“[Lyrics] come from my head, my ass, my toilet, my pillow, places like that."
Diary Of A Shit Terrorist
"I like to shit in different places. I've really gotten into the placement of human shit. If you're in a new city, there's always a new place!" Mike Patton | Metal Connection 1992
His, and the other members of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, twisted senses of humour were exploited by the press during the 90's to the point where interviews rarely focused on the music. While their contemporaries spoke of wild drunken nights and sex with groupies Patton and his fellows tackled more pressing issues such as masturbation, hardcore porn, pedophilia, serial killers and toilet habits. These tactics were to alleviate boredom and to distance themselves from the rock n' roll circus. Of course the stories weren't always true, in some cases they were simply pushing the boundaries to discover what the press would actually print. True or false it made for entertaining reading.
"We're a band that encourages extremes.....so when anyone is doing things like that. I think: Well whatever you wanna do, whatever you wanna try - no matter how outlandish - just make yourself happy. Which is a healthy environment. I'm very proud of the extremes that go on in our band, I'm proud of the fact that Mike is like that. I'm proud that he carries a doll around a voodoo doll called Toodles. That's such a bizarre thing, but extremes are what we're about."These outlandish stories fit in well with Patton's musical stylings, and as FNM's music would change the sound of rock music their interviews in turn changed the way journalists approached conversations with many artists. Mr. Bungle's interviews would also mirror their music, often riotous and nonsensical.
In 1989 and 90 Patton introduced masturbation and porn into almost every interview, sidestepping questions that alluded towards lyrical meaning, his musical influences or his personal life. Patton became a schizophrenic interviewee, who created various personalities, in what appeared to be his way of dealing with the sudden fame and fan adoration the success of The Real Thing had imposed upon him. However rather than alienating the fanatical it made him more endearing to them.
"I talk so much about masturbation in interviews because I go on the defensive as soon as journalists start asking about groupies. It's much easier relating to yourself on tour than it is to someone you've just met. Maybe I should say I've grown beyond it and now I'm into farm animals. Too many journalists still believe the rock n'roll myth. From my side it's definitely not like that. A lot of bands are doing it, but they must have had insecure childhoods -- maybe their parents dropped them on their heads."Whether consciously or not Patton found other ways to lose the unwanted attention from fans over the next few years. A radical change of image from long haired, hip hop frat boy to greasy, thrift shop, petrol pump assistant ! His stage persona matured from insane clown to brooding masochist. And his obsession with self-pleasure was replaced with one for....erm.....shit! Patton never quite took things to the extremes of G.G Allin who once smeared his own faeces all over a venue in 1985, but he soon became a master in shit terrorism.
The term shit terrorism was first used by Patton himself in December 1992.
"I mean we do our own thing, like I don't use toilets -- I just don't. It's not a wild rock n' roll thing; it's a hobby -- shit terrorism."However it had become a fully fledged art form much earlier in the year before the label was applied. It was a reaction to living life on the road with Guns 'N' Roses and Metallica. Born out of a distaste for the rock n' roll lifestyle FNM were surrounded by, and a means to fill the long days between gigs.
Patton's preoccupation with poo was first discovered in June 1992 during an interview with Mary Ann Hobbs.
"Sometimes a shit-eating video is so much cooler than watching two people kissing. Do you know what I mean?"From there it snowballed (eww) and the subject arose more often with stories becoming more sickening. The first act of shit terrorism was described by Patton in an article from August 1992 (not Kerrang! 91 as is widely reported).
"When I was staying in a hotel room once, I took a shit, rolled it into a ball and put it in the hair dryer so that the next guest to dry their hair would get hot shit in their face. Ain't that rock n' roll? I do hope rock stars are a dying breed. People love to lap them up -- you know how something always tastes better if you swallow it quickly."A second story was discussed in detail and featured in an unknown magazine article (my bad) from December 1992.
"Yeah I pooped on a bench right outside the palace. I couldn't believe it was so easy to get in there. It's the equivalent of US President's White House right? If you we're caught inside there they'd torture and shoot you. I mean the princess could've walked by at any minute, which would've been quite handy coz I could've asked her for some toilet paper, hur hur!"
Mike Patton | 1992.This incident was actually witnessed by one reporter, and Patton gave a witty explanation as to why he didn't frequent the gents.
"I have kind of a problem. I don't like to use toilets -- ever." Mike says it stems from a childhood fear of invasive insects in the bathroom. But the singer has turned his aversion to the W.C. into a form of scatological terrorism. Without batting an eyelid, he recounts a story about a meanie club owner who locked Patton and the rest of Mr. Bungle up in his club because he claimed they owed him money. He left the man a special gift in the club's microwave oven. "It started out being a problem, but now it's more of a weapon than anything," Patton says.There is no actual printed evidence of the legendary tale of Patton defecating in an orange juice cartoon, resealing it and putting it back in Axl Rose's personal vending machine and it was recently proved to be just a myth. We asked Steffan Chirazi (Faith No More's biographer during the 90's) about the incident in an interview to which he was very sceptical.
