Faith No More 'The Real Thing' 30th anniversary Q&A with the band



Faith No More’s pioneering breakthrough album The Real Thing was released on Tuesday June 20th 1989. It was the first studio album to feature a 20 year old Mike Patton on vocals and saw the band explore more musical styles than ever before. It took some time to gain traction but by the end of 1990 The Real Thing was a platinum selling record.

The third album from the band was nominated for a Grammy, received praising reviews and featured as album of the year in Kerrang!, Sounds and RIP Magazine.

In the last 30 years many have cited The Real Thing as an influence and in 2019 it is now heralded by fans and contemporaries alike as one of the greatest albums of all time.

We at Faith No More Followers were keen to mark the 30th anniversary with something extraordinarily special, we therefore approached the band to take part in discussions about the record. However we were aware that fans have never had the chance to quiz Faith No More about this amazing collection of songs.

Now YOU do! We have arranged for the three core members of Faith No More to answer YOUR questions. 

Bill Gould, Roddy Bottum and Mike Bordin have kindly agreed to take part in The Real Thing 30th Anniversary Question and Answer Session hosted by ourselves.

You can pose as many questions as you like to one or more of the band members in the comments below or across our social media platforms: 

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Please make sure you state your name, what part of the world you are located in and who your questions are directed towards.

As we expect to receive a tremendous amount of comments we will select the best to propose to the band and they will answer those they choose from this selection.

All questions must be placed before May 22nd 2019 for consideration.

the band have promised us they will be as detailed and forthcoming as possible.

To be in with a better chance of having your query answered here are a few tips.
Make sure your question is in reference to the writing, recording or touring of The Real Thing album, and that it is aimed at the correct band member. Remember this is all about the album's 30 year legacy so make your questions appropriate to the occasion.
Since 1989 Faith No More have spoken about this album on many occasions. Make sure you are not asking a question that has been answered numerous times before. You could read through some articles in our archive and we recommend that you read the The Real Thing chapter in Adrian Harte’s biography Small Victories : The True Story of Faith No More.
Remember this is a celebration of the album. Feel free to ask questions on serious and significant subjects or even add a little humour but don’t try to bait the band or be negative.
Our deadline is May 22nd so there’s plenty of time for you to think about what you really want to discover and how to put this into words. You don’t have to be a journalist to ask an important question but make your entry something to which the band members will enjoy replying.
As soon as we have collected the replies from Bill, Roddy and Mike we will publish them at faithnomorefollowers.com. Please be patient, the band members have kindly promised to take part and to get the best responses will take some consideration.

So get thinking, get writing and good luck!

Comments

  1. Hey! I'm Wyatt from Missouri! This question is directed towards Bill. I'd like to ask what bass rig did you use in the recording of the record? I know you started to use Aria Pro II SB Integra's basically exclusively around this point in your history and I know that the Integra was the main bass you used on that album drim what I've read, though you also were still using the Gibson Grabber bass sparingly too in some points of '87 and '88. And you used Peavey amps too along with what you said a long time back a DOD Bass Flanger and Ibanez Tube Screamer... I'd just like to know if the Grabber was used on The Real Thing or if it's mark was left on WCAL and IY. And what other equipment you used in the recording. Sorry for the long question. Have a great day y'all! STATION!

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  2. Hi, Dan from Belgium. What were your impressions and feelings about Mike when he joined the band and sang for the first time in rehearsal ? Same for the first show with him during The real thing tour, can you remember how it happened? Thank you guys, have a nice day and happy 30th birthday !!!

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  3. Hi guys, I'm Alex from France. I'd like to know whose the must involved in the writing of Zombie Eaters and Woodpecker from mars please ?Thanks, and best regards!!!

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  4. Frank from San Francisco!

    When writing the songs, how much (if at all) did the bay area music scene change the course of the material? Did you ever happen to hear other bands doing something similar and alter your compositions to avoid being lumped in or pigeonholed?

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  5. Hi, James from Sheffield.
    The version of Epic that you took on the road was substantially different to the recorded version, with lots of different parts in the second half the song. Were those parts composed after the song was laid down and come out organically when you were on tour or did you always have them but you decided not to embellish the second half of the song when you recorded it?

