In a power-package guaranteed to lay waste to most of the Free World, never mind the state of California, METALLICA signed up their Bay Area mates FAITH NO MORE (now on tour in the UK) to support them on the final North American dates of the 'And Justice For All' gigging marathon. Together they came, they saw, they conquered ... And FNM even allowed STEFFAN CHIRAZI to bum a ride on the tour bus.
KERRANG! | Issue 261 | 21.10.1989
By Steffan Chirazi
THIS WHOLE thing started years ago. Before Metallica had reached superstar level, before Faith No More were even a band. The road that led to the bands touring together started
in the first days that Cliff Burton, the late Metallica bassist, and current FNM members Jim Martin and Mike Bordin knew each other as school kids. The friendships between the bands have grown bigger and bigger ever since. When Faith No More released 'The Real Thing' LP earlier this year, the Metallica camp just flipped. They offered FNM the support slot on the latter dates of their And 'Justice For All' tour. Welcome to the best show on the road. Rarely do I gloat, but I was the first to mention the names Faith No More - and Big Sick Ugly Jim - in print in Europe, right here in Kerrang! in 1987. Gloating over and out.
The Metallica-FNM tour begins in Idaho, but it is in Las Vegas that I first pick up the trail, finding FNM bassist Bill Gould wandering aimlessly around a dusty motel parking lot. I ask Bill how things have been. "Pretty good up until last night in Salt Lake City," he laughs cheerily, eyes flickering murder. "They started booing us BIG time, so I figured I'd better give 'em a bass solo!" One of William's one note, two minute plodders the reports say, which encouraged a storm of mucus to be coughed and spat at the gleeful Gould. "Other than that, though, things have been goin' real good, we've been getting cheers, responses, the whole deal."
In the motel, I greet the other FNM members. I say hi to vocalist Mike Patton and shout at Martin to wake him. Big Jim stumbles up and tells me how his favorite guitar, the black Gibson Flying V with whammy bar, keeps breaking. Manager Warren Entner has flown in with a proper case, and after some handiwork from FNM roadie Dave, it looks good enough to use.
FOR FAITH No More, this is their splash into arenas. I watch with trepidation as they face Metallica's audience. No worry, Faith No More are taking care of the situation and are managing to wrestle a fairly good response from a crowd who obviously have no idea what a real keyboard is. Now, not being the greatest fan of the waffle-box myself, it is something of a one-off that I find Roddy Bottum a brilliant dimension in this band. Jim Martin, of course, performs with his usual greasy yet brilliant aplomb, as do Gould and Bordin. But it is Mike Patton in whom the most interest lies.
"I wish he'd take the show one-on-one more," Lars Ulrich had commented a few days previously, and whaddya know, here he is taking a little more charge of the situation. "Everyone who sits down is a pussy" Patton taunts. For mobility and energy, young Mr P is faultless. A maniac, a frontman who has more beans than Heinz, a back-flipping, pelvic twistin' sonofabitch. It's his first tour with FNM and he's already in arenas - at 21. He's in halls that some veterans never get to see unless they've bought a ticket. All things considered he's picking things up really well. During FNM's cover of 'War Pigs', they're joined as usual on these dates by James Hetfield.
FOR THE shows in Vegas, Reno, the Bay Area and LA, Metallica were untouchable. They put to shame all these big bloody arena bands that have come around in the past with such high hopes - only to push out nothing more than a fart and some fireworks. They were consistently superb, so tight and sharp they became like a murderous weapon as they whipped out 'Blackened', 'Battery', 'Whiplash' and sprayed 'Harvester Of Sorrows', 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' and 'Sanitarium' all over the sold-out houses. The most noticeable thing about this leg of the tour is that Jason Newsted has finally arrived in his own independent right. It's been a hard, hard fight for him to make himself a fully-fledged member as opposed to the 'new bassist', but he's done a proud job. Vocals on 'Creeping Death', a much more assured bass solo, and a generally larger presence have all made Jason a Newkid no more. Rather than waste space, I'll give you a whip-round of facts connected to each of the California shows I saw.
