From a fan perspective every one in the band seems to be happy and having a great time on this tour. What are the vibes like within the band? Is everyone enjoying themselves and being back together?
Bill Gould: [laughing] Actually I’m exhausted from putting up this front for the past year. You can see that I am much more grey than I was because I’ve been putting this shit-eating smile on my face when I’ve been feeling like shit the whole time.
Roddy Bottum: It’s exhausting; it’s a lot of work. Everyone in the band appears to be having a great time on this tour. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a really crazy and unique opportunity that we have had.
Mike Bordin: You could infer that; one could come to that conclusion.
Roddy: For anyone to go back in their life and do what we are doing; to go back and re-explore something that you did that long ago, its crazy; whoever gets to do that?.
Bill: It’s been a strange experience.
Roddy: Fifteen years ago we were different people and we’ve all done things that we regret and handled things in a way we probably would not handle them now. So the opportunity to go back and to do all those things again is amazing. It’s really a centering and a good feeling for all of us personally and creatively. It’s also 15 years after the fact too and we’ve all been playing music these past 15 years and honestly we are all better at what we do. So it’s fun to do what we do; we sound better and it’s really just been a lot of fun.
What, if any, were the major trepidations any of you had about reuniting, and can you tell how the reunion really came about?
Bill: When I used to be in the band I always felt a little different from a lot of other bands. And a lot of bands in the past 5 years have gotten back together and I’d say for 90% of them it’s not a very pretty thing. And I always took a lot of pride myself in being in this band and I really was scared about jumping into something that I wasn’t proud of at all. It makes what you did the first time around completely meaningless if you blow it the second time.
Roddy: Agreed. We’ve always done things since we started as a band exactly the way we wanted to. So it was important for all of us going back into it the second time around and to do things our way and to do things in a tasteful way. There was a little bit of nervous trepidation I think going into it knowing that that could be compromised and knowing that we would be judged for doing this other than just as a thing that we wanted to do personally.
Bill: There is a lot of personal risk and trust involved because saying you are going to do something is one thing but then committing yourself to a year and touring and being on the bus and sometimes it can be pretty challenging and just dealing with lots of people and having to deliver. You know when you do it in the beginning you don’t know what’s going to happen over the course of a year. So it is a big act of faith.
What do you feel you have lost and gained both as a band and in your live performances compared with before you broke up?
Roddy: I think probably there are mostly gains. We are putting on great shows and we are really proud of the things we are doing. And like I was saying before we’ve all been playing music that past 15 years so the proficiency of the band performing as such is a lot better than it was before.
Bill: Yes, it’s true.
Roddy: If we would have lost anything maybe it’s just a sense of we were younger then and probably a little bit stupider and easier at making mistakes and there’s something to that. There’s a charm to jumping into things and not knowing what you are doing. Now we are a little bit wiser and smarter than we were back then.
Bill: What’s interesting is that back then we were the same age relatively as our audience in a weird way. Ok there were a lot of younger kids too but it was more like playing for peers. And now we are a little older we play more for ourselves because I’d say that the majority of people seeing us are younger than we are.
Have you thought about doing another leg of the Second Coming Tour focusing on the rest of your catalog that didn’t get that much air time this time around (Everything’s, Ruined, Smaller and Smaller, Mouth to Mouth, Absolute Zero, A Small Victory, Edge of The World, Falling to Pieces…)
Mike Bordin: [jokes] Next question!
Roddy: We’ve been very meticulous about what songs we wanted to do and what songs we didn’t want to do. And a lot of songs we tried in the practice space if we weren’t feeling them we didn’t do them. We took a lot of care in deciding the songs. I don’t think we’ll go back and address songs that we didn’t want to play.
Bill: Some sound better than they used to and some of them didn’t survive. And some of the songs on the list just don’t sound good. We played them and meh. Even though on the record they are very good songs the way we play them now we’re just not into it.
Having no PR on this tour, Billy and Roddy, you have embraced Twitter in promoting the reunion tour. Have you ever found this medium intrusive or has it brought you closer to the fans? How important has that been?
Roddy: It was really important for us to have a voice coming from the band. We decided straight off that we didn’t want to do any press because really there’s nothing that we are promoting and had no real need to talk about ourselves. We made that statement a long time ago; we made our records and moved on and there is nothing new to address. So we made a decision straight off the bat that we weren’t going to do any press. Soon after we made that decision Billy signed on to Twitter first and then we realised the capability of how many people you can reach and how many people are interested. I think there was a lot of people initially when we started out the tour who wanted to know what was going on, wanted the inside scoop. The Twitter thing is an excellent opportunity for both of us to reach out and address people.
Bill: In a real weird way we haven’t really needed a press person. There are some Twitter quotes we made especially when we were forming – like we’re adding a show in Poland – and the newspapers have been taking our Tweets and using them as the basis for articles so that’s incredible. That’s great.
Roddy: And it’s liberating knowing that it is all in our hands too.
We have all appreciated the communicative aspect of the reunion, particularly with important information regarding presales and gig info through twitter. My question is, how important do you think the various online fan communities, most established well after your break up, have been for this reunion? And do any of you keep tabs on these sites?
