Faith No More released their fifth studio album King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime 15 years ago this week in March 1995. It is fair to say that the initial reaction was muted, with a lot of critics and fans somewhat underwhelmed after the splendour of Angel Dust. However, KFAD is now regarded as a minor classic, showcasing as it does the band’s genre-hopping at its most extreme and featuring such crucial cuts as Ricochet, Evidence, Digging the Grave and the title track.
King for A Day…Fool for a Lifetime
Mike Bordin – Drums
Roddy Bottum – Keyboards
Billy Gould – Bass Guitar
Mike Patton – Vocals
Guitars by Trey Spruance
1. Get Out
4. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
5. Star A.D.
6. Cuckoo for Caca
7. Caralho Voador
8. Ugly in the Morning
9. Digging the Grave
10. Take this Bottle
11. King For A Day
12. What A Day
13. The Last to Know
14. Just a Man
15. Absolute Zero/I Started a Joke/Evidence (Spanish Version)
*Album artwork by Eric Drooker.
Track 15 “I Started a Joke” is a Bee Gees song.
* – Track 15 “Absolute Zero” on Japanese release (POCD-1165).
* – Track 15 “I Started a Joke” on Brazilian release (828 655-2).
* – Track 15 “Evidence (Spanish Version)” on Argentinean release (828 671-2).
Possible writing credits – Bordin, Gould, Patton, Spruance: 3, 6, 7, 10 & 11.
Bordin, Gould, Patton: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 & 15. (Roddy receives no
writing credits on this record.) It had been previously speculated that Trey
Spruance wrote on 3, 6, 8, 12, & 13. When asked directly, Trey denied nvolvement
on “Get Out”, “Star A.D.”, “Caralho Voador”, and “Last to Know”. His account is
“On ‘Ricochet’, a little help on vocal harmonies and inversions,
nothing big…The guitar parts for ‘Evidence’, keyboard parts
(chords, and minor chord part in the middle) for ‘Cuckoo for Caca’,
some of ‘What A Day’. ‘Ugly in the Morning’, the ending guitar riff.
On ‘Digging’ I just spiced up the chords. [For ‘King for a Day’], the
climax Em D C part was mine, that’s it. ‘Just A Man’, a few
suggestions here and there. Maybe a chord turnaround or two, but
“Evidence” was recorded in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Guitars on “I Started a Joke” by Dean Menta.
“Evidence (Spanish Version)” re-vocaled at Battery Studios London with Engineer
All standard album tracks produced by Andy Wallace and Faith No More.
Track 15 “I Started A Joke” produced by Billy Gould and Dean Menta.
King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime was nominated for a Bay Area Music Award (Bammie) in the category of Best Hard Rock Album of 1995.
B Sides and Alternate Versions
1. The Morning After
2. Das Schutzenfest
4. RV (Live)
5. A Small Victory (Youth Remix)
6. Absolute Zero
3 contains a sample from Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Quartet No. 8” as performed by
the Kronos Quartet.
4 from Dekalb, Illinois, 20.8.92
5 is the “R-evolution 23 Full Moon Mix” by Youth of Killing Joke.
1 & 3 produced by Matt Wallace and Faith No More.
2 produced by Faith No More.
6 produced by Andy Wallace and Faith No More.
Promotional disc given away in a limited edition with early copies of the
Australian pressings of King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime [TVD93421
Sample quote: “Among the best cuts are “Ricochet,” a portentous anthem reminiscent of “Epic”; “Digging the Grave,” which has a grungy feel that isn’t completely ruined by Patton’s histrionic screaming; “Take This Bottle,” a country alchy ballad worthy of George Jones; and “King for a Day,” a haunting reverie anchored by Roddy Bottum’s atmospheric keyboards.”
All Music Guide
Sample quote: “King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime remains one of Faith No More’s underrated releases.”
Sample quote: “Archaic progressive-rock fusion, oddly out of step with the times.”
