Tag Archives: faith no more

365 Days of Mike Patton: “The Big Kahuna,” Faith No More (1997)

Though it was recorded during the Album of the Year sessions in 1997, “The Big Kahuna” is one of a handful of Faith No More songs that have filtered out to the public even though the tune was never actually released on an album.

Somehow, hearing a B-side like this makes it just a little more interesting when you listen to it. It feels kind of like you’re listening to something you were never supposed to hear.

It’s a frenetic, kinda crazy song that wanders all over the place. It’s certainly good enough to be on an actual FNM album. It’s a fun song, and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Previously from Album of the Year:

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “Highway Star,” Faith No More (1998)

Faith No More (and Mike Patton) loves to play cover songs. You probably have heard its most famous non-original tune—“Easy,” by the Commodores. But the amount of other bands’ material that FNM has played throughout its concert career is seemingly endless.

That includes Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” a song released originally in 1972 that was revitalized by FNM on its final tour in 1997 (before it reformed more than a decade later). According to setlist.fm, the show I saw in Atlanta that year was only the third time the band had played the tune live (though I have no memory of that song at that concert).

The first time FNM fiddled with the song came a few days earlier in Columbus, Ohio. According to New Faith No More, “They did Highway Star like 6-7 times and they were busting up laughing each and every time … in fact if I remember correct at one point Jon [Hudson, the guitarist] started to play “Ashes to Ashes” but Mike stopped him, said the crowd wasn’t good enough to hear that, and they played it again.”

Eventually, a live version made its way to FNM’s post-breakup greatest hits album.

Here’s the Deep Purple version of “Highway Star.”

And FNM’s frenetic live version.

Unlike Deep Purple’s six-minute song, FNM boils it down to about 60 seconds. So, if you don’t enjoy FNM’s cover, at least you don’t have to listen to it for very long.

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “A Small Victory,” Faith No More (1992)

Faith No More played some of the biggest shows of its career in 1992 when the band took the opening slot on the Guns N’ Roses/Metallica co-headlining tour. FNM had its biggest hit with “Epic” off The Real Thing album a few years earlier, and in 1992, it had released the Angel Dust follow up. To celebrate that album, FNM played for two months with two of the biggest bands in the world.

I was reminded of that on Tuesday when I went to a relatively small outdoor venue to watch GNR bassist Duff McKagan play his new Americana-sounding, slight country-twanging album, along side a few GNR deep cuts. It was a great show, but there had to be less than 1,000 people there—a long way from when I saw GNR play stadium shows in Houston (in 2016) and in San Antonio (in 2017).

And it was a long way from the GNR/Metallica/FNM tour that was awfully unenjoyable for FNM.

As noted by Faith No More Followers, Slash and Axl Rose loved The Real Thing, and FNM knew how big a shot it was getting to tour with GNR and Metallica.

“It’s fucking amazing that we even got on the tour, one of the biggest tours in the world,” bassist Billy Gould said in 1992…. “I mean, aesthetically we’re different. I think it’s good though. I’ve gotta give Guns N’ Roses credit and give Metallica credit, too. Right now it’s really responsible of them to pick bands that are different because they didn’t have to do that. They could pretty much tour with anybody.”

But it wasn’t always so great for FNM. During the tour, Gould expressed how uncomfortable he felt with the intense atmosphere backstage.

“I hate the whole circus thing, we all hate it,” he said. “But at the moment we don’t have the power to do what we want to do, so we still have to eat a little bit of shit. We almost have the power to control what we do, but not quite, so we’re just gritting our teeth and getting through it best we can. Every band in the world might think they want to open for Guns N’ Roses, but lemme tell you, it’s been a real ugly personal experience, having to deal with all the shit that surrounds this fucking circus. I’ve always hated that aspect of rock music and I’ve never wanted to be part of it, so to find myself being associated with a tour this big kinda sucks.”

Plus, FNM wasn’t always so well received by the GNR and Metallica fans.

“I’d thought our presence there would be totally misplaced,” Patton said in 1992. “We said: we may not like GNR, we may not like playing in open air stadiums in broad daylight, where we sound like shit and look like shit on a much too large stage that wasn’t built for us, and we may not like the fact that people are paying too much money for a ticket…that’s all true. But the fact is: it’s a very good opportunity to reach a large audience that otherwise wouldn’t have come to see us. And that’s good. The other side of it is that we want to headline again. It will happen in October. Playing with a roof over our heads. We’re at our best like that.”

McKagan and Patton, as far as I know, never played together (though McKagan played the role of the “Gimp” at an L.A. FNM show in 2015). Patton was rumored to have received an invitation to audition to be the lead singer of Velvet Revolver—a Slash/McKagan/Matt Sorum post-GNR band. Patton declined.

