How did the 'feud' between Faith No More and Red Hot Chili Peppers start? Was it even a feud?
It's classed as a classic rock celebrity rivalry. With both singers slinging mud and battling it out. But it of course was something that was exaggerated by the press, a great angle to exploit to make entertaining reading.
FNM and RHCP have very few similarities, in the early 90s both their singers had long hair and rapped with their tops off.....that's pretty much where the parallels end. Both bands did have a lot to do with changing the face of rock genres, adding different musical flavours and influencing many bands to come, however their music has always been worlds apart.
FNM and RCHP first became acquainted in the 80's when Chuck Mosley was frontman. The two bands shared the bill on a tour that lasted from October until the end of December, and which helped FNM reached a wider audience. It wasn't until 1990 when Mike Patton was firmly established as FNM's singer that any hostility began.
In Kerrang! issue 292 of June 1990 Anthony Kiedes made the following comments about Patton.
“My drummer says he’s gonna kidnap [Patton], shave his hair off and cut off one of his feet, just so he’ll be forced to find a style of his own.”
This of course fuelled the press to push for a response from Patton in every interview to follow during 1990.
"That's an interesting one. I don't think he has, really. Y'know, we're not threatened by each other, because our music is really a lot different. The similarities are there in a superficial way, but really, there's a huge chasm between us. We are kind of on different sides of-the spectrum - we're on the rock side, and they're kinda more on the traditional funk side." - Mike Patton 1990
"I don't have a clue. It just kind of came out of the blue. I mean, I could speculate, but I really don't know. It doesn't bother me a bit. I got a real big kick out of it. to tell you the truth. I mean, if he's gonna talk about me in interviews, that's fine - it's free press! It's pretty out of line. Either he's feeling inadequate or old or I don't know ... That's beat, but I have no reason to talk shit about him." - Mike Patton 1990
"I'd really like to set all that straight. What he doesn't realize is that I am Anthony Kiedis, and I'm the raddest dude. Let me tell you, I'm in the greatest band, and it's so cool. But all these jerks, one of which is that Mike Patton asshole, all want to be me. So I'm gonna get him, and I'm gonna get him good." - Mike Patton 1990
"That's a dumb thing I've got absolutely nothing to do with. I don't care. I really don't. Reading that article gave me a good laugh - it sounded like old Anthony felt a little threatened, I dunno. If he wants to give me press instead of his band, his girlfriend or whatever, that's fine by me. I'm sure he didn't count on it getting slapped on the cover of Kerrang! Then, after that, they called me up right afterwards, asking me to do a rebuttal. What is this, Bonjovi vs Axl Rose?I don't need it." - Mike Patton 1990
Hereafter however the press soon found the subject of less importance and focused on the band's inner tension, shit eating, Axl Rose and much more. The 'feud' seemed to be ancient history until 1999. Patton was now the man of a thousand projects and was gearing up to tour Mr. Bungle's third album California. With both band's being signed to Warner the record company thought it wise to delay the release of the Mr. Bungle record by a month due to the release of RHCP album Californication.
Soon Mr. bungle were told that they were to be removed from festival bills in Australia at the request of Kiedes. Of course Patton and his band mates retaliated in the press.
"We were booked, months in advance, to do eleven festival dates in Europe. Come Summer, we get a call from the three biggest of those festivals, all of them the same day, saying that we can't play, because the headlining band retains the right to hire and fire whomever they wish. We found out it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so our manager called their manager to find out what the hell was going on, and their manager was very apologetic, and said, 'We're really sorry, we want you to know this doesn't reflect the management's position, or the band's for that matter, it's Anthony Kiedis who wants this.'" - Trey Spruance
"We were looking at booking some Mr. Bungle shows in Europe this past summer, some big festivals, which is something we'd never done before. We figured it'd be a good thing: We'd get to play in front of a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise hear us. Our agent was in the process of booking these festivals, and it was becoming apparent that we'd landed some pretty good ones—one in France, another one in Holland, some big-name festivals. Turns out someone's holding a grudge! [Laughs.] We were booted off several bills, including a really big festival in Australia, specifically because Anthony Kiedis did not want us on the bill. He threatened to pull the Chili Peppers if Mr. Bungle was on the bill. Now, rationalize that one! That's so fucking pathetic! I mean, this guy's selling a million records! We are not even a speck of dust on this guy's ass! What's the fucking problem? It's unbelievable." - Mike Patton 1999
"The manager called us and was very embarrassed...it's something to with Anthony, the rest of the band doesn't care. Maybe it's that small penis complex, maybe he thinks that stole some of his dance moves." - Mike Patton 2000
Mr. Bungle took things to the next level at a Halloween show in Kiedis’ home state of Michigan. Bungle took the stage dressed as the RHCP and performed a medley of mangled
covers. Trevor Dunn even simulated injecting heroin on-stage, mocking the Peppers' history with addiction.
"I thought of it. Right when we were about to go on stage in Ohio, we were going, 'What the hell are we going to do for Halloween?' As we were walking on stage I said, 'Fuck, we’ve got to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers.' Just perfect." - Trey Spruance 2011Kiedes addressed these goings on in 2004.
“I would not have given two fucks if they played there with us. But after I heard about [the] Halloween show where they mocked us, fuck him and fuck the whole band.”In 2004 Kiedes also re-addressed the issue stating the video for Epic as his reason for believing Patton to be an imitator.
“I watched [their] “Epic” video, and I see him jumping up and down, rapping, and it looked like I was looking in a mirror.” - Kiedes 2004Patton's most recent comments on the situation.
"Hey, blame their mothers, don't blame us. I whole-heartedly agree that every rap-rock band out there is rubbish, but I accept no responsibility for those morons. Whenever I hear these bands say that Faith No More made them what they are, I just shrug it off because if I were to stare too much into the mirror I would have committed suicide long ago. Maybe I should blame Anthony Kiedis, that'd be more fun." - Mike Patton 2001
You had a feud with Anthony Kiedis in 1999 which led to Mr Bungle being taken off several festival bills. Are you friends yet?"It’s not worth talking about. I’ve no idea what it was about then and I don’t know now. But I bet we’d have a warm embrace if we saw each other now." - Mike Patton 2010.