Tag Archives: faith no more

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Naked In Front of the Computer,” Faith No More (1997)

Straight out of the late 1990s, when people were just beginning to embrace the internet and email and all the possibilities of both, this song on Faith No More’s Album of the Year record was written solely by Patton (a rather rare accomplishment for this band). He apparently was fascinated by the power of being online.

“Actually, this song is about email,” FNM bassist Billy Gould told Keyboard Magazine in 1997. “Patton is kind of obsessed with the idea of how people can communicate and have relationships over the computer without talking or ever meeting. So this is an extreme version of that concept. Funny thing is … the image of someone sitting naked in front of a computer might not have made sense to people a few years ago, but now everybody knows what it means. It’s become part of our culture.”

Yes, and you probably don’t need me to spell out what Gould (and Patton) are talking about. After all, there aren’t too many reasons to be nude in front of your laptop screen.

A number of reviews for Album of the Year—which was the band’s last for 18 years—were not kind, and it’s hard to blame them. It’s my least favorite Patton-led FNM album, and Rolling Stone wrote, “All in all, Faith No More are floundering around desperately, groping for a sense of identity and direction in a decade that clearly finds them irrelevant.”

Maybe FNM was (slightly) irrelevant at the time, but the song’s title and subject matter have not gone out of style. These days, everybody knows what sitting naked in front of your computer means.

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: “Everything’s Ruined,” Faith No More (1992)

After the astonishing success of The Real Thing album—Mike Patton’s first effort with Faith No More and a certified hit, thanks in large part to the single “Epic”—the band had to figure out what to accomplish on their follow-up album, Angel Dust. Aside from perhaps guitarist Jim Martin, nobody wanted a repeat of their rap/funk/rock sound from The Real Thing. The band wanted something different.

“If you just look at the transition from The Real Thing to Angel Dust, that’s a band that’s absolutely willing to let go of something that was really successful,” producer Andy Wallace told Diffuser. “They could’ve done The Real Thing Pt. 2 and probably made a really nice living, but they decided to really distance themselves from that sound that they helped create and move in a completely different direction. And their instincts were right: Angel Dust stands the test of time.”

Aside from the music video that was released (more on that in a sec), there’s not much strange about “Everything’s Ruined.” It feels like a straight-ahead rock number with a fairly straight-ahead vocal performance from Patton.

Even keyboardist Roddy Bottum once called it “radio friendly” and a “pop song.” In fact, the working title for the song was reportedly “The Carpenters,” because it was such an easy listening tune.

“It’s one of the more straight-forward rockers we have on this album,” Patton said, via Faith No More Followers. “Compare it to something like “Surprise You’re Dead” (we’ll get there) from the last album. I think you’ll see how we’ve changed. You can’t put your finger on it, but it’s there. We’re getting better at playing what we’re visualizing.”

The music video, on the other hand, is strange.

It features the band (and other random people) playing in front of B-roll like video footage (a bride and groom walking, pigs in a pen, men riding horses, two people sunbathing, etc.).

The reason for the amateurish video was simple. According to bassist Billy Gould, it had to be low budget.

“The easy answer is, Warner [the band’s music label had] spent the video budget on “A Small Victory” and “Midlife Crisis” so that when it came time to “Everything’s Ruined,” there wasn’t much left,” Gould told the Faith No More Blog in 2012. “It was our idea to take this further and make a video as cheap as humanly possible, in one of those video booths like they had at county fairs, where you sing and dance in front of a blue screen. We didn’t quite get to do that, but we got it as close as possible.”

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

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Take This Bottle,” Faith No More (1995)

If you once enjoyed Faith No More and yet stopped paying attention after its biggest hit “Epic” was released in 1990, you might remember the guitarist with the long black frizzy hair and the long black beard who looked to be about 20 years older than the rest of the band.

You know, this guy on the right.

That’s Jim Martin, and he played on the first four Faith No More albums (two of which were not fronted by Mike Patton and which we are completely ignoring on the 365 Days of Mike Patton (well, there might be a few exceptions to that because, in reality, we care a lot)). He managed some great guitar work on The Real Thing and Angel Dust albums, but he was kicked out of the band in 1993. The problem apparently was that Martin didn’t want to adapt to playing new music. The line on Martin has always been that he wanted to keep making The Real Thing over and over again and balked at the new direction the band was taking with the Angel Dust follow up. So, keyboardist Roddy Bottum fired him by fax.

