1002, 2017

LONG READ: The story of Faith No More’s first number one

February 10th, 2017|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

“We’ve got to crack that radio attitude. Too many bands that were great bands have withered up and died because they didn’t pursue it and most of the world never got to hear about them.”

Faith No More bassist and talisman Bill Gould was speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald in June 1990, making no excuses for a band seeking chart and commercial success. It was fitting then that Australia proved the locus for their breakthrough chart success. on 26 August, 1990, the band’s Epic single reached the top of Australia’s official ARIA singles charts.

It was Faith No More’s first number one anywhere – and the first of two in Australia. Remarkably, the band had not even set foot in Oz until one month before topping the chart. Their first show was in Transformers in Brisbane on 29 July. They also played a live session for leading Australian radio station Triple J around this time. Officially dated as 30 July and broadcast on that date, the session may actually have been recorded on the 28 or 29 July. The redoubtable FNM Live site reports: “Puffy walks out during “War Pigs” due to taunts from the band about his playing. He had hurt his ribs during bungee jumping in New Zealand. Patton takes over drums on the song.” That bungee jump was widely reported with the San Francisco Chronicle capturing some band comments:

“It was sheer terror, I would never have done it except for the peer group pressure from the other guys in the band,” said bassist Bill Gould, who arrived Monday in Sydney with the group’s entourage for six performances. “It was so bloody high, I’ve never been so horrified in my entire life,” Gould said. “But it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done.” Vocalist Mike Patton added to the adventure by dangling from the elastic cable clad in only his undershorts and a sweatshirt.

Check out some discussion of and footage from that jump here on New Zealand TV (via Faith No More Followers)

And here is the actual session

The band played an impressive 13 shows in Australia in late July and August – and this and a promo roller-coaster propelled them to the top spot. Not that the critics were completely overwhelmed by their live shows, with the Sydney Morning Herald reviewing one of their two Marquee Sydney shows under the headline: “THE CROWD CAME FOR THE NOISE, AND NOISE IS WHAT THEY GOT”. The article also stated:

“While their name suggests a kind of disaffected nihilism, perfectly suited to the times, they are, in reality, strikingly loyal to their antecedents; their present is very much the literal transfiguration of their past, the sum of their influences.

They come on stage to a tape that sounds like Shostakovich meeting Metallica, or the brooding soundtrack to some big-budget Hollywood feature, and attempt – not always successfully – to maintain that sense of the epic, the cinematic, throughout the course of their performance.

There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work: on record, their music is a seamless fusion of abrasive power chords and symphonic keyboard washes – the effect veering oddly between some of the more pompous excesses of the ’70s(Rush, Emerson Lake&Palmer, et al), and contemporary hardcore speed metal.

Witnessed live, however, volume and distortion conspire to deny that all important balance, with the effect that guitar swamps the proceedings, and much of the subtlety is lost.”

The review concludes:

“This is not to say it wasn’t good – for a metal concert (which was, after all, what most of the audience expected and desired), it was fine. As an event, though, it lacked only that ineffable something that would have taken it from being merely good, into the realm of the truly extraordinary.

I’ts a pity, because that other, higher goal was always within sight, but proved just out of reach.”

The rest of Australia was hooked, however. The re-released single of Epic, with a B-side of The Morning After (and including a yellow cassette single version) was released in late July. Here’s what it looked like, courtesy of Patton Mad.

Epic entered the chart on 22 July 1990 at a creditable 31, the highest new entry of the week. By the following week, it had risen to number 17, nestled between Madonna’s Hanky Panky and Snap’s The Power.

(All chart images and info courtesy of the incredible Chart Beats website)

The following week (5 August) it hit the top 10, reaching number 2 the week after. But Epic was held at bay for two weeks by the continued dominance of none other than…MC Hammer. With U Can’t Touch This.

Hammer was wrong. One week later, Faith No More touched number one – and they would stay there for three weeks in total. (Holding off firstly the challenge of Concrete Blonde’s Joey and then Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory). It was finally knocked off the top spot on 16 September by the hirsute New Jerseyian’s cowboy anthem.