"I think that's absolutely ludicrous. I'd like people to consider what wonderful aim you must have to have a shit in a coffee mug! [laughs..] Unless the insinuation is that Mike shat in his own hand and then put it in the cup? I never really paid much attention to what Mike was supposed to be doing or not doing, I think he might have pissed in his shoe at one point."However it was Bill Gould who spilled the beans.
"We had fun, bringing those images to the mainstream. But the Axl carton story wasn't true."It would seem the legend was founded in truth as we discovered in an NME report during the 1992 tour with L7.
"OK, WHO SHAT IN THE ORANGE JUICE?"It is hard to find the art in Mike Patton's antics. To appreciate the beauty when the beast is shitting in your beverage."Oh god, oh Jesus, I'm sorry," he wails. "It wasn't meant for you." Mike had been accused of "not f—ing shit up" on the tour by L7. So he, erm, did.FNM's apparent dislike of being on tour with Axl Rose and constant ridicule in the press no doubt led to this rumour.
Patton shares a secret. Axl has TV screens on stage that display the song words in case he forgets them. On the last night of the tour, Mike Patton tells me he wants "to take a shit right on top of those TV screens, in front of tens of thousands of people."Kim Thayil of Soundgarden revealed details to Greg Prato for his book The Faith No More + Mr. Bungle Companion when asked about Patton's behaviour.
"Mike Patton's thing, he was kind of obsessed with scatological issues in relation to his pranks, and his scatological manifestation of his pranks was in defecation...he liked shitting in funny places. He liked to shit and hide it somewhere in the cafeteria, or shit in the parking lot of a hotel behind some car, or just go and shit on a hood of a car."
Kim Thayil | 2013A shit terrorist it seems does not limit oneself to just faeces: urine, vomit, spit....it's all good.
Having not followed through with his threat to "take a shit right on top of those TV screens", Patton did manage to succeed in a different dirty protest. During a stadium show in Seville (Spain) he encouraged the crowd to pepper the stage with garbage, one particular bottle was full of urine. Patton climbed up on Axl's monitors and poured the contents over his head.
Roddy and Bill tell the story in full.
At Brixton Academy in November of 1992 Patton filled his shoe with his own urine and drank the contents down in two gulps. You can briefly see the act at the 40 second mark in the official video for Easy.
In December 1992 there are eye witness accounts of Patton draining a plastic cup full of urine in front of a stunned crowd at Lyon (France).
"There's something else he would do - he would drink lots of water and Coke or coffee, and some diuretics, and hold it in. Then he'd pee and fill up...I think Guns N' Roses had water jugs on stage. We didn't really use that, I just had beer. But those guys had things that could squirt water. And Patton would fill it up with piss and then throw it into the crowd. I think he collected like a milk jug full of piss - he was doing this for a few days. I believe that's the case. He filled up a jug full of piss and I remember the Soundgarden guys talked about it and the crew guys were like, 'Oh my God! Do you see what he's doing!' Ben [Shepherd, Soundgarden bassist] would say, 'Fuck! He's got a fucking jug full of piss and he said he's going to throw it into the crowd!' I guess he did - I think he swung the jug fall of piss into the crowd. And somebody told me he was going to take a shit on stage.. .or maybe he did. This is not apocryphal - it may be anecdotal, but it's not apocryphal. I never saw this happen, but I heard that that happened - I didn't hear that was a plan, I heard that happened from crew guys and band guys on that tour, that he tried or just dropped his pants and took a dump on stage. But the stage was grated. Guns N' Roses had a stage with grating, so if you spilled anything, it fell through, just so you couldn't slip on the thing."
Kim Thayl 2013
|Photographic evdience - Beat Magazine 1992|
In 1995 FNM returned with a new image and musical philosophy. They had changed guitarists and producers. Their fifth studio album King For Day....Fool For A Lifetime was much more organic, hard hitting and direct than its predecessors. It also would contain a track that embodied all of Patton's filthy antics.
Yes KFAD squats and drops out the hideous masterpiece Cuckoo For Caca . On the surface the lyrics seem to describe Patton's old shit eating hobby perfectly however read a little further and it would appear to be a metaphor for drug abuse.....or maybe it's the other way around?
As the underlying themes of KFAD seem to be concerned with the trappings of fame either description would make perfect sense.
However lines like 'Wipe the shadow of your best friend...gave birth to something we don't want to be' / 'We'll retire with a turd on our lips under a pair of knowing eyes' / 'SHIT LIVES FOREVER' are too obvious to ignore.
Patton addressed the meaning while in Venice in 1995.
NME: "Would you call it a shit-eating manifesto?"
Patton: "I really don't remember. If I could sit here and write the words out I might be able to remember."
