Faith No More
Faith No More
Faith No More (sometimes abbreviated as FNM) is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. Before settling on their current name in 1982, the band performed under the names Sharp Young Men and later Faith No Man. Bassist Billy Gould and drummer Mike Bordin are the longest remaining members of the band, having been involved with Faith No More since its inception. The band underwent several lineup changes early in their career, along with some major changes later on. The current lineup of Faith No More consists of Gould, Bordin, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, guitarist Jon Hudson and vocalist Mike Patton.
After releasing six studio albums, including their best-selling records The Real Thing (1989) and Angel Dust (1992), Faith No More officially announced their breakup on April 20, 1998. They have since reunited, embarked on The Second Coming Tour from 2009 to 2012, and released their seventh studio album, Sol Invictus, in May 2015.
Early days (1979–1984)
Faith No More was originally formed as Sharp Young Men in 1979 by bassist Billy Gould, drummer Mike Bordin, vocalist Mike Morris, and keyboardist Wade Worthington. Mike Morris described the name as "a piss-take on all the ‘elegant’ groups at the time." Later on, Morris proposed the name Faith In No Man, but, eventually, the band settled on Bordin's suggestion Faith No Man (stylized as Faith. No Man).
They recorded "Quiet in Heaven/Song of Liberty", released in 1983. The songs were recorded in Matt Wallace's parents' garage, where Wallace had set up and been running a recording studio while the band was still recording under the name Sharp Young Men, with Mike Morris, Billy Gould, Mike Bordin and Wade Worthington. Worthington left shortly thereafter. They changed their name to Faith No Man for the release of the single, which featured two of the three songs recorded in Wallace's garage, and hired Roddy Bottum to replace Worthington. Bottum, Gould and Bordin quit the band shortly after and formed Faith No More. They chose the name to accentuate the fact that "The Man" (Mike Morris) was "No More". They didn't have any constant guitarists or vocalists until they eventually settled on Chuck Mosley in 1983 and later Jim Martin.
We Care a Lot and Introduce Yourself (1985–1988)
After the name change, the band initially started recording We Care a Lot without backing from a record label and, after pooling their money, recorded five songs. This gained the attention of Ruth Schwartz, who was then forming the independent label Mordam Records, under which the band, after getting the necessary financial support, finished and released the album. It was the first official release for both the band and the label.
"Why Do You Bother" (1985)
30 second sample of the We Care a Lot song "Why Do You Bother".
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In late 1986, Faith No More was signed to Los Angeles label Slash Records by Anna Statman. The label had recently been sold to the Warner Music Group subsidiary London Records, ensuring a widespread release for the band's following albums. Introduce Yourself was released in 1987, and a revamped version of their debut album's title track "We Care a Lot" saw minor success on MTV. Mosley's behaviour had started to become increasingly erratic, particularly during a troubled tour of Europe in 1988. Incidents include him allegedly punching Billy Gould on stage, the release party for the album Introduce Yourself — during which he fell asleep on stage — and one of Mosley's roadies getting into a fist fight with guitarist Jim Martin during the European tour. Mosley was eventually fired after the band returned home from Europe. Billy Gould reflected "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. The upshot was that I got up, walked out and quit the band. I Just said: ‘I’m done – I can’t take this any longer. It’s just so ridiculous’. The same day, I talked to Bordin, and he said: ‘Well, I still want to play with you’. Bottum did the same thing. It was another one of these ‘firing somebody without firing them’ scenarios."
Mike Patton joins and The Real Thing (1989–1991)
Chuck Mosley was replaced with singer Mike Patton in 1988. Patton, who was singing with his high school band, Mr. Bungle, was recruited at Martin's suggestion after he heard a demo of Mr. Bungle. According to Patton, he first met the band during a 1986 gig at "a pizza parlour" in his hometown of Eureka, California. Two weeks after joining Faith No More, he had written all the lyrics for the songs that would make up the Grammy award-nominated The Real Thing.
30 second sample from Faith No More's "Epic".
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"Epic" was released in January 1990 and was a top 10 hit. The music video for "Epic" received extensive airplay on MTV in 1990, despite anger from animal rights activists for a slow motion shot of a fish flopping out of water. That same year, Faith No More performed at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards (September 6) and on the 293rd episode of Saturday Night Live (December 1) "From Out of Nowhere" and "Falling to Pieces" saw releases as singles, and a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" was also produced for non-vinyl releases. In 1990, the band went on an extensive US tour, sending The Real Thing to Platinum status in Canada, the US, and South America. The album also had big sales numbers in Australia, UK, and the rest of Europe, pushing the total sales well above 4 million worldwide.
