Faith No More dicuss their early influences in the making of We Care A Lot.
Approaching Faith No More’s sound has never been an easy task. Record after record and with a considerable dose of vertigo, the band from San Francisco has not exactly made things easy on the specialised press and each and every one of their peers in the musical industry, including their fans. Since their return to the studio in 2015 with the celebrated “Sol Invictus”, this gang of rule breakers has been hitting the headlines unstoppably. On 19th of August they rereleased “We Care A Lot”, their independent 1985 debut, and celebrated it by reuniting with their old frontman Chuck Mosley for a couple of private shows in California – whilst also organising “listening parties” for their fans to listen to the record in many cities around the world. Apart from that, they are working on two other classics from the catalogue released on the 9th of September: “King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime” (1995) and “Album Of The Year” (1997).
The three launches have been remastered and include bonus tracks (amongst them a studio version of “Evidence” in Spanish), remixes and live versions. All of this comes in luxurious CD and vinyl record editions with until now unpublished photos and interviews with keyboardist Roddy Bottum. “King For A Day” and “Album Of The Year” will be re-edited by Slash/Warner, whilst the story is different for “We Care A Lot”.
After some intense touring last year, Faith No More devoted time to sorting out other priorities such as parallel projects, trips, etcetera. Recently, while cleaning up his basement, something presented itself to Billy Gould (bass guitarist and founder of Faith No More): the “We Care A Lot” masters emerged from the dust. Exercising some self-anthropology, Billy rescued them, called the producer from that record, (Matt Wallace, who also worked with Faith No More on The Real Thing” and “Angel Dust”, and collaborated on “Sol Invictus”) and all of a sudden, it began to happen: “We Care A Lot” would return under the signature of Gould's, Koolarrow Records. The bass guitarist details the process.
“It was our first record. It spent 20 years out of circulation give or take, which was probably our responsibility. I wouldn’t exactly say we forgot about it, but it wasn’t on our minds. At least until that day, when I found the masters in my basement. I saw them and thought it would be interesting to give them a listen. It turned out that in Berkeley, just across the bridge from San Francisco, there’s a studio called Fantasy, which specialises in bringing old recordings back to life. So I dropped them off and went back later to listen to them and transfer them to an up-to-date format. It sounded really well indeed, which took me by surprise. It was then that I knew that that abandoned material was clearly a fundamental piece of our history; unknown to many people. It’s been 30 years since its original making and I find it fascinating to compare the 2016 band to the one from 1985. Undoubtedly, some are going to feel confused and some are going to love this new edition. All I can say is that I take a lot of pride in this project: it is a true rough diamond”.
With “Sol Invictus” being a good reference for what FNM is about nowadays, this new version of “We Care A Lot” –originally released by Mordam Records-, will take on the mission of providing a clear notion of this band’s musical inception.
“’We Care A Lot’ was our first professional recording in twenty-four tracks. It was then when the 'metal' nature of Jim Martin's guitar appeared, balancing Roddy's classic keyboard formation”, Wallace summarises, maybe unwillingly reflecting a key point in the way Faith No More would achieve their particular sound. Its members’ musical origins were primordial in the way their personal sound developed. So then there’s the question: how important were these suppousedly unalike influences when it came to achieving a sound with such a defined personality? Wallace shares his view and deepens on the matter. “Killing Joke, PIL and punk rock in general were some important influences, especially for Bill. At the same time, Roddy was constantly looking for melodic contrasts, and above that there were the metal and rock from Jim, who was very influenced by bands such as Black Sabbath or Corrosion Of Conformity. Mike Bordin was studying african percussion by then, and incorporated those concepts when playing rock. And Chuck sang in a kind of screamo-like way in the times of demos, but it was after the band and I asked him to sing more ‘like Frank Sinatra’ when he found the most melodic side of his voice”.
Faith No More’s influences in 1985
To dig a little deeper in the subject, Mondo Sonoro asked the members of that classic formation (except for Jim Martin) the following question: Which records were important to you at the time of defining the band’s sound?
Chuck Mosley (vocals)
David Bowie “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” (1972)
Because David Bowie was simply the greatest singer in the world.
Run DMC “King Of Rock” (1985)
The best rappers from those days, without a doubt.
Germs were the heaviest, most furious and funniest hardcore-punk band in history.
Mike Bordin (drums)
Killing Joke “Fire Dances” (1983)
Never ceasing to evolve, they were the pioneers of industrial rock. They added some melodies –in fact, you could listen to them on the radio-, but without compromising their identity.
Misfits “Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood” (1983)
Super aggressive, their songs were like a row of explosions. Here the sound was a bit more orientated to metal than “Walk Among Us”, their first album.
Tackhead “What’s My Mission” (1987)
Samples, programmed rhythms, dub technique… Equally aggressive and creative. It was both a heavy and modern record for its time.
Bill Gould (bass)
Metallica “Ride The Lightning” (1984)
Both band and record made me reconsider my point of view of heavy metal.
Art Of Noise “Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise” (1984)
Electronic, eclectic and able to look into the future. A real slap in the face.
Sade “Diamond Life” (1984)
Apparently, this wasn’t such a cool record, but it was for me. Exceptional and very well written songs.
Roddy Bottum (keyboards)
Psychic TV “Force The Hand Of Chance” (1982)
Billy had seen Throbbing Gristle in Los Angeles when we were just kids. I missed that, but I immersed myself in the first Psychic TV records. They summed up the “place” where Faith No More was, but in a strange way; a combination between the artistic and the heavy, although the heavy stuff was different from what we were doing. Anyway, the tonality of this record really caught my attention.
Yaz* “Upstairs At Eric’s” (1982) (*Yazoo in Europe)
I remember bringing this record to San Francisco after a season in Los Angeles. I lived with Mike Bordin, Billy and other people by then. One of our mates said “Wow, this sounds so gay!”. And he was right. I had never considered a sound that evoked “the gay”, so it began to intrigue and scare me at the same time. Once more, this record had great influence on me when it came to production and music in general. Its sound was very bold, gay and sexy for that time, intense and brave. It was very different from what we did, but it had great impact on me.
Run DMC “Run DMC” (1984)
This first record, immediately followed by “King Of Rock” (1985), were albums that created something rap had never achieved before. Suddenly, the presence of guitars was possible in rap, along with a completely new kind of sensibility. I remember appreciating that sound. It was at the same time that Soulsonic Force made “Planet Rock”. We really were into all that. We had never listened to such intensity applied to urban musical surroundings. It opened the doors to a whole new world. It was a very effective sound.
By Ariano Mazzeo
Original arcticle published at MONDO SONORO in Spanish
Kindly translated for us by Lucia Catalina.