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    1. when they perform the song live Roddy likes to shout the word "so" at the same time as when it is time for Patton to say that and throws a high harmony on the chorus

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  7. Hello, I'm Mike Mayberry from Eugene Oregon. My question is for all three, really, but I guess I'll direct it at Billy; Could you please give us some details on the song "The Cowboy Song?" Like, when and how it was written? Why it was chosen to be demoed early? Is it an older song? Was it written when Chuck was still there? If so, what was that version like? Why was it left off The Real Thing? Was this one of those infamous cases where Patton had to be told to kinda tone down the more violent imagery in his lyrics? The subject matter is rather explicitly dark! Perhaps that's why it was omitted? Has it ever been performed live? If not, how come? Would you ever consider bringing it back or revisiting it in any way? It is a personal favorite. In fact, I would love it if that one, Underwater Love and/or Crack Hitler came back in the set! But I digress...
    Thanks for all the great music! Love & respect!

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  9. Hello ! My name is Cristian Vera Duarte and I'm from Buenos Aires Argentina.
    my question is addressed to Mike Bordin:
    What was the inspiration you had to find its particular and characteristic sound on the drums when recording on the disc?
    Thank you !!! And regards!!!🤘

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  10. Kate again,
    Will you ever release some of your personal footage and photos of the band. You guys MUST have a lot between the 3 of you. Can we see???

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  11. Kate/CA what are some of the worst pranks you've done on each other on tour?

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  12. Hi, Ricky from Australia. There is one topic that I am surprised you never get asked about in interviews, and it is related to The Real Thing era. Shortly after the albums release Faith No More toured Europe. One show the band played was at the Loft in Berlin on November 9th, 1989. That date is also quite significant as it was also the night the Berlin wall was torn down. Can you please talk about your experiences that night?

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  13. Hey fellas, Mike from Melbourne here. People always credit Nirvana or Pixies with the 'quiet verse exploding into a loud chorus thing', but you could argue Epic was the first huge song to do that, as it preceded grunge by a couple of years. My question to Bill is, was there any intention from the outset of arranging the song in this style - was it a conscious choice? Interested also to hear any thoughts on dynamics in general when it comes to arranging FMN tunes.

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  14. Hello. Rob from Brooklyn.
    Were the titles Woodpecker from Mars and Zombie Eaters off the cuff or was there a backstory?
    Is that keyboard or guitar making the sounds in the first 20 seconds of The Real Thing?
    Helmet, sorry to jump slightly ahead but very curious if you had much of a relationship with the Helmet guys or if it was just a tour matchup that the promoter picked?
    Thanks Faith No More! My most influential album ever!

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  15. Hello. Brad from Anaheim. Roddy, your keyboards for the title track are so emotive. Do you go in with concrete suggestions that get approved by the other members or does someone say something like, "a riff that evokes sadness. . ." I'm thinking about the keyboard parts during "like the way you cry for a happy ending . . ."

    Amazing song, btw!

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  16. Hello, David from Portugal.
    First of all, thank you guys for creating the best band in the world. I started playing bass, drums and keyboards all because of you!
    So, i have two questions: why did you choose to cover "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath? And is there any specif reason why you don´t play "Falling to Pieces" very often? (it´s my favorite track of that era!).
    Thank you guys, hope to see you at least one time! (next Europe tour please come to Portugal <3)

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  17. Were you aware at the time how talented Mike Patton was and how you probably struck gold finding him to be the new singer? But at the same time, were you concerned the media would put all their focus on Mike instead of the rest of the band?

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  18. How frustrating was it to tour Europe 6 or 7 times on that tour? Did it feel liek Groundhog Day after awhile?

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  19. What exactly was up with the MTV performance? Patton was singing out of tune and the band was sloppy. Nerves?

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  20. What were your favorite shows from that tour? Any festival performances stick out like Reading or Roskilde? In Kaiserlauten, you guys played over 30 songs and a ton of Chuck era songs Patton had never sung before. What made that show such a special occasion?

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  21. In Roskilde, Patton told the crowd Lenny Kravitz was fucking Sinead O Connor (Kravitz was backstage) In Bologna, on the Monsters of Rock Tour, Patton told the crowd the drummer in Poison could perform fellatio on himself and that Aerosmith were backstage doing drugs (both bands were on that bill) Were there any repercussions or any fear of repercussions for all the shit-talking that was going on around that time?

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  22. Hi, I'm Warren from New Jersey. During the September 1991 tour of South America - the following songs - Caffeine, RV and The World is Yours - were added to the setlist. Were these songs written during the hiatus from when the Robert Plant support tour ended (November 1990) or were they written prior to that?

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  23. Pardon if I get the technical wording incorrect, I'm just a fan, but are there any plans to remix the album's production? It's clearly a classic album, but I've always felt like the mix could sound a little muddy and could use some 'opening up'. The latest remasters I believe didn't address the actual mix.

    I think the album could benefit from a remix similar to the Nirvana 'In Utero' 2013 remaster with a new mix that was added a few years ago as a bonus 2nd disc.

