Swim Herschel Swim – Billion

Of all the songs we did, this one was the most “metal” Fishbone from the early 90s sound they had going. I believe this song was composed by Merkley to push us away from a more pure form of ska and towards something more marketable; we had label interest, but ska? This was years before Sublime got radio play and a decade and almost a half after the first Two Tone invasion.

The high tweaky burly burly sounding thing was me playing live while working the mod-wheel on the trusty Ensoniq EPS 16+. Merkley had to show me which effects he had used and how to map which one to the mod wheel. Then I added my one flourish, an octave leap and a Nigel Tufnel-like sustained note I only played a couple of times in the song to heighten my own tension.

I wish the horns weren’t so buried in this one as they sound pretty tough. I remember that in the single night we mixed six of the songs for Burn Swim Burn, this one took the longest because Merkley wasn’t happy with the mix and I think the volume in the studio was the kind of exhausting loud. Finally, we got it down on DAT and called it so we could have time to finish the rest of the tracks. Good thing, too as we lost access to that studio (and the masters).

I don’t want to characterize this song as a Merkley takeover move, because I don’t think it was. We had gotten to a point where people were bringing in done songs to freshen up our set list. We didn’t write near enough new material. I think in the four years we were together, the first two years yielded the most songs, with Fuz being the best all around song from that period.

I loved playing this song live because the already frenzied crowd would go nuts. Somewhere there is video of us playing a show at what is now the Utah Valley University ballroom and the mosh pit is massive. Huge mass of people moving in a circle. From the stage we couldn’t see what it looked like, but somebody showed us the tape and it was staggering to see. It was scary to think of somebody getting injured because the size and energy of the crowd. I don’t think we were allowed back to play, which happened just about every place we played in Provo/Orem toward the end.

Warning, this is a lot different sounding than most of the other songs I’ve shared. You might want to adjust your volume downward until you hear it first.

Direct download: Billion (Remastered) – MP3, 320kbps

Only a couple of more songs to go.