JON HUDSON His history with Faith No More
Today Jon Hudson celebrates his 50th birthday! We are chronicling his career as the guitarist with Faith No More.
Faith No More have struggled with the position of guitarists from the beginning, their very name is associated with the 'sacking' of Mike Morris back in 1983.Their second guitarist Mark Bowen only lasted a year, then FNM settled on their most recognisable player Jim Martin.
Jim was with the band for 10 years and 4 albums, but of course due to Jim not accepting the band's ever changing musical direction and his 'big' personality, the sick and ugly axe man departed from their ranks in late 1993.
In 1994 FNM turned to Mike Patton's Mr. Bungle band mate Trey Spruance to write and record guitar for King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime. Most fans agreed it was a perfect solution, however Trey felt like a hired gun and didn't relish the idea of touring.
"..when that whole situation with Jim Martin was falling apart and they needed a guitar player, I threw my name in the hat. I don't even think Mike wanted me in the band, but the other guys liked the demo that I made for them. We did the whole thing on a handshake, and basically as time went on, I recorded with them and we didn't have any formal agreement over what the situation was going to be. And I really felt that they were taking advantage of that situation, which was really disheartening. They were going through so many different issues as a band. And then to walk into a situation where you're just essentially a roadie and getting jerked around, it really ended up being this thing where, if I'm going to commit to a year of touring with no agreement and they're reneging on all of these things that we talked about — it's like, we've got you, so you're going to tour with us for a year and then we'll talk about you becoming a part of the band." -Trey 2003
"I really wanted to tour with that guy. I loved playing with him. As far as all the good things I can say about Mike Patton and his musical breadth of vision and skill, Trey is right there with him. Trey was really an ultimate, ultimate weapon. He could do the curly stuff on 'Star A.D.'. He could do the stuff appropriate on 'Caralho Voador', that's a little bit of a samba. But then again, he was the guy who helped us do 'Ugly in the Morning' and 'The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' and especially 'Cuckoo for Caca'. We had a part we didn't know what to do with on that song and he was like, "Well, why don't you do this?" And we were all like, "Oh my God." " - Bordin 2015
Enter Dean Menta who was Roddy Bottum's keyboard roadie. Dean toured the album and recorded bunch of covers but when it came to writing Album Of The Year there was no creative spark.
"We rehearsed, but we weren't coming up with anything that any of us liked. It was a drag because Dean, our guitar player at the time was really good live, but you never know if the chemistry is right until you start writing together. We tried to write for six months, but it was just a frustrating thing. So we said, 'Forget it.' And after that happened, the momentum just shut down and everybody went off and started doing their side stuff." - Bill 1997
"...the guitar player has an easy job. I could play that parts if I wanted to and sometimes I even do it. A baby could do that. Guitar parts that you can play with one finger.The problem is that most guitar players don't know that kind of playing. We have certain things we want from a guitarist. His role is more the one of a dj. a specific sound. Much rhythm..rather boring...nothing what a guitarist really wants to do. And we all know what guitar players want to do. Playing fuckin solos....they are nearly as weird as vocalists." - Patton 1997
"Every person has certain qualities, one is able to do this...the other one to do that. So we have to search a long time until we find the right guy on the guitar. You wouldn't marry the first woman you met. You look for someone , work with him and develop a certain relationship. on the other hand we are a band that needs to do records and go on tour. This is just life and life goes on. You can't stay with the same problems all the time you have to find solutions for the moment and find the final solution next time. All we want is a guitarist who thinks like we think." - Bill 1997
Jon David Hudson was born on April 13th 1968 in San Francisco. Jon was in Oakland-based new wave band Systems Collapse during the early 90's with Humberto Ribeiro (Bass), Cid Travaglia (Drums) and Will Carpmill (synth). Carpmill's sister Olga Gerrard was at one time Faith No More's manager and it was through Carpmill that Jon first met FNM in 1989.
In 1993 Bill Gould produced a Systems Collapse demo. A year later Bill sent Jon the King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime demos and Jon recorded some ideas. The band of course opted to work with Spruance.
Jon landed a job as head guitar tech for Monster Magnet through Olga Gerrard who was their tour manager at the time.
"I was in a band in San Francisco called Systems Collapse, and the keyboard player knew Bill and the other guys, so I met Bill when Faith No More was out touring The Real Thing. It was becoming apparent that things weren't working out with Jim after the Angel Dust tours, so I wasn't surprised when they agreed to part ways. Later, Bill sent me some of the demo stuff for King For A Day. I recorded some ideas and sent them in. They were auditioning different guitar players at the time, and they obviously decided to work with Trey, which I think was a good call; he was perfect for that record." - Jon 2015
However in 1996 when FNM were again in need of a guitarist Bill approached Jon for a second time.
