Faith No More released The Real Thing 30 years ago today, and, in tribute, here’s a look back on the album as told by the band members in Small Victories: The True Story of Faith No More.

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From Out of Nowhere

Bill Gould: “That song came from Roddy. That’s completely Roddy’s melody, so maybe it was deliberately pop. But it was originally called “The Cult Song”, because it reminded me of The Cult.”


Mike Bordin: “Quickly, Bill and I wrote the grove, the rhythm for ‘Epic’. We knew it was cool, and it was good, and it was fun, and it was natural. We’d played it and said ‘Wow, that’s just so massive’, it’s just this huge broad, wide, open powerful thing, it’s epic.”

Bill Gould: “The name has to do with how it felt to play. It was epic because of the horns. The parting of the Red Sea. That was the visual imagery.”

Bill Gould: “The video is horrible. I’m embarrassed about it. I never liked it. The ending is Las Vegas shit.”

Falling To Pieces

Roddy Bottum: “We called it “Madonna”, because it seemed to have pop potential. I always like to steer things in that direction.”

“Surprise! You’re Dead!”

Mike Bordin: “It’s important to look at “Surprise! You’re Dead!” in terms of a song that it just came after. Faith No More isn’t just about “Surprise! You’re Dead!” It’s also about “From Out Of Nowhere” and “Falling To Pieces”. The heavier stuff is getting heavier, the aggressive stuff is getting more aggressive, and the melodic stuff was getting more properly melodic. The variety was working well.”

Zombie Eaters

Mike Bordin: “It is highly, highly creative; it’s maybe that’s the first instance of Mike playing characters. A song from the point of view of an infant—Who does that?”

The Real Thing

Matt Wallace: “What Patton did lyrically was well beyond his years as a nineteen-year-old. There’s a tremendous amount of wisdom. It is visceral. Resonant.”

Underwater Love

Matt Wallace: “For me one of the biggest challenges with Patton, and probably that he had with me, is that there’s a lot of darkness in the stuff. When he brought “Underwater Love” to me, I think out of concern, I said, “Oh, you can’t have all these songs about death, and killing people.”

The Morning After

Mike Patton: “Patton said: ‘Fear is a big part of it, a real influence for me. It’s probably the most important emotion there is. Why do you walk down a certain side of the street?”

Woodpecker from Mars

Bill Gould: “It started with Roddy just playing the violin part on keyboard and me and Puffy just coming up with rhythms that went with that. I like that song, it never gets old for me. It’s a really cheesy violin sample too, but that’s all right. It works.”

War Pigs

Bill Gould: “We were waiting around for something to start, and Roddy hadn’t shown up yet, so we just started playing “War Pigs”. We played it through without having to rehearse it. We didn’t think of it as a thing, like it was going to be a hallmark of the band. It was kind of a joke.”

Edge of the World

Roddy Bottum: “There were so many different colours or characters on this record. A lounge bluesy one for this song seems crazy now but we liked the idea of focusing the piano in a spotlight. It seemed audacious.”

Read the definitive guide to the making of The Real Thing as all Faith No More’s music in Small Victories: The True Story of Faith No More, out now on Jawbone Press.

Get it here:

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Faith No More Followers have marked the anniversary with a Q and A with the band and an in-depth interview, complete with new photos from the studio, with Matt Wallace.

And, of course, this post marks a return for the blog and me after a long hiatus. I’m also back on Twitter with a new handle of @AHarte6