In February 1991, Faith No More released their only official live album, Live at the Brixton Academy. The album also included two previously unreleased studio tracks, "The Grade" and "The Cowboy Song". That same year, the band contributed a track for the motion picture soundtrack to Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey with the song "The Perfect Crime". Jim Martin also made a brief cameo in the film as "Sir James Martin" as the head of the "Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center". Mike Patton's original band Mr. Bungle would go on to sign with Slash/London's parent label Warner Bros. Records in 1991, following the worldwide success of The Real Thing.
Angel Dust (1992–1994)
Faith No More displayed an even more experimental effort on their next album, Angel Dust. One critic writes that the album is "one of the more complex and simply confounding records ever released by a major label" and another writes that the single "'A Small Victory', which seems to run Madame Butterfly through Metallica and Nile Rodgers (...) reveals a developing facility for combining unlikely elements into startlingly original concoctions."
Aside from "A Small Victory" (which received a nomination for Best Art Direction at the MTV Video Music Awards), the tracks "Midlife Crisis" and "Everything's Ruined" were also released as singles. The album included a re-recording of the theme to the film Midnight Cowboy, and later pressings included a cover of The Commodores classic "Easy", which in some parts of the world became the band's biggest hit. Angel Dust, though not as successful as The Real Thing in the US, sold 665,000 copies there, and managed to outsell The Real Thing in many other countries. In Germany, the record was certified Gold for sales of more than 250,000 copies. The album also matched the sales of The Real Thing in Canada (Platinum), Australia (Gold), and surpassed it in the Netherlands, France, Russia, and the UK. Worldwide sales are around 3.1 million copies.
"Midlife Crisis" (1992)
30 second sample from Faith No More's "MidLife Crisis".
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After touring to support Angel Dust in the summer of 1993, long-time guitarist Jim Martin left the band due to internal conflicts. He was reportedly unhappy with the band's change in musical direction on Angel Dust, describing it as "gay disco". According to Roddy Bottum, Martin was fired via fax. However, Martin himself states it was his decision to leave. Both Godflesh guitarist Justin Broadrick and Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker were reportedly offered to join Faith No More after Martin's departure, but declined to join. The position was filled by Mike Patton's bandmate from Mr. Bungle, Trey Spruance, who left soon after recording 1995's King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime and just before the band was to begin their world tour. Spruance was replaced by Dean Menta, the band's keyboard tech.
King for a Day..., Album of the Year and break-up (1995–1998)
1995's King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime varies greatly from song to song in style; post-hardcore/punk, country, jazz, bossa nova, thrash metal, gospel music, along with other signature FNM elements, are woven together throughout the album. Singles included "Digging the Grave", "Evidence", and "Ricochet". The album featured Mr. Bungle's Trey Spruance on guitar. The record went Gold in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Germany, which gave the album a respectable sales figure of around 1.5 million copies; this was significantly lower than sales of their previous albums. A 7 x 7-inch box set of singles was released, which included the B-sides and some interviews between the songs.
Album of the Year was released in 1997 and featured yet another new guitarist, Jon Hudson, who was a former roommate of Billy Gould. The album debuted much higher than expected in some countries (for example, in Germany, the album debuted at No. 2 and stayed in the chart for 5 months). In Australia, Album of the Year went to No. 1 and was certified Platinum. The album charted in many countries in Europe. To date, Album of the Year has sold around 2 million copies worldwide. The singles "Ashes to Ashes" and "Last Cup of Sorrow" had minimal success (notably, the music video for "Last Cup of Sorrow", which featured actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo). "Stripsearch" was released as a single in various countries (excluding the US and UK). The album received largely negative reviews from US-based critics at the time. Rolling Stone magazine wrote in their original review "[They] are floundering around desperately, groping for a sense of identity and direction in a decade that clearly finds them irrelevant", while Pitchfork Media stated "Album Of The Year leaves one feeling like waking up and finding last night's used condom -- sure, the ride was fun while it lasted, but what remains is just plain icky. And you definitely don't want it in your CD player."
30 second sample of the Album of the Year song "Helpless".
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In early 1998, rumors of Faith No More's imminent demise began. Starting with a rumor posted to the Faith No More newsgroup alt.music.faith-no-more claiming Mike Patton had quit the band in favor of side projects, this rumor, although denied at the time, proved to be at least partly true. Faith No More played their last show in Lisbon, Portugal on April 7, 1998. The band cancelled their planned support tour for Aerosmith and on April 20, Billy Gould released a statement by email and fax, saying "[T]he decision among the members is mutual" and "the split will now enable each member to pursue his individual project(s) unhindered." The band "thank[ed] all of those fans and associates that have stuck with and supported the band throughout its history."
