FAITH NO MORE | May 1990 | Melody Maker
Despite drinking, screwing, beating the crap out there of each other and enjoying themselves far more than is safe and healthy, Faith No More are on top of the world - Hit singles, queues of autograph hunters, huge venues and appearances on Top Of The Pops.
Neil Perry hitched a ride on their recent British tour and witnessed their moronic inferno take light.
Melody Maker | 05.05.1990
Charge Of The Fright Brigade
By Neil Perry
Balanced on the edge of the stage Faith No More's Mike Patton hangs inches from a mini-forest of clawing, grasping hands. He stares, wide-eyed, unbelieving; down below a security man implores the singer not to lean any further, knowing full well that if Patton is dragged in, they probably won't be able to help him. As the rest of the band churn through "War Pigs" all is chaos stage-centre; bodies upon bodies pile into the pit, and one bouncer, having just caught two bedraggled fans, is unable to avoid a third who flies into him —thwack — hitting him right between the eyes. People are passing out, people are bleeding, people are laughing while they bleed. Glasgow Barrowlands, packed to bursting point, is going insane. What the hell is happening?
The gig was just one of Faith No More's recent triumphs, closely preceded by their debut appearance on "Top Of The Pops", the latest victory in a hard-fought campaign that began over a year ago with the release of their "The Real Thing" LP. This is the fourth UK visit on the strength of that record. The first time, in London, the band played two nights at the Marquee. By the time you read this, FNM will have walked away from one show at Hammersmith Odeon and another at Brixton Academy.
"The Real Thing" proved to be a record you could slam to, dance to, go screaming friggin' mental to and, if the "TOTP" audience is a gauge of anything, clap along and go "Whoo!" to as well. Not so much five worlds colliding, like the previous LP, "Introduce Yourself", but more like one world exploding. Or so it seems.
IT'S a weird tale, from the days of beer and loathing and "We Care A Lot" two years ago to now. It's all about great stonking rock songs unfettered by convention, an unquenchable thirst for adventure and the arrival of the highly compatible, highly marketable, new cock on the block Mike Patton. Not that he, nor the rest of the band, has a real concrete handle on what's going on. They just believe they should be there.
The inner world of Faith No More is not greatlydifferent from that of five years ago. They all still hold an inherent fascination (and occasional disgust) for each other, and to avoid being driven mad by their intense touring schedule, they now indulge in their own internal mind games with renewed enthusiasm. It keeps them alive; when you don't know if you're the hunter or the hunted, life's a gas.
"Maybe we all have different scams going against each other," titters Patton before the Glasgow show. "I don't know! It's boredom. You gotta become obsessed with something you see every day... torture is one of those things."
As in "Zombie Eaters" (one of the countless high points on the last album, a bizarre litany of mental cruelty)? "Yeah! Exactly! But in doing that you're also torturing yourself, because you're being a stupid little idiot, a brat. But you still do it."
PATTON'S youth fulness is obvious within the band environment. While the others seem to be conserving their energy, he expends his recklessly. "Sometimes I feel pretty distant, I don't really know the others. Playing is comfortable, but personality wise... the age has something to do with it, they give me shit for what I'm into and me them. When I first met them I thought, 'Oh, these old f***ers, I don't wanna play with these dicks'. But it worked.
"I mean. Puffy (drummer Mike Bordin), I think his scope of vision ranges a lot further than most humans. To me, Jim (Martin, guitar) is a cartoon, he's just this thing that keeps on going, a gigantic sore thumb that sticks out wherever he goes. We laugh at each other, each other's misfortunes, about 90 cent per of the time. Sometimes I genuinely hate one of the band, I want to fight them."
Patton talks briefly about his other band back in California, Mr Bungle, and looks amused.
"The others started out not caring, but I think it's getting kinda weird now. I like that. I enjoy being in uncomfortable situations."
Maybe this is because, understandably, the prospect of playing many more gigs doing the same songs is beginning to pale.
"I hate the songs now. But coming into this band, woah! I wasn't used to singing that stuff. I got kinda steered. When I first joined, I got kinda pushed around, not by the band, but other people. But the new stuff is going to be real crucial. You know, I don't know if there is one point, direction, opinion... just cess, bubbling up."
You're confused, aren't you? "ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY! I'll admit to that! Tasty stuff, confusion."
YOU shouldn't, of course, take any of this to heart. The guy's having a ball. Frustrated, maybe, but having a ball all the same. Chuck, a man who Patton so successfully replaced, once described bassist Bill Could as a man with many demons.
"Yeah, he was f***in' one of em," sniggers Bill as he occupies the vacated interview chair.
"You came at a good time man, it still gets tense. We just co-operate more, cos we don't see any break in sight right now."
It's still the same things that keep you all amused, isn't it?
"Haaaaargh. Sad to say! Ha! The same little things! Ha ha ha ha ha! It's interesting now, because what was always in our own heads is reflecting onto the outside world, and while it hasn't changed that much for us personally, things are changing. As you know, part of our humour is being assholes, talking shit, negativity is fun. It's disheartening when you say something real f***ed up to people to make fun and nobody laughs, and they get sad! Ha! That's a drag, I've been noticing that, and it's because we're getting a younger crowd. I mean, 'Top Of The Pops', have we been hearing about that.. . a pop crowd is not known for its intelligence."
Are you coping with doing for many other people what you once did just for yourself?
"Well," says Gould, "when we write new songs it'll be for the same f***in' reason. But we've been playing for a long time, I don't have much anger left in me at the moment"
Was Mike Patton manipulated?
