A Decade of Mike Patton 2009 to 2019
Today we wish Mike Patton, the man of a thousand voices, a very happy 52nd birthday.
The last decade has been a thrilling time to be a Patton-fan. A decade which featured the Resurrection of Faith No More and Tomahawk. The introduction of new projects such as Nevermen, Dead Cross and tētēma - to name a few. A decade which witnessed Patton’s mastery of film soundtrack compositions. A decade of countless memorable live perfomances. 2019 to 2019 was exceptionally Patton-tastic and Mike has remained the most hardworking and busiest he could possibly be. To celebrate his 52nd birthday and recent career in music we have selected some highlights from the last ten years.
1. Faith No More Reunited (2009)
On February 24th 2009 Faith No More announced they were to return. Patton - who had previously been dismissive of the band, sometimes even disgusted at the idea of a reformation - embraced his reaffirmation with FNM and took to the stage with the perfect balance of passion and mischief. There are so many outstanding moments from the Second Coming Tour, from scaling the stage constructs to regurgitating shoelaces, from commandeering cameras to wrestling security.
"I think that this Faith No More reunion taught me a pretty good lesson: 'Hey, these things that you've done in the past aren't your enemies.' They're not something to run away from but rather something to just understand. If I'm going to write a piece of music tomorrow, I'm not really going to understand it for another 10 years -maybe, if I'm lucky! The reunion with Faith No More was a really eye-opening experience because it taught me how to appreciate the music that I've done from a distance. When you're in it, you're too close. When you're writing it, it's still like a part of you." - Patton 2013
You can read in detail our article A Decade Of Faith No More 2009 - 2019
2. Mondo Cane (2010)
In 2010 Patton and his label Ipecac Recordings released the maestro’s most ambitious project.
The Mondo Cane album involved an orchestra, a fifteen-piece band and a choir. The ensemble recorded a collection of Italian pop songs over which Patton would exercise his skills singing in a second language.
Patton's 'love letter' to the country he had spent much time in during the late 90's was first realised in 2007 with three live performances in Italy. It was from the audio of these shows that the album was pieced together.
"I had a gigantic list of really great songs and I had to sort of wind them down to what I could sing, what I could translate, what I could pull off. Anyone can put together a list of favorite tunes, but the real trick is — and the key is — to come up with something you can pull off and interpret in your own way. Not all of my favorite tunes would I want to touch. If it’s perfect already, why f— it up?" - Patton 2010
Patton would perform Mondo Cane at various concerts in European and South American countries over the next decade. All of these concerts were spectacular, however special moments were at Teatro Caupolicán in Chile (2011) and at Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Italy (2019).
3. La Chanson de Jacky (2012)
Scott Walker‘s cover of Jacques Brel‘s La Chanson de Jacky was re-recorded by Secret Chiefs 3 Traditionalists and released as a 7" single, before appearing of the album Book Of Souls: Folio A in 2013. This wonderfully slick and chest-puffed out version illustrates Patton’s ability to deliver a flawless performance without taking himself too seriously.
Trey Spruance’s label Web Of Mimicry describes the release:
It's a stunt simultaneously ill-advised and absolutely necessary for a band like Secret Chiefs 3: Traditionalists to undertake -- and one that could only be pulled off with someone uniquely qualified to take command of the vocals. Who other than the maestro Mike Patton, in this day and age, to do justice (and then some) without insult to such a preposterously Spartan legacy?
4. Tomahawk - Oddfellows (2013)
With countless projects on the go 2013 was indeed a special year for Patton-fans.
Tomahawk’s future was uncertain after the band released Anonymous in 2007. However in 2013 Patton, Duane Denison, John Stanier and Trevor Dunn made a comeback with their fourth studio album Oddfellows. It was a return to more traditional song formats but with that touch of weirdness we learned to expect from this outfit. Intricate off-beat rhythms, schizophrenic vocals, killer riffs and dark sounds - an amazing addition to their catalogue.
"... a kind of first-take urgency, a feeling that, whenever you get these guys in the same room, this music-- this lurid, thorny, profoundly weird music-- just comes tearing out." - Pitchfork
During 2013 Tomahawk embarked on a social media documented world tour which included a rare live TV performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
5. Live with Björk (2013)
During the 2010s Patton toured not only with his group arrangements but also made many one off appearances with other artists. Patton performed Laborintus II with Luciano Berio and Ictus Ensemble in 2010. In 2011 he joined Sepultura onstage in Brazil at Rock In Rio 4. He collaborated with Eyvind Kang at Sacrum Profanum Festival in 2016. Patton joined the Cavalera brothers and The Dillinger Escape Plan for a shows in 2017. In 2018 he performed Forgotten Songs with pianist Uri Caine on two nights in Modena, Italy. In 2019 Patton and DJ Qbert were guests at David Lynch's Festival of Disruption. The list goes on...
