Kerrang! | Issue 475 | 01.01.1994
This time it's for real! The shit has finally hit the fan - JIM MARTIN is out of FAITH HO MORE! In a Kerrang! world exclusive, STEFFAN CHIRAZI, Faith No More' official biographer, talks to Big Jim and bassist BILL GOULD as the split happens!
ON TUESDAY, November 30, Faith No More and their guitarist Jim
Martin officially terminated their working relationship. Neither party is particularly keen to nail down the exact terminology describing the split, but reportedly, the rest of the band decided that they could no longer work with Martin and contacted him to sort the matter out once and for all. It can be deduced that the band no longer care to thrive on their infamous 'friction' in order to create their music. The writing, as the old cliche goes, was on the wait. For a long, long time. You only had to read between the lines in Kerrang! features dating from the making of 'Angel Dust' onwards...
Kerrangl 431, dated February 20,1993:
Martin appeared disconnected from the rest of the band; it seemed he didn't know how they felt. There was no camaraderie in the workplace... "The best thing to do," he said, "is look at things with your own two eyes. I look at things with mine and make the best sense of what I see."
From that same story:
The making of 'Angel Dust' seemed fraught with tension and pressure to follow up the multi-Platinum success of 'The Real Thing'. "No, no," sighs Bill Gould. "We were running parts of the race with a bum leg! Basically, it's like a puzzle. You've got a square peg and a round hole and it isn't fitting, and you get frustrated."
IN ALL honesty, the shock of this situation is greatly lessened when you take in these, and other such remarks, made by the band since the start of 1992. Jim never went out of his way to speak kindly of the 'Angel Dust' music; even right back when Faith No More were recording the album at Coast Studios in San Francisco. What had, at that time, seemed nothing more than an extension of the usual inter-band squabbling that we have grown to know and love, was actually the first hard signal that things were not well in the FNM camp.
Kerrang! 380, February 22,
1992: "Jim's getting a lot more comfortable with the songs now," admits Roddy. "He's uncomfortable rehearsing; he'd rather have a tape of the finished product and work on it at home."
Bill: "It makes for a weird tension. He's working on his stuff at home, but you visualise everything, including the guitar, when you write the song. And then it comes back different to your perception. "But if the person isn't there from day one, they can't be expected to read your mind."
And later on in the story: Has it been a... pleasant experience making this album?
Jim: "Absolutely not, it's been an unpleasant experience from the very
beginning! It's been very unpleasant, but not really much different to my experiences in making records with Faith No More. It's very difficult to say it all in a short amount of time. "There's certain things
that certain people worry about at certain times, and certain other people choose to play upon it to increase the tension of a given situation until everything's way out of hand."
Without pushing and shoving, would Faith No More realty cease to exist?
Jim: "I guess so... it's the nature of the beast. As long as these people are around, that's the way it is. "Some people are spoiled filthy little
brats - rich parents, been handed everything on a golden platter..."
Careful, Jim, they could just as easily sling mud back at you! "That's bullshit! Anybody can say anything - anybody can sling shit at anybody they want! What's the point of doing this interview?! "Come on.' Here it is - guys sometimes act like spoilt children, and this is an
industry and a job that permits that sort of behaviour."
JIM MARTIN was never one to mince words. White some people keep it to themselves, Martin was never less than Bluntly honest in explaining bow he felt at any given moment.
The following is an excerpt from a chat with Jim Martin at the start of the 'Angel Dust' world tour:
How do you feel about the 'Angel Oust' LP, having had time to live with it? "The new album is still very strange to me. I think it will do very well, but there's certain aspects l personally like and others I do not like. I like the songs 'Jizzlobber', 'Kindergarten', 'Smaller And Smaller'... "At one point, I was talking to Bill and Matt Wallace (producer), and they were going on about how they didn't wanna do a record if it wasn't gonna be good and stuff. "But, of course, we went on and did a good album. Because, in the end you could say it had all just been general panic? with people perhaps putting themselves under 'pressure' - and my attitude has always been that there is no pressure."