“Getting rid of him was a real cleansing exercise,” Bottum said, via Metal Hammer. “There’s no point keeping someone in the band who’s only there for the money or something. Jim wasn’t committed to what the band wanted to do. I’m good at sacking band members. And by fax was such a… 90s way of doing things.”

Patton apparently did not enjoy his time with Martin at the end.

“Mike HATED Jim, wouldn’t even look at him on stage unless he was about to throw something at him,” Bottum said.

That was apparently the inspiration for the country-tinged song “Take This Bottle” from the King For a Day album. It’s because Patton apparently used to throw bottles at Martin while on stage.

“We weren’t having a good time together and it was pretty obvious,” Patton said in that Metal Hammer interview. “We saw it coming for too long, while we were making the Angel Dust album. The whole time for two years while we were touring, we kept hoping it would get better. After that much time you can’t help but feel like an idiot for feeling that way. Basically, what it came down to was that he couldn’t hold up his weight musically.

“When The Real Thing broke out, it was a shock. It’s kinda like being around somebody you don’t like, like a co-worker or family, somebody you’ve known for a long time but you realize you don’t like them. You get to know them, everything’s OK, you move in with them, everything’s fine but then all of a sudden, you realize what’s going on. You realize you don’t like them, so you HATE them, you know. You waste all your energy hating them, you hate them and hate them. So you kick them OUT of your house to pacify this hate.”

I don’t particularly love “Take This Bottle,” but when I saw FNM live in 1997 with my buddy Jeremy and his brother Mike, we had a cool tale to tell from that show.

In the last minute or so of this song, Patton retrieved a bottle of red wine and began shaking it at the crowd so it would splatter on anybody who was close enough to the stage. Mike was close enough, and I remember him coming up to us after the show, a sweaty beast with red streaks on his white undershirt. He had a big smile on his face. He had taken (what was inside) the bottle, and he had walked away loving it.

At least Patton didn’t throw it at him.

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

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Ricochet,” part 2

After my three-part series on Faith No More’s “Epic,” I wasn’t planning on writing more than a single post of anything else from Mike Patton’s discography. But after posting my take on “Ricochet” earlier this week, my Twitter buddy @d2k2d2k2 reminded me of something I very vaguely remembered from FNM’s performance on Conan’s old late-night show in 1995.

The next night, FNM was in a sketch featuring O’Brien and former band leader/drummer Max Weinberg. Conan started it off by saying Weinberg had been jealous at FNM’s reception for its performance the night before. Weinberg denied it. And then Conan showed Weinberg not-so-subtly trying to disrupt FNM during the course of “Ricochet.”

Naturally, a brawl between FNM and Conan’s band then broke out.

Good stuff from 24 years ago. The funniest parts for me were Weinberg going after FNM’s Mike Bordin in a battle of the drummers and that, unlike the real performance, Patton didn’t forget his opening cue. This time, he sang the song right on time.

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

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Ricochet,” Faith No More (1995)

I didn’t really get into Faith No More and Mike Patton until my buddy Jeremy, who worked with me at a restaurant in the Atlanta suburbs, invited me to see an FNM show in 1995. I, of course, knew the band from “Epic,” but I hadn’t kept up with it. So, to prepare for the show at the Masquerade in Atlanta, I listened to plenty of King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime, FNM’s new album at the time, to get myself familiar with the material. “Ricochet” is the second song of the 1-2 absolute firepunch combination that opens the record after album opener “Get Out.”

It’s an absolute blaster of a song—which apparently was written on the day of Kurt Cobain’s suicide (it’s rumored that the code word for “Ricochet” on the FNM setlist was “Nirvana,” though it’s unclear why FNM needed code words for its setlists).

 

 

It’s funny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the music video above, but apparently, it was shot before and during a concert in Paris. I love the KFAD album, and “Ricochet” is one of my favorites from the record (and the song is probably one of the reasons I grew to love the band so much). Rolling Stone agrees, saying it was “a portentous anthem reminiscent of ‘Epic.’”

But what I’ll remember most about this tune is watching FNM perform it on Conan’s old late night show. I recorded it on a VHS tape and watched it on my VCR over and over again. It’s awesome in every way, from Patton’s shirt to him forgetting to sing at the beginning (watch as drummer Mike Bordin quizzically looks at him when Patton forgets his cue and then watch Patton smile and nod after he realizes his mistake).

 

This is Patton at his absolute coolest.

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 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.

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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.

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