FAITH NO MORE are a rap-metal band that sounds like a cross between Prince and the Welsh weightlifting team. They joined STEVEN WELLS for a mid-tour circle jerk.
NME | 17.02.1990
Jerkin for a livin
"HOMOSEXUALS! HOMOSEXUALS!" The driver of the tiny tour bus is screaming at people on the pavement. "Are they blokes or are they
lesbians or f—ing what?" This man's breath stinks. It stinks because he has a corpse in his mouth.
Kerrang! sent a little woman called Trish to interview Faith No More. They drove her to the station the next day. Then they drove past the station and on to the motorway.
"Stop!" yelled Trish. "What's going on?" The band chuckled.
Later that day they rang the metal magazine's editor. "Listen up. We've got your journalist. Give us the front cover or you'll never see her again!"
Everybody except the editor thought this was hilarious. "We tried to persuade Trish to let us send one of her fingers through the post to make it look more authentic," chortle the band, "but she's no fun..."
Raw once described this band as "a boil on the backside of tuneful civilisation, squelching with the pus of inner turmoil and middle finger anarchy.. ." The band once had a competition - called a Filthathon - to see who could go the longest without washing.
Yeeeeeeeeeeah? Metat mayhem on the road! Photo of beer-spraying band in bog with underpants on heads OR WHAT!? What better way to piss off the sensitive NME reader - you Sundays fans, you soul folk than to introduce yet another of the new crop of groupie-shagging, coke-snorting, gay-hating, nigger-baiting, dog-fellating, bird-bashing, shit-talking, cock-stroking, sock-stuffing, sweat-stinking, pockmarked, long-haired, bone-skutled tiny-brained, shrivel-dicked ROCK SCUM!
Wrong band. Faith No More are unique. They are histrionic and camp enough to have torn the heart out of the Brit Metal audience and claimed it for their own. This is weird. Listen to Faith No More and you hear the crafty whine of Prince, you hear almost soulful black vocal inflections.
Sweet melodies lay side by side with jaw-shuddering, Metallicastyle, pneumatic-drill guitar.
They sing neither of Satan nor of mega-jugged big-mammas.
The song 'Zombie Eaters' in the hands of any other metal band would involve huge chunks of dripping flesh getting ripped out of staggeringly blonde women. As in any bog standard metal ballad the object of desire that the singer gurgles to and screams at is a woman - but in this song it's his mother. "Hey, look at me lady! / I'm just a lickle baby! / So hug me and kiss me / Then wipe my butt and piss me." The average he-man metal musician has the emotional age of a baby. He is a screaming, whining, egotistical monster. This is the kind of song that Faith No More sells to metal fans. This is multi layered parody. intelligent and articulate. Faith No More are the best thing to have happened to big boys' rock music since Led Zeppelin.
"THIS IS the hottest gig ever!" screams singer Mike Patton. "You know what I mean by hot? I mean you guys are soooo sexy!"
He rubs a plastic bottle of mineral water against his crotch. It shakes so much that water erupts from the neck to splatter his belly. It is damn hot. I save the life of the woman next to me by sharing my beer. She's seen the band ten times and she thinks they're the best band in the world, ever. She likes rap, jazz, thrash and metal.
And with Faith No More she's got the lot.
The band stagger off a sub-Saharan stage into a dank and damp Manchester dressing room.
The British Winter Tour has claimed the health of more than one Californian muso. I corner dreadlocked drummer Mike Bordin. He's not going to make serious answers to the questions, one looks bored except when we talk about masturbation (95 per cent of the interview actually) and one is what our American cousins refer to as "an asshole".
The asshole's name is 'Big' Jim Martin and he plays guitar. The 'big' is obviously a trouser department reference. Same as how Robin Hood's big mate was called 'Little' John. The asshole sports Dave Lee Travis hair, a Noel Edmonds beard and he wears hideous advertising exec specs. He probably thinks he looks like Frank Zappa. Actually he looks like Frank Zappa's genitals.
Trish is also here. She is a bit pissed and lying on the bed to recover. The road manager is lying next to her and trying to talk his way into her knickers. He is to fail miserably.
The asshole says things like "I'd like to get me a whore..." and the rest of the band either look blank or mutter "Oh God". I. try to talk to them about their songs, about their ability to co-opt rap into their music. BORING!
So I ask them why they went kerb crawling earlier. Why are they the only 'metal' band in the world so ugly that they can't get groupies? Suddenly they come awake. Mike Patton scampers around the bed like a shy little puppy with a flea up its sphink.
"l... er... I prefer jerkin' off ..I um... can't handle all that shit. Like you know- do you go up to a girl and say 'HEY! YOU WANNA F—?' or what?"
"That's exactly what you do?"
exclaims the asshole. "I can't believe this shit! I've seen you with a woman!" "Oh yeah!" murmurs Mike, "Sure I've been with a woman. I just prefer jerkin' off, you know. no hassle, it's just so.. ." and his sentence trails off. If this is a wind-up it is brilliantly executed. if it's not a wind-up then I am actually listening to a heavy metal musician actually admitting that he's totally hopeless with girls. Pinch me, I'm dreaming.
THE CROWD are going berserk. Thrashers and headbangers jostle grebos and speccy sixth formers in Fish T-shirts. Modern Metal is a wide church. It stretches all the way from the chartered accountants who dig the clever and subtle poodlewank of Marillion to the unemployable lumpen punk veg-nazis who scream along to the brief and bloody thunderings of Carcass' autopsy worship.