Concord: A fairly strong, but not enormously successful night for Faith No More. Metallica are their usual spotless selves.
Shoreline: Two nights here. Pretty scary seeing Jim Martin on a 50ft by 70ft video screen, but a really strong couple of shows even though Patton has screwed his voice up.
Irvine Meadows: Three nights here. Faith No More find the LA Metallifans a touch wary of them, and the boos are nearly as loud as the cheers. Not that it seems to worry them.
Crowd wakes up when Kirk Hammett jams during 'Epic', Hetfield joins in on 'War Pigs' and 'Surprise! You're Dead!' Martin returns the compliment by shambling out during Metallica's 'Last Caress' cover and warbling like some filthy drunk that deserves a good kicking. The final night sees Metallica put in a three hour set. Lars (or was it Bruce Dickinson?) sings
during 'Am I Evil' and there is a particularly brilliant moment during 'War Pigs' when James orders the crowd to join in; "Sing, dicks!" he demands, and the silent masses find their voices.
AN OVERVIEW of the Metallica/Faith No More match-up would leave me saying it was by far the best night's music you could ever wish to hear live, and although the reactions to FNM weren't always great, the point was certainly not lost and they went down better than the Cult had in the same slot previously. The following three interviews were all done at different times, so rather than try and paste them together, I'm giving each person 15 minutes of fame ( in Lars' case, only 12 minutes, because he doesn't need 15).
We sit down on one of the long couches in Metallica's food 'n' booze room at Irvine Meadows on the second of the three sell-outs. Jason is hungry enough to make a large sandwich and mix up some chocolate milk. Before we start, it strikes me that Jason hasn't been interviewed too many times m the British press, so he must have a lot to say for himself by now. I wonder whether he feels he's developed as a bass player due to being in Metallica or simply the amount of time spent playing? "I think it's a combination. Yes to both. I have developed because of being able to play with people like James who is the best musician I have ever played or jammed with, so that makes me wanna play better. "He drops subtle hints to me sometimes, which drive me on to better things. Obviously the exposure of playing hundreds of shows with Metallica to thousands of people always helps kick it in. "But the major factor, I think, is playing with the band and the musicians involved."
At what point did Jason finally feel he'd earned his Metallichops? What was the point of realisation? "It was, I guess, some time in the last year or so. I always had a lotta respect for those guys before, so when I first came in I was intimidated, but just in this last year I felt it really came together. We've played so many shows now, gone through different things together, and I think they finally gave me back the respect I always had for them. "There isn't any one city where I saw it, it's just something that developed over two-and-a-half years...which I consider to be a small amount of time, less time than I maybe thought it would take."
WHAT DOES Jason feel he's given Metallica since he joined them? "I'd like to think that I brought happiness, hunger, energy. I like to think of myself as a person that pretty much gets along with everybody, I'm into that uplifting vibe. I'm a pretty cheerful guy. "Anyone can play, it's the feelings you bring in that are important. I especially notice that with Lars, when he looks at me he sees the hunger and he sees the 'wow' in me with things that they sometimes take
for granted." Certainly you'll rarely see Jason with a down face, but what does he feel he's brought to the band musically? "I think I helped them look a little more straight ahead. Cliff knew all the theory - whatever sound he wanted to make from his bass he could, which is a rare thing, he was very advanced and he helped teach James a lotta that stuff. "With me it's much more straight ahead and playin' with a pick. I'm just one solid thing that locks into what's being played." How do you find the step up from club to arena? "It isn't quite the beast I thought it was, being an arena band. I really try lo take it in my stride. I don't allow myself to get weirded out by the coolness and the hugeness and the weirdness of it all. "When we go out and play, it's just like Flotsam And Jetsam Jason's previous band) when we played at the Mason Jar in Phoenix. Sure, we've got the big production and 50 f**kers working for us, but it's still just our band going off and doing its shit, nothing more, and that's always the way I look at it. "85,000 people in the LA Coliseum's a great sight, but it's still just us doing our show." How does Jason see his contribution to future writing? "The majority of my musical contribution will be the fast stuff. James is gain' more and more into the weird-ass heavy sideways shit, whilst my stuff is a lot more direct and fast. I either do real real mellow stuff or as-fast-as-shit stuff. "I'm always comin' up with riffs, but if you don't remember it the next day then it wasn't a
great riff. When I can remember a riff days later, then I consider it maybe something I could show to these guys." Touring with FNM? "What I'll say is that we haven't had a vibe like this since we went out with Danzig. The first show kicked the shit out of the previous nine months. We watch them and they watch us, it's like a family thing, and I think Metallic a fans are way more apt to appreciate sideways stuff like FNM than any other fan base. I'm seeing lots and lots of fans being won over show by show. "It's not always bad when
kids are sitting watching, they're just getting into it and trying to understand it. I think they get it. Metallica fans get sold short a lot of the time."
