Dr. Maddvibe, the spoken-word alter ego of Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore, has been prescribing his "prophylactic coating of consciousness" since 1995. Whenever there are breaks in the Fishbone touring schedule (which is not often), Angelo makes it a point to give the world a dose of his incendiary spoken word work by touring as Maddvibe, as with his dates on the Spitfire spoken word bill (with the likes of Jello Biafra and MTV's Kennedy). In 1996, he also self-released a CD and book entitled Dr. Maddvibe's Comprehensive Linkology, which introduced his cerebral, inflammatory, horrifying, angry, humorous and incisive observations on racism, divorce, and the politics of relationships in America today to those not fortunate enough to catch him on tour. Late last year, Angelo was able to release his second Dr. Maddvibe disc, The Yin Yang Thang, on the highly-respected indie label Asian Man Records. I had the pleasure of chatting with the Doctor one early morning about this and many other things.
SCR: I hope I didn't wake you up, man.
Angelo Moore:Ý Nah, man. I've been up since 5 AM working on some shit. Lyrics for the next Dr. Maddvibe CD.
Cool. So, for someone that doesn't know who or what Dr. Maddvibe is, or maybe only knows you through Fishbone, could you explain a little about the Doctor?
Dr. Maddvibe is an extension of Angelo Moore; it's more poetry, whereas with Fishbone you've got the music and the lyrics. Certain Fishbone songs talk about my life and stuff, but this is more personal. They're just different things, you know?
So, since it all comes from the same source, how do you determine what's a Fishbone song and what's strictly a Maddvibe thing?
Usually, the poems I end up using for songs are written in a certain way, with the music in mind. Actually, I share them with the band and then we decide, because all poems I can make into songs.
So, besides the obvious, what do you find most different between doing the spoken word thing and the full band thing?
Well, you know with the band, it's like...it's like I got my turbo jets behind me, you know? (laughs)
Yeah, no doubt.
Yeah, with Maddvibe it's single pilot, but I can go for as long as I want, do whatever I want with the composition.
So how have you been received in this capacity so far? Anyone upset because they were expecting Fishbone Mk. II?
Nah, people usually knew what was up when I went out on my "house calls," as I like to call 'em. I always ask people questions, but no one's come up and said anything about that.
Have there been any other types of confrontations? Your poems have been labeled by some as misogynist and/or racist.
(laughing) Yeeeaaah. I know there's been some conflict, I can't remember specifically about what. There's a chapter in my book called "Everything You Wanted To Know About Marriage." It's about father's rights, and "selfish baby's momma" disease. It caused controversy because one of the poems is titled "The End Of The World Will Be Because Of Bitches." There'll be no humans around because everybody's going to have to be a "Secret Agent Dad." Dads who have to go "undercover," spiritually undercover, because the baby's mom wants to keep [the baby] all to herself. It's about strengthening yourself and other dads too, to give them support.
So how do you react to those labels?
It's a way to express yourself about child custody, divorce, mental problems, and other shit. You gotta get it out there, and some people take it personally. What am I supposed to do? Hold it in and go crazy? Racism in America is big, nasty and ugly, especially racism within the music business. Fishbone is affected by it; me, as a black man, I'm affected by it because I'm not playing the cliche nigga, singing hip-hop or R&B, holding my dick. (laughs) I do a little of that, sure, but there's so much more to enjoy rather than just one thing. I like to migrate, to move around, rather than stay on one thing.
That's part of what makes what you do so damn good. So, with all that, it seems that people tend to focus on your "angry" side, and miss all the positivity in things like "Optimistic Yes" and "Positive's the Light."
People like drama. People like drama. You know, we were touring in South America, Japan; they don't have Springer and shit like that. I mean, look at these people, they're out of their heads, like throwing Christians to the lions for entertainment. I've actually got a poem about all that called "Masochist."
Dr. Maddvibe -- http://www.drmaddvibe.com/
Asian Man Records -- http://www.asianman.com/
Fishbone -- http://www.fishbone.net/
Photo by Ewolf.
At what age did you begin writing poetry?
Well, ever since the band started in '83. But I'd always write little stuff here and there in English class and creative writing. You know, expression on paper.
Right on. So, besides the sax and theremin, there's no other live accompaniment, but you play other stuff on the album, right?
Well, I like to play drums live, not with 'Bone, though, only with Trulio [Trulio Disgracias is a Fishbone funk side project -- Mel], or during jams with other people.
So why'd you decide to go with Asian Man rather than self-release another album?
Well, the first one we recorded at the Nuttsack, which was Fishbone's studio in LA. We recorded a lot of dope shit there, Dirty Walt's [Fishbone's singer, trumpeter] solo album was recorded there, the Barrio Artistas. We had a lot of stuff there for our label, Nuttsacktor 5 Records. Then Disney tore the studio down to build a mall there.
That's pretty fucked up.
Yeah. Yeah, it was.
So are you going to try to restart your studio?
Yeah, we just gotta get the money to start it up again.
Do you generally tour on your own, or with a ensemble like Spitfire?
I generally tour on my own, just me and my managers, Debbie Harvey and Kerry James. I like to be solo so I can get some crowd participation going.
Have you taken Dr. Maddvibe overseas?
Not yet, but I really want to do it. I want to go to Japan and do it.
What's in Dr. Maddvibe's near future?
I'm really not sure, we got some 'Bone dates coming up, and I'm doing updates on the site with new poems and shit.
Anything else you want to add about The Yin Yang Thang?
Yeah -- you need to go buy it. (laughs) Buy my record. END