Everywhere you look there are lots of gold, funny shaped mirrors and big, imposing velvet couches. In this midst of uptown hipsters and eccentric old men in suits sits the rather fidgety Faith No More contingent, bassist Billy Gould and drummer Mike Bordin. The pair look only slightly out of place in the gauche surroundings, Gould behind an unsuspecting goatee and Bordin beneath mammoth dreads. Upon arrival, their exhilarated press agent sweeps us upstairs and out of the way of harm in a private suite where the bed looks like a magic carpet and the wallpaper shines.
"We just returned from the Tour of Tragedy," Gould laughs, as we settle into the room. He's not talking about some elaborate heavy metal jaunt across the world, but rather the apocalyptic events surrounding the making of Faith No More's latest album, KFADFFAL.
Everything started out well enough. Recording at Bearsville Studio out in Woodstock, NY, the guys got a wonderful initiation into their new environment. "We usually record in San Francisco," Gould says, "and there's always distractions. I have to pay my parking tickets or some bullshit, show up late, people are running in and out, friends come over....but this was cool. The studio's out in the middle of the fucking forest. It's on this dirt road, there's just this studio and a cabin for two miles. It's just like sensory deprivation. But the good thing about it was we had nothing else to do but record. We actually tried to stay in the studio as much as we could, because if we left the studio there was nothing to do."
"Except get in car crashes, blow up car tires, whatnot," Bordin adds. Screech! What's this about death and destruction?
"We had these rental cars, right," Gould smirks. "And we kept bursting the tires on these cars on the dirt roads outside the studio. So we had the guy drive out an hour to fix it every time. We did it with three cars, and he finally gave us a nice car thinking we'd take better care of it." "So the day we got it we were out driving and got clipped by a smaller car, and we flipped upside-down and skidded for like 100 feet, with sparks and everything," Bordin says.
"I was in the studio and I got this call saying, 'You gotta come pick us up at the police station, we got in this accident,'" Gould recalls. "And I was laughing, thinking, 'Oh, another one.' When I got down there, though, they weren't laughing. They thought the guy in the other car was dead, and there was this lady in another van who had a heart condition who was really tweaked up about it."
"But everything turned out okay, except we didn't tell the guy at the rental car company that his new car was completely totalled," Bordin says. "And he's driving down the street and sees his car coming the other way on a tow truck. After that he put on his contract with the studio that nobody from the band Faith No More can rent cars from his company." Gould shrugs. "Once we ran out of cars, we had nothing else to do but stay in the studio."
Which probably explains why KFADFFAL sounds something like a car crash. From the effortlessly metal-crunching groove of "Get Out," to the skid mark chord-strumming of "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," to the propane-fuelled wallowing singer Mike Patton throws about on "Cuckoo For Caca," this latest venture is the sound of Faith No More slamming head on into a Mack truck. "Actually, I wanted it to sound like a train wreck, but I guess we have to work up to that," suggests Bordin.
According to Gould, they seem to have skipped that stage altogether, going straight to airplanes. "When we were flying up to the studio we had to fly into a really small National Guard landing strip," he says. "We had to fly these really small 12 seater planes, and we were literally flying sideways. No shit! And this is while they we having all those problems with ATRs in the Midwest. Our engineer flew USAir from L.A. to Pittsburgh, from Pitt to Kingston, and that was the same day that one went down in Pitt. It was the same flight he missed. He was like a day off. It was pretty nuts." But that wasn't the end of it. "We were just doing this press tour of Europe, and we were going to Sweden," Gould says. "I don't know if it's the way Swedish guys land planes, but most planes land horizontally. This guy was like totally vertical. He came in, nose pointing to the ground. We were ready to crap."
In the middle of all this devastation and defecation, Faith No More somehow managed to squeeze out KFADFFAL, ripe with 14 new - dare I say it - funk metal chapters still as relevant today as they were in the genre's heyday a few years back, but heavier, leaner, and unquestionably louder in the wake of the Bay Area's newly revitalized punk movement. So now the guys are busy with interviews, setting up a Web Site on the Internet, and preparing to undertake another one of those massive, half-a-decade long world tours that only Faith No More can endure. They will, naturally, be spreading the requisite chaos everywhere they go, as their recent European jaunt provided.
"We just missed those floods," Bordin says. "There's a bunch of people in Europe, Germany, and Holland, a bunch of dead people because of the floods. I mean it's serious, there's just tremendous flooding. We missed that by a week. It just started to rain while we were out there, then we went out to Scandinavia and it started to snow, it was stormy and windy, and we left. Then all hell broke loose after that."