"I was pretty familiar with the band and Bill's sense of direction in terms of song writing and his approach with guitars. So, by the time he called me in early 1996, and said, 'We're in the middle of coming up with material for this next record - we were wondering if you'd give it another shot?', that was the perfect opportunity for me." - Jon 2015
"We have another guitarist. I really wish I could say that "this is the MAN!" and that everything's beautiful, but we've said that three fucking times already. I don't know any longer - it's either us or the guitarists. What I do know is that guitarists stink." - Patton 1997
There was no audition and Jon started to work with Bill straight away. Jon contributed a lot of ideas that made it onto Album Of The Year, including Stripsearch and Ashes To Ashes.
"We wrote some songs after he joined and he brought some of his own songs that he worked on for himself and then we started to to work on them together. That was really cool." - Bill 1997
"The kernel of that song [Stripsearch] came from John Hudson, our guitar player on the last album. Writing wise, we just weren't speaking the same language as Dean, the guitarist we were touring with, I had known John for years, and he said he could provide what were looking for... so he produced this midi file of an idea he'd had and it was pretty good. We changed it just a little bit, but it was his song. The most amazing thing was he wrote a song which worked with us and we didn't have to teach him to do it! Musically we connected. I think he was the first guitar player we had where that happened." - Bill 1998
Jon fitted perfectly into the mold the band wanted.
“Just to put in whatever's necessary. That's not to say a flashy part here and there isn't, because sometimes that's exactly what's called for. It's just a matter of being open to throwing out any ideas for music, just to see what sticks or what works with it, and then refining it from there. If there are solos, or there are spots for the guitar to stand out, hopefully the guitar makes its own little statement. If it doesn't, it's probably unnecessary, right? I would rather try to say something with fewer notes than to try to fill up space or overwhelm people with a bunch of notes that don't seem to matter." - Jon 2015
Jon had no hang ups about his predecessor's guitar parts.
"Live, I play what’s on the records and capture those tones. I don’t feel like it’s important for me to put my stamp on any of the songs, even the ones I worked on. I just play to serve the material."
"I've always liked the guitar parts on the other records - I've admired those records and their playing. I've never had any need to do it differently to the way it was recorded. I'm a fan of both of those guys, which is lucky because I'm playing their stuff all night!
"But I like playing what's on the record; I have no problem with that. If I go to see somebody else play, I pretty much would like to hear it the way it is on the record, so I don see any benefit in trying to change all the guitar parts." - Jon 2015
This era was the beginning of the end for FNM and after only 2 years with Hudson the band split up in 1998. During FNM's 11 year hiatus Jon began working in property management
"I got into property management in the Bay area. I needed a paycheck and it allowed me to reexamine the good fortune I already had. Music is supposed to be a big part of your life, it’s not supposed to consume your life. That’s hard to imagine when you’re really striving to make it, but that’s what I learned." - Jon 2015
However he did write songs with Bill for a project that never saw fruition.
"Nothing from that time period ended up on the album. I'm glad we worked on it, regardless of the outcome. We put together a batch of songs that had potential, but the project didn't develop much beyond that, so we shelved it and that's where it belongs. There's no reason to work backwards into the old stuff that never quite made it unless you appreciate running into some of the dead ends that you previously encountered. At best, it might give you an idea for something new that actually works, so perhaps you always hold onto it in some form or another." - Jon 2016
In 2008 Jon received the news that FNM would be reforming and his guitar services were required.
"I quit my job because I was tired of it. A few months later, I got word that Faith No More was starting up again. So it was very fortuitous and good timing." - Jon 2015
After 6 years touring the old material FNM released their seventh studio album Sol Invictus, the second to feature Jon.
"Writing and recording wasn't up for discussion during the reunion tour; we simply went out and played the existing material for several years, and we had no intention of doing anything else at that point. Although I don't think anyone else in the band had said, 'Well, we're never gonna make another record or write another song.'"
“Three years ago or thereabouts, Bill [Gould, bassist/producer] started throwing around some ideas, and we took one idea and arranged it really quickly and played it live [Matador], and that was a good way for us to get back into it again. At that point, it was still 'wait and see'. We decided that we were pleased with the way that turned out, so some more material started getting sent back and forth several months later.
"We've been working on this thing for two and a half years. We didn't have someone getting on our case to deliver something in any specific time frame. There was no pressure. So, we worked on it at our leisure. We took it piece by piece; there was no record label or publishing agreement to have to worry about." - Jon 2015
"The album represents another chapter in the story, right? To have continued touring in the absence of anything new would have veered off into territory that nobody wanted to find themselves in: rehashing the good old days. I don't hear this album going in the direction of the ones that preceded it, so in another sense, it's about moving forward and refusing to be constrained by the past." - Jon 2016
Jon is Faith No More's longest serving guitar player, he fits in perfectly with their style and attitude. In 2016 he told revealed to us that he is working on new material......let's hope we hear it soon!
"Actually, I am working on a few ideas right now. It's something that I wanted to focus on after the tour ended, so it's a good place to be in. I'll probably take stock and see what comes of it sooner rather than later, so we'll see." - Jon 2016
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