FAITH NO MORE | SPEX | August 1992
Spex Magazine | August 1992
by Andy Uhrlau
The singer of Faith No More and the first worldstar of smart metal entitles himself as an entertainment junkie. "i need input 24 hours a day", says Patton. To do so, he works in projects like Mr.Bungle, Naked City and Kronos Quartet. Go ahead!
Smart Metal - what is this? Only the different way of beeing a Rocker? Or is it a new way of life? Do you need smart or normal drugs for this? Mark Sikora examintes this new thing with the help of Faith No More and their fans.
Mike Patton's friend, Andy Uhrlau, met him at several opportunities at his home in San Francisco and backstage at Faith No More pre-shows for guns'n roses.
A well-chosen collection of ludicrous leather masks are watching a totally messed up of dirty underwear, videocassettes, magazines and one way packages. Here lives Michael Allen Patton with his old friend and Mr.Bungle guitarist Trey "Scummy" Spruance.
Outside there's the traffic of one of these endless Avenues of San Francisco, which are headed toward the Pacific.
The TV's on silent mode, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker is played on the Ghettoblaster. With an evil smile and pointed fingers he digs into the daily rubbish. The thing he shows me is a golden vinyl. "Isn't that ridiculous, I really haven't earned that!", he says while he looks at this shining golden thing, before he throws it back. The Atari baseball game with all the teams of the MLB is more important at the moment. "I need entertainment, 24 hours a day. If i have nothing to do, i go mad." laughs Patton, while he enters the first base with a skilled pressed button. Now it is Treys turn. The rest of the night was saved.
Three years have gone, since Patton left his homebase Eureka, in the north of california, and replaced Chuck Mosley as Faith No More's frontman.
In the late summer of 1988 bassist Bill Gould asked Patton if he would like to write some lyrics for the band. Three years of a band draft, which haven't been Pattons, are following. Faith No More toured within 1 and a half year 3 times through europe and easily filled big halls in america. Patton rages, pukes and is doing fire-spitting vowel acrobatics.
"Maybe I wanted to prove that I was the right choice. I came into a band which existed for many years. Besides I cannot do the same show again and again, like a circus clown I give everything."
It was Pattons fighting spirit which made a talented rock band a success story. For all that Patton admits that Mr. Bungle is a grown up band? Was Faith No More not a step back? "Of course, not", Patton says convinced. "I learned how to make music with faith No More ! With Mr.Bungle we made noise till it sounds like something we wanted to hear. We added that to a totally different passage to our recordings. Like a puzzle the songs emerged. Faith No More are working with a A, B and C part which are connected with each other." And so waited Pattons original band in the sleeping Eureka for the return of the lost child. In the end John Zorn, who owned the '89 demo OU818 and who used Patton for his european shows and some Torture Garden showcases in New York, was ready for the studio. Patton returned to to the west coast with wounded nipples, caused by the liquid wax of the 'Naked Torture' performances. David Byrson was behind the controller, John Zorn did the finishing touches. After even the In-Effect label (24-7 Spyz, Heads Up, Limbo Maniacs) refused to sign Mr.Bungle, because the thought their lyrics are obscene, they just signed at Warner. In the summer of '91 they released their debut 'Mr.Bungle', which included all the songs of the OU 818 demo, except the unpublished 'Mr. Nice Guy', and the six years old Carousel and Egg which are on the 'The Raging Wrath Of The Eastern Bunny' (1986) and 'God Fuckin' Damn It, But I Love America' (1987) demos. Both have been recorded on a 4-track machine in the garage of the Mr.Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, who earned money for a better equipment by playing Beatles hits in bars.
"Playing with Mr.Bungle" says Patton "has always been like having really good sex, and that's what we coulnd't have enough of when we were 15 years old and stayed in our village." MTV wanted to play the 'Quote Unquote' video (originally title: 'Travolta'), but after they saw it they put it on the black list, because of violence. --[I'm not sure if black list is the equivalent name of the list where cencored things are on?]--. Dead bodies are in the video, which hang on the ceiling of a factory. A lot of masked freaks are dancing around a beheaded barbie doll, while Mike drilles a golden cross into his bleeding left cheek. "Real art has never been shown on MTV" Patton takes comfort. He still didn't like to put a sale promoting 'Mike Patton - the Voice of FNM' sticker on the Mr.Bungle albums. "I didn't want to connect Mr.Bungle with my person and so I created the Vlad Drac pseudonym. Mr.Bungle is a band. It is not only *MY* project, besides a average FNM fan wouldn't like our "Death-Circus-Cartoon-Disco-Rock" sound. Last but not least this fall Mr.Bungle is releasing the EP "Thunderball" and a homevideo, which shows the complex draft of the band. You will see the banned MTV video and cuts of the US Mr.Bungle tour.