Immediately after the dissolution of Faith No More, the members went on to numerous different projects. Mike Patton notably co-founded the supergroups Fantômas and Tomahawk in 1998-99, as well as continuing his original band Mr. Bungle, who were still signed with Warner Bros. Records. The sound of Tomahawk in particular has often been compared to Faith No More's mid-late 1990s output.
When Faith No More was brought up in a 1999 interview with The A.V. Club, Patton (then fronting Mr. Bungle) stated "I'm definitely glad it's over: It was a great thing while it lasted, but it really had to end. I think if it had continued it would have gotten really ugly. No fistfights or bloody noses or anything like that, but the music would have been substandard. So the line must be drawn there." In another interview from 2001, he similarly stated that the band had broken up "because we were starting to make bad music." However, Gould did not share the same sentiment as Patton on the quality of the band's late material, stating in 1998 "However many records we sold or didn't, we maintained over a long period of time a high standard of music that we're proud of, and we never sucked. Whatever shit that happened to us on the way, thank God it didn't get in the way of the music."
Rumours that Faith No More would reunite for shows in the UK in the summer of 2009 were circulating in late November 2008, but were originally dismissed by bassist Billy Gould. He explained: "If anything like this were to happen, it would have to come from the band, and I haven't spoken with any of them in over a year. So as far as I know, there isn't anything to talk about, and I'm pretty sure that if you were to contact Patton, he would tell you the same thing."
However, on February 24, 2009 after months of speculation and rumors, Faith No More announced they would be reforming with a line-up identical to the Album of the Year era, embarking on a reunion tour called The Second Coming Tour. To coincide with the band's reunion tour, Rhino released the sixth Faith No More compilation, The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection, a double album that includes their hit singles and b sides & rarities, in the UK on June 8. Faith No More then played in major European festivals including Download Festival in the UK in June, Hurricane and Southside festivals in Germany, Greenfield Festival in Switzerland, Hove Festival in Norway and Roskilde Festival in Denmark, among other dates. The tour continued into 2010 with appearances at the Soundwave Festival in Australian cities throughout February and March. During their tour, the band added covers to their repertoire including "Switch" by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
After an eleven-month hiatus, Faith No More played four shows in South America in November 2011. On the first date (November 8, 2011), the band played a "mystery song," which led to speculation of new material. They played Sonisphere France on July 7, 2012. Following several more shows in Europe during 2012, Faith No More became temporarily inactive again. Mike Patton spent 2013 touring with his reformed rock supergroup Tomahawk, while the band's other members also pursued their own side projects. In July 2013, Billy Gould confirmed that the band's hiatus would not be permanent, saying "We will do something again only when all members are with the focus on that, and ready for the challenge. This is not the time... yet."
Sol Invictus and hiatus (2015–present)
"Black Friday" (2015)
30 second sample of the Sol Invictus song "Black Friday".
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On May 29, 2014, Faith No More posted a message (along with a photograph of Mike Patton) on their Twitter account, saying that "the reunion thing was fun, but now it's time to get a little creative." On July 4, Faith No More played their first show in two years at Hyde Park in London, supporting Black Sabbath. At that show, Faith No More debuted two new songs "Motherfucker" and "Superhero" (also known by fans as "Leader of Men"). On August 20, the band posted "The Reunion Tour is over; in 2015 things are going to change." These tweets led to speculation that the band was working on new material. On August 30, Gould said that the band is "considering doing something new", and may begin work on a new studio album at some point in the not-too-distant future, explaining, "to do something creative would be a really good thing to do." On September 2, Bill Gould revealed to Rolling Stone that the band had begun work on a new album. Faith No More headlined the final edition of Australia's Soundwave in February and March 2015. The band released their seventh studio album, Sol Invictus, in May 2015. The songs on the album were influenced by The Cramps, Link Wray and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Speaking to Revolver, Gould described the song "Cone of Shame" as "blues-based rock and roll". Describing the song "Matador", he said: "parts of it remind me of the first Siouxsie and the Banshees album. We used real pianos and that brings this organic quality to it to the music". The second single from the album, "Superhero", was shared by the band on March 1, 2015.
In a June 2016 interview, guitarist Jon Hudson stated that he has been "working on a few ideas" for the next Faith No More album, and added that "it's something that [he] wanted to focus on after the tour ended." When asked about the prospect of more music from Faith No More, Patton told Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, "I don't know whether or not we're going to attack it, but there is some stuff we wrote around the time of the last one and said, 'Why don't we save this for the next record?'. So we'll see."
