Happy birthday Jon Hudson! Who celebrates his 48th birthday today.

Here are a few great interviews from last year with the FNM axe man. 

Total Guitar | July 2015 | Michael Brown

As alt-metal trailblazers Faith No More unleash Sol lnvictus, their first album in 17 years,
stalwart guitarist Jon Hudson explains what took so long.

No-one expected alt-metal pioneers Faith No More to reunite, let alone record a new album. It's taken six years since their reunion at 2009's Download Festival to get to this point, but somehow, the band found the momentum to release their first new music in 17 years. The triumphant new record, Sol Invictus, is only the second release to feature the band's fourth guitarist, Jon Hudson, but provides an exhilarating showcase for his talents. Previously a man of few words, Jon opened up on how FNM got to this point, putting taste over technique and the virtues of a varied record collection.

How did the reunion lead to Sol Invictus?

"Writing and recording wasn't up for discussion during the reunion tour; we simply went out and played the existing material for several years, and we had no intention of doing anything else at that point. Although I don't think anyone else in the band had said, 'Well, we're never gonna make another record or write another song.'"
“Three years ago or thereabouts, Bill [Gould, bassist/producer] started throwing around some ideas, and we took one idea and arranged it really quickly and played it live [Matador], and that was a good way for us to get back into it again. At that point, it was still 'wait and see'. We decided that we were pleased with the way that turned out, so some more material started getting sent back and forth several months later.
"We've been working on this thing for two and a half years. We didn't have someone getting on our case to deliver something in any specific time frame. There was no pressure. So, we worked on it at our leisure. We took it piece by piece; there was no record label or publishing agreement to have to worry about."

You guys kept it pretty quiet. No-one knew you were building up to this...

"We didn't talk about it. That was a funny circumstance in itself, because it wasn't like we said, 'Well, we're not going to talk about it, it's just that no-one did. We all knew that we'd be better served to just keep it to ourselves and work on it, and that's exactly what we did. Then as it all started to take shape and we began working on it more and more, it was so much more apparent that we hadn't been talking about it. Eventually, it was like, 'Is this really happening or... ?' because no-one knew!"

What gear did you use on the album?

"I always have the setup I use live. I use Marshall heads and cabinets. I have a couple of JCM8OOs: one's a stock reissue, which I use live, and I have an older mid-8Os 800, too, and I have an older 1980 JMP head. Between those three, we used the reissue the most. They're all 100-watters, and the cabinets have Vintage 30s and 75-watt Celestions.
"I've been playing Les Paul Standards for years. But we would use anything we wanted to in the studio. So, I used a 335, a Telecaster, an SG, I had a Les Paul Custom in there on a couple of songs, and then Bill had some guitars also, so we used quite a bit.
“As far as the recording itself, we had one 4x12 mic'd up in an isolation booth, and we had mics that were in phase, set up on different tracks. We also used a DI box – we had a direct track for everything, so we could manipulate the tracks later on. So, for au the rhythm tracks, we had the two mic'd channels, and Bill had a Kemper Profiler in the studio, so we actually added another track - the DI'd track would go through the Kemper, and he'd use that to add certain frequencies so that the guitar parts would sit well in the mic without having to over-EQ the other tracks."

What bonds you to Les Pauls?

"I've got all my bases covered with that guitar. I had been using Yamaha [SG models] live years ago with the band, because it was a cross between an SG and a Les Paul, tone-wise. I like mahogany-bodied guitars a lot, and the set-neck mahogany body sound just works with this band, more than, say, a Strat with a bolt-on neck and humbuckers. My two main Standards are mid-2000 - I'd say 2004, 2005 - and they're pretty much stock. Back then, they used Burstbuckers. In the bridge, I put in DiMarzio Super Distortions - the ceramic magnets work really well; I get more of a midrange-y sound out of it."

Matador has a very melodic, rather than flashy, lead at its conclusion. What's your approach to solos?

“Just to put in whatever's necessary. That's not to say a flashy part here and there isn't, because sometimes that's exactly what's called for. It's just a matter of being open to throwing out any ideas for music, just to see what sticks or what works with it, and then refining it from there. If there are solos, or there are spots for the guitar to stand out, hopefully the guitar makes its own little statement. If it doesn't, it's probably unnecessary, right? I would rather try to say something with fewer notes than to try to fill up space or overwhelm people with a bunch of notes that don't seem to matter."

Faith No More are a band who are famed for their versatility. Where do you think that comes from?

"I grew up with probably the same guitar hero influences that everyone else did, and then it just branched out from there. Everyone in the band has a pretty wide range of influences. We just end up trying out as many different things as possible, just to see what we can actually pull off live and what would actually make the set interesting and what not. So, we'll throw in things that other rock bands either might not get away with or don't try to get away with.
"It's more that different styles have interested me over the years. I love classical and jazz music equally [as much as I love] rock music. That all comes out later on as far as working with things creatively [is concerned], and coming up with ideas. It all adds to it, as opposed to simply saying, 'I want to incorporate this jazz element.' I don't really think of it like that; I just listen to a lot of different music."

Do you ever want to change up your predecessors Jim Martin and Trey Spruance's parts?

"I've always liked the guitar parts on the other records - I've admired those records and their playing. I've never had any need to do it differently to the way it was recorded. I'm a fan of both of those guys, which is lucky because I'm playing their stuff all night!
"But I like playing what's on the record; I have no problem with that. If I go to see somebody else play, I pretty much would like to hear it the way it is on the record, so I don see any benefit in trying to change all the guitar parts."