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  25. Roddy, how did you come up with the melody for "Edge of the World", not the lyrics?

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    1. I forgot to state that this question is coming from Chandler from Rutherford County, Tennessee

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  26. Hi I'm Glenn from Melbourne, Australia. My question is for all the guys. With The Real Thing, how often did you change the track order before it was finalized? Was there much debate or were you all in agreement? Were those three singles always going to be the first three tracks or were others considered? Cheers guys and thanks for taking the time for the fans.

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  27. Hi. I’m Chiara Bazzani from Modena (Italy). I have a question about “The real thing” I’d like to address to Mr Gould, but since it’s more like a phylosophical question every one of Faith No More is free to answer. “The real thing” is a song, but is also the title of your album. I think you decided to state something with this title. I tried to understand what the real thing is. I think it’s like an aesthetic statement which is, in the end, your leitmotiv: “give youreself away”. There’s an idea of unveilness in “the real thing”, of truth, and of freedom opend by truth. But reality is also the reign of compromises, of rules and limits. So, my question is: do you think, as an artist, that limits and rules have been a constrait to freedom in your music, or else, do you think limits and rules have been necessary for a free expression of it? In other words, in your experience did you find that rules and limits have been an obstacle or a trigger for the authenticity of your art?
    Thanks.

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  28. Roddy, your keyboard part underwent a evolution from New Improved Song to The Morning After, what I perceive as evoking mood and power originally to being more sweepingly emotive in the album track. Can you describe the evolution of your keyboard or other musical parts from when you originally conceive a song to the final product? How do you have the confidence to decide when it is "done"? Thanks, Ben Brown - FL USA

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  29. Bill, Mike, & Roddy: Early on you wrote a post-punk song with a killer drum track that Chuck turned into a commentary on his singing ability. Later, you wrote a very smooth jazz lounge song that Patton turned into a love song for pedophiles. Do you often conceptualize a tone, or message for a song that gets bastardized by the lyricist, and how do you feel / react? Thanks, - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  30. Bill, The lyrics to The Real Thing (title track) are perhaps the best in FNM's catalogue (I also love your lyrics for Why Do You Bother and Spirit). Did you conceptualize the lyrical tone or message in the writing process or was this a result of collaborating on the lyrics with Patton? How was this collaboration? Why are there so few lyrical collaborations in FNM when this particular one resulted in such great results? Thanks, - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  31. Mike, do you have a sponsor for drumsticks? Do you have their record for how many and how quickly you break them beating your drums as hard as you do? In all your years, can you think of another drum who you think hits as hard as you do song after song, show after show? Because I've been watching and I've never seen anyone more ruthless to their drumsticks! - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  32. Bill, could you clear up a rumor? Were the titles of The Grade and The Cowboy Song accidentally switched on the Live at Brixton release? The names seem to fit better if they were switched. - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  33. Bill, Mike, & Roddy: We know that you toured these songs for a very long time and they kind of wore out their welcome, rarely appearing in the last few tours. Fans often expected to hear Epic, and Surprise You're Dead was still played often. Are there any songs from TRT that at least 1 member keeps arguing to throw back in the setlist as a one-off or even regular rotation, but that the majority keeps overriding? I play a little guitar, and for some reason Underwater Love is my favorite song to play off of this album...I was just curious if for instance Jon Hudson ever begs you all to give it a chance in the 2010s! - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  34. Mike, near the end of TRT tours, you all appeared on Yo! MTV Raps with Dre & Ed Luver. Who's idea was that, what was the band's reaction, and how was the experience? - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  35. Bill, when touring this album in 1990 you played an epic 24-song show in Kaiserslaughtern, Germany where you played 2 long encores of nothing but deep cuts. The Jungle, Greed, Faster Disco, R n' R. While Patton clearly struggled with what to sing or do with Greed & Faster Disco...it was glorious none the less and is one of my favorite bootlegs of the band. Can you remember back to that night and what the band was thinking at the time??? You brought back Greed once in 2012 (also glorious), and then of course you played some of these songs with Chuck in your last shows...but do you think the band would ever shock fans again by 1) playing more shows, and 2) playing a bunch of deep cuts?

