Faith No More’s front man Mike Patton turns a scarcely credible 44 today so we’ll resurrect our now annual tribute to the man of many talents, polymath of many projects and master of many voices.
Given that Mike is one of the most deified figures in rock music today I’ll eschew a lengthy career hagiography but here is our by now traditional tribute celebrating rock’s finest vocalist in video and in his own words.
On Faith No More 1.0:
“In Mr. Bungle, it’s more like a family thing, more like incest. It’s not such an employee kind of thing. In FNM, I kind of get the sense that it is more like five separate jobs that need to be done. There’s a ‘we’ in Mr. Bungle. In FNM there’s not really one collective ‘it’.”
Faces magazine 1990
“We just didn’t lie to each other. We were one of the few bands that told it as it was. If I was mad at Jim (Martin, former guitarist), I’d call him an asshole in front of everyone. If he was mad at us, he’d call us assholes. That’s just the way we were. We didn’t give the press a whole lot of angles, so maybe that’s why they all had to work on us. It was never what it was made out to be.”
“I have almost completely great memories. It was a lot of fun and a great experience. But to be honest I don’t reflect that much. I still got too much to look forward to and I’m always working on something. I was pretty young so it was cool to be able to travel the world and discover.”
“They come from my head, my ass, my toilet, my pillow, places like that.”
“I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning.”
From old.fnm.com FAQ
“Touring takes over your life. On the road, you have a lot of unsupervised time. There are perils: the drinking, the dope and the diseases, but we’ve done all right. We’re adults. We all live in a real sober fashion. Sure, there’s a toll taken by the physical exertion of playing music. We give up our bodies every night. But there’s no greater high than being on stage.”
San Francisco Chronicle 1995
On the rock n’ roll lifestyle:
[The infamous hairdryer quote]
When I was staying in a hotel room once, I took a shit, rolled it into a ball and put it in the hair dryer so that the next guest to dry their hair would get hot shit in their face. Ain’t that rock n’ roll? I do hope rock stars are a dying breed. People love to lap them up — you know how something always tastes better if you swallow it quickly.’
(The quote is sourced from a lengthy interview on Stefan Negele’s gig database and was by Amy Raphael but I have no information on which publication except that it was probably UK-based)
“I talk so much about masturbation in interviews because I go on the defensive as soon as journalists start asking about groupies. It’s much easier relating to yourself on tour than it is to someone you’ve just met. Maybe I should say I’ve grown beyond it and now I’m into farm animals. Too many journalists still believe the rock n’roll myth. From my side it’s definitely not like that. A lot of bands are doing it, but they must have had insecure childhoods — maybe their parents dropped them on their heads.”
From the same interview.
“All these girls screaming and wanting to sleep with me, it’s go nothing to do with sex. It’s like vampirism. I’m their transfusion. It’s not erotic or sexual, it’s cartoonish.”
Spin magazine 1990
“I’m uncomfortable with being a pop star. When you walk down the street and people yell at you and try to grab your hair, it’s not natural. We were doing an in-store appearance and someone grabbed my hat right off my head. That’s not right. You don’t do that to someone walking down the street, so why do that to me? And I lost it. Threw hot coffee in his face. He gave me my hat back.”
On writing an autobiography:
“I’ve got nothing to say. I do my talking with the music. I’m really not even a very good interview. I don’t enjoy talking about myself very much. If someone wanted to write something, that is fine. But I would kindly ask them to leave me out of it.”
Awesome Movieweb interview from 2007
On his Ipecac record label:
“I wanted to have more control and say over my own records plus I knew so many bands that needed an honest label. My manager Greg and I did it in 1999 as a way to release Fantômas, Maldoror and the Melvins. We did not expect it to turn into a real label. It has been a lot of work but very rewarding.”
On his prolific input:
“It is not about success or failure. It is what I do. I’m a musician. I love creating music and my tastes vary. Why limit oneself as an artist. That would be like painting the same kind of painting everytime or making the same kind of movie. I like to work and challenge myself. I’ll slow down someday, I’m sure.”
On his friendship with Danny de Vito:
“Danny is great. He is a multi talented renegade artist who is completely immersed in everything he does. He is also a great father. We met at a Fantômas show at Coachella. His son turned him on to my music. We instantly bonded. Nothing very funny.
It was cool that he was watching our set while all these celebrities were at the other side of the festival watching Coldplay. We had drinks and kidnapped him into our trailer. I think people think it is funny that we are friends. But it makes perfect sense to me. Much respect to brother D!”
On a FNM reunion (in 2008):
“There’s some guys in the band who would love to do that and then there’s me. Everyone understands where I’m coming from and generally I think they agree. But every 3-4-5 years some brain surgeon in Scotland has an idea, some Svengali who thinks he can change the world, comes with a briefcase full of cash and makes a crazy offer. And it’s not easy to go, ‘eh, fuck it.’ It would be very easy for some of us to rehearse for a couple of days, smile and cash the check. I’m not at that point. I got enough things to worry about, enough problems and enough things on my plate. Maybe if he comes with two briefcases full of money… (laughs)”
On the reunion in 2009:
“There was an offer for some shows in Europe. I thought it was a good moment and ended up agreeing. In the first rehearsal, I was late and I didn’t manage to enter the studio. I sat outside on the floor and listened to the band playing. The sound was very good, I felt I would be comfortable singing those songs again. And now we are here. We already played about 40 shows, and we are all happy.”
O Globo (2009)
On scoring films/movies and the future:
“It’s a new challenge and something that’s been a part of my musical language for a while, so I think that I can handle it. Again, it’s all about finding a director who might want to take a chance on someone like me, and those are pretty few and far between. So far what little scoring work I’ve gotten has been through friends. And that’s wonderful because so far I’ve been able to do exactly what I’ve wanted. Who knows where it’ll lead? But it is definitely something that I’d like to do more of. I’m getting up there. I’m, like, 40 now, and I definitely see a light at the end of my touring tunnel, so to speak. And right now, my livelihood is kind of going out and playing a show in Serbia or playing a festival in Amsterdam—I’m going in a couple days. So, looking in the crystal ball, film’s going to be a really nice way of getting to stay at home a little more and still be very creative and busy.”
The AV Club 2008
On a new record:
“We haven’t discarded that completely, but we are not thinking about composing. We don’t want to be like those bands that stay years apart, then return and release a horrible record.”
O Globo 2009
On FNM future:
We are not Starbuck’s, that are in every corner. If you want to see us, it is better go this time, because we don’t know if there will be another one, certainly not in another 10 years. So far we have shows booked until February, and maybe that will be it. The curious fact is that we didn’t have many offers to play in the USA.
O Globo 2009
Here goes for Part 2 of our Mike Patton tribute.