Bill: I check most of them
Roddy: I think all of us check all of them all the time; well most of them. It’s really neat for us and as much as a dysfunctional family we the band are, the sites collectively have formed this crazy dysfunctional family of our fans all over the world. And it has been really interesting to watch people’s interpretations of what we do and watch their reactions with each other and their interactions with us. It’s been really an interesting process.
Bill: We started with the internet and working with fan groups like fnm.com – I think that was 1994 or 95 maybe or maybe earlier around Angel Dust time is probably when we started with newsgroups and stuff. So we’ve been active with that for a long time. It’s really cool that we are using fnm.com as our site because really that was one of the things after the breakup that just kept our presence and people could find out about us. I’d say a big part of what we are doing now has to do with the fans and these fan sites. I would like to say that 2.0 is awesome. They’ve done a great job. Better you guys doing it than us.
Roddy: Absolutely you guys have a way better perspective. Especially the 2.0 guys know way better.
Bill: They’re showing videos of us that I would never show.
Are you happy to stay reunited with no plans for the future, just revisiting and enjoying the legacy you left in 1998 or is there a fertile and creative energy within the band that you’d like to explore?
Roddy: Yes and no. Its working really well right now and what we do and the creative decisions we make together now are a lot easier to make than they were in the past. And it feels really good. That said, we sort of made a decision when we started booking these tours that we would tour for a specific amount of time and stop and that’s a decision that we made.
Bill: There’s a certain point that without really becoming creative you can’t keep doing it. There is a certain point and it comes sooner or later. So to continue you have to be creative or you don’t do it any more.
With six studio albums, four with Mike Patton, do you have any unreleased music we haven’t heard yet and would you consider releasing it? The unreleased Angel Dust track for example?
Roddy: I don’t know of any stuff out there that is unreleased.
Bill: I think we’ve released most of it, even the bad stuff. The stuff that hasn’t been released it really not so good. There’s a reason it never got out; it never really came together. Everything else we put out a long time ago.
Roddy: We haven’t really listened to stuff in a long time. A lot of the stuff we do gets dug up by people and ends up in the internet anyway. I’d imagine there’s stuff we haven’t heard.
Mike Bordin: I have one from the Angel Dust out-takes, Code name The Shuffle song. It wasn’t ready to be done so we didn’t put it out. [Mike Bordin searches for song on laptop]
Roddy: Bands don’t release things because they don’t like how it sounds,
A film crew was noticed at the San Francisco shows, will you be releasing a 2nd Coming Tour DVD/Blu Ray?
Roddy: Those shows we did in San Francisco were really special shows, the first shows we played in the Bay Area for a long time. We might put a DVD out we don’t know. We knew going into the San Francisco shows that they were really special shows. There were three shows and three really great nights. We knew going into it that we wanted to get them on film in case later on we would want to make a DVD.
Bill: We got a lot of people and friends of ours and tried to document those three days as best we could and now someone has to sit through them and see what we’re going to do with it. But it’s cool that we got it.
Since FNM Version 1, you have all have worked extensively on other different projects. Umpteen bands, film scores and record labels between you, Ozzie, Imperial Teen, Ipecac and Kool Arrow records, just to skim the surface. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to make another record, how do you think the skills and experience you have all picked up over the last 10 years would affect the writing & recording process?
Roddy: That’s a big hypothetical. We’re not going to make another record but I think part of making Faith No More work when it did work and when we were writing songs was that all of us left the baggage of our other interests outside the door and came together as a band and created something that was a fusion of what was in the room. I don’t think we’ll bring things…but I don’t know maybe…
Bill: I guess whatever part of a thing you are working in you always have a different identity and I think we have a certain identity when it’s all of us. It’s two things; one is being able to relax and express yourself and the other is to work with the strengths and weaknesses of everybody else. Hopefully you get better at it the more you do it.
Over the years since your break up, have any of you written anything that you consider Faith No More material?
Roddy: I have not, no.
Bill: I have possibly around 500 or 600 things that could possibly be Faith No More material. I don’t stop writing, I always write.
I was amazed around the time of Coachella that the only FNM song so many media outlets and music fans in the US seemed to know is Epic. Does it ever rankle with you that a song not really representative of your overall output is your biggest hit? And have you ever considered stopping playing it live a la Radiohead and Creep?
Roddy: I don’t know. I don’t really understand our American audience enough to say we’re identified that much with that one song. I kind of think we’re not. I think it’s more than that to the American audience.
Bill: The press and media and VH1 are one thing and then there’s also the people, it’s a really big country. I agree with Roddy, it’s really hard to say.
Roddy: I would like to clear something up too. People have been asking me on this tour and on different tours and when we were just in America assuming the fact, they think the reason we are not touring America is because we weren’t popular there or there weren’t enough people to want to see us play. That’s not the case. I’m sure if we wanted to tour America, we would tour America just fine. We just didn’t have a real desire to get in the bus and play little cities all across America; that’s just not where we’re at today.
