365 Days of Mike Patton: “Browning,” Patton/Jean-Claude Vannier (2019)

Mike Patton is just like the rest of us. He’s stuck at home, trying to be productive while having to be reclusive as the pandemic affects just about every waking moment of our lives. He’s working on new music, and he’s listening to old songs. And just like everybody else, he’s just trying to survive until all of this passes.

Rolling Stone recently caught up with Patton to ask him a few quarantine questions via email.

When asked how he was going about his day these days, he said, “Writing. Writing. Writing. Working on several records at once, which isn’t abnormal for me, but it is somehow refreshing to not have other distractions interfering. However, the gravity of this situation does make things feel … uh, different.

“Although I am lucky enough to hopefully survive this, I have had an entire year of tours canceled, between different bands, and that certainly does weigh on me, the bands I’m working with, and obviously the fans who may or may not have purchased tickets! So … basically, it sucks.”

(I’m supposed to see Faith No More in August, and though that show hasn’t yet been canceled, I’m assuming it will be at some point.)

“But personally, this lockdown lifestyle is not terribly different from my normal routine, as I’m quite hermetic and private. But sometimes it does resonate deeper—like, when you want to hit a restaurant with family or friends. No. What do we do? We adapt or die.”

He was also asked what music he’s leaned on during his isolation, and one of his answers was Jean-Claude Vannier, the same French composer and musician who Patton teamed up with to release an album in 2019 called Corpse Flower.

As I wrote about last May, Vannier “has a ton of credits that I know absolutely nothing about (mostly because it’s all music from France). Anyway, Patton said the two share a love of Serge Gainsbourg, a French singer, composer and songwriter who (again) I know virtually nothing about. But considering All Music called Gainsbourg ‘the dirty old man of popular music’ who had a ‘scandalous, taboo-shattering output,’ he certainly sounds like a guy Patton would appreciate.”

Patton said he was listening to deep tracks from old Vannier albums, and “all are transformative, groovy, and completely innovative.”

The same could be said for “Browning,” the fifth song on the Corpse Flower album.

Not unlike Chansons D’Amour, there’s a strong “RV” vibe that emanates throughout the song, where Patton is singing in almost a spoken word, but then the song transforms into a poppy, almost dance-like number which gives off a nice contrast to the lyrical content (Consequence of Sound called it a “danceable lounge tune.”).

Like the first two songs I heard from the Corpse Flower album created by Patton and Vannier, it’s fun and interesting and a nice departure from what we usually hear from Patton.

It’s a song (and an album) that is a pleasure to lesson to—especially if you’re in the middle of a pandemic with not much else to do.

Previously from Patton/Jean-Claude Vannier:

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

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