Tag Archives: epic

365 Days of Mike Patton: ‘Epic,’ part 3 (of 3)

“Epic” will never go away for Faith No More.

Even after the band broke up in 1997 and then reformed in 2010, that wasn’t nearly enough time for fans to forget about the song, which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard charts in 1990. So, after FNM got back together and toured European festivals (and eventually the U.S. in 2015), the band still played the song. But it wasn’t the show closer, and it wasn’t featured in the encore. FNM certainly didn’t open with it. Instead, “Epic” was usually stuck in the early to mid-part of the setlist.

When I saw FNM in Austin in 2015, it was song No. 5 out of 18, and it’s an interesting comparison to how Patton used to sing it.

 

Considering that tune is 30 years old, it’s not hard to imagine that the band is tired of playing it. But FNM plays “Epic” because it has to (and because the fans demand it). As bassist Billy Gould said all the way back in 1992, via FaithNoMoreFollowers.com, “It seems sometimes kids turn up just to hear that one song. We’re like, ‘Stick around; we’ve written all these other great songs, you just might like ‘em.’”

These days when FNM plays the song, there’s no nasally-voiced Patton. He screams the lyrics a little more. The energy isn’t necessarily the same either. After all, he’s 51 years old now (and in his late 40s in the video above), and not some 23-year-old kid like he was before.

But he still hits the high notes, and you know what? It still sounds pretty damn good to me.

A few days ago, I wrote, “The truth is, I always feel like whenever I’m talking about Faith No More with somebody who doesn’t know much about the band, I have to qualify it with, “Well, most of their stuff doesn’t sound like ‘Epic.’”

For the rest of the 365 Days of Mike Patton, I’m excited to introduce you to the rest of his stuff.

Part 1 of “Epic” is here.

Part 2 is here.

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: ‘Epic,’ part 2 (of 3)

I don’t remember the first time I heard “Epic.” But I do recall watching Mike Patton and Faith No More on the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. Mostly, I remember—and I relayed this the next day to my middle school buddy Phipps—that drummer Mike Bordin absolutely hammers the drums during the live show. And I remember Patton flopping around like a fish, just like in the music video, during the piano outro. It’s a fun performance.

 

Three months later, FNM played the song on Saturday Night Live, and I liked Patton’s vocal performance and his antics (he nearly got stuck in a fan on the set) even more. The power in this live performance is just … fantastic. It’ll knock you off your feet.

 

 

Sadly, these were some of the biggest mainstream moments for FNM and Patton (though there were also performances on The Tonight Show, Conan’s NBC show, and Arsenio Hall in the coming months and years). And to listen to the live versions, it’s hard not to still be impressed with the volume and the skill at which the band performed.

Yesterday, I wrote the studio track sounds a little dated to me. The SNL version above, though, sounds anything but.

Part 1 of “Epic” is here.

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

365 Days of Mike Patton: ‘Epic,’ part 1 (of 3)

If you know Faith No More and Mike Patton, it’s probably because you remember the 1990 hit “Epic.” It’s still played all the time on Sirius, and it was recently featured on the “What Makes This Song Great” series on YouTuber Rick Beato’s 686,000-subscriber strong channel. The truth is, I always feel like whenever I’m talking about Faith No More with somebody who doesn’t know much about the band, I have to qualify it with, “Well, most of their stuff doesn’t sound like ‘Epic.’”

Still, it’s Patton’s biggest hit, and it’s for good reason. It’s one of the earlier entries into the rap-rock category of music that exploded a few years later with Rage Against the Machine, the Judgment Night soundtrack, and the eventually success of nu-metal.

On the song—which came off The Real Thing album, Patton’s first appearance with the band—his rapping sounds like a Red Hot Chili Peppers tune, and his voice has that nasal quality he lost soon after (something we’ll revisit at another time). It was an undeniable hit on the radio (peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard charts in September 1990) and on MTV.

When Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis saw the video, he was not pleased. He told Kerrang! magazine, via L.A. Weekly, that “My drummer says he’s gonna kidnap [Patton], shave his hair off and cut off one of his feet, just so he’ll be forced to find a style of his own.” Later, in a RHCP biography, Kiedis said, “I watched [their] ‘Epic’ video, and I see him jumping up and down, rapping, and it looked like I was looking in a mirror.”

There’s plenty more that can be said about the relationship between Patton and Kiedis, and maybe we’ll write about it on 365 Days of Mike Patton.

To me, in the present day, “Epic” feels dated, maybe more so than any other FNM song, and listening to it sometimes feels like walking on glass. But I’d probably never have been an FNM fan if I hadn’t heard “Epic” when I was in middle school. Since that’s the case, I’ll always be thankful for it.

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