Well-timed touring, Australia’s openness to rock music, a killer song and targeted promotion all combined to earn Faith No More’s first number one. Local record store Utopia also claimed some of the glory. In September, the Morning Herald featured an interview with Dave Defig from the Sydney store. He said: “We basically discovered Faith No More here years ago; somebody woke up to them finally and they’ve now had a number one.”

The band would score two further notable triumphs in Australia in 1990. Epic ranked at 22 in the chart of the year’s best-selling singles. Then on 23 December Faith No More won the Gisborne Handicap (1,000m) at Moonee Valley. A horse named in their honour, of course.

I’m Easy

Faith No More would go on to have a second Australian number one in 1993. I’m Easy, as Easy was entitled on this release, reached the top spot on the singles chart on 16 May – after nine weeks on the chart. It stayed there for two weeks – dropping Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way to 2 – before being usurped by Janet Jackson’s That’s The Way Love Goes.

Just like in 1990. Faith No More’s chart-topping came just after a the band had played a series of shows in Australia. In fact, the band played 11 shows in little over two weeks and were in New Zealand playing in Christchurch they day they hit number one in Australia again. And this time the reviews were more positive:

What makes Faith No More more than just another bunch of hairies who know how to crank it up is the perverse, self-parodying streak that runs through their work. You get the feeling, as each song begins, that it might end up somewhere completely different, maybe even visiting a few interesting places along the way.

The addition of keyboard player Rodney Bottum to the standard guitar-based lineup gives them room for contrast and, recalling the Mothers of Invention, he spends a lot of his time inserting atmospherics that run against the grain of the work, odd juxtapositions that convert what might otherwise be too linear into a tangle of ideas.

In one song, they sample the Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah, and in another, begin with a funkier version of the theme from Twin Peaks. Any band that can include fragments of the Bay City Rollers and the Birthday Party in one of their own tracks, Be Aggressive, has to be applauded.

It is this sense of playfulness, this undercurrent of mischief that makes Faith No More so appealing and made the Hordern crowds stand on the seats to catch a glimpse.
(Sydney Morning Herald)

And the band performed the show live on Nine Network’s evening show Hey Hey It’s Saturday in late April.

In an interview with – you guessed it – the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 May, Mike Patton explained some of the logic behind I’m Easy:

“I remember we were talking to a guy from this death metal band called Morbid Angel. They’re this amazing band who are really powerful – but hilarious at the same time.” He frowns: “Though I’m not sure if they’re aware of that or not …

“Anyway, this guy said how much he loved our version of Easy, and I said, ‘Well, why don’t you guys do something like that? You’re the guys who should be trying that. I mean, you’d just take people’s heads off if you were to do something like an easy-listening album.’

“And he just looked at me and said, ‘You don’t understand. We can’t do that. We physically can’t do it.’ Which to me, just goes to show how people in the entertainment industry build their own prisons. This band will never do that.”

Faith No More’s two number ones means they have as many chart-toppers in Australia as David Bowie and Prince. Even more incredibly, they have twice as many Aussie number ones as Australian icons AC/DC, INXS, Nick Cave and Nathalie Imbruglia combined.

 

 

 

902, 2017

Faith No More offer new audio experience with Cone of Shame authentic sound version

February 9th, 2017|5 Comments

If I speak at one constant volume
At one constant pitch
At one constant rhythm right into your ear
You still won’t hear

Audio fidelity is something Faith No More take seriously. Bill Gould for instance has been outspoken on the poor audio quality of streaming – “It doesn’t sound very good. I think the sonics of Spotify are horrible, but it’s the future” – and now the band has teamed up with Latvian audio specialists Sonarworks to offer a first-of-its-kind enhanced audio version of Sol Invictus track Cone of Shame.

