mental activity exists at a flashpoint between deep thought, cartoon-brain enlightenment, and vast cultural observation.

Credit: Gallery 725
Gallery 725 Presents Angelo Moore: Avant Icons: The Collected Works
  •  Gallery 725, 1250 Beach Blvd., will be hosting an opening champagne reception Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Moore will be making appearances at the gallery May 27 and 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and May 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • All artwork on exhibition will be available for acquisition. The exhibition and Moore’s in-gallery appearances are complimentary and open to the public.
  • Moore will have “Avant President” collector stickers available as well, each featuring a QR code for a unique performance art piece where he explains the embellishments around that particular president.
Credit: Angelo Moore
Avant Presidents by Angelo Moore

Moore spoke from his Glendale, California “lab.” He was hands-free, headset on, quick-worded and chipper, while working on a piece of art that will appear at the show in Jacksonville Beach:

What are you working on?

Moore: A Bugs Bunny piece. I do a bunch of art around Bugs Bunny. Doing a song around Bugs as well. Reading and putting down the shapes and the vibrations, you know, for those who like to lightly gaze. The piece will have some words, some script too, for those who like to go a little deeper. I try to present an array. To decode and decipher.

Also working on a Jimi Hendrix piece where I'm putting in lyrics from the Fishbone song “Rock Star” from the album “Chim Chim’s Badass Revenge.”

The piece has three super-saturated Jimi Hendrix faces. I think it works with the lyrics from "Rock Star", which are about black rock and roll in white America and the history.

What will you do after the three-faced Hendrix?

Moore: Got a Pam Grier piece going, and a Roger Rabbit one. Roger Rabbit has a story behind him called, “I Gave Away All My Money to the Girls at the Titty Bar.”

The story for the Pam Grier piece is from a short story I did for a book I put out when Fishbone went to Holland for the first time as part of the Lollapalooza Festival. 

I was pretty culture-shocked in Holland. I mean, I had never eaten fries with mayonnaise before. I'd met a Dutch girl, she was really nice, and she called me a N-word.

And she did it with a smile on her face too, because that's what her parents told her people like me were. So I had to correct her on that. [Laughs] 

That was my first time ever experiencing that type of racism, where this is what your parents tell you these other types of people look like. Like, that’s a chair. That's a dog. That’s a car. And that's a N-word. I was like, wow, that's crazy. So it's the culture, a European type culture, where some forms of racism are different from America's.

Where does Pam Grier come in?

Moore: Because Pam Grier is holding a sawed-off shotgun. It’s from the movie “Coffy”. Pretty sure she was aiming it at Klan or some redneck cops in the movie. So I thought the image of Pam would fit for the piece with what I was writing around her.

Credit: Gallery 725
Angelo Moore pieces hanging in Gallery 725

Your process seems unfiltered. Ideas move from your brain to the canvass without obstacles.

Moore: I hope when people see my pieces they have an open mind, and maybe see with empathetic eyes in regards to my travels and experiences. Lately, some people have had a hard time taking a joke. And they feel like they want to go up and slap the comedian in the face or maybe pull a knife on a comedian, or maybe even shoot them like they did Dimebag Darrell from the band Pantera, because they don't understand. Or they're too sensitive. And they and their take they take it personally.

Credit: Angelo Moore
Angelo Moore at work creating a piece.

Moore: Comedy and music and acting and art aren’t meant to be taken so personally. That's somebody else's experience on the screen, or in the song, or on the canvas. Art, music, and poetry are mediums where we're supposed to be able to express ourselves freely without being taken personal.

I’m not even going to mention Will Smith because him slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars was on a more high class, international level. 

The stuff that happened to Dimebag Darrell was some dumb fan who thought, “Oh, I want to shoot Dimebag Darrell because he's taken away my favorite band," or some stupid thing like that. Whatever the shooter’s reason was, it wasn't good enough to take somebody's life.

Will Smith is one of my favorite actors. When he lost his cool, for me, that was the equivalent of Obama or Malcolm X losing their cool on national television. And these are the people that aren't supposed to lose their cool. They're supposed to be a representative for everyone else to be able to follow.

Will Smith doing that sort of opened up a door for people to feel like they can cross the sacred line of the stage and assault the the person who's there, the actor, or the artist, or the musician. 

I gotta say, if anybody feels like they don't like what I'm saying, or doing, or they misunderstand it, and they're hot and angry about it, they need to stay their ass home. They can watch it on YouTube, right? One of the precious things we have left is music. Art and music, and freedom of speech

And Bugs Bunny.

Moore: And Bugs Bunny! Exactly. [Laughs]

You don’t deface sacred imagery with your art, you re-face it. You re-imaging things, like “The Last Upper”. You’re re-interpreting. 

Moore: Interpreting, yes. Re-facing, yes. Reading the shapes and vibrations.

We're in America. We're supposed to be in the land of the free. It's getting tougher right now with some people, like those black people got killed in Buffalo by the crazy white supremacist. I hope they give his ass the death penalty. But the way America has been going, they'll probably let him walk, or give him a soft sentence.

Those people he slaughtered were mothers, and grandparents, and uncles. They got killed just living their lives. Because the shooter had a head full of propaganda and misplaced anger?

How do you get these narrow minded people? The people running the propaganda channels that have to call it entertainment because it's not true. They got all the money. They say it's their opinion. But crazy people like that racist Buffalo shooter eat it up. 

I'm not good at remembering names. I just remember shapes, and feelings. You know, sounds and movements, and vibrations. I guess that's how my mind works.

I believe all types of art are important. Like the art that you see on the on the side of freight trains, the graffiti on the buildings. So much beautiful art.

Credit: Angelo Moore
The Last Upper by Angelo Moore

What are you serving at your Last Supper? What meal is served at Angelo Moore’s Last Upper?

Moore: You got Sly and the Family Stone on the table serving up rhythm and blues and funk. And there's Bad Brains over there to the left. A big side of Screamin' Jay Hawkis. 

We got a little slice of punk and rock and reggae and there’s a choice cut of Darby Crash from the Germs. He's got his eggs on a plate and Jim Beam and from what I remember from that movie “The Decline of the Western Civilization”. And a nice big dish of singer Jackie Wilson.

Music and visuals are what I'm serving. And vibration. As musicians when we play instruments, we’re creating vibrations for people to feel. Electric vibrations - which are guitars, keys and stuff like that. Then you have acoustic vibrations, which are drums, and horns and percussion.

It's all vibrations, and the vibrations make people move. Think of when you put a little dish of water on top of a bass speaker. The water vibrates and moves in patterns. And the majority of the human body is water, you know? So just think of what the vibration of that sound does to our bodies.

When the music is being played. It can create a waltz, or an R&B dance, or hip-hop dancing, or mosh pits, or even slow dancing. They’re all different vibrations.

It can move us in good ways. It can move us in bad ways. It's what’s in our hearts. If you have good in your heart, then that's what's going to come through.

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