There have been times FNM have denied that friction is a necessary key to their work. Can't be dented any longer, can it? "Well, friction appears to be an important part - an ongoing thing that's continually there between us. More and more, even now, because our bass player still is showing 'pushy' tendencies like a street-market vendor trying to sell you something!"
A LOT of problems finally erupted over the level of involvement Martin had in The writing and rehearsing process. 'Angel Dust' contains only we Martin composition - the sledgehammer 'Jizzlobber' - and he reportedly did not go out of his way to attend rehearsals with the rest of the band. Nor did he attend meetings to collaborate on ideas, preferring, as Roddy explained earlier, the 'tape-in-the-mail' method of working.
Of course, one thing should be made perfectly clear at this juncture: their method of working was never any different! The creative procedure for 'We Care A Lot', 'Introduce Yourself and 'The Real Thing' was much the same, and there were always arguments over exactly where in the Bay Area to rehearse, Martin living the other side of the Bay Bridge to the rest of the San Francisco-based band members. The first time I became seriously aware that the Faith No More situation was getting way out of hand was when I joined the band on the road for a few days at the start of last February.
My initial plan had been to gather all five members in the back of the tour bus on the way to Santa Barbara. When Mike Bordin caught wind of my intention, he was absolutely distraught. Furious, in fact.
He came as close to losing his temperas had ever seen, angrily telling me - in no uncertain terms - that I would be better off keeping my nose out of that sort of situation; that no good could come of it, that the situation had to be kept in check until the tour's end - and a solution worked on then. He didn't, in any way, suggest Martin wouldn't be in the band. Indeed, he talked much more along the lines of reconciliation. But a flare had been shot that was impossible to ignore.
Later, I spoke to Bill Gould and Mike Bordin in the front of the bus... and Martin in the back lounge. They weren't socialising back then,and I had to wonder just exactly how long such a situation could last.
Said Bordin: "All I would say is that we are concerned with getting things better; we would be f**ked if we didn't try to improve ourselves, and the next record will also be an improvement."
Later on, same story:
Bottum is the Pop and Martin is the Metal. Two extremes that have cohabited with superb results. Until now? I ask Bottum for his view on what is a disturbing rift. "Jim and I are absolute extremes, and the balance will always be there. But to enable the scales to keep in
balance, the further I go in my direction, the further he has to go
in his. "If he stays where he stays and I continue to go further, then things will go off-kilter. I would hope that he would next time come up with even bigger riffs. "On the last didn't see him moving so much in his direction; he kinda stayed where he was - and not only that, he didn't produce a whole lot of material. "So as it stands right now, it is a little off-kilter, but we'll just have to work it out. The outcome depends on so many things. We can repair things, but..." he's lost for words, scrambling for the right combination. They won't come out.
THERE HAVE been many rumours buzzing about Faith No More since early Summer. By the time I caught up with the band in Belgium at the start of July, the social situation between the band and Jim hadn't improved one bit. Yet no one would give an inch.
Kerrang 452, July 1993:
The level of communication between Gould, Patton, Bordin and Bottum is strong right now. Will you and Martin have to have some Summer discussions?
Gould: "Yes, without a doubt." And is it fair to say that you're in a stalemate situation right now? "Well," he continues, "you like to give people credit that as an individual, they have two eyes and two ears the same as anyone else - and that they can see what's going on. Musicians are forced to live together more than married couples." Do you think thai you guys end Jim are in the same place, musically? "I don't think he has any idea of what we're doing. I don't think he understands our music at all."
What can Bill Gould say he's learnt from touring on 'Angel Dust'? "I dunno. I think that a learning experience for me will be dealing with conflicts in a non-antagonistic manner. "I would like to think that maybe we can learn how to deal with our problems a little more maturely and not have so many hard feelings."