Bill states:

A few months ago, the Sonarworks folks contacted me again; they wanted to take this software out of the recording studio and bring it into the world of home audio. This time, they would attempt to address imperfections in a wide variety of headphones…and to take it a step further, rather than requiring someone to download and install their software, they would be able to run the test through a web browser.
I like the guys, they’re a small company from Latvia but with very big ideas, so we decided to give it a spin with “Cone of Shame”. As a band we try to take chances and explore new concepts all the time, and realized in this FNM tradition, that it might be cool to include some of our fans in on the experiment—as far as I know, no one has done anything like this before. So in this spirit, check it out, and let the guys know what you think. Tastes can be subjective, there are no right or wrong answers, but your feedback can go a long way toward improving the quality of our listening experience.

We’ve tried it out with both Marshall and Bose models and there is definitely a richer sound. I’m not enough of an audiophile to to say what exactly is different but it seems warmer and more layered.

Check it out here and let us know what you think

802, 2017

Faith No More LINKS FOR A DAY. Vol 203: New MTV video, Roddy Das Model, True-Fi delay, Gotham likes FNM

February 8th, 2017|Tags: , , |0 Comments

MTV videos

Jim from Faith No More Followers has compiled a video of behind-the-scenes MTV footage from Faith No More’s infamous North American tour with Guns N’ Roses and Metallica in 1992.

I stumbled across the behind-the-scenes MTV footage of the Another Body Murdered video shoot this week too – as uploaded by ingnseps in 2009

Roddy Das Model

Roddy Bottum will feature in the forthcoming issue of Out magazine in their spread on ageing gay icons.
Here’s a taster from Roddy’s Instagram

thanks @jackpierson9 thanks @outmagazine #malemodel #nevertoolate #talktomyagent

A photo posted by Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) on

 

True-Fi delay

As we reported last night on our brand spanking new Facebook page, the Sonarworks True-Fi release of Cone of Shame will now come later today.

Patton animation update

Friend of the site Ben Mitchell (and what a radio voice Ben possesses!) has an interview with Norwegian animator and director Rune Spaans on his Skwigly Animation Podcast in which he speaks about The Absence of Eddy Table which of course features the voice of Mike Patton.

Gotham loves Faith No More

We covered this on Facebook over the weekend. If anyone can track down a screengrab from season 2 episode 14 “This Ball of Mud and Meanness” which features a Sol Invictus poster that would be great to have.

602, 2017

VIDEO: Sonarworks release third Faith No More promo video

February 6th, 2017|0 Comments

The Faith No More/Sonar Works collaboration will be revealed tomorrow 7 February, with an enhanced version of Cone of Shame will be released for all who sign up. In the meantime, here is a third promo video featuring an impressed Bill Gould and Tim Moss, as well as Matt Wallace giving his take on the importance of uniform sound:

202, 2017

Faith No More Sonar Works new interviews

February 2nd, 2017|Tags: , , |1 Comment

The intriguing Faith No More tie-up with audio fidelity experts Sonar Works will not be revealed until 7 February, when an enhanced version of Cone of Shame will be released for all who sign up. In the meantime, the collaboration continues to produce some fascinating video content.

SIGN UP HERE

In the latest clip, Bill Gould speaks about sound – and we also here from long-time producer Matt Wallace and band manager Tim Moss.

And here is Sonar Works’ first video in which Matt Wallace makes the not-all-that-surprising revelation that Bill had amassed 50-60 “Faith No More” songs during the band’s hiatus.

102, 2017

Faith No More biography

February 1st, 2017|Tags: , |4 Comments

As you may have seen the interview in Punk Globe with the legendary Ginger Coyote, I am working on a biography of Faith No More.

But…it is very early in the whole process. The book is barely started and I haven’t got a publisher.

Having said that, I am aiming to produce the definitive Faith No More biography, one that combines a fan’s passion with a reporter’s expertise. The book will – if it sees the light of day –  chronicle how such a heterogeneous group formed, flourished and fractured, and how Faith No More helped redefine rock, metal and alternative music.

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far, and I will keep you posted on future developments.

And if you have any information, tales, insights, old clippings, band photos, concert posters etc please email me at [email protected]

1801, 2017

Faith No More Links for a day: vol 202: Epic deconstructed, Kaada interview, WCAL anniversary

January 18th, 2017|0 Comments

A very belated update so thanks for sticking around. I am working on the foundations of a book on the band so any other free time is limited.

