365 Days of Mike Patton: “Collision,” Faith No More (1997)

When I saw Faith No More live for the second time in my life in 1997, the band opened the show with the first song off the Album of the Year record. While I really dig the studio version of “Collision,” I don’t think the live version worked all that well. In fact, the distance between how much like I like the album version and how much I don’t care for the live version is the furthest of any FNM song.

And maybe that set the tone for the rest of that concert at Atlanta’s Masquerade club that year. It was a good concert, but of the three FNM shows I’ve seen, it was clearly the weakest. Just like Album of the Year is the band’s weakest album with Patton employed as the singer. I’m not entirely sure there’s a connection there, but there probably is.

But I do really enjoy “Collision” when it’s not being played live. Kind of like “Digging the Grave,” the song the band opened with the first time I saw them two years earlier, there is no introduction to the song. There’s no warning about what’s coming before Patton’s voices smacks you in the throat. Just as the instruments begin assaulting your senses, Patton is there yelling “Colllllllisssssssiiiiiiiiioooonnnnnnn, my missssssssssssiiiiiiiioooooooonnnnnnnnn.”

As Pop Matters opines, “The way the band drops [Jon] Hudson’s thundering guitars during the verses and allows bassist Billy Gould’s and drummer Mike Bordin’s rock-solid syncopated groove to shine is great arranging.”

Take a listen.

My favorite lyric, of course, has to be “All the day’s plans/All the shaking hands/Beepers and suntans,” because weren’t beepers already kind of an irrelevant thing in 1997? It’s like if Patton sang about how much he loved Smokey and the Bandit on the 1992 tune “RV.”

But it hardly matters. Roddy Bottum’s keyboards are subtle but great, Gould’s bass sounds fat, and the guitar of Hudson, in the song that introduced him to FNM’s audience, is pretty damn metal.

I just don’t need to see it live again.

Postscript: Well ACTUALLY, I just found this live version. And while I don’t think it’s THAT great, the power the band portrays while playing “Collision” live is impressive. My recollection of the version I personally heard live (and other bootleg versions I’ve listened to since) had nowhere near this kind of impact.

Previously from Album of the Year:

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

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