In a September 2017 interview on Full Metal Jackie Radio, Patton revealed that Faith No More has been "on an extended break." He added that he does not rule out more shows with the band, explaining, "If something happens, it'll happen organically and naturally. But I kind of don't think it will. I kind of feel like we've tipped the scales a little bit. But we'll see. Who knows? I've learned my lesson not to say 'no.'"
Musical style and influences
While Faith No More's music is generally considered as alternative metal, experimental rock, and funk metal, as Faith No Man, their sound was described as post-punk. The band's first single from 1983, "Quiet in Heaven/Song of Liberty", was labelled as a "solid post-punk/pre-goth single." During their tenure with Chuck Mosley in the mid-1980s, Billy Gould stated the band were in a "weird spot", as their eclectic sound didn't fit in with the burgeoning hardcore punk and alternative rock movements of the era. Upon Mike Patton's arrival in 1989, the band began to expand their sound range even further, merging disparate genres such as synthpop, thrash metal and carousel music on The Real Thing. Rolling Stone states that during the 1990s, the band were "too heavy for the post-grunge pop hits of The Verve and Third Eye Blind [and] too arty to work comfortably with the nu metal knuckle-draggers they spawned." Over the course of their career, they have experimented with heavy metal, funk, hip hop, progressive rock, alternative rock, hardcore punk, polka, easy listening, jazz, samba, ska, bossa nova, hard rock, pop, soul, gospel, and lounge music.
"Ugly in the Morning" (1995)
30 second sample of the King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime song "Ugly in the Morning". It is one of many Faith No More songs predominantly influenced by heavy metal.
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Faith No More's lyrics have been described as "bizarrely humorous". When interviewed about his lyrics, Patton responded, "I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works more with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm, not because of the meaning".
Bordin acknowledged certain bands as early influences, including Killing Joke, PiL, Black Sabbath, and Theatre of Hate.
In a 2015 article by Artistdirect, Duff McKagan, Chino Moreno, Serj Tankian, Corey Taylor, Max Cavalera and Jonathan Davis praised the band for their significance and influence. Nirvana bassist, and co-founder, Krist Novoselic cited Faith No More as a band that "paved the way for Nirvana" in the late 1980s. Robert Plant, singer of Led Zeppelin, mentioned the then Chuck Mosley-led Faith No More as one of his current favorite bands in a 1988 interview with Rolling Stone. Plant and Faith No More subsequently toured together following The Real Thing's release. Scott Ian of Anthrax has also named Faith No More as one of his favorite bands.
Corey Taylor (frontman for both Slipknot and Stone Sour) told Loudwire in 2015 that if it wasn't for Faith No More, he "wouldn't be here today." While recovering from an attempted suicide at his grandmother's house, he saw the band perform "Epic" live on the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards and the performance inspired him to begin writing and performing music again.
They were voted No. 52 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". The band is credited for inventing the alternative metal genre which began in the 1980s and that fuses metal with other genres, including alternative rock. Tim Grierson of About.com said the band "helped put alternative metal on the map." Faith No More has also been credited for influencing nu metal bands, such as Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Sevendust, primarily due to the popularity of "Epic", and other early material that featured rap and rock crossovers. Papa Roach vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, a self-confessed fan of the band, stated in a 2015 interview "They fused some of that hip-hop and rock together. They were one of the earliest bands to do that, and definitely pioneers to a whole genre. If you listen to Korn, if you listen to how the bass and the drums lock up, it's quite similar to how Faith No More was doing it in their early years."
Faith No More have been covered by prominent metal acts such as 36 Crazyfists, Apocalyptica, Atreyu, Between the Buried and Me, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch, Helloween, Ill Niño, Korn, Machine Head, Papa Roach, Redemption, Revocation, Sentenced, Slaves on Dope and Trail of Tears. In 2002, a tribute album titled Tribute of the Year (a reference to Faith No More's Album of the Year) was released by Underground Inc. It featured 30 Faith No More songs covered by mostly unknown independent hardcore, industrial and alternative metal acts.
The band and their 1989[note1] single "Epic" have frequently been cited as an example of an '80s or '90s one-hit wonder. Flavorwire stated in 2014 "Although the band always had a loyal fan base and Patton remains an indie hero, they only cracked the Billboard Hot 100 once, with Epic." Others have noted that after "Epic"'s success, the band still managed to remain highly popular in regions outside North America: including Australia, South America, Europe and the UK. The band's original final record Album of the Year notably experienced high sales in countries such as Australia (where it went platinum), New Zealand and Germany, while being deemed a critical and commercial failure in their native USA.