Epic analysed

Fifty minutes on one song? Glad to know that I’m not the only person overindulging and analysing Faith No MoreThe Session programme on California’s 95.5 KLOS presents regular breakdowns of iconic songs and last week it was the turn of Faith No More’s Epic.

Here is their detailed, forensic and loving track-by-track, channel-by-channel analysis of the song, giving each band member their turn in the spotlight. An insightful, educational and entertaining listen.

Thanks to Patton Fanatic for this and spotting the deliberate mistake in an earlier version of this post.

We Care a Lot anniversary

Today is the 29th anniversary of the release of the second version Faith No More‘s single We Care a Lot. Naturally, Faith No More Followers have the lowdown with a special post here.

Angel Dust analysed

Ireland has a lot of grá for Faith No More. Radio station Newstalk has devoted a few shows to the band in the past few years and now Irish podcast Jackdaw Sandwich Record Club has dissected Angel Dust in their unique way.

Kaada interview

Friend of the site Ben has interviewed frequent Mike Patton collaborator Kaada for Skwigly, and he speaks about working with Patton and his work on the Patton-featuring The Absence of Eddy Table.

1801, 2017

Faith No More to release high-quality audio of Cone of Shame

January 18th, 2017|0 Comments

Faith No More have teamed up with Sonarworks True-Fi to offer fans an enhanced audio experience of Sol Invictus track Cone of Shame.

Sign up here, enter your email address, enter the model of your headphones and then you’ll receive an email saying:
“You have successfully signed up for listening to Faith No More’s single “Cone of Shame” in Authentic Studio Sound. The FREE listening session will be released on February 7th.
In the meantime keep an eye on your inbox, as we will send you some exclusive footage bits from Faith No More.”

1412, 2016

Links for a Day vol 201: Billy interview, Patton joins Dead Cross, Chuck interview

December 14th, 2016|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

A belated round-up

Bill Gould’s Team Rock interview

Bill Gould’s latest interview as part of the We Care a Lot re-issue promotion was a Q and A in Team Rock/Classic Rock largely focusing on the band’s early days and motivations:

Choice cuts:

With FNM, how much of what you do is art provocation and how much instinctive miscreancy?

It’s a bit of everything. People get hung up on how we fit into their box. We don’t think about it too hard. We just do what feels good.

You never seemed like one of those Last Gang In Town type of bands – more a confederacy of opposites. Fair?

Completely. We were a bunch of people with different abilities and quirks; a dysfunctional family. Jim came from the metal world, which was very different for us. [Chuck Mosley, first frontman] was the wild card; that was part of his charm. We were just playing loops and he would scream over the top. It was hard when we started getting into patterns and structure and touring – it became more like regular work. That’s when the tension started.

And

You must be proud of the band’s achievements: you defined a style of music, defied it, then defiled it.

All of that. It’s cool. You respect what you do, but at the same time you’re a bit of an iconoclast.

Every band has a voice. FNM’s is snarky, sarcastic, even satirical. Are you the hard-rock Steely Dan?

Ha ha! It’s funny, it’s almost like forensics: you have to take the dead body apart to see what the fuck it’s made of.

What a strange band.

Yeah. But at least we’re not boring.

Full interview here – offered as part of fremium service so maybe paywalled

Here are some scans – courtesy of Faith No More French Community

Mike Patton joins Dead Cross

As predicted by Patton Fanatic several months ago, Mike Patton will be the new singer in Dave Lombardo’s new project Dead Cross. Jim from FNM Followers has interviewed Justin Pearson, bassist in the supergroup:

How did this collaboration come about? Was it simply a matter of a phone call to Patton?

Well, yes. Lombardo, Crain, and myself had thought of a few people to sing, Patton being one. Fortunately for us, the universe had its shit together… and here we are.

You had written material with Gabe Serbian prior to parting ways. Did you start afresh when Patton was enlisted?

We had the songs written and recorded prior to Patton’s involvement. When we started working with Patton, he jumped in and started working on lyrics and recording vocals.

So how has Patton’s influence changed the sound?

