Faith No More | Kerrang! - 23rd April, 1988
California crap-busters Faith No More, currently on a UK club tour, are one of the most exciting, fresh and inspiring outfits to hit these shores in a long time. So sez Steffan Chirazi, in a bitter-sweet conversation with band guitarist 'Big' Jim Martin......
Kerrang! Magazine | January 30th 1988 | Issue 172 Gotta Have Faith by Steffan Chirazi
THERE ARE leaders and there are followers, that's something of a fact in life. Kerrang! led the field in this particular case, introducing you to the band called Faith No More last year, giving you a dose of originality in a world of conformist bulls* *t banality. And Faith No More themselves are leaders on that exact front; they are crap-busters, creators, inventors and ultimately innovators. They don't pose all pop 'n' lipstick for teen mags, they don't don chains, leather and stupid cliched snarls for the 'Eavy Metal mob. They are themselves. They don't preach, they don't bleed social consciousness all over your speakers, they don't fart around trying to become the next major thing. They maybe sense that this will happen anyway. They're my top tip for '88, and by now a few of you should see just why. Currently playing the top clubs in Blighty, Faith No More illustrative of what it is to be exciting, fresh and inspiring. The guitar crunches like no other fucking guitar that's tossed off in front of my ears of late, the melodies are quite superb and the rhythm is as heavy as shit... the Sabs would've been proud of such underlying rhythmic monstrosities as those beaten out by FNM. The history of Faith No More has already been detailed in issue eight of Mega Metal so I'll recap only the key points. They come from California, (Bay Area and Los Angeles) and they consist of Chuck Mosley , vox, Jim Martin, guitar, Roddy Bottum, keyboards, Bill Gould, bass and Mike Bordin, drums. They were aided in finding Jim by the late Cliff Burton, Bordin's and Martin's pal, and Cliff always took healthy interest in FNM's development.The band recently signed with Slash/Warner Bros, having been with an indie called Mordam for a while, and released the album 'Introduce Yourself' on that label in the US and on London Records in Europe. If you haven't got the record yet and you like to hear freshness amongst your rouge 'n' lipstick, buy it. In the USA FNM just completed a tour with the RHCP, with much success, are on the verge of signing with Quiet Riot / Faster Pussycat manager Warren Entner and have been receiving trendy MTV coverage of late. And this all brings me to a small project in the little Hamlet called Hayward, California. Very late at night it is too, and Jim Martin's just sitting in his big padded chair with his big drink in his big hand watching his big video on his big television. Everything in Jim's life has to be big, right down to the Lincoln town car he cruises around in. Jim Martin is used to big, big is used to Jim Martin, and even the things that Jim Martin says usually have that, errumm, biggish feel about them. His commentary on the other members and the inter-member relationships are actually rather huge. "Yeah, well, our singer Chuck has a physical abnormality in the shape of his third nipple. The one that your readers will be most interested in, the third one, is a result of his wearing lacy underthings onstage. Two nipples just weren't enough for a man like Chuck, so he developed the third from an irritation; a pimple. The lacy underthings forced holy to scratch the pimple, and so the third nipple developed.....on his arse. Every once in a while it weeps pus y'know, and I personally feel that this overall abnormality has helped chuck develop into the bitter frontman he is." And now for Martin on drummer and bitter man Mike Bordin.
"Mike the goat boy, eh? Well, uh, there we are in the truck during the last tour and I'm being constantly assaulted with imbecilic questions which have nothing much to do with what the real question is at all. The real big question might be, 'Please can we make a stop so I can use the bathroom?' However, the questions that came forth were, 'what time is it? Do we need to get gas soon? How long has it been since we last made a stop?' All these irritating questions constantly coming from Puffy Possum, the goat boy who would look far better with ram horns mounted upon his forehead."