Faith No More pull them all. They combine the shudderingly rigid discipline of Metallica with the rootsy flexibility of early Zep with the lyrical wizardry of Moz. Seriously. The pantomime of traditional metal is aped tongue in cheek, the singer struts and skips in the style of hardcore' cripple-skank.
They offer cabaret with credibility. They off the theme from Lawrence Of Arabia and the riff from 'Whole Lotta Love'. They weave barbed wire and claymore, mines around jazz keyboards. They storm into the best metal song ever written - 'War Pigs'. It is both a parody and a homage. The crowd go berserk.
Faith No More have their roots in the San Francisco hardcore scene - the birthplace of the hardcore/metal crossover - This interbreeding, inspired by the likes of Exodus and Metallica," produced the likes of Slayer and
Napalm Death - hard, brutal, fast and hypnotically intense. Thrash metal has long been in danger of imploding up its own puckered bum hole. You can only go so fast.You can only be so intense.
Faith No More have leapfrogged the entire mess. They have taken traditional metal as a base, taken thrash metal's grind and used it sparingly, reprocessed metal in the context of everything else that's happening in music, especially black music.
Once they were the only hardcore band to have listened to and learnt from the vast changes in black urban music that occurred in the late '80s. Now they are the only white metal band to have done so.
THE IMAGE that American hardcore was a left wing genre which became corrupted with all sorts of nasty things like sexism when it came into contact with metal is greatly exaggerated. US punk and metal have always drawn from the same pool of under-educated, lower middle class, suburban white boys
The average American metal fan is Joe Bob Republican Asswipe from Chickenshit, Idaho. The political acumen of the average "radical" punk is somewhere about the level of a small tube of apricot flavoured Jello.
"Like, San Francisco is full of these assholes," says the amazingly monikered keyboardist Roddy Bottum, "who like say 'Hey man! You shouldn't eat at McDonalds! It's politically uncool!' - and you ask them why and they don't fuckin' know!"
Most of Faith No More are not Guns n Roses style drongos nor have they pillocked out like the increasingly silly Cult.
They are still unaffected enough by metal pernicious duh, dumbness, to be a little embarrassed by the distinctly uncool nature of some of the metal fans they attract.
"I mean like it's weird. First they want an autograph and then they want your telephone number so they can move in with you!"
They're still dumb enough to gush the most obnoxious shit on occasions: "Yeah, sure, San Francisco's great if you don't mind being told what to do by fags.." says bassist billy.
"Yeah," agrees the asshole. "You can kiss a guy on the street but you can't smoke a cigarette in public. What is that shit?"
He's paraphrasing quasifascist, fat bastard comedian Andrew Dice Clay. It wasn't funny the first time round. Poor little lambs! White, middle class and heterosexual. I mean, how oppressed can you get?
"Hey," says the asshole, furrowing his hairy forehead, "are you a fag or not what?"
The interview drags itself back to the only thing the band seems really interested in-jerkin' off. American kids have turned to masturbation into an art form. The peak of wankotogy is the successful completion of the circle jerk. This is where three or moro young men strip off. stand fn a circle and race to see who can climax first. Do Faith No More circle jerk?
"Nah, we ain't into that male bonding shit..."
You could have fooled me. What about the rumours, is it true that you hate each other?
"No we don't..."
"Yes we do.."
THE ALBUM 'The Real Thing' has not one duff track. The loping melodic, rap spattered and powerful single 'Epic' looks set to chart in Britain. If that happens they're in with a chance of breaking into the American Top Ten without having to sound like BonJovi.
As it is, the band pull crowds of between 1-2,000 in Europe (with hundreds turned away at the door) whilst remaining largely ignored in the States. Faith No More are obviously a little too interesting, a little too different for Joe Bob Asswipe to take in at the first listen.
This is the band that metal has been waiting for. Kirk Hammett of
Metallica described The Real Thing' as "the best album of the year". Rick Savage of Def Leppard claimed it was the best album of the last two years. Joe Elliot pooh poohs that. He thinks it's the best record made for the last five years. Axl Dickhead of Guns N' Roses goes even further - " by far the best band I've ever seen. I'm jealous."
And who am I to disagree with four such fine minds? It is a brilliant record.
Don't get me wrong, I like the band. One bad asshole doesn't ruin the whole goddamn fartin' match, boy. If they're full of shit they're 50% less full of shit than most of their contemporaries.
They had a friend died of AIDS. He was both gay and a needle user - not a great combination for a resident of San Francisco.
On the tour bus the driver is acting as lookout for the asshole. Every time he sees a woman on her own he shouts "Prostitute!" and the asshole runs up the bus to check her out.
The press officer cringes with embarrassment: Photographer Derek Ridgers is well pissed off. "What if she's just a woman Waiting for her husband or something?" he spits.
A momentary silence falls over the bus. Oh, what a killjoy you are
Derek this is rock 'n' roll!
Humiliating women is all part of the fun. "HOMOSEXUAL! HOMOSEXUAL?" screams the driver.
The trouble with the most dynamite and innovative band to have emerged within metal for over a decade and a half is that they tolerate idiots far too easily.
Great band. Pity about the piece of shit behind the steering wheel.