NME: A lyric sheet is laid before him.
Patton: "it's just....shit. Shit is...shitty people, garbage, everything. What do you think it's about?"Despite a photoshoot by Joe Giron picturing members of FNM on the loo it seemed this would be the last time Patton would elaborate on the subject.
NME: So drinking your own piss, taking a shit wherever you want - these things are still a part of you?
Patton: "I suppose so - I did them."
NME: You'd do them again?
Patton: "Sure, why not ? Why the hell not?"
NME: Well, there's the hygienic aspect, the risk of catching or spreading disease...
Patton: "Sure, it depends on whose. .. It's supposed to be cleansing, drinking your own piss."
This isn't such a revelation.Actress Sarah Miles has gone on about the health-giving properties of piss-drinking for several years; Gandhi drank pee; gargling urine is said to cure a sore throat; it's actually a remedy practised by many singers - though, curiously, not one their publicists care to highlight. But given Patton's fecal fascination I wondered - had he ever tasted a turd?
Patton: "Sure."NME: Your own shit?
Patton: "Mmmm, yeah."
NME: Is that a sort of therapy or does it just taste nice?Patton: "No it doesn't taste nice."
NME: Why do it then?Patton: "(Sighing) Oh, I don't know. Why would you take acid one day?"
NME; It's a psychedelic drug, it causes hallucinations, rearranges the way you see the world. It's a journey, an experience.Patton: "Well there you go - it (eating shit) is a journey."
NME: But I wouldn't imagine eating shit brings on an hallucination.Patton: "Well, I guess every asshole has his own thing, I mean, I'm not a shit-eater or anything."The last interview in which Patton reacts to questions about shit terrorism was in March 1995, in which Bill makes it clear that he's pretty much done with the subject.
"So, you just asked him if, now he's married, he plans to have any kids? Ha! Ha! I'm not making any excuses for the guy but he really doesn't like talking about himself. Did you ask him if he'd done anything creative with his shit recently? He wouldn't have liked that. All that stuff just tortures him; but he did it, he should learn to live with it. Y'know? All that business with shit is what he's best known for."He did however take a few opportunities to pee on stage.
After this period it seemed Patton had cleaned up his act, literally, and flushed away the shit terrorist for good. However his alter-ego has occasionally reared it's dirty head. For example in 2002 while performing with Tomahawk, it would seem Patton decided to lob out his John Thomas and piss all over the stage security. Tomahawk issued a statement to explain the incident.
"So Mike Patton and the band TOMAHAWK roll into London on March 10th for their triumphant packed show at the Astoria. Before the show, though, there was business to attend to. It turns out that several members of nu-metal's inner circle (who happened to be in London) had requested a pow wow with the Godfather of nu-metal, Mike Patton. The topic for discussion was to get Mike's approval for a FAITH NO MORE tribute record as well as to mull over the multi-million dollar offer for a FAITH NO MORE reunion, nu-metal festival tour. Attending the meeting were potential tour participants, Chino (DEFTONES), Brandon (INCUBUS), Fred (LIMP BIZKIT), Coby (PAPA ROACH), Joey (SLIPKNOT) and Gavin (BUSH) along with Mike Patton and Bill Gould (FAITH NO MORE).
"The meeting was going smoothly until for an unknown reason, Patton stormed out of the meeting. He later told TOMAHAWK bandmate, John Stanier, that Chino was very drunk and making unrealistic demands having to do with financial issues. As Patton left the venue a member of the Astoria security crew grabbed him and told him to get his 'skinny little ass back in the meeting and make it happen!'. Mike refused and a shoving match ensued. After cooler heads prevailed the meeting was adjourned and TOMAHAWK prepared to take the stage. Before taking the stage TOMAHAWK bandmates Kevin Rutmanis and Duane Denison lightened Mike's dark mood by showing him the toys they purchased earlier in one of London's finest fetish stores. One of the items was a rubber dildo that squirts water. Mike decided that this would be the perfect prank to get even with the nu-metal lovin' hooligan security guard."
"I think everyone knows the rest of the story and has seen the pictures. When Mike was apprehended back stage and pulled the dildo from his pants, the tension was relieved and all parties had a laugh about it except the photographers at the front of the stage that thought it was real.However Antiquiet quizzed Chino on these events and he confessed the nü-metal intervention story was bullshit.
"On a side note Mike did give his blessing to the tribute record but vetoed the nu-metal festival... For now!"
The shit terrorist period of Patton's career was in reality short, no matter how much the press enjoy reminding us. The terrorist lives on now within bands such as Dillinger Escape Plan, in 2002 their singer Greg Puciato dropped his pants and took a shit on stage into a paper bag, smeared a little on himself, and then said “You’re going to see a lot of shit on this stage today, You might as well see some more” before throwing the bag into the crowd.
Remember to wash your hands.........