Bordin's reply? "Jim has been like this since I met him in Ninth Grade, I hated him immediately and have hated him ever since. He's a creep, he's good at it and he's had a lotta practice at being one." Now, you are all wondering just what's going on, I'm sure. Dirty laundry is rarely done in public, let along in the fragile world of rock, so just where does it all come from? Are Faith No More bitter with themselves. bitter with life, or both? "Bitterness pretty much gives us our basic overall sound as far as I'm concerned; in as much as bitter feelings, bitter times, bitter pills swallowed and all that s* *t. See, if we were happy we'd play happy music, and I don't think we play happy music at all. The bitterness that brews in this band is most certainly our strong point. We thrive on the conflict of bitterness within the band: it often threatens to drive wedges between us all, but that's fine because it's helpful to us y'know?" He slugs a big slug of a bigger beer, getting ready to give another big answer. Just where does all this bitterness originate from? "From the slaves, man! It all originates from the slaves of old America. They bore the first real bitterness, and from that came the blues, which we all know is the musical root of bitter feeling. They invented the blues as a way of expressing their unhappiness at their whole deal It's something that I don't think enough people are aware of y'know, the roots of bitterness and all that." Of course every word has a definition, and every definition is open to interpretation, Jim has his own big definition of this bitterness. "Bitterness is the display of huge disgust for fucking bullshit, and that is a part of the way we live. Bullshit is a predominant force in life, that's why bitterness is spreading all the time further and further. I feel that I'm making a pretty good job of weeding out the bullshitters in my life, I still know a couple but that's alright because they're my friends. But I absolutely hate the Bullshitters that aren't my friends yes, you, you out there ... I hate you.. . yes, you! It's very important to remember that our band thrives on inner conflict and turmoil... the Earth was created around those very elements of conflict and turmoil."
"I mean, look at Mike!" Jim shouts in a large blurted voice. "Look at what's happened to Mike. He's a twisted-up man with all that bitterness inside him, and he needs to be for his drumming. His learning African style percussion cane about at a time when he had absolutely nothing to do. It was either take these classes and learn a new thing or kill himself, such was the boredom level in his life at that time." "He was living a life of a hobo and he nearly became a skeleton, but he dealt with that bitter chunk of life....however, he always had trouble fully coming to terms with his huge bitterness. But that's a whole different story concerning bitterness, self-mutilation, violence, torture and various unspeakable illegal substances which I am not at liberty to go into." Behind all the bitterness, though, lies good, wholesome ability, the type that all this chart shit crap out in a lifetime of hit singles. That guitar that is always mentioned when FNM come up is something that wasn't just picked up over night. It all started a long, long time ago..... "It's like this. I was forced to pick up a guitar by Black Sabbath. I first heard the ripping huge thick sounds of Sabbath when I was a youth and figured that was the thing to do. Ahh, Jimmy Page was a definite hero, I used to copy all his shit just to see what he was doing. Hendrix too, Cliff Burton....."
Martin once played in a big band with Cliff. "Yeah, we had this little band for a while, but with huge sounds, y'know? But anyway , other heroes would have to include early Michael Schenker, although in this article I read the other day they said that he's gone commercial. I always thought that the guy didn't want that, and that it was the very reason he left The Scorpions, figured the guy wanted to carve his own precise melodic path. But I guess that the guy had some problems, although I am basing this upon the words of the press, who are probably telling lies and shouldn't be trusted. I shall be investigating this myself. Anyway... I also like classical music a great deal, like Beethoven. Bach is great, Wagner, all epic guys y'know? The reason I got into classical guitar was because it always sounded like several guitars being played at once. I always thought that was a great thing. So I went to Chabot College in Hayward California, where I attended lessons with about 15 other kids. The teacher was extremely fine too, which helped me pick up even more."
With classical influences as well as the influences of such as Sabbath and Metallica, just how does the original avoid being boxed with the unoriginal? Is it a worrying situation? "No way, I'm plenty happy with our situation," states Jim in big tones, "I don't feel in danger of being placed in the box of categorisation at all. We can't be threatened with it, because there isn't a box big enough for us anyway. However, it is only a matter of time before they make one big enough but I personally don't give a fuck if they do because they'll all be wrong. As we know, however good anything starts out, it always turns to shit!" More of the unclassifiable is to be committed to vinyl within the next few months, and just where these ideas have been brewing is best described in a big big voice by Jim. New stuff is being generated both here in my cubicle and main idea, of course, is to make the s* *t sound good and to do that we have to have the time to f* *k around a bit more in the studio. Production is of minimal importance in all that. the most important factor is band maturation. "Our old problem was that we spent too much time deciding how things should be played or should not be played, but now that those stupid walls have crumbled we're playing just what the fuck we want to, as and how we want to play it. And I'll tell you another thing, man," Jim takes a big drag of his big cigar, eases back into his big chair and takes a big slug of his big bottle of Jack Daniel's. "I have no regard for anyone when it comes to recording this next album. I will indulge myself on it as, and when, I feel it necessary to do so." Jim Martin, Faith No More, stand for something that is for the most part lacking in music: able uniqueness. And you know the scariest aspect of this hotchpotch of temperamental and able fools? They're just so...so ...so....big. Does that make sense? I think it does, and I just know that you do.