365 Days of Mike Patton: “The Bit,” Fantomas (2002)

Recorded live in 2000, the Fantomas and the Melvins combined for a live album that features some of the former band’s more accessible songs. The Bit, though, happens to be a Melvins tune from the 1996 album, “Stag,” and according to Metal Archives, this was around the time it was clear that the Melvins would not be the next Nirvana, apparently necessitating their exit from the major label level of rock music.

The music, after all, is probably a little too strange for the mainstream.

Here’s the Millenium Monsterworks 2000 version of the song.

And the Melvins version from four years earlier.

And just for kicks, here’s Mastodon’s live version.

As Metal Archives wrote re The Melvins:

The uniqueness of this band is made clear within the first notes of opening track (and masterpiece) “The Bit.” This anthemic brute treats the listener to a minute of lovely sitar music before the tumult ensues, swallowing the world in a sea of dropped-d devastation. “Not too fat, not too lean, the foundling die is close excitedly. Raise head and STOMP the BLOOD, I’m not even soundly.” Ever-shrouded in mystery and mythos, the poetry of [Melvins guitarist and singer] Buzz Osborne has had scraggly-haired stoners scratching their heads since the early eighties. Buzz-O is not the type to be imprisoned by the boundaries of English or syntax, creating a wordcraft all his own. “The Bit” would appear to be anything from a moral commentary on animal cruelty to dialogue on the inner workings of the entertainment industry. Whatever it is, it’s fucking profound, and it’s punctuated perfectly by the percussive punishment of Dale Crover.

Crover, the band’s drummer, is the one who wrote the song. And personally, I like the Melvins version better and Osborne’s vocal intensity. It’s one of the few times I can recall—if not the only time—that I’d rather hear somebody other than Patton sing the song.

Previously from Millenium Monsterwork 2000:

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

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