There's never been a clear explanation of how you came to join the band in the first place - care to tell TG readers the full story?

"I was in a band in San Francisco called Systems Collapse, and the keyboard player knew Bill and the other guys, so I met Bill when Faith No More was out touring The Real Thing. It was becoming apparent that things weren't working out with Jim after the Angel Dust tours, so I wasn't surprised when they agreed to part ways. Later, Bill sent me some of the demo stuff for King For A Day. I recorded some ideas and sent them in. They were auditioning different guitar players at the time, and they obviously decided to work with Trey, which I think was a good call; he was perfect for that record.
"I was pretty familiar with the band and Bill's sense of direction in terms of song writing and his approach with guitars. So, by the time he called me in early 1996, and said, 'We're in the middle of coming up with material for this next record - we were wondering if you'd give it another shot?', that was the perfect opportunity for me.
"You have to be in the right place at the right time - you have to consider yourself very fortunate when an opportunity comes up. People can say, 'You have to have talent.' Sure, that's important, but there's no shortage of very talented people. You have to remember that if you do have these opportunities, you're lucky."

Guitar World | August 2015 | Jon Wiederhorn

WHILE FAITH NO MORE Were rehearsing for their 2011 European tour, bassist Bill Gould played his bandmates a new song, the ominous, theatrical "Matador." Impressed, FNM learned the number and debuted it at a show in Buenos Aires on November 8. The crowd reacted the way most audiences do when they don't know a tune. Even so, the performance was the catalyst that triggered the notoriously noncommittal Faith No More into action.

"When we got back from tour it just seemed like the logical step to work on some more material," says guitarist Jon Hudson. Slowly but surely other songs surfaced, including the propulsive "Superhero" and the weird, haunting "Motherfucker," both of which the band debuted in London on July 4,2014. Less than one year later, Sol lnvictus, Faith No More's seventh studio album (and first in almost 18 years) is finally out and the songs rival the band's best material. In addition to the aforementioned numbers, there's the surreal title track, which is reminiscent of Tom Waits crossed with Tricky, "Sunny Side Up," a sentimental ballad that abruptly morphs into a concoction of hard rock and funk, and the schizophrenic "From the Dead," which contrasts a dusky bluesy rhythm with spare bells, slide guitar, melodramatic singing and soaring background vocals. We talked with guitarist Jon Hudson about the creative process for Sol Invictus, what he did during the band's 11-year touring hiatus and how technology has rocked his world.

Bill Gould acted as the primary writer, schedule coordinator and producer on Sol Invictus.
He definitely made this thing happen. A couple of years ago, he got together to work with [drummer] Mike Bordin. Shortly thereafter, I started getting demos and working on the songs with them. Then gradually everyone else joined in.

How did it feel to be working on new material after so many years?

It was like a continuation of what we had already done. It wasn't foreign at all. We also took our time. There was no deadline to meet and no one knew we were making a record. That took a lot of the pressure off.

How do you approach playing the material written by former guitarists Jim Martin and Trey Spruance, and how did you want to make your own mark with the songs you helped write?

Live, I play what's on the records and capture those tones. I don't feel like it's important for me to put my stamp on any of the songs, even the ones I worked on. I just play to serve the material.

When did you first meet Faith No More?

A former bandmate introduced me to them in 1989. Then Bill helped me out with a demo after they did Angel Dust. I got the feeling things were not working out with Jim. Bill gave me a demo tape to work on at one point. I worked on several songs and sent them to him, but they ended up working with Trey, which was the right decision.

How did you end up joining the band?

Bill called me to early 1996 and asked me if I would be interested in joining the band. I didn't audition, I just jumped in and started working with Bill. I gave him a cassette full of ideas and some of them wound up on Album of the Year, which was really exciting.

There was a lot of enmity between some of the members at the time. Was it uncomfortable to work in that environment?

I viewed everything as an opportunity. I could see the pressure of trying to deliver another great record was wearing on some of the guys because they were putting their energies into other areas or projects. I felt like this might be their last record, so I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it as much as I could.

What did you do after the band broke up in 1998?

I got into property management in the Bay area. I needed a paycheck and it allowed me
to re-examine the good fortune I already had.

A lot of people would have sour grapes about having risen to the top only to return to the nine-to-five grind.

Music Is supposed to be a big part of your life, it s not supposed to consume your life. That's hard to imagine when you're really striving to make it, but that's what I learned.

How did you end up re-joining the band in 2009?

I quit my job because I was tired of It. A few months later, I got word that Faith No More was starting up again. So it was very fortuitous and good timing.

How is being in Faith No More today different than it was in the late Nineties?

Everyone is more patient now, and as far as recording goes, we have all these new tools so the options are almost unlimited.

Did you use different gear to record Sol Invictus than you used for Album of the Year?

I played my Les Paul md I used my old JCM800, but we used a DI track on just about everything. We worked with a Kemper, so Bill was able to add certain frequencies to the existing tracks that might not have been so pronounced.

How is everyone getting along these days?

We're really enjoying ourselves. We're playing big concerts and a lot of people are
interested in our record. How can you be unhappy about that?


  1. FYI/BTW, it was the June 2015 issue of Guitar World (w/ Ed Van Halen on the cover) in the "Inquirer" section that featured Jon Hudson, (pages 34-35) not the August 2015 issue as stated on here. Thanks for reprinting it tho.


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