UNDOUBTEDLY THE band dynamo, Lars Ulrich pretty much takes on all the press, has a hand in all sorts of plans and generally isn't content unless he's involved centrally with all
things Metallica. He never seems to tire, is a constant fusion of energy and opinions and there isn't even a grey hair in his head yet. Time is of no object when there's something to be done, and subsequently we meet up at 12.30am one night between the FNM leg and Metallica's
impending trip to Brazil. Over to...
My first question concerns his view of Metallica's future direction. "I think the ultimate way to do an album would be to write a bunch of songs, go out with them for a year-and-a-half all over the world, and then go m the studio and record them. "That'd be really interesting
because you get a relationship with your songs after playing them for 250 nights solid. It's such a different thing to writing songs in rehearsal, playing them for a couple of weeks and then going m to record them. "So what we talked about doing next time ~ but don't get any huge expectations about this - was writing a bunch of songs and then gain' out and doing a bit of a club tour before we actually put them down in the studio. I think it would give us a completely different and new perspective. "With the '...Justice...' album we tried doing something that we'd never done before, which was spending three weeks to a month playing the songs, living with them and getting them out of our brains and into our bodies before we recorded them. I think we were as successful in doing that as you could be in four weeks in a rehearsal room. "Now take that one step further; bring the songs from your brain to your body and then take them out on the road and play them in a live situation, and I think you'd be better armed when you go into the studio. "When the songs are in your body you get a much more physical relationship with them. When you know them really well and have played them a bunch of times it's much better than just writing a song and going m to record it the next day. "When you do that you're only playing the song with your mind - sitting there thinking about what the next break is and what you have to do at the chorus and so on, whereas after you've played them a lotta
times, either live or in rehearsal, you're playing them with your body. That creates a much more confident and much looser feel. "I'm not saying that the live situation should dictate what you put on the record. I think that's very dangerous because you have different relationships with certain songs, and some work live and others don't" (he cites 'Eye Of The Beholder' as a song that worked well on record but not live) "and you can learn a lot from that."
BY PLAYING two hour-plus sets, have Metallica set themselves standards they feel obliged to stick by in the future? "Yeah, well I really think it's too early and I can't say that now, but when we go out on tour again (most likely in 1991) behind a fifth Metallica album, we'll have to do what feels right to us at that point, and if that means playing two hour-plus sets, then cool. That's the bottom-line with Metallica, you can't sit down and lay plans, you can't sit down and plan the
future..." But haven't Metallica finally reached that bigger-than-big stage where you have to do that advance planning palaver? "I still don't feel dictated to by that situation. If we go out next time and it feels right under the circumstances at that time to play three-and-a-half hours or one-and-a-half hours, we gotta do what feels right for us. We can't worry about where we've been before or what people expect from us." Let's talk a little about the support slot. "You know we've always had a policy that we'll try and have a 'different' support band - not a Metallica clone. That's not interesting for us or the fans. With Danzig, Queensryche, the Cult and Faith No More, I think you have four bands that aren't generic, that have their own strong identities. "I'm not gonna sit here and rank them, all four did their own thing and added different excitement to the tour. Faith No More probably more so than the others, because they're home town people and we've known most of them for years. "We had the Cult supporting us for almost four months in America, then they basically backed out of playing the West Coast dates with us for reasons I don't wanna get into. "So it was Faith No More. We thought: let's give some people that we know really well, who have an album that everyone in the band loves, our management loves, everyone in the business loves and who don't seem to be getting as much exposure as they maybe could or should, the chance to come tour with us for three or four weeks... "The vibe was great, it was like family, everybody in the band is still vibing on their record, y'know, I think those are the reasons."
