FAITH NO MORE are about to return with a new album, 'Angel Dust', and a special guest slot on the Guns n' Roses European tour. PAUL REES discovers that things are still
Raw Magazine | Issue 98 | 27.05.1992
Strangers in a strange land
"WE CAN'T leave Jim on his own anymore 'cause he won't talk to anyone," Mike Bordln says with a smile. "Forget it, he's just giving you a hard time." The Interview is finished. Jim Martin, Faith No More's big, sick and ugly guitarist, has sat behind his shades throughout, staring Into the distance apparently oblivious to Bordin (drums), Mike Patton (vocals), Roddy Bottum (keyboards) and Bill Gould (bass) as they talk about the band's forthcoming 'Angel Dust' album. The only time he does speak is when his companions are being made-up for the photo-shoot and, ironically, he is on his own.
"Probably this new stuff is a little weirder than our last record just to confuse our fans and alienate our public," Roddy Bottum begins half an hour earlier, with Martin a silent figure in the corner.
"At least that's what we've been accused of. It's not really an attempt to push any kind of point, it's just music that we wrote."
Alone Martin offers: "I don't personally think that I'll ever be satisfied with anything that we make, but that's recording. I didn't enjoy working on the album very much, it
took me a long time to get used to the songs. When I first heard them I thought they were very contrived and I thought that the band was trying too hard. It took me a while to figure out where I was going to fit in. I don't know, why do people like it all? I think you can form your own opinion about it."
'Angel Dust' is a difficult record to get to grips with, a set that does nothing the easy way, a weird excursion from the point where 'The Real Thing' closed to the furthest reaches of a collective warped imagination. It's an album that also moves Faith No More even further into a domain of their own. Live with it for while and a work of considerable power and depth begins to emerge, thirteen songs that demand and expect patience and bewilderment.
"It was a really good feeling with the last record when It confused a lot of
people," Bordin affirms. "They came along to the shows and didn't know what to expect. I hope that happens again. You should always press play and be confronted."
"I got really hung up on this positive thinking kick for a while," Patton says of his bizarre lyrical view. "There's these late night TV programmes that you can watch in America, they're like seminars where they teach you how to think positively and strive for your goals. It's a huge scam, it's great. I tried really hard at that and I'm still working on it."
"It was pretty uncomfortable In the studio," Bottum continues. "We were a little unsure of ourselves, we panicked. I'm really pleased with the cover we did of 'Midnight Cowboy' (the Instrumental soundtrack to John Schleslnger's film that closes the album), because that's taken us into one direction that we've never gone before. That's the way of the future, easy listening is where it's at. We're going to come out real soon with an EP of music for elevators."
"Our primal influences from the ages of 2-3, are sitting in our parents cars or being pushed around shopping malls listening to muzak," Bill Gould confirms. "It would be flattering to have our music heard in a supermarket, keeping people from shoplifting."
WITH THIS record, even more so than it's predecessor, Faith No More are asking questions of the people that buy their records. How far are they willing to go with the band? How much of a mind-fuck are they prepared to accept? You wonder if they feel any responsibility at all to live up to their audience's expectations?
"No responsibility whatsoever, we keep ourselves amused," Roddy answers. "All we have to do is write good songs tor our own benefit. We get to be really selfish. People give us a lot of money-well, not that much money - to go into a studio and do what ever we want. We go in, have a good time, goof around and laugh."
The others, Martin excepted, crack appreciative grins and you don't
know whether they're enacting a continuous wind-up or being
blatantly honest. It's another question: whether Faith No More are naturally strange at all times or if the whole thing has became a conscious effort?
"We don't really talk about anything, we just kind of do it," is Patton's straight-faced reply. "It's like a bodily function or a habit, and there's no point asking Jim because he
doesn't actually have anything to do with anything."
Martin is a blank.
"The only people that say that we're weird, man, are journalists,"
Gould insists. "Everybody else just kind of likes it or they don't. It's your problem, it's not something that I normally pay any attention too."
"I hang out with a guy that finger fuck's
his dog on a regular basis," Patton
interjects, "So I know that I'm definitely normal."
Behind this out-there/normal stance,
though, is there a paticular cause that the band have associated themselves with?
"I would like to save the whole cast of
the TV show Different Strokes," says Bottum, "All those kids in the cast really got into trouble, they lost their money and became bank robbers and drug fiends. The little guy (Gary Coleman) is the worst, his family
have been after all his money and his manager has made him sue them. The girl got busted for holding up a
laundromat, and the guy who played Willis is in jail for shooting someone in the neck six times. I would like to start a fund on their behalf."
Patton leans forward: "The message is Rock The Vote, dude. Smash the state, anarchy, Satan."
SIDE FROM the Faith No More
group mentality, there's the continuing spectre of five people i that, with their differing Personalities, struggle to tolerate one another. During their break from touring Bordin played golf, Gould worked with a Mexican Death Metal outfit, Martin starred in Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey and "Pretty much avoided the rest of the band as much as I could" and Patton finally recorded with Mr. Bungle.
"I did a tour, made a record, period," he explains. "When we have time, sure, we'll do something else."
"I'm actually jealous of Mike," Bottum reflects. "I think we're all going to start following his example, because he's doubling his money. I'm going to jump into my solo project just as soon as I've kicked my drug habit. I hope to do Disco 12-inches and acid-house raving."
Take the humour away for a moment. Do you actually get on with each other as people?
"I would like to say yes and I would like to say many, many things," is Bottum's response, "l like everyone in the band,I really do."
"Do you know how to insinuate sarcasm in print?" Patton laughs. "We have a really hard time making a collective decision that we're all happy with, so we spend our time
backstabbing each other and talking behind each others backs."
"You can't put your finger on any one
thing that we dislike about each other," Gould considers. "I guess we come close to falling apart about every couple of weeks, which is good because it keeps you on your feet. We've all learned how to survive living the way we do. I mean, if we actually sat around and had a
political discussion with each other over a cup of coffee that would get ugly."
This fragile balancing act is about to
join the equally combustible Guns n'Roses on their European stadium trek. "I don't really know what to expect,"
Roddy shrugs. "Big shows and a lot of people, sorrow and agony, soap opera acting. I've never heard them to tell you the truth."
"We haven't really experienced anything like that yet," Gould
reveals. "This is our I first time going out on the road with a band like that. We did do the Billy Idol tour and we were a little bit uncomfortable with that. It'll be interesting to see exactly how many Bodyguards Axl Rose has,I
want the inside story. More than anything it's just something to poke fun at. Not to say that's what we're
going to do,but..."
"We're the reporters and were going to get our scoop,"
Patton hollers. "We don't do any of those glamour things like flying first class and riding in limos I guess we're just dumb. Everybody always tells us that we can't afford to do it, so someone is walking around with a lot of money. We even flew over to the
UK miserably this time. I couldn't get up and go to the bathroom 'cause I was sat in between two fat pigs slobbering over each other."
WHICH JUST leaves us with the title 'Angel Dust' and it's obvious connotations.
"I think experimentation in every field is really important," Bottum asserts. "I would be a hypocrite if I made any statement against drugs on my part. We have a really positive attitude to everything, including drugs."
"I tried acid, I got scarred," Patton nods. "I don't know what the do's and don'ts are because I haven't done enough to be able too say. I think you'd better ask Bill about that."
"No, I'm actually into health food these days," the bassist contends. "I'm not going to say drugs are bad, though.There are smart drugs where you can take them and be real stupid, yet still end up being clever somehow."
"Angel Dust is just a really beautiful name for a really hideous drug," Patton concludes. "It goes with the cover, which is this gorgeous big white bird. Doesn't it make sense?"