Kerrang! | Issue 276 | 10.02.1990 | Irish Jaega
We're worried. Very worried. It's Monday morning, and IRISH JAEGA should've returned from her weekend on-the-road jaunt with FAITH NO MORE. She should be at her desk, diligently sub-editing the latest spectacular instalment of 'The Week In Metal'. But she ain't. She's nowhere to be found. Suddenly, Geoff Barton's telephone rings.
FNM guitarist BIG SICK UGLY JIM MARTIN is on the line. "We have stolen your journalist! We have some Bic razors, and we are going to shave every hair from her body unless you give us the front cover" he cries. It's a desperate situation, straight out of the pages of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Which is why we've called this heart-rendin' story...
WE ARE in a small mini bus travelling to Sheffield for the first gig of Faith No More's British tour. All of the venues have already sold out, and the atmosphere is jovial.
My Scouse accent is being mimicked with amusement, as are the Cockney tones of the guy from London records, FNM s record company.
The biscuits are being passed round at a frenzied pace, and we are listening to the 'Red Tape' - a collection of phone calls made to a 70-year-old bar owner in the States, who for eight months was plagued by such enquiries as: "Is Al Givuakik there?"
When the guy finally catches on, after five minutes of yelling it around the bar, the expletives are beyond belief. "I'll dig up your mother's skeleton and fuck her you cocksucking motherfucker!" the owner yells down the phone to the mystery caller. This soon becomes the in-phrase, and is added wherever possible to every conversation.
Faith No More on tour are a close-knit unit full of diverse characters Guitarist Big Sick Jim Martin is the obvious rock 'n' roller, always to be found at the bar, with a voice reminiscent of Ernie from Sesame Street.
Bassist Bill Gould is the story teller, while Mike 'Puffy' Bordin (drums) is the deep thinker with a serious wind problem at both ends.
Roddy Bottum (keyboards) and vocalist Mike Patton at first seem much quieter comparison. But get them on their own and you find that Roddy is the thoughtful bookworm, while Mike exudes energy and eccentricity in the nicest possible way.
All of FNM, without exception, are the funniest, most lovable guys you could hope to meet.
Travelling along with the band are road manager Tim 'Mad Barber' Dalton, who has a penchant for shaving women, and band manager John 'Vacillating' Vasilou, who tries to keep everything in control.
However, the pair usually end up causing a mayhem by themselves. There are car chases on the motorway and various comments shouted at bemused passers by.
Arriving at Sheffield Octogon, first night problems are already in evidence. The PA isn't working and there is frantic and soldering going on. Eventually, things finally start to go right.
The gig is packed to the seams and frenzied. Standing in the pit with the photographer and bouncers seems the safest bet, until I am nearly knocked unconscious by some guy landing on top of my head. More proof that FNM are climbing the rungs of the ladder to success at a rate that is almost alarming.
Back at the hotel I am surprised to see how quickly the guys wind down. The ever hungry Patton wonders around in search of food. Billy and 'Puffy' Bordin hit the bar. Tim the manic tour manager threatens to shave off my body hair. Not surprisingly, I am less than keen on the idea.
The next morning, Jim Martin, photographer Dave Willis and myself take a leisurely stroll to the local newsagent. Jim says 'Howdy' to the natives, films them on his toy video camera and tells us how he hates human mucus...
"It's alright if you're in love, though. I spat right on top of this worm one day. It was kinda weird watching your mucus crawling away... "
We buy a copy of the Sunday Sport for Tim, with its cover story about a hairy woman. "Tim would love to shave this," grins Jim...
The subject of shaving gets brought up again in the van travelling to Newcastle, I'm threatened with follicle removal more. I demand photographer Dave williis' protection, but the bastard is ganging up with the lads, and says he'll take photos. Typical.
The gig in Newcastle is even more chaotic than the Sheffield show. On stage, Patton seems possessed; there is a manic glint in his eye and he pounds the stages with seemingly endless energy. It wears me out just watching him.