WE TALK about possible future plans, specifically the concerts shot by 'One' director Michael Soloman in Seattle and Spokane to document the '...Justice...' tour. The footage may be used, it may not... "I remember when James and I said two years ago on the back of the 'Cliff 'Em All video: This is not your typical 10 camera high-glitzy production video!' Now, years on from that, we may very well be doing something like that. Ha-ha-ha! If you're afraid to go back on your word you'll never progress." By way of summary, Lars adds: "I think 1990 will be a low key year for Metallica,"
Probably the most underrated drummer in the world right now, he knocks the knackers off Cozy Powell, thumps the living shit out of Tommy Lee and does things to his kit that'd have old Bill Ward saying prayers. A slightly nervous talker, Bordin and I sit in a Mexican restaurant and review the whole deal from Faith No More's angle. "Well, F**k! Metallica are the best, they've been the best for a long time - and the fact that they go out and play for two hours-plus every night proves that fact. "It was a huge gift them giving us the tour. It was great of course, getting up in front of huge crowds with real stages, real sound, real lights. "It was a test, y'know, playing for a band like that. Their fans are rabid, just as I'm a rabid Metallica fan. So we had to go up there every night and kick ass as hard as we could in our own way, we couldn't let our guard down or puss out in any fashion. "It was a huge learning experience for us all, one of my lessons was to just go for it every night without any preconceptions. I think we all learnt to look the audience in the eye far more, which is something Metallica are superb at."
Will Europe see a different band as a result of all this? "They'll see a tighter band without any doubt. I'll tell you something, from the day Jim joined this band things have been getting better and better. There have been detours, some things that had to be taken care of, but the songwriting, the interaction, the live playing has got better. And after a tour of this magnitude the band has got to get better still, "What this tour has done is give us the confidence in our ability to deliver, as opposed to feeling pressure of any kind... I don't care where it is, I feel 100 per cent confident to deliver. "It's like getting an erection. You f* *k enough times and you become totally confident that you can achieve erection whenever you want, when you have to, when you want to. I have absolutely no doubt that this band could take the stage anywhere and achieve FULL erection...and jack the audience off too. That's what it's all about. "A band like Metallica....f**k!
Whether they're feeling great or average, fully veined! That's the difference between being a band that only plays at weekends and a band that goes out and plays all the f**king time, touring for a living. "I'm happy internally with what we have now to the point where I don't feel any pressure. I don't feel that we have to prove we're good, I think the band can now speak for itself. Give us the opportunity and we'll kick people in the face. "It felt good to step out in front of all those people and, over a 40 minute set, show them who we are and what we do."
THE EDITORIAL axe hovers. Metallica will have just about completed their South American gigs as you read this and will be crawling back to their homes for some rest. Theirs was a history-making 18 month tour where they stood out as the real thing. Any band that starts their tour by seriously whippin' Van Halen's and the Scorpions' asses will get their place in the history books.
Faith No More, meanwhile, are only just beginning a tireless trek that will see them out on the road for the best part of the next year. Their ability and confidence will, I'm sure, carry them to the homes of millions. If ability is the true and solitary key to Platinum success, I'll bet my life on Faith No More. It would be justice for us all.