With a pilot overall from the gulf war and a leather mask of his private collection, Patton blows for the attack. Charlie Parkers 'Yardbird Suite' is fired as well as 'Drug me' from the Dead Kennedys.
Bad words and green elastic saliva torpedo in a super fast style (approximate 70 words in 14 seconds) the unprotected ears of mainly under aged people. Mike Pattons word pieces are flying over Trey Spurance' Stratocoaster riffs and the speed grooves of Danny Heifetz (who really is a descendant of the world famus violin player with the same name.) A intended chaos discharge in many exploding melodic volleys. In the endless up and down of obscure stories about the good old in-out game you are about to see a free sightseeing tour in the red light district. Relaxing jazz passages create a crawl, till vomit voice Patton welcomes you to the collective ejaculation: "I was trained to fuck you, baby, yeah, yeah, ouww".
After two hours a long night ends. The satisfied and confused listener is released and can go home. "Maybe we're maniacs or just simply prepubescent bastards. I fight for that; besides, people shouldn't feel safe at our shows. That's why it is good when they never know what will happen in our shows. They will be tortured and stroked. They seem to enjoy it, the're coming back. We are just reacting to our sick environment and we're learning how to make fun of our own picture in the mirror."
Patton finds his topics in his owm environment. 'Dead Goon' is about one of his former friends who was mentally handicapped and he cared about up to that day he was found dead. "This little boy strangled himself with the nylons of his unnatural mother, who gave him lemonade instead of mothermilk. It was like a game, which ends tragically.", Patton recalls while he stroke both hands over his face, "Later the police found out that he was masturbating while he played with the tights. To that time I've been really shocked, this boy was 11 years old. It is like a self therapy, if I use those events to write my lyrics. Sometimes it makes "click" and things, who scared and shocked me, are now interesting. You disgust yourself - click - you love it. Things like that fascinates me. Homosexuality, sodomy and human crisis are my topics.The look behind the front of so called regular people ." Freedom of speech a la Patton enjoyed the audience of the Hamburg Marquee Club, when Faith No More played a secret gig doing their tour with Guns'n Roses. "I've seen Axls Rose every day", Patton tells the people, attracting their attention, "I wanted to tell you something, ever since I first saw him he has this little piece of dried sperma right here on his lip", the people are laughing, "Wanna know what?" Patton adds after a little break "It's mine!". Patton enjoys the intimate atmosphere, walks through the club and welcomes the visitors personally. A metal star to be touched, who always says what he thinks. Even Motoerhead's Lemmy threatened Patton once with beating him as Patton defamed respectles other musicians. Did you bring up your kids like this?
In the beginning of the fifties Elvis Presley helped the popular crossover between R'n'B, Country & Western, gospel and hillbilly to be world famous. Today, in the early 90's Mr.Bungle emerges Jazz, Funk and HipHop of the east coast with the white Rock/Pop/Metal of the west coast. On the Virus 100 sampler Patton sounds like Elvis when he's doing the Dead Kennedy song "Let's Lynch The Landlord" and he confess his sypathy with th king. "A interesting man and great performer. Nevertheless he has been destroyed by the same people who loved him like a god." Nice destiny - Patton works with his Faith No More buddies on a, for the beginning of the next year planned to be released, Muzak EP. You can hear immortal evergreen from Sinatra to Manilow on this EP. "Isn't recording these things the greatest thing? This stuff is many times harder than Napalm Death or Godflesh or what we've ever done with Faith No More. When you have to hear this, the only thing I can do is to freak out."
Together with Scummy and Patton lies the next John Zorn LP, work from the french poetess Jean Genet, to music. For his friends Kronos Quartet Patton writes in the fall some songs. The violinbow is a new challenge and with a painful face you try to produce something useful for Kronos Quartet, whose "Quartet No.8" is used as a sample in the Faith No More song "Malpractice". "Kronos Quartet wanted to write something for that album too, but they didn't like my lyrics. To thank them now I write something for them."
For Patton is work the middle of his life. Like a hunted animal he neither save his spare power nor his private moments. He hurries from project to project, from gig to gig. Studio recordings followed by video shots and world tours, meanwhile he refuses interesting offers until he writes new lyrics for Y, while he is on tour with X. "If you want to know what's behind the show", says the Mr.Bungle song 'Carousel', "Ride my carousel, enter life's jail-cell" compassion not wanted!