There is a fancy rouched velvet curtain hanging over the stage that, after several determined leaps from the drum riser, Patton finally manages to half rip down. Then Gould, in a fit of enthusiasm, invites the audience back to the hotel for a party afterwards...
We have to make a quick escape from the venue in order to avoid an irate owner who's none to pleased about the demise of his curtain. On arrival at the hotel we are greeted by the sight of some 40 odd fans, waiting for the party.
Bill is astounded - the hotel is miles away from the venue, and I think he underestimated the enthusiasm and dogged determination of FNM's British fans. Anyway, the deed is done, and having sneaked the lot of 'em in by a back door, the party ends up in Bill's room cram-packed with bodies.
I TAKE THE opportunity to drag Mike Patton, who seems to fight shy of crowds off stage, back to my room for an interview. On his own, Mike is quick witted, funny and very talkative.
His addition to the band came around after he was dragged to one of their gigs by members of his former band, Mr Bungle.
"I gave Mike Bordin a tape of my band because I thought he'd like it, then they just gave me a call one day and said, 'Let'sjam'. It Was quite casual. It felt comfortable for them and for me too.
"I'm still with Mr Bungle as well, but it's a totally different thing to FNM. I kinda come off tour with FNM and go back and get together with Mr Bungle again.
Surprisingly, FNM are a lot bigger in the UK than they are in the States. This state of affairs has been changing recently though, especially with the recent tour over in the US with Voivoid and
Soundgarden. Are they surprised by the success they've had in Britain?
"Yeah, very. Tonight at the show we were sitting in the dressing room afterwards saying, 'Why do these people like us?' It's a good question. We seem to be getting a lot of good press, and a rock stars like us. Record sales wise, have to just keep touring to keep it going."
Are you surprised at the amount Metalheads getting into the band?
"I don't know whether that's through what's been said about us in the press, or because of the people in bands like Metallica, who've said they like us. I want to believe it's just because they can get into the music. It just seems to work."
Are you surprised by the wild reactions you've been getting from the audiences here?
"Yeah! In places like LA there's total peer pressure. 'You might look stupid! Everyone's watching you.' Audiences have to act cool all the time. Over here the kids don't seem to be scared to show they're having a good time.
"It was pretty good playing with Soundgarden and VoiVod, the crowd seemed to be more open. It wasn't just one kind of audience, it was all sorts of different people. I think it's the best tour we've done. The crowds at the Metallica gigs were a lot more non-committal."
We get onto the subject of Patton's lyrics. On one hand you've got the ultimate love song 'The Real Thing'; on the other the more threatening lullaby murders of 'Zombie Eaters' and 'Underwater Love'. I want to know what inspires such extremes in his writing.
"Ugly things, orgasms (he laughs), nausea, frustration, dandruff and carving up the wife! 'Underwater Love' was basically about murdering someone you love."
I'm beginning to think you are a bit of a dodgy geezer on the side Patton.
"Murder is like writing a song. You plan it out and if everything goes as it's supposed to, it's a success. I've never done it ( he adds quickly), though murder does have a certain appeal - if I knew I could get away with it," he grins manically.
If that's what appeals to you, then what scares you?
"Shower curtains. I hate touching them. You know when you turn on the shower, there s a kind of wind generated from the water coming out, die curtain just seems to want to stick to you. It's f**kin' gross, man. It's like it's alive and coming at you argh!"
How long do you think Faith No More will last?
"I really don't know. As long as Jim's belly doesn't get too fat! And he doesn't wear stoopid pants."
On the subject of pants, you disgusted everyone by wearing those hideous white underpants on a Kerrang poster last year...
"Oh really? They're great! Look at these I've got on now!"
Patton takes down his joggers to reveal a pair of black boxer shorts decorated with skeletons.
"They glow in the dark! Boxers are great. You can wear them around and nobody's bothered. And you can wear them for a couple of weeks at a time."
