Mike Patton didn’t originally sing “As the Worm Turns,” which appears on Faith No More’s debut album We Care A Lot. But like a number for tunes that were originally sung by the band’s original vocalist Chuck Mosley, Patton took the song and made it his own.
The story of the end of the Mosley era and the beginning of the Patton era is a story of 1) annoyance and 2) a musical fork in the road.
As we explained in the “Introduce Yourself” passage, the rest of FNM just kind of got tired of dealing with Mosley as Mosley seemingly was moving in a different direction than the band.
“There was a certain point when I went to rehearsal, and Chuck wanted to do all acoustic guitar songs. It was just so far off the mark—I think I actually attacked him again,” said bassist Billy Gould, who had previously punched Mosley on tour.
So, FNM basically fired Mosley and went on the search for a new singer—apparently Chris Cornell was considered because Soundgarden had opened for FNM on a few dates of a previous tour. But, as Louder Sound explains, after drummer Mike Bordin and keyboardist Roddy Bottum visited Cornell’s house to jam, they discovered the chemistry with the singer wasn’t there.
A few years earlier, Patton had met Bordin and had given him a Mr. Bungle tape. Bottum had listened to it—and he was not a fan.
“Mike Bordin really liked his Mr. Bungle tape he gave us,” Bottum told Louder Sound. “So did Jim Martin. I didn’t. Not my cup of tea.”
Guitarist Jim Martin said that, among the other five singers the band had auditioned, Patton clearly had the most natural ability.
“We called him and told him to come down; we wanted him to go to work immediately,” Martin said. “He was very hesitant, like, ‘I can’t do this right now; it’s not a good day. I have a school box social to go to. And tomorrow is show and tell. If I had plenty of advance warning, I might be able to come down for a little while, but today is not good.’ I told him he was at a crossroads in life—one way was to become a singer, the other way was to be a record store clerk in a shitty little town in Northern California. He really was like that. Very clean and shiny, nice kid. Milk and cookies type.”
Patton eventually saw the light, joined the band, and eventually improved on many of Mosley’s numbers.
Here’s Mosley’s version with really beautiful piano and synthesizers by Bottum.
Like usual, Mosley does more of his spoken-word style that I never loved. But I really love the song when Patton does it.
Here he is in 1990 during the You Fat Bastards video taping at Brixton Academy in London …
… And in 2010.
Whether it’s Patton screaming it 25 years after the tune first came out or Mosley doing more speaking than singing, the song rocks pretty hard. Patton just makes it a little better.
To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.