Mat very kindly sent me an extract from the Australian book Rock Reader – Underneath The Riffs over the weekend with perfect time as the story contained within concerned Bill Gould’s 30th birthday – just 18 years ago yesterday.
In the interests of copyright we’ll not reproduce the entirety of chapter 5 of the book but the story goes that Faith No More were touring in Australia in 1993 and were due to appear on the Aussie Channel 7 TV show Tonight Live with Steve Wizard on 24 April. Sarah Brown, who was doing the publicity for the tour, recalled in the book how she received a call from Bill’s mother asking her to help arrange champagne and a cake for Bill’s 30th birthday that day.
In between the rehearsal and live TV show, Sarah arranged for the band to gather at the Mushroom Records in Melbourne. She said: “At the appropriate moment with huge chocolate cake replete with 30 lit candles I entered the boardroom with the entire company singing “Happy Birthday to You” to Billy. He was completely overwhelmed and couldn’t believe his mother had been on the phone to arrange this specially. For me the killer moment in particular was when Billy bent over the cake to blow out the candles, his hair caught fire. I was dying and paranoid about whether he had been burnt seriously, the band thought it was hilarious.”
For the TV appearance itself, the band – probably peeved at having to play to a backing track – suddenly took up smoking as they performed Easy after reading about the new anti-tobacco laws that banned any promotion or depiction of smoking on TV.
Video footage below: