MIKE PATTON 30 years with FAITH NO MORE
OK, OK....this is not entirely accurate! What would be precise is to say is that Mike Patton has been a member of Faith No More for around 19 years (from 1999 to 2008 doesn't count). However it is 30 years since he joined the band.
Chuck Mosley performed his last Faith No More show on May 24th 1988 in London. The band had tired of his drunken antics and fist fights and after a few months deliberation he was dumped. The hunt then began for a new singer who could fit into their particular unit.
Two years previously Mike Patton had appeared on FNM's radar as he had handed a Mr. Bungle demo tape to the band. Patton was studying English at University and had a job in The Works, Eureka's only local record store, when he got calls from both Jim Martin and Mike Bordin asking him to audition.
"People were calling us and saying, 'Yeah, I heard your tape from Jim Martin and I was like, 'What? Who's Jim Martin?' Then one day I get this call from this old-man-sounding guy: 'Hey man, wanna come down and jam? This is Jim from Faith No More. I just really resisted at first, I was really flobbergasted, like, 'Wow, I can't do this' I wasn't In a situation that I wanted to change." - Mike Patton 1989
"Yeah Puffy called, the band diplomat. And I think the reason I did it was opportunity, to have a laugh, I'm not sure. I know my first reaction was 'I can't'. I was going to school, I was in a band, maybe I could do it on my Summer vacation but I didn't want it interfering with what I was doing up there. As I remember, Puffy was greasing me in a peculiar way like,. ‘We really like your tape and we're thinking of a couple of guys, maybe you could come down and practise." - Bill Gould 1993
Patton hesitated at first but eventually made the 10 hour journey to San Francisco with Bungle bandmates Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn in tow.
" I resisted it. I honestly did. Oddly enough, some of my friends in Mr. Bungle were like, 'Just do this. It doesn't mean you have to leave our band'. At that time, I was more concerned with completing my degree and finishing school. I didn't see Faith No More as some yellow brick road to success or failure anything. I just thought I would try it. The music wasn't quite what I was about at the time but I took it as a challenge." - Mike Patton 2013
After Patton, Faith No More auditioned a handful of vocalists (which included a jam with Chris Cornell) but very quickly decided Patton was their man, the newly completed five piece then set about creating their next album.
The music was mostly written already and a selection of songs even had a first draft of lyrics and vocals by Chuck.
"Billy, Mike Bordin and I wrote at a rehearsal space in Hunter's Point. It was among the first batch of songs that we wrote after Chuck left the band. Typically, the three of us would get the skeleton of a song going on, and then get Jim Martin to put his guitar part on. Sometimes Billy would write [Martin's] guitar part for him." - Roddy Bottum 2009
"I had written stuff for about 3 or 4 songs, but had stopped working on them when I knew I was gonna be fired. I would have to hear the songs to remember, cause I can't name them by title, one of them became a single, I think, but not positive...maybe Falling To Pieces might have been one of them." - Chuck Mosley 2013
"At first, yeah, I was nervous because the other guy had a distinct style and everybody liked him, but they made it very comfortable for me, encouraged me to be myself and do my own thing. The fans were another thing, but I was getting great reactions, so that really helped. The music is still similar to what it was before, but my voice is real different. He was really off-the-cuff, more spontaneous, had his own thing going." - Mike Patton 1990
After a short time rehearsing Patton set about writing lyrics and had most of the album completed within a week. It took him around a fortnight to write drafts for the whole album.
"We rehearsed for two months straight. They had all the material on tape, I wrote the lyrics, then in the studio we just had to get the songs tight" - Mike Patton 1990
"Mike (Patton) came in when we had some songs demoed and within a week he had seven of 'em finished with all the harmony parts worked out." - Bill Gould 1989
"I was really impressed with Patton. The band had already written all the music, and he was given just two weeks to come up with all the lyrics and melodies. He really rose to the occasion. He's the most phenomenal singer I've ever worked with, and when he's backed against the wall he s absolutely brilliant." - Matt Wallace 2002
"Patton was asked to write the lyrics for that record. And he did that within 12 days - he wrote all the lyrics and melodies. And basically, he said: 'Hey guys, can I make this part longer or this part shorter?' And they said: 'No.' So the the music was done, and they were taking no input from Patton about arrangements. He was singing really nasally and also his pitch on record was not as good as I knew it could be," says Wallace. "I was just like: 'Why don't you Just hit the notes?' And he goes: 'No man, this is my style.' Because he'd sing the song on tape, and he'd do this amazing, really full voice. I'm like: 'That's the voice! Get that on the dam tape!'. He was like: 'No man, I don't want to do it'. "I never asked Patton this directly, but one of two things happened - one, he was trying to keep that kind of snotty, punky, rap persona, and that was important for him to have that snotty attitude on the recording. Or another possibility was that he still had a lot of loyalties with Mr Bungle, and I think he wanted to separate himself as the singer from Mr Bungle and Faith No More." - Matt Wallace 2009
"Right from the get-go, Mike's takes on some of the songs were not arty. They were very catchy pop music takes. At the same time, we knew his background and his takes on the other songs were in the complete opposite direction—very arty and weird. And that back and forth kind of embodied what we were doing at the time. It was a weird breed of hard rock with loud guitars and keyboards, and he had the scope to do it. I remember when he first sang us his take on Falling to Pieces, and it was like, "Whoah! He's gonna sing it like that? It was a straight-ahead pop song with harmonies, really slick-sounding. But then a song like 'Surprise! You're Dead! was like extreme, arty, noisy stuff. It was a really neat balance." - Roddy Bottum 2013
Sometime in October 1988, FNM recorded at least four of the new songs they had completed with Patton on four track Tascam tape. This demo would be used to showcase their new lineup to the record company.
"When we were looking for a singer, we were just looking for anybody at all. We figured if they could hear what we were playing, if they were musical enough to sink into what we were doing then it'd be OK. The majority of singers didn't have a clue. They didn't hear what we were hearing. Patton already had ideas in his head when he came and tried out with us, and l could tell that what he was doing was on the right track. I had always hoped Chuck would sing a little more soulfully, because I felt that our songs had that potential and it wasn't being used. That was the angle that Patton took, and that's exactly what convinced me. It blew my mind how quickly became up the lyrics for the songs. I have tapes of the early four-track stuff and it was really cool, really exciting to hear." - Bill Gould 1993
"I know we did demos with Mike, just to show the label we did have a singer in place. And we also did a crazy photo shoot with him, just so they'd have a picture as well. It was in this little punk-style studio, and we looked insane. I'd got snot hangin' out of my nose... It was really punk! Roddy and Billy were from Los Angeles so they stayed at home while we did the album. But neither Jim nor I were natives so we ended up staying in the Oakwood Apartments in California, which was a huge block where loads of bands used to stay while recording. I recall that Metallica were finishing up ... "And Justice For All" at the time, and they hung out a lot with Jim. Now, this was in an era before mobile phones and we didn't have a phone in our apartment, probably trying to save money, so Jim and I couldn't keep in contact with anyone, Our day used to start at about 5pm when we'd go down to the studio, Jim was a night owl. He'd stay up until about 5am. and then sleep through the afternoon.The two of us worked on our own in the studio. Jim had come up with a lot of music for the album, including Surprise! You're Dead.' (which actually goes back to a 1970s band called Agents Of Misfortune. featuring Jim and future Metallica bassist Cliff Burton), Zombie Eaters Falling To Pieces. We'd be finished by about 10pm.. and then go out to party. One day Jim and I went in early ~ and there were Billy and Roddy, working on stuff! It was the first time we'd seen them. so we all sat down and went through loads of ideas. That was a really positive time for the band. We were getting along really well, and just played each other various things. For instance. Roddy had something he'd been working on: Jim took this, and turned it into Woodpecker From Mars" - Mike Bordin 2009
On November 4th 1988 Faith No More played at the IBeam in their hometown of San Francisco, it was the first live performance with Patton fronting the band. Steffan Chirazi, who had already championed FNM since 1987 and written the band's only magazine feature in Kerrang!, wrote this preview.
Bam Magazine | October 1988
FAITH NO MORE - I Beam SF.
Your chance to check out the new version of the SF funk/punk/metal/rap kingpins. New vocalist Mike Patton of Mr Bungle has come on board to replace Chuck Mosley. Early indications are that the group's moving in a more metal direction. These guys are god-like in England by the way.
"The first show I did was in San Francisco about November 1988, and after the gig the bouncer brought this note back and said, 'Some girl asked me to give this to you' I'm like, 'Oh great, cool, neat- my first groupie!' And silly me, the note read: 'You stupid, sexist, macho asshole. What are you doing? Get off the stage. Where's Chuck? He rocks... All this stuff you know. I just went, 'Killer! I'm going home '" - Mike Patton 1990
However Chirazi's review of the show was much more complimentary
BAM Magazine | December 1988.
Who knew what to expect when FNM unveiled their new singer at The IBeam recently? But Patton lay waste to the band 's previous singer. Patton's advantages. He wasn't drunk, he can sing, he can dance. He has energy and conviction. The band seems recharged and ready to roar with new material that could break the band big. By the evening's end, the scene sported a return to real ugliness, broken glasses, a broken camera and a piece of Patton hate mail that read 'You guys were cool, but get this long haired asshole off the stage...' To the person that write that - stop taking drugs and realise it when talent spits you in the face.