Anywhere, here’s “A Small Victory,” a song that’s not exactly a favorite of mine from Angel Dust. But that’s OK. Nobody who went to see GNR and Metallica in 1992 heard that tune either. According to setlist.fm, FNM didn’t play the song at all during that monster stadium tour.

Previously from Angel Dust:

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “Motherfucker,” Faith No More (2015)

I saw Hamilton the other night. It was stunning, one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever seen live. The lyrics and the singing and the choreography and the ending—and the pre-performance and post-performance buzz in the theater—it was just an incredible three hours to watch professionals ply their craft.

Naturally, one moment reminded me of Faith No More.

In the days leading up to the performance, I listened to the first two songs on the Hamilton soundtrack. I had never heard any of the music from the show, and I figured I should immerse myself into at least a couple of tunes just so I could get my bearings before I entered the theater.

And the first song of the show, Alexander Hamilton, reminded me of Faith No More’s “Motherfucker.” Listen for that early piano work and the building tempo in both songs. For a few seconds, it sounds the same.

Here’s “Alexander Hamilton.”

And here’s “Motherfucker.”

So, kind of similar, right? Anyway, when I saw Faith No More in 2015, this is the song that opened the show. And though it’s not the quick-paced banger FNM started their shows on previous tours I saw (“Digging the Grave” on the King For a Day tour and “Collision” on the Album of the Year tour), it was actually a great way to start a concert.

The tension between the two vocalists, that haunting piano, the drummer boy beat. And then, the explosion. Here’s how I experienced it in Austin.

Just like Hamilton, it still gives me chills.

Previously from Sol Invictus:

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “As the Worm Turns,” Faith No More (1985)

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.

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “Last Cup of Sorrow,” Faith No More (1997)

Aside from Faith No More’s breakout hit “Epic” in 1989, I hadn’t seen many of the band’s official music videos. Not sure why. I guess when I stopped watching MTV in the mid-1990s, I stopped searching for music videos in general, even the ones from my favorite band.

But “Last Cup of Sorrow” from FNM’s Album of the Year is an interesting one. The video is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 masterpiece Vertigo. The video features Mike Patton in the Jimmy Stewart character. Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Madeleine character. Bassist Billy Gould dressed as a woman. And drummer Mike Bordin, for some reason, eating a bagel.

I’ve always loved the song—it was the album’s second single, and it landed at No. 14 on the Billboard charts, better than the other two songs releases from the album—but until this very second, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the entire music video.

 

That’s kind of cool. And considering some of Patton’s career revolves around his love of movies—his second Fantomas album is a cover of a bunch of old soundtracks, and he’s produced a number of film scores in the past decade or so—it’s interesting that his love for that artistic genre had leaked into his most successful band.

“I always thought Vertigo had an interesting music video feel to it because of the [rich graphics] in the film,” the video’s director Joseph Kahn told Billboard, via Faith No More Followers. “Also the of idea of FNM’s Mike Patton playing Jimmy Stewart seemed funny to me. Basically you’re taking this really subversive person and putting him in this clean, sterile, technicolor 50s world, yet pieces of the subversiveness of his persona keep coming through this world. It’s like blending an old film with this totally weird 90s type of guy.”

As for the song itself, it’s dominated by Roddy Bottum’s keyboards, Mike Bordin’s crisp drumming and Gould’s “dub-ish” bass. As for Patton’s vocals, they’re gritty at times and then his voice turns more pure on the chorus. Like many of his songs, I enjoyed the contrast.

As Gould told Keyboard magazine in 1997, “Mike can do a lot of wild things with his voice, for one. But, yeah, he sang through an old Telefunken tube mic and we compressed the living shit out of it.”

Previously from Album of the Year:

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365 Days of Mike Patton: “Edge of the World,” Faith No More (1989)

If you’d like a soothing, do-wop style song in the middle of the all funk and metal on Faith No More’s The Real Thing album, “Edge of the World” is the song for you. It sounds like a jazzy love song, but beware: It’s basically the opposite.

It’s a song written from a pedophile’s point of view.

So, the lyrics of “Come here, my love/I’ll tell you a secret/Come closer, now/
I want you to believe it” and “You can trust me/I’m no criminal/But I’d kill my mother/To be with you/Be with you/Be with you/Be with you” all of a sudden, become that much more creepy.

As bassist Billy Gould—who composed the tune with drummer Mike Bordin and keyboardist Roddy Bottum—explained, via Song Facts, “The way we write is visual. We start by describing a scene to one another. Say there’s a guy in a beat-up Cadillac with ripped upholstery. Empty Kentucky Fried Chicken boxes and malt liquor bottles in the back. And there’s a baby seat. In fact, that image became ‘Edge Of The World.’ Mutated a little on the way.”

Yeah, I’ll say.

Previously from The Real Thing:

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