Chris Meltzer says he’s not necessarily a fan of the majority of rock films. “I kinda feel that a lot of music documentaries suck -- they’re paid for by the band or you have to be a fan of the band,” says Melzter, who along with Lev Anderson, co-directed Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Metlzer spoke to the Advocate last week, in advance of his documentary’s CT premiere.

Meltzer, 37, who had a background in music videos, working in the area of Christian rock, says he and Anderson were drawn to the black punk-funk band Fishbone as much for the narrative as for the music. “It was this story about these outsiders, these guys who really didn’t fit in anywhere but fit in everywhere at the same time.”

He and Anderson had zeroed in on Fishbone as a potentially interesting subject; they knew about the band’s dissolution, the stories about religious cults, etc. But they weren’t sure that was any spark there decades after the band’s prime.

Then he saw them. “Within the first song they lit up the stage and it was electrifying,” says Metlzer. “I said ‘Whoa, these guys have been around for 30 years and they still kick ass.’”

Meltzer and Anderson worked on the film for over three years, catching the band live around California, following the band on tour in Europe, in the studio and at home.

Meltzer and Anderson have been taking the film on the road, hosting mini Q&A sessions after screenings, and in some cases showing the documentary in conjunction with the band’s shows. Like Fishbone’s music, the film is drawing a wildly eclectic crowd.

“I have to say, the thing that’s funny about a film like this, we draw a wide group of people -- young hipsters, 40 somethings in nostalgia mode, hippies, frat boys.”

In keeping with Meltzer and Anderson’s goals, Everyday Sunshine works even if you don’t much know or care about Fishbone’s music. The film follows the story of a creative group of young black kids who experienced busing in public schools in LA, the loss of faith in the police, the spiraling crack epidemic and the fickle nature of the record business, using it all as fuel for super-charged music.The challenge for the band was to stay free, remain true to their principles and survive the interpersonal battles that emerged.   

“You start out making this film and it’s about the creative process,” says Meltzer. “What you realize is that bands are basically surrogate families. You can see it through these relationships that you might have with your brothers and sisters and your mom and dad.”

Since the completion of the film, there have been some new developments for the band, says Meltzer. In part the publicity surrounding the film has helped the band gain attention on the road, and at least one of the original members who had left the group have now rejoined. Though there’s no official word on a reunion tour or show.  “A reunion, whether it will happen or not,” says Meltzer, “I wouldn’t be surprised at some point in time, as a one-off.”