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    1. forgot to add - from Ben Brown, FL USA

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  36. Roddy, did all of your songwriting contributions on this album originate via keyboard, or were you writing with a guitar yet? Do you transition to a guitarist mostly outside of FNM? - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  37. Bill, was "Epic" the working title of the song before lyrics? How did this song come to be named since the word "epic" doesn't appear in the song? - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  38. Bill, I read somewhere that Falling To Pieces was used in the film Black Hawk Down since that was the song that was actually playing as the soldiers were preparing to go into Mogadishu. Do you have any knowledge about this? Did the band have to concept to the use of the song in the film? How about all the times that other TRT songs were used in film (ie: Surprise in Gremlins 2 and Perfect Crime in Bogus Journey)? - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  39. Roddy, Bill, & Mike: While we have the core of FNM's attention, I feel compelled to ask 4 questions: 1. Would you please consider releasing Faith. No Man. and Proto-FNM demos and early recorded rehearsals (and live material with Paula Frazer) as official releases via Kool Arrow? 2. Would you please acknowledge that the FNM that the fans love the most is the LIVE FNM and release full concert live material officially from all eras of the band so that FNM at their most impressive can be preserved for posterity? 3. Would you please consider dropping the pressure of putting out career-best albums like Sol Invictus, and instead more often drop an EP here or there with some more Das Schutzenfests? And 4. Would you consider dropping an EP or single with another artist (either an influencer like you did with Sparks, or a great contrast like you did with Boo-Yaa Tribe, or consider a new young artist that you have influenced....you would be the Spark in this scenario! Thank you, - Ben Brown, FL USA

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  40. Hey, Kirk here in Detroit. Great show at The Philmore! My question is for Billy. Me being a fellow bassist, how did you achieve your tone on The Real Thing and what gear were you using then and currently. Strings too. I know you have the Zon bass and have used it exclusively.

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  41. Shaun Nightingale20 May 2019 at 00:53

    On the 2009 greatest hits CD, the second disc has a version of The Morning After with Chuck on vocals. Are there any other songs on the final album that were being worked on while he was in the band? And did any leftover songs from this era make it to the Angel Dust sessions? Thanks a lot

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  42. Hi. I’m Chiara Bazzani from Modena (Italy). I have a question about “The real thing” I’d like to address to Mr Gould, but since it’s more like a phylosophical question every one of Faith No More is free to answer.
    But first of all I'd like to thank you Faith No More for your music. Because your music is not just songs, with your music you gave sense to the world and opened a new world, full of sounds, images, feelings, emotions, meanings. I'm a follower since the first time I saw you in Italy in 1990. In all those years I entered your music world and I really thank you to let me in. Tank you Faith No More.
    Now my question: “The real thing” is a song, but is also the title of your album. I think you decided to state something with this title. I tried to understand what the real thing is. I think it’s like an aesthetic statement which is, in the end, your leitmotiv: “give youreself away”. There’s an idea of unveilness in “the real thing”, of truth, and of freedom opend by truth. But reality is also the reign of compromises, of rules and limits. So, my question is: do you think, as an artist, that limits and rules have been a constrait to freedom in your music, or else, do you think limits and rules have been necessary for a free expression of it? In other words, in your experience did you find that rules and limits have been an obstacle or a trigger for the authenticity of your art?
    Thanks.

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  43. Hi this is Juha from Finland.Just wondering did you use any drum samples and how do you feel about listening the record in 2019?

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  44. Gavin from New Zealand here. 2 questions for which ever member wants to answer. 1) When you released The Real Thing did you have a sense it was going to be such a breakthrough record for you or did it take you by surprise? 2) I saw you live on The Real Thing tour in Dublin. You were a couple of hours late as you played the Top of the Pops TV show in England that same night. You had to mime and Patton took the piss my making faces rather than mime the whole song, was that planned?

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  45. Hello, Jason from Oregon. I've got a couple questions for Bill (or any other band member who wants to address them). First, as I understand it, FNM have the rights to WCAL and Sol Invictus, but not to your other albums? With the terrific remaster release of WCAL in mind, is there any possibility of the band acquiring rights to older albums such as The Real Thing so you can give them the "Deluxe Band Edition" treatment? I realize there have been remastered editions, but I'd guess more band involvement usually means a better release (see WCAL). Along the same lines, the second question is about the same idea for the "Live at Brixton" video. Any possibility of a re-release with un-released tracks? Thanks for you time!

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  46. This question is for Roddy and my name is Stacey from Nashville. You provide harmony vocals for the song epic during live performances. Have there ever been a recorded version of the song that was not released where you can hear yourself harmonizing just as well as Mike Patton during "all but you can have it"

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  47. Hi my name is Matt from Ohio. Your song "Evidence" has prompted many discussions in forums regarding the meaning behind it and what it's about. Speculations such as parting with a guitarist, not being able to connect with people (therefore looking like an asshole), oral sex, rape, and the most popular interpretation being cheating (most commonly a girlfriend cheating on her boyfriend). So this goes to any and all members of the band (am really interested in hearing Patton's answer!) What is the song "Evidence" really about? What is the meaning? What prompted you to write it? Thank you!

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