Later and Martin had the following to say: "I thought we could've done a better job on this record by not thinking about it so hard and trying so hard. "Maybe I didn't try hard enough, I dunno, I dunno what to attribute it to. I felt that way before it was recorded, so what could've changed about it since then?'
Bill said he feels you don't understand the music on this past album. Is that accurate? "It would be if they had something in mind already for me to play. On the other hand, I would say they don't much understand the songs I've brought in, because I pretty much tell everybody what to play."
Do you think about what will happen after this tour? Will change be forced? "No, I haven't thought about it yet, because I don't really know what's got to happen. But I'm willing to see how it goes."
It just seems that you're unhappy with this type of ('Angel Dust') material. "Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to be doing this. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing; dig ditches or going to the office every day. "But in my opinion, it's definitely time to do something new. People were so insistent on doing certain things that I sit back and said, 'Okay, do whatever the f*k you want'. "I didn't want to argue about little thing? that aren't that much of a big deal, but Collectively add up. I think everybody's feeling the same kind of shit; a certain confusion at times."
AFTER the news came through that Faith No More were never to be the same again - that Jim was no longer a part of the band - I spoke with both Bill Gould and Martin.
Both were cautious with their comments, as there are still many business issues to be resolved,
Bill: "We have definitely parted company. I think anybody who's read the music press over the past year, even two years, shouldn't be too surprised with what's happened. "The situation just came to a point where it was impossible to work together, and we wish Jim all the luck in the world with whatever he does. We don't plan on working with him any time soon. "The way the music press works, which is the way mass communication works, is that media is transferred in very simple images. So I think a lot of the preconceptions people have of this band are not entirety accurate in the real sense. "Historically, Jim has actually had very little to do with the song writing, and i think most people don't know that. However, I also think he probably wasn't too happy with the song writing we do. So I think it's for the best for both sides, really. "I think Jim's talented in his own right and that he should do what he wants to do - and what he's good at. I think that what we do has nothing to do with what he does. "Anything negative I have to say about Jim, I've already said in the press while he was in the band, so I don't see any point in reiterating it. I can't see anything constructive coming out of bad-mouthing 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 making 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. "Hopefully, this will be the first terminated relationship that we can work out as human beings. I don't know if we can handle it or not, but we'll give it a shot. "All I can say is that throughout, we were really unhappy with the problem, and the situation was realty bad. But at the same time, we were stuck in a situation where we couldn't dwell upon it. "Sometimes, when you read things in the music press that you're trying to ignore just because you're trying to get your work done, it turns up the pressure and starts getting into paranoia.
"Probably, Jim had a lot of paranoia his side because he's reading things over which we have no control. But we're dissatisfied, and it's in the back of our minds."
JIM MARTIN: "Faith No More, as you know it, is no longer. I believe the fact that we (always) went in different ways musically was actually an integral part of the band. "I am still writing songs working on music as I have been throughout most of my life - and will continue to do so. Hopefully, I will see you all soon,"
Martin refused to speculate upon any other issues at this time.
Faith No More had been working on new material up to the time of the split. The band will continue to do so while looking for another guitarist. "We're writing an awesome record and it's nearly written," says Gould. "In some ways, it won't be as drastically different as people probably expect. "The song writing process on this record is the same as it has been throughout. The difference is that we're looking to strip some fat, get some nice, short, to-the-point songs. "Coming off touring the last album for a year-and-a-half, which we liked a lot, we felt the need for quick, to-the-point songs. Which is what we're doing. It'll be more immediate, and it's our priority to make the best album we can and be as efficient as possible."
And what about the perception that Faith No More will lose their Rock/metal edge with Jim's lack of involvement? "Anybody who judges the music they listen to by what the band looks like should really re-evaluate why they're spending their money on records, and should go and buy fashion magazines instead. "Musically, I think the only thing that will change is that we'll get better."