However the guest performance that has made it into this list occurred in 2013 at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. On this unprecedented occasion Patton joined Björk for the first (and only) time onstage to perform their duet Where Is The Line?.
6. Zorn @ 60 (2013)
During the last decade Patton collaborated on various recordings and made various appearances with his mentor John Zorn.
In 2010 original Mr. Bungle members Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance were coerced by Zorn to form a group under the name of Cobra who performed in San Francisco.
In May 2013 Mike joined Zorn’s 60th birthday celebrations at Warsaw Jazz Festival in Poland and Moers Festival in Germany. Each night had a performance from The Song Project and Moonchild, both featuring Patton. In September of the same year Zorn presented Patton's solo voice performance Six Litanies for Heliogabalus Litany IV at the Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
7. Fantômas RockOut Festival (2014)
It seems that the lucky people of Chile get all the extraordinary shows, from FNM presenting King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime in full to Mondo Cane back to back shows. December 2014 saw Fantômas reform after a five year absence and join Primus and Devo at RockOut Festival in Santiago. Patton's band performed The Director’s Cut in full.
Buzz Osbourne, Dave Crover (filling in for Dave Lombardo) Patton and Dunn also joined Tool, Primus and Clutch for a one off show in San Bernardino in 2017.
8. Faith No More - Sol Invictus (2015)
After six years of live shows with little evidence of new material FNM finally released their seventh studio album on May 19th 2015. Sol Invictus was FNM's first album in eighteen years and was arguably the most anticipated recording of Patton's career.
"There were times in the past 10 years when I definitely thought that would never be the case," he continues. "I'm sure you could pull up all sorts of quotes from me where I'm saying, 'We'll never make another record again, I never want to be a part of that ever again.' But, you know, circumstances change. And it's nice to be wrong; it's nice to admit when you're wrong. And I was wrong! I did not know that this band had more statements in them. Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone when I heard this music and realised that I wanted to be a part of it." - Patton 2015
9. Kaada/Patton - Bacteria Cult (2016)
Collaborations have always been an important weapon in Patton's arsenal, he seems to always find the perfect companion to enter the battlefield alongside. After a seven year break from such partnerships in 2012 Mike recorded Laborintus II with Ictus Ensemble. In 2014 he released the album Geocidal under the name tētēma with Australian composer Anthony Pateras, and the long awaited Nevermen record - with Tunde Adebimpe and Doseone - followed. In 2019 Patton explored French mood music with Jean-Claude Vannier on the album Corpse Flower.
Our pick for this list is the second record with Norwegian songwriter Kaada. Bacteria Cult was the follow up to 2004 album Romances. It warranted only rave reviews with it's majestic and often terrifying cinematic tones.
"...it dwells in The Twilight Zone where spooky and seductive meet." - John Kaada
10. Dead Cross (2017)
Patton ascended to the ranks of Dead Cross - joining Lombardo, Justin Pearson and Mike Crain - replacing original singer Gabe Serbian. The band's self-titled debut album was released in 2017. The whole album has a retro thrash metal vibe with a modern twist, it is an exhilarating punch in the throat that leaves you with a satisfying bruise or two. Enough to please hardcore and Patton fans alike.
"The players in this group fit together like a bizarre music puzzle coming together to make one chaotic, beautiful music masterpiece." - Chuck Vans Radio
A world tour followed throughout 2017 and 2018. Patton proved at 50 he could still destroy a stage delivering both an energetic and brutal performance. Even an altercation with a skateboard - which resulted in Patton being hospitalised and proved to be one of the biggest stories of the decade - didn't stop him.
11. 1922 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2018)
This decade has seen Mike Patton's talent as a composer of film scores flourish. He began in 2009 with the Fantomas-esque soundtrack to Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Crank 2: High Voltage. In 2011 Patton provided music for The Solitude of Prime Numbers, an Italian drama directed by Saverio Costanzo. Patton followed with the musical accompaniment to 2013 crime tragedy film directed by Derek Cianfrance, The Place Beyond The Pines.
Our choice for soundtrack of the decade is the collection of creepy sounds Patton wrote for Netflix's adaption of Stephen King Novella 1922 directed by Zak Hilditch.
It would seem the more films Patton scores the better he gets.
Here is our playlist of some the best Mike Patton recordings from the last ten years.