Before Rocket From the Crypt and Drive Like Jehu put San Diego on the indie rock map in the early '90s, Fishwife was the undisputed king of scene with over-the-top live shows. Although Fishwife had its roots in '80s hardcore, the schizoid post-hardcore zaniness that the group unleashed on its audience no doubt had any straight-edge kid running for the nearest exit. Lead singer Ryan Foxe's insane stage antics included, among others, things like getting naked, a dildo ventriloquist act, leaping from a six-foot-high Marshall stack and landing on a cup of the favorite Mexican rice drink Horchata, as well as handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwich's at a local San Diego club that got them banned from playing the joint forever.
The group initially released their self-tilted 7" EP on local hardcore punk label Nemesis. Not long after, Canadian indie label Cargo Records opened its new headquarters in San Diego and started a new label, Headhunter. Fishwife was the first band signed to the new Cargo imprint. In 1990, Snail Killer hit the shelves, with tunes like "Postcards From the Planet of the Apes," "Dumb Indian Songs," "Eggs," and "Chiva." Fishwife were pushing the boundaries of hardcore punk with their hilarious punk-fueled lunacy. Foxe's vocals were somewhere between Jello Biafra's nasal croon and the cartoon growl of Cookie Monster. The group's sound easily shifted from frantic spazz-outs to mosh pit dirges to tripped-out acid rock chants in the blink of an eye. The group gained a large following in their hometown of San Diego, occasionally making their way up the West Coast. 1992 saw the release of the group's second LP, Ritalin, which perfected the group's unique sound; tighter and more focused, Ritalin grabs you by the jugular and the funny bone simultaneously with such memorable classics as "Doggies Nightmare," "Almighty Wurlitzer," "Poopy," and "Hukilau."
The group called it quits in 1993 when Foxe decided to move to New York and pursue school, while the remaining three quarters of Fishwife re-formed and took shape as the math rock trio Tanner releasing Ill Gotten Gains for Caroline Records in 1995, 1997's (Germo) Phobic for Headhunter, as well as several 7" EPs. Eventually, Foxe relocated back to San Diego and joined the '60s garage rock group the Let Downs. Fishwife recorded more than an album's worth of material before they broke up which was released in the form of their third LP, Poquita Rosada Mona, as well as a two-song 7" EP for local San Diego punk/indie label Goldenrod Records. Guitarist Gar Wood plays bass in Beehive & the Barracudas, while drummer Chris Prescott plays in longtime San Diego favorite No Knife, and bassist Matt Ohlin owns Rt. 44 Skate Shop in San Diego and plays bass and sings in the group Hiatus. Singer Ryan Foxe works and lives in Los Angeles.