It’s hard to explain. The band is still finding it’s own skin to fit into. No matter whom you bring into a band, the sound becomes who all are part of it. Let’s revisit this question after the album comes out, after we play shows with the new line up, and after we can reflect on things.

The album will come out in early 2017 through Patton’s Ipecac label.

Brilliant Chuck Mosley interview

One of the few pleasures of 2016 has been the rehabilitation of the reputation of Chuck Mosley during the promotion of We Care a Lot. And Chuck, who has been in the studio working on the second Primitive Race album, has given a very revealing interview with Fear and Loathing in which he expounds at length on the early days of Faith No More.

Some choice cuts:

You first met Billy Gould when you were both going to punk gigs in Hollywood ?

‘Yeah, I met him when I was about 17 or 18, I think. He was the first one of those guys I met, because I didn’t even meet Roddy until Billy had moved up to Berkeley. We both had this friend, Mark Stewart, who I had known since Elementary school. He started to play guitar around the same time that I started playing piano, but I didn’t really see him play until we were in the 12th grade or something. Then one day we were hanging out and he started playing something and I discovered that he had got really good, so I said we should start a band. He asked Billy and two other friends, Paul and Kevin, and that was what became The Animated. As soon as me and Billy met, we pretty-much clicked. He was into all the same bands that I was into, so we started going to shows together. I think he liked going out to shows with me because I didn’t have any limits, so it was like going along to see how drunk I would get or if I was going to get in a fight or what was I going to knock over or what I was going to fuck-up… It was like that most nights, I was pretty-much out of control for various personal reasons. I always went out just to see the bands, that was all I intended to do, but it would often end up in those kind of situations.’

You’d already sung with them on a couple of occasions, just as a temporary thing, hadn’t you ?

‘Yeah, because they were going through different singers and guitar players every other week. So they’d call me if they had a show in LA, and say, we haven’t got a singer, can you do it ? I’d get up and sing with them when they came down to LA without a singer. Billy always loved irony and I wasn’t a singer back then, so it made sense to him that they should ask me to sing!’

Patton Fanatic discography timeline

Patton Fanatic continue to deliver killer content and they have put together a very nifty Mike Patton discography interactive timeline on their site.

Check it out.

1412, 2016

Roddy Bottum set to debut new opera Ride

December 14th, 2016|Tags: , |3 Comments

2016 may have been a relatively fallow year for Faith No More (We Care a Lot re-issue aside) but as usual the individual band members are keeping as busy as the Trump Tower lifts. Roddy has returned to opera and his latest opus – The Ride – will be performed at the Merkin Music Center in New York tomorrow night (15 December).

The opera chronicles two gay men from different generations who take part in an AIDS charity bike ride from San Francisco, CA to Los Angeles, CA. Roddy of course has taken part in the bike ride himself and raised quite a considerable sum of money for the cause.

“The older generation of gay men who dealt with AIDS as a life threatening disease and were in the trenches for the first generation of the disease helped their friends get through life or death situations,” Roddy told Experiements in Opera, who are present the piece as part of Story Binge II. “The generation of gay men today who are on PrEP drugs and TRUVADA don’t really view the disease as life threatening. It’s just a different relationship. And that, to me, is interesting.”

Story Binge II is a single evening event featuring semi-staged and concert versions of five works in progress. Throughout this 15-minute opera, the characters sing and talk from stationary bikes about how their participation in The Ride is emblematic of their relationships with the disease.

The cast is: Robbie Daniels, rider one; Tristan Viner-Brown: rider two; Ann Magnuson, Lorri Jean; Luis Illades, drums; Roddy Bottum, synthesizer; Robbie Lee, synthesizer; Domenica Fossati, Margaret Lancaster, Katie Cox, and Roberta Michel, flutes.

This week Roddy tweeted about the event:


my new short form opera is this Thursday in NYC… come out, the info and tix in my bio 😘

A photo posted by Roddy Bottum (@roddybottum) on

You can find more info here and buy tickets:

And here is the trailer video:

Song Poll

What is your favourite track from Sol Invictus?
Here’s our playlist of possibly the best version of each:

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