We spoke to Bill about the show and although his memory was hazy he confirmed that the set list was mainly comprised of songs from The Real Thing and according to Chirazi From Out Of Nowhere, Falling To Pieces, Surprise! You're Dead!, Woodpecker From Mars and Underwater Love were in the set as were As The Worm Turns, We Care A lot and War Pigs with also a strong possibility that The Cowboy Song was in there too!
In a previous article on this subject we spoke about this show being filmed and appearing in the From Out Of Nowhere video. This however seems to be very unlikely, we spoke to Andrew Bowie from Faith No More Gig Database and this is his theory.
The Real Story says the footage in the From Out Of Nowhere video was recorded at 'Patton's second gig with the band at I-Beam'. I've always read that as the second gig with the band ever, but it seems more likely it was meant as the second gig with the band at the I-Beam venue.
Again thanks to BAM Magazine we have record of three I-Beam Faith No More shows when before The Real Thing is released: 4th November 1988, 24th February 1989 and 7th April 1989.
If we take The Real Story at it's word, the 24th February gig would be the I-Beam show The Real Story refers to. If so, the band managed to play a gig the next day in Berkley, and keep touring throughout March, even though Patton's hand was badly cut.
It seems more likely the 7th April 1989 gig is the gig where Patton hurt his hand as there isn't any record of any gigs after this date until June. The band is known to have taken a break around this time, with reasons including "to enable Jim Martin to have surgery" and also due to Patton's "unfortunately accident".
As further evidence, an article on Faith No More by Michael Snyder in the San Francisco Chronicle from 9th July 1989 says:
"A couple of months ago, Patton could have written a symphony of misery. The occasion was a video shoot for the new LP at an I Beam gig. First, Patton cracked his front tooth in half on his mike stand. Then, during the band's cover of the Black Sabbath number, "War Pigs," Patton lost his footing, tumbled forward and smashed his hand against a broken bottle on the edge of the stage, severing a tendon. He finished the show and, the next day, spent 5 1/2 hours in microscopic reconstructive surgery. "The nerve is growing back," he said, "and we got it all on film."
A couple of months before early July (and more likely mid June when the article was likely written) would fit with April.
We have acquired the only full review of the show written, by Steffan Chirazi from issue 215 of Kerrang! magazine. This would also prove to be the very first time Patton was mentioned in any mainstream publication.
Kerrang! | Issue 215 | 26.11.1988
Faith 2 Faced
IT STINKS in here, and this is a reminder as to what ugly spent sweat smells like. It's a different stench to that of normal live sweat, for when Faith No More decide to cook, it's than just perspiration, it's mucus, gob and hair, stale farts and a whole lotta twisted love. And Faith No More, new singer and new songs, are cooking up a vile one. For all those who thought life began with Chuck Mosley, read on and learn. Faith No More are one of those
beasts that, when firing on all five cylinders, produce enough gagworthy stenches and horrorstricken sounds to induce even the most passive bunch into a state of mass delirium. I personally only ever saw it once before, the full cylinder shot that is, a show in San Francisco's Fillmore where Chuck wasn't drunk out of his mind, wasn't arguing and was therefore at ease with the rest of the band.
Some say Faith No More rely inner hatreds to achieve their sound. That's just a load of
pretentious unnecessary and analytical bollocks. Mike Patton, 20 years old and cute enough to doubly cover the admittedly interesting antics of Mosley, behaves like a cold turkey with cabin fever to match. He doesn't simply eat the floor, he swallows the whole damn
thing with one utterly enormous gulp, spitting bits of it back as the evening progresses into the completely chaotic organisation that is Faith No More. Jim Martin, glasses rested for the evening, wobbles his head both in time and then in dismay when his second guitar comes
through sounding like six cats being slammed off a wail by the nastiest bastard you never knew.But he does not get overly aggravated, he merely tunes, takes a turn to the left and is
immediately pushed to the ground by the charging Patton. Martin stays down, happy to be
there, and Patton goes on to break one camera, six glasses, a mike stand and nearly 'Puffy'
Bordin's kick drum. Quite impressive for a man of his age. And before the cries of 'so what, can he sing?' rain down, the man would leave the crispest lark at a loss. He can not only sing, he gives old FNM songs an identity and range as well as making new material seem so much more huge, so much more versatile. Remember, these new songs were written with a voice in mind as well as four instruments. Pick of the new ones must be the sick head-whipper 'Sailor Song' (Surprise You're Dead)', an ugly melee of guitar crunch and rhythms big enough to collapse your chest cavity, whilst 'The Violin Song' gives Rowdy Rod the chance to fuck around with some expertise before ushering in a song of might and meat. The sound, of course, was piss awful but then who expected anything else here. We were here to see if Patton had the feet to match the old boots. His feet simply squished in and split the crusty leather apart. Mike Patton has big, big boots and Faith No More have new tough soles, it's gonna be a mighty march forward, rest assured.