Monthly Archives: April 2019

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Goodbye Sober Day,” Mr. Bungle (1999)

When discussing “Fire in the Hole” the other day, I wrote about how I much I enjoy Mike Patton singing about the passage of time. He does so again on Mr. Bungle’s third and final album, California. (Coincidentally, I’m seeing Fiddler on the Roof’s national tour, where this theme is visited.)

Or at least this lyric represents what I think is Patton singing about the passage of time.

“Goodbye sober day/The years grew wings and flew away/Ghosts of the past become barbarians/Of the future/And I still pity you/Because what you said was true.”

Then, as Mr. Bungle is known to do, the song takes a completely new direction and, eventually, all hell breaks loose.

As bassist Trevor Dunn told Faith No More Followers, Patton, with the exception of a riff or two, wrote most of “Goodbye Sober Day.”

And Sputnik Music really enjoyed it.

Wrote the reviewer, “Arguably the most ingenious song in Mr. Bungle’s entire discography, ‘Goodbye Sober Day’ capitalizes on the album’s momentum by being an all-out explosion of eccentricism and horror, jumping from an exotic xylophone melody to fuzzy distortion to ghostly cries until finally culminating in an unforgettable burst of both frenetic tribal chanting and heavy metal. ‘Goodbye Sober Day’ is the perfect final note for Mr. Bungle’s career, remaining true to the sound established on California while nevertheless harkening back to the band’s previous releases.”

The frenetic chanting in the middle is apparently based on the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic that was written in Sanskrit. A strange choice, but hey, that’s Mr. Bungle. California is Mr. Bungle’s most accessible album, but “Goodbye Sober Day” isn’t necessarily for the mainstream top-40 fan.

“To us, California is pop-y,” Patton told New Music in 1999. “But to some fucking No Doubt fan in Ohio, they’re not going to swallow that.”

Previously from California:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “Catch My Heart,” Bohren and Der Club of Gore (2011)

As promised in Tuesday’s edition of the 365 Days of Mike Patton, I’ve googled “German doom band” and “Mike Patton,” and I’ve found what he was talking about when he told Believer magazine in 2013, “It’s amazing to me that people have paid enough attention to what I’ve done to even shake a stick at it. Especially because I haven’t made it easy. I haven’t made, let’s just say, typical decisions. As cynical as I can be, when people say, ‘Yeah, I love what you did with the X-Ecutioners and also with that German doom band,’ it always takes me aback.”

That German doom band is Bohren and Der Club of Gore. I’ve never heard of the group, and I never knew Patton collaborated with it. So, let’s take a quick listen.

It starts off slow and melodic and Patton’s voice goes baritone deep for much of the song (with occasional bursts of crooning). It’s a cover of a Warlocks song, but since I don’t know the Warlocks either, that doesn’t help me much. Consequence of Sound calls Bohren and Der Club of Gore a “horror jazz” band, and that sounds about right.

The song doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s a pleasant enough listening. It’s certainly a more pleasing experience than I originally imagined what I’d hear from something calling itself a German doom band.

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Fire in the Hole,” Gen. Patton and the X-ecutioners (2005)

I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the General Patton Vs. the X-ecutioners album all the way through without stopping. It’s a little too chaotic and frenetic for me, and I’m just not that big a fan of listening to DJs (albeit talented DJs) ply their trade for an hour at a time.

But in two- or three-minute bursts, I’m in. Especially if Mike Patton is singing about the passage of time.

“The time is blowing my leaves/Off of our branches and trees/A year can feel like a day

If we can only conceive/If we would ever believe/Where we would be today.”

In 2013, Believer Magazine told Patton that he had likely inspired many people to perform different kind of music because “your music was an entrance into so many other genres.” There’s the hard rock of Faith No More, the ska/funk/punk of Mr. Bungle, the avant-garde of Fantomas, the hardcore of Dead Cross, the decades-old Italian pop songs of Mondo Cane, the hip-hop of General Patton, etc.

Patton appreciated that sentiment.

“That’s about as good a compliment as you can get,” he said. “It’s amazing to me that people have paid enough attention to what I’ve done to even shake a stick at it. Especially because I haven’t made it easy. I haven’t made, let’s just say, typical decisions. As cynical as I can be, when people say, ‘Yeah, I love what you did with the X-Ecutioners and also with that German doom band,’ it always takes me aback.”

A German doom band with Patton? Hmm, I’ll have to look that up.

Previously from General Patton:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “A Little Poker Tomorrow Night?,” A Perfect Place (2008)

In 1991, Faith No More’s “The Perfect Crime” was recorded for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and for FNM fans who were looking for new music, it was a godsend. But Mike Patton wanted more than just a single song on a single film’s soundtrack.

So, when, about seven years later, he was asked to record the movie score and soundtrack for a black-and-white short called A Perfect Place, he was so enthused that his soundtrack was actually 10 minutes longer than the entire 25-minute film. Here’s “A Little Poker Tomorrow Night?” a song that contains Patton’s mouth noises and plenty of “la-la-la, la-la-la’s” in an almost child-like voice.

There isn’t much in the way of singing on this album (though there are a few that we’ll eventually get to on this 365-day journey), but much of the music is gorgeous.

All Music gave it a good review, though “The twist that differentiates this project from his many others is that he had to adhere to someone else’s vision, and with less freedom to run rampant, the standard Patton idiosyncrasies are refined.” Still, the reviewer wrote that Patton “shows off his enormous talent as a sophisticated composer and musician.”

For Patton, it’s a matter of looking at the music in a visual way.

“With pretty much every musical situation that I’ve been in, like Faith No More, especially, we always would say, ‘Picture Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas.’ And we’d use moments like that,” Patton told Believer Magazine in 2013. “Or the pistol-whipping scene in Goodfellas. … It’s a point of reference that you can use. Instead of saying, ‘Hey, a quarter note here and an eighth note there and a minor seventh…’ No. To me it works much better to say, ‘Now picture this.’”

With the exception of some of the percussion, Patton composed and played everything on the A Perfect Place soundtrack. Which just shows that Patton, for all his vocal talents, isn’t somebody who’s only good at singing and screaming. He’s simply good at being a musician.