Sample quote: “Although it could never live up to the intensity of “Angel Dust”, this album is a lot more approachable and doesn’t disappoint.”
Addicted to Noise
Sample quote: “For the most part, Faith No More’s sound has failed to evolve. Like the great dinosaurs of the past who are now extinct, metal bands must change and adapt to new surroundings or they will eventually atrophy and die. Not choosing the humility of death by breaking up, Faith No More has essentially devolved and crawled back to the anonymity and safety of the great Primordial Lake, home to many of rock’s reluctant dinosaurs, where they will eventually, thankfully, be eaten by a shark or large snake.”
Sample quote: “Patton has finally abandoned his adenoidal Dickies whine for a more nuanced Jello Biafra-as-Tom Jones thing, which works better than you might think. Though the music still careens from genre to genre as casually as most bands go from chord to chord–there’s a song here for every radio format, and you may grow to despise the “Sukiyaki”-flavored blue-eyed-soul song “Just a Man”–King for a Day is never less than coherent, which is more than you can say for Primus.”
As previously mentioned on the blog, Metal Hammer’s Story Behind the Album feature on the release is a must-read for any FNM fan detailing as it does the circumstances of Jim Martin’s departure, Roddy’s problems at the time of recording and the band’s quest for musical freedom. I’ve pick-pocketed a few choice quotes from that seminal piece and a few from elsewhere below:
“What I remember most about the recording of ‘King For A Day’ was that everything was different than it had been before. In the two years before we’d done a lot of growing up but we were… we weren’t exactly in a coherent mental state when we made that album – we were all fucked up in some way. And the studio was out in the middle of a fucking forest. It was on this dirt road with nothing but the studio and the cabin for two miles. It was like sensory deprivation. But the good thing about it was we had nothing else to do but record.”
“Things for me personally were going to hell. I came out. I saw some friends die. I was with Courtney Love throughout Kurt’s final months ‘cos she was a close friend and at the same time my own father died. I just holed up and had a nervous breakdown basically. I just realised I had to chose my priorities very carefully. Things like honesty and passion and art. But whilst the album was being recorded, all of that is a real blur for me ‘cos of the shit I was going through at the time. And my heroin addiction didn’t help. And the suicide of two of my friends didn’t help. Nothing helped. Things had to reach a low before I could help myself. My first impulse was to leave. But I couldn’t just let it go, it was something I helped start, it’s very important to me.”
“It was tough with a lot of unknowns, a lot of problems in the band, a lot of insecurity and wondering if we were going to make this record. We weren’t a band for a while. Of course we wanted to continue, but there are other circumstances that play a part. We’re felt like we were getting old. You can only put up a facade for so long. You get a new guy after new guy, and it’s like, how many facelifts can you get? We’re not going to have guys drop off and get new ones, and then have Faith No More reunite. Fuck that.”
“I think it’s us being us, more than anything. I think we finally had the resources to be us on this record.”
Mike Patton CMJ New Music Monthly
“We’re just trying to write in different ways. I think you just get as much power in a melody as you can out of just straight ahead discordant chord-bashing rock. There’s a different kind of tension. If there is a something I can be critical about our past records is, there isn’t as much dynamics and there isn’t a lot of slow, subtle tension. I really do want to learn how to do that as an artist and be able to develop that ability. We all do.”
Bill Gould, Faces magazine
Although retrospectively viewed as a flop, mainly due to us chart performance, KFAD actually peaked in the top ten of the album charts in nine major countries, scoring a number two in Australia and a number three in New Zealand.
In the US, however, the album spent only eight weeks in the Billboard Top 200 and peaked at number 31 on 14 April 1995.
The album spawned three singles Digging the Grave, Ricochet and Evidence. Digging the Grave reached number 12 in Australia and numbers 16 in the UK and New Zealand.
Digging the Grave
Ricochet (with intro by Roddy and Mike P)
Thanks to Patton Archivo for the date reminder