Belated birthday wishes to Faith no More bassist and so much more Bill Gould, who turned 48 today.

Just ahead of the release of his Talking Book record with Jared Blum, here’s our familiar tribute to Bill on his birthday.

William David Gould was born on 24 April 1963 so turns 48 today. Bill was of course a founding member of Faith No More and is generally regarded as the driving force behind the band and the figurehead of the band. Away from Faith No More, he is the CEO of Kool Arrow records, a noted producer and has played with Mexican metallers Brujeria, as a guitar player with German rockers Harmful and most recently Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.

Even someone with my limited musical knowledge acknowledges that Bill’s bass-playing is a crucial component of the Faith No More sound. Here is a good evaluation of his style from a fan and here Bill speaks about his equipment and here he speaks about the genesis of The Real Thing. Bill speaking to Bass Player about his style and equipment.
On a personal level I had the pleasure of meeting Bill on a number occasions now and he’s a class act.


The bass track from Epic

Bill’s remix of Caffeine
Bill speaking about and playing in Harmful
Interview on Italian TV in 1992
1988 interview (what is Bill wearing?)
1995 audio interview with Mike

Billy in quotes

On starting to play music:
“I learned to play bass because Roddy could play piano, his mom used to make him practice for two hours in the mornings, and a friend of ours had drums and we got some guitars.”
Faith No More, The Real Story

“I’m pretty much a self-taught guy. I learned how to play not by practicing scales or anything like that, but from writing songs. When you run into a challenge with a part you’re writing, you learn how to get around it. People who are learning to play instruments should spend more time working out stuff with others who also don’t know how to play. In that situation, you can communicate in a language that’s personal.”
Bass Player magazine August 1995

On playing bass:
“I began playing bass in something like 1976, when guitar was the ultimate instrument. Everyone wanted to be a lead guitarist. To me, bass felt better to play, I could get to a band level fairly quickly, and it was never hard to find people to jam with.”
Groth’s Faith No More page 1998

On songwriting:
“The way we write songs comes not so much from a style, but more like a visual scene that we see in our heads. Then we try to create something that gives us the feeling of that scene. So, rather than just being songs, they also paint a picture, For instance, we had a song called ‘The Edge of the World.’ Before any of the parts of that song were even written, there was the basic, non musical idea of the song: Just imagine a sleazy cocktail lounge with a fifty year old man trying to pick upon a fourteen year old girl. Because so much of our music starts from visuals, it’s hard to pin down any one person in the band doing the same thing every time we write a song. Every song is different.”
Monitor magazine 1991

“When it comes to writing songs, the material is something we do unconsciously. We’re musicians and we’re in a band and we write songs – it’s not something that we analyse. It’s hard to analyse what you do naturally, it’s really kind of difficult. It’s especially difficult to say it in an interesting way because it’s a little too close. It seems natural, it’s what we do naturally.”
Hot Metal 1992

“Roddy, Puffy, and myself like to jam together. We’re the guys who started the band, so we like to get in the same room and play. A lot of my playing comes off the drummer. So when we get together, we can really work things out together and fine-tune stuff.”
Keyboard Magazine September 1997

On his playing style:
“Well, I’m not a technically fast or proficient bass player. I like to say more with less notes, and using strength is one way to find expression without playing too much. There are ways to really hit the strings, where you can get a very solid, strong tone, where the bass almost sounds like it’s in pain. Also, I like to play either along with, or counter to, the kick drum. That’s my style, and happily, the more years I’ve played in this way, the stronger I’ve become. I can even tell a difference between the KFAD times and now in terms of power. As far as telling guitarists what to do, rather than telling him to back off, find the holes and fill them in. Even a single note in the right place can bring a whole song together. From my perspective, attempting crazy stuff just to stand out is counter productive. But feel free to disagree.”
Groth’s Faith No More page 1998

On recruiting Mike Patton:
“As I said I was against the idea. But then he came down and tried out. We told him to just sing with our music, whatever the first idea off the top of his head was to just sing it, and he had a million ideas. He totally understood what we were doing in a real physical sense. He took cues off the music and sang over it. We tried out a few other guys, but he was the one although I felt a bit guilty about it. Guilty because it seemed too easy. It seemed like he was gonna get exploited to death; a young innocent with long hair. Too easy to sell! But he could sing, he knew what we were doing and he was the most natural choice.”
Faith No More, The Real Story

On touring with Guns N’Roses and Metallica:
“That tour was a nightmare. We got real hostility from Metallica fans which we kind of expected but we at least expected GN’R fans to be kind of into something that wasn’t entirely heavy and was also about songwriting. Nope, they hated us too. As soon as Roddy would start playing his synth, that was it. It was ‘fag’ music. It put the bit in between your teeth ‘cos halfway through that tour we realised that we had to annoy these people as much as possible. It didn’t take much to make us behave appallingly and the po-faced bullshit of that tour was all the invitation we needed. It was a typical example of the way the ‘industry’ has these great ideas for you that you know are fucked up from conception. Those kids hated us man, but at every gig you could tell that there were some kids who were going to go home and buy ‘Angel Dust’. Yeah, and then form terrible bands later.”
Metal Hammer 2009

“Touring with Axl has been like touring with Michael Jackson–although I think I’ve seen Michael Jackson more times on this tour that I have Axl!”
Sky Magazine December 1992

On touring in general:
“Last time we toured, with The Real Thing, I left home at the age of 26 and got back when I was 28. Some of my friends had moved away, some had gotten married, some had had kids. I had a hard time dealing with that. This time I’m 29, and I know I’m gonna be on the road until I’m 31. Fuck, I don’t even wanna think about it.”
Sky Magazine December 1992

The final word on the departure of Jim Martin:
“Anything negative I have to say about Jim I’ve already said in the press whilst he was in the band so I don’t see any point in reiterating it. I can’t see anything constructive coming out of badmouthing Jim at this point in time. I understand that people will be egging us on [to do so] and that’s fine. I love to hear dirt too. I just think that at this point in time it wouldn’t do us any good, and my obligations are to this group and make it work. I think we just wanna write a good record. And now circumstances have finally happened that can allow us to write a great record. We’re really excited with our new possibilities.”
Faith No More, The Real Story

On Faith No More breaking up:
“We knew that either we were going to take a long break or split. That part was inevitable. As far as the actual split, there were two reasons why it initiated with Puffy. First of all, how many people can you replace and still call yourself Faith No More (and Bordin was a founding member, and a big part of our sound)? Secondly, having to cancel a really big tour because of him, and his “career interests”, after 17 years of working together really killed the spirit for all of us. I feel very ashamed about his decision.”
Groth’s Faith No More page 1998

On being unconventional:
“We’re just unconventional because we’re being ourselves and everybody’s got a fingerprint that’s different. I don’t think that’s even an intention to be different. I think our differences come out just by us expressing ourselves.”
Faces magazine June 1995

On new material:
“I can tell you that we have spoken of that, and that I am in favour, but I think we will have to see how we feel after this tour.”
Clarin, October 2009

“I’d love that to happen, but it’s something to be solved once we finish the tour. For now we are enjoying playing, we’re having a great time.”
La Tercera, October 2009

“I personally can’t see us not doing anymore shows again, I just don’t see it. There’s no point in not to do it. Why quit now? I think it’s just this tour…we did this tour and that’s what we decided to do. And we did it. We accomplished this goal, it worked out for all of us, and then we look at each other and say, ‘hey what do you want to do now?’ And I think that’s how it’s got to be.”
Consequence of Sound October 2010

As always:
Stefan Negele gig database
Groth’s Faith No More page
Faith No More: The Real Story by Steffan Chirazi