Faith No More | Cow Palace, San Francisco - October 20th 1990
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Kerrang Issue 314 | November 3rd 1990
WHEN THE dust settles at the end this year and Faith No More embark upon the writing of their next album, we will all remember the glaring fact, and for it I refer to my good friend Frank Sinatra: they did it their way.
I look at the most original band in the world during their 40-minute support slot roasting of Billy Idol (sound on a limiter, lights at a minimum, stage-space designed to cramp your style) and realise that nothing could've stopped them from making it. They are too individual. Too stylish. Too one-off.
And tonight I'm seeing the final piece of the FNM jigsaw fall into place: their ability to make an arena as personable as a club. There is a comfort to FNM's arena-stepping, an intimacy that Is mind-blowingly brilliant. When Mike Patton exchanges with the crowd, it's aimed at 12,000 people but it seems like 1200. Patton is showing such marked improvement in both style, attitude and ease that finally Faith No More can start being sure that this is all going to hold, that Mike Patton and them will be future collaborators.
Each member retains his identity to the max. Jim Martin, as adaptable to any given situation as a cockroach, has eased into his hill billy guitar-hero frame, a walking, talking horror show of cheap bellows and gestures. Roddy Bottum takes more of the spotlight these days, his casual comfortable demeanour complementing the proceedings perfectly. Bill Gould could be in the same hole he was three years ago and he'd still have his head down, body pumping to his popping fingers. And Mike 'Puffy' Bordin remains the greatest drummer in rock, his intense energies channelled into some furious, incredible beats and shuffles. Watching Puffy makes you want to hit things violently, pleasurably.
Patton is the clown-prince of it all, the actor-singer-extrovert who finally found solace and comfort Faith No More. Maybe now he realises it isn't all that bad and he has, indeed, added some superb ad-libs. The best of which is a 40-second treatment of 'The Right Stuff' during a new scratch-backed 'We Care A Lot'. The Nestle theme crumbles into 'Surprise! You're Dead!', the encore is the Commodores tune 'Easy' and stuck in there somewhere is the song that sold them 800,000-plus albums, 'Epic'. It is whilst watching Faith No More perform 'Epic', hearing 12,000 high-pitched screams, feeling the moods and variations of such supreme music, that I suddenly get a big shot of hope.
Maybe this filthy dirty cheating bastard industry can get it right sometimes. And how pleased we all should be that the world accepted Faith No More for what they are and not what someone made them into. If anyone thinks this is all just a flash in the pan, I have news. You didn't think they'd break it or make it in the first place, so LISTEN when I tell you now that the pan's on permanent fire. The most beautifully irreverent arena set of the year.