Bill: That kind of burned us out back in the day. I would say that the powers that be in the States who put on the shows… I mean we have a show in our hometown San Francisco Outsidelands I think it’s called and they didn’t want us on this year which is really odd as we’re from there and we’re actually available to do it. Though we had really big commercial success in the States, it was for a very limited time and the people who worked for us out there saw us as this kind of thing and in the industry – I don’t know if that’s a good word to use – there’s a certain perception that has stuck with us and not anywhere else. I don’t think it gets down to the basic fan but getting stuff done we have to go through this prejudice a little bit.
Do you have any favourite memories or moments from this tour?
Roddy: Getting started was really, really fun; really exciting. There had been a lot of time since we had all interacted as a band so there was a crazy, for me, speaking for myself, a crazy nervous energy to be back in the same room as everybody and going through those songs. It was very emotional. I had not counted on it being that emotional; it was a really, really heavy thing. Just to get in the room and play the songs among ourselves initially. That was really intense for me and a favourite. And then in the same way just starting, the first show in Brixton was really exciting and highly charged; just a real emotional and great feeling.
Bill: There have been a lot actually. The Brixton thing was a big deal: it was very charged and we were definitely different then than we are now. I’d say the other night in Serbia doing that song [Ajda Jano]; that was a big thing. Every tour we’d have lots of memorable things.
In Moscow, the crowd looked crazy from the videos I’ve seen?
Bill: You want to know one thing about that show? There was this hand railing at the bottom of the stairs and we got out of the van and I was running up the stairs and my arm scraped the railing all the way up the arm and this is about 45 minutes before we had to play and I couldn’t move my hand.
Mike Bordin: His hand literally didn’t work.
Bill: But somehow it could hold the pick and I could play fine. And if I had missed my arm by this much [gestures] I would have probably screwed up my arm. Somehow it got in the right spot where it didn’t affect it.
Roddy: We’ve been really lucky though. In the booking of this tour we’ve been pretty specific about making most shows pretty special. And most shows we always walk away with a crazy positive experience. We’ve been really lucky; like the New York shows we just played were amazing. We played right on the river looking at New York at sunset. Serbia, that show we played the other night, was insane, so much fun. And we put work into it too. We played that song [Ajda Jano] and only those people from that country would have understood and it was really just an amazing time. We’ve been pretty fortunate.
Bill: Also our fans coming to all of our shows have been pretty much amazing across the board. It is really hard to have a bad show when you have so much energy coming your way; when you have so much positive energy. You can really work with that and it’s a pleasure and it just makes things that much better. We’ve been really, really lucky pretty much every show I would say on this tour. Did we have one show where they were just like sticks in the ass?
Mike Bordin: They’ve been happy to see us everywhere.
Bill: Every single show.
Mike Bordin: That’s a function of us also not overdoing it. Not going out too much, making the shows count. And people knowing that it’s not like a 10-year farewell tour. Come and see us when you have the chance and that keeps it special to me.
Bill: Appreciate it when its here.
Mike Bordin: We do too, we totally do and that’s why we’re doing it.
Can you tell us about your rider is for concerts…what do you request? We hear there’s some bizarre and sexual stuff?
Bill: [laughs] That sounds like the kind of question a Frenchman would come up with!
Roddy: We have to get the suits cleaned every day and that’s sort of a specific thing on our rider. We have dirty magazines on the rider for some reason. I think Tim Moss our manager put that on the rider more than we did. We’re not really interested though I did step in at one point and insist that we have equal share so we have naked men as well as naked women.
Bill: It does say on the rider surprise us with how disgusting it is so this is what they gave us in Belgium [shows copy of USA Today]. [All laugh]
Mike Bordin: I wouldn’t show my kids that. [laughs]
Bill: In Turkey it was the Robb report and the Financial Times somewhere.
Puffy: Tim also has a machete or a meat cleaver on the rider.
Roddy: Corsages, flowers for our suits.
Bill: It’s like a 56-page rider but most of it has to do with technical stuff like lights and stuff like that. However, I know it is already posted on the net so you can go find it.
Though you guys would never admit to it, you’ve undoubtedly changed an aspect of ‘alternative rock’ or whatever you’d like to call it. Your influence as a band is far reaching. You’ve opened people’s ears to explore all types of different of music with the various styles you’ve explored and people you’ve worked with.
When all is said and done, what would you like to take away from the Faith No More experience that you have shared and enjoyed with all of us?
Roddy: It has been a very good sense of closure for us personally. We’ve been through so much time together. Billy and I have known each other since we were 10 or something so it’s a lot of time we have spent together, three or four of us. The three of us right here in the room, 25 years whatever. Ups and downs and working together and living together and making art together and travelling together. There’s so many ups and down and our relationships have gone all over the place. And to leave at this point with our relationships intact artistically as well as personally as friends is a pretty amazing thing.
Bill: Trust your instincts and trust yourself over the years. We did tour a lot, we worked a lot and we went through a lot of changes, as Roddy said, and its almost only now that you can look at what you did and see why you were doing what you were doing. Because you were so focused on day by day and making it through the day, making it through the week that you don’t have the luxury, you know, of why you are doing it sometimes. Now you can look back and say I’m glad I trusted my instincts.
From me, thanks for all your questions and your patience.