Relationship with Red Hot Chili Peppers
After the release of The Real Thing, Faith No More developed somewhat of a rivalry with fellow Californian funk rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers, whom they had previously played with on The Uplift Mofo Party Tour. Singer Anthony Kiedis accused Mike Patton of stealing his "style" in the "Epic" music video. He told Kerrang! magazine "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". In a separate interview, he clarified his comment, remarking "I love The Real Thing, and I liked his vocals on that record. I mean, when I heard the record I noticed subtle similarities, but when I saw that video it was like, 'Wait a second here, what the fuck?.'" Roddy Bottum responded by saying "To me, our band sounds nothing like Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you're talking about long hair, rapping with his shirt off, then yeah, I can see similarities. But beyond that, I can't see any. I haven't talked to them since this whole thing started. We're really good friends with that band and i'd like to think they're doing it... like as a favour". Mike Patton finally addressed the allegations from Kiedis in 1990, commenting that "It just kind of came out of the blue. It doesn't bother me a bit. I got a real big kick out of it to tell you the truth. I mean, if he's gonna talk about me in interviews, that's fine - it's free press! Either he's feeling inadequate or old or I don't know, but I have no reason to talk shit about him." Later in 2001, Patton also theorized that "I think Anthony, deep down, feels like I'm a better dancer than he is. I think I shake my booty just a little bit fresher than he does. And if he would stop doing drugs I think he could outdance me. Maybe one day we'll have a breakoff, just breakdance."
Following a period of silence, the feud between Patton and Kiedis quickly escalated again in 1999 with Patton's other band Mr. Bungle, culminating in an infamous Halloween show during 1999 in which Patton (dressed as Kiedis) and his bandmates parodied the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their hit singles. The performance was in response to getting kicked off a series of lucrative festival gigs shared with Red Hot Chili Peppers, due to Kiedis's staunch refusal to perform with Mike Patton.
Despite this, other members of both groups appear to have remained on good terms since the initial controversy. Regarding the perceived conflict, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea stated "There was never any fight between us, that was a bunch of bullshit created by the media. I mean I think they're a good band. Maybe there was some things said between Anthony and the singer [Patton], but it all means nothing to me. Those guys in the band are nice people and there's no fight." At a 2014 show in Brooklyn, the band also notably covered a portion of the Chuck Mosley-era song "We Care a Lot".
Fox News commentator Greg Gutfeld attracted media attention in 2016 when he stated "You’re either a Faith No More fan, or a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. You cannot love Mike Patton and Anthony Kiedis, because they are two different people. You have to love Mike Patton, you cannot love Anthony Kiedis. So that is why the Red Hot Chili Peppers are the worst band in the universe, because Faith No More is the greatest band in the universe."
- 1979–1984: Early shows
- 1985–1986: We Care a Lot Tour
- 1987–1988: Introduce Yourself Tour
- 1989–1991: The Real Thing Tour
- 1992–1993: Angel Dust Tour
- 1995: King for a Day Tour
- 1997–1998: Album of the Year Tour
- 2009–2012: The Second Coming Tour
- 2015: Soundwave Tour
- 2015: Sol Invictus Tour
- Current members
- Mike Bordin – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1979–1998; 2009–present)
- Billy Gould – bass, backing vocals (1979–1998; 2009–present)
- Roddy Bottum – keyboard, backing vocals (1983–1998; 2009–present)
- Mike Patton – lead vocals (1988–1998; 2009–present)
- Jon Hudson – guitar, backing vocals (1996–1998; 2009–present)
Awards and nominations
- Grammy Awards
|1990||"The Real Thing"||Best Metal Performance||Nominated|
|1991||"Epic"||Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
|1993||"Angel Dust"||Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
- MTV Video Music Awards
|1990||"Epic"||Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Falling to Pieces"||Best Art Direction in a Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Falling to Pieces"||Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Falling to Pieces"||Best Visual Effects in a Video||Won|
|1993||"A Small Victory"||Best Art Direction in a Video||Nominated|
- Studio albums
- We Care a Lot (1985)
- Introduce Yourself (1987)
- The Real Thing (1989)
- Angel Dust (1992)
- King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime (1995)
- Album of the Year (1997)
- Sol Invictus (2015)
- List of bands from the San Francisco Bay Area
- List of alternative metal artists
- List of funk rock bands
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- 1. ^ The song was recorded in 1988 and first appeared on 1989's The Real Thing, although it gained popularity after being released as a single in 1990.
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