Ugh! I accuse him of being a scummy bastard. He laughs, "Well no, maybe not that long. You just forget that they're on."
We get onto the subject of dreams. Mike's worried because he hasn't had any lately.
"I miss dreaming. Maybe there's something wrong with me. I haven't had any good sex dreams either. I've never had a wet dream - it's weird! All my friends have. I wake up with bone-ons all the time though nice if you got guests over."
The next morning we find that, during the party the night before, Bill's hotel bed broke under the pressure of 40 odd liggers while Willis tried to photograph them all.
The bill is £110. Meanwhile Patton is getting his pocket money docked for the curtain incident.
AS THE REST of the band try to sort out the problems and nurse their hangovers, I talk to Roddy Bottum, who had sensibly avoided the party and gone to bed. I ask him how he feels about the tour so far.
"It's great. Last night especially. Last time we sold out all the venues, but this time they're a lot bigger. I was a bit worried to see how we'd do in these much larger places. The fact that these have all sold out is great."
Do you feel that you're losing any of the atmosphere you had at the smaller clubs?
"As far as the stage diving goes, but that's OK. Sometimes the last tour just got too much with all the hoopla onstage. It's pretty difficult when kids are stepping on our pedals, knocking the keyboards over.
It makes for a great atmosphere but it can get a bit too chaotic.
"The success we've been having has taken a long time. If it had overnight it would have taken me by surprise. But it's kinda paced itself out."
I ask him if he's surprised by the hardcore of followers that appear at every gig.
"In America a couple of kids will go to a couple of shows, but I guess with it being so spread out and all... here, they seem to get real fanatical. Also, there's the stage diving thing. That happens in the States but nothing compared to the extent it does here. It's nuts! They just crazy. It's good to know we can bring that kind of reaction out. "It's really sad we haven't got to go over, to Ireland-we really wanted to. I've heard they go really wild over there. It seems mad that we're here, and it's only across the water. I don't really know why it has happened.
"We'd love to do one of these festivals you have in Summer. They sound great."
Yeah, and Faith No More would certainly be a better bet than some of the uninspired choices of previous years. Do you see anything of Chuck Mosley these days?
"I still see occasionally, the rest of the guys don't. He's trying to get his own band together. With Chuck, well he Just wasn't as committed as the rest of the band. Mike Patton's different, he's willing to put the effort in."
How does Chuck feel about the success the band's been getting since he left?
"I really don't know but hopefully it will encourage him to try harder with his band.
"We'd already written most of the material for 'The Real Thing' LP when Mike joined the band and he just seemed to fit in really well."
It is time for me to make the journey back to London, and FNM kindly offer me a lift to the station. It is only when we get on the motorway that I start to suspect that something's wrong. We are on the way to Edinburgh!
When I point this out, Jim grins evilly and says, "Yes, we're kidnapping you and holding you hostage in return for the cover of next week's Kerrang!."
We get to a Little Chef, and FNM grab a mobile phone to call up Geoff Barton to make their demands, 'Puffy' jabbing me with a knife to make me scream. Jim tells Geoff they're going to shave me and send the hair back in the post (Geoff tells me later that the mobile phone kept cutting out, and he was only able to catch about every third word of FNM's rantings. Which could explain why Iron Maiden are on this week's cover...)
I wonder if it's all a bad dream. the hell I'm going to get back home before FNM carry out any of their shaving threats, Tim's already bought a pack of bic razors in readiness, waving them underground nose with fiendish glee.
Luckily the subject is forgotten when a guy called Andy turns up with a new 'Red Tape'. I sneak away while they're listening to it to grab some sleep for a couple of hours, and then make my escape in the early hours to the station, bleary eyed.
Sitting on the train back to London, I can't help but laugh at the absurdity of the whole situation.
I know what I'm going to call them next time I see them. Faith No More muthaf**kin' cocksuckers and diamond geezers.