"No, we let him do whatever he wants, but I think we could have directed him a little more. He's getting his perspective, while we've all had eight years. Like last night, he's saying a Top 40 single doesn't mean shit, he has no scale, no perspective. He's going through shocks every day."
You all behave better nowadays?
"Yeah! We still all hate each other, it's just more sly! Ha ha ha!"
Roddy (Bottum, keyboards) is very mellow.
"Hmmm, I'll have to keep an eye on him. Jim is still Jim, he never lets up. I did see him let up once, but he was on three hits of acid, ha ha ha! I saw a human glint in his eye, but it went away as quickly as it came."
THE guitarist takes his turn for a few quick words before the gig. Jim Martin is both amused and amusing, and he recently incurred the wrath of one blind hack who failed to see beyond the man's performing beer monster persona. Does the band help you become better people?
"Not really. We're all human, you get to see various subtle shades of good and evil. We do, at times, help each other to be better at being good or evil. And, of course, you can choose to be confused , and that's a dangerous game to play. Schizophrenia ¡s definitely a FNM trait, it always seems to have been that way. Our previous LPs were a little less that way, but it's getting more so. More little kids, you know?"
THAT afternoon, and in Bradford the day before, the band had been overwhelmed by the amount of people who had turned up for some in-store autograph sessions— roughly 500 fans had filed through Glasgow's 23rd Precinct record shop, some of whom could barely see over the counter, hence Bill and Jim's observations about younger crowds.
So what do you want from Faith No More, Jim?
"To be f*"in' top, top dog, top of the heap. All that shite."
Half an hour later Jim's corkscrew mane is whipping the air as FNM start up the frenzy with "From Out Of Nowhere", transformed from the "TOTP" jerk-off to a slice of rampaging, pulsating life shredded through a few minutes of metallic heaven. And, if Patton's attitude really is "couldn't give a f*"" as he'd claimed earlier, he's hiding it well.
In the band's hotel afterwards, Roddy battles with fatigue to reveal his thoughts.
"it's more like a job at the moment, it's kinda fun being analysed more. You know, oh, these five extremely different individuals.. . it is true, but it's getting exploited more now. There was, is, fighting, but because the press focused on it we played it up. We have no time to think at the moment, we're getting fat and lazy, don't have the energy to defend ourselves so much nowadays."
Is the success pulling you all towards a more common ground?
"There's no common ground at all, apart from loud, heavy and loud. No common philosophy about life in general, none whatsoever. But this is a high-profile time— 10 million people for 'TOTP', insane! People that never knew anything about us. And, I like the idea of fooling 10 million people that I'm playing and having a great time, that's funny."
AND so onto Mike Bordin, or as Jim would have it, the Puffy phenomenon. Bordin, as well as being one of the most shit-hot drummers you will ever witness, is also not like the others. He is the band's current, as well as long-standing, obsession. He knows it. It's a good
"Those f***ers, I bet they all predict what I'm going to do, right?"
Yup. They say, Puffy's going to do this now.. . and you do. He shrugs.
"It's very important to me to play drums every night, that's the only thing in my life. It satisfies me, most nights, that's the only reason I'm here, not for my f***in' social life. I hate parties, they make me uncomfortable. I like quiet. I know what I need to do in order to do what I have to do. Oh yeah, there's the piss-taking, but it's all just a bunch of words, and I'm not that interested
The rest of the band reckon you must have a very interesting view of them ... "Like I notice, Inobserve, I catalogue, right? When I sit in the corner my myself, I'm not f**kin' spying on the others, I'm there because I want to be. Simple. It's a f***in' circus, but, by the same token, I can't say the guys are clicks and three-year-olds. We've all got an intense amount of pride in what we do, and to maintain that, everybody has their own way. I just get uncomfortable in places so I don't do it, why should I? I relax or see a friend, one on one, it means more, rather than being hilarious, 'Hey girls, wanna see my tattoos?'"
Mike hits his drums so hard that he regularly breaks four or five sticks a night. He is, for 90 minutes an evening, Faith No More incarnate— uncompromising, ruthless and unstoppable. The rest of the time he indulges in precious self-preservation and lets the others get on with the mental activity.
What about Mike Patton?
"Tricky... it must be insanely difficult and weird coming into a band like this. Before he joined he'd never been on an airplane, had been to LA maybe once. Comes from a small town, you know? He s real smart kid, but he knows as much as he wants to know. We all have our f***in' problems."
Later, in the small hours, Jim muses on what, exactly, is going on.
"We're just trying to help Puffy. I'm his doctor, I took it upon myself to help this poor man. I figured I was stuck with him for a while, so I had to do something.
Look, he has a talent, and that's for scamming free swag. Before, he used to do it for himself, and everyone else be damned. Now, he's working for us!
This is progress! If somebody has a talent, I think you're a wise man if you can spot it and exploit it. Not in a
bad way, but to help them utilise it. That's the business we're in, isn't it, exploitation?"
Does it bother you being called a cartoon?
"F*** no! Whatever suits them. Cartoons are bigger than life, man. Cartoon characters can do anything!
Are the band headed where it wants to be headed?
"You thought, when Chuck left, we were doomed to die a horrible death, right? So this has gotta make you figure that, despite the eccentricities and all the f** in' little games, that we know where we want to take this thing. The band — and by that I mean the guys who play the instruments— has been together for quite a while, we all understand each other pretty good, so it's stable. Mike Patton, we don't know much about him in comparison. But he's important, and I think he'll stay around. Unless something bad happens to him."