Faith No More | Metal Hammer - May 21st, 1990
It's near-heatwave time again and Faith No More are Founding off their conquest of British shores. In '87 they made a splash with the unlikely radio-hit 'We Care A Lot', in '88 they showed vocalist Chuck the door, in '89 they gave us 'The Real Thing' and new boy Mike Patton and then...
Metal Hammer | 21st May 1990
Three Sides of the Coin by Mark Day
Not so much a meteoric rise as a slow, steady tumble up the stairs to success. With the press salivating, sporadic London dates, longer U.K. lours and a growing barmy army of travelling fans, Faith just got big. Big enough to play Hammersmith Odeon. Big enough to play Top Of The Pops. That big enough for you? So we watch Robocop on the tour bus, fry in the heat and Liverpool gets the Faith treatment. The people are friendly (well, except for the bouncers), and I spend the afternoon hitting on various members of the band for a few words of wisdom.
FIRST UP. drummer Mike Bordin, accosted in the catering room. Only half joking he shrugs, "Someone wants to talk to me?", before we retire to a quite corner where the most serious member of the band will frown deeply, chose his words carefully and step cautiously through the minefield of understanding. Bordin seems to agonise over his answers to even the most flippant of questions. Terrified of being misunderstood. On playing 'Top Of The Pops' he has this to say...
"We met Alannah Myles and her fuckin' bass player was wearin' a Misfits t-shirt."
Bordin's a picture of silent despair. "I think that's obscene. That would be like a guy in New Kids on The Block wearin' a fuckin' Misfits t-shirt."
How's the latest tour? "I wasn't extremely happy with the first show. We were messing around with the set, to make a new, good set for the people who'd seen our last two tours. But the momentum went totally wrong."
Bored with touring 'The Real Thing' yet? "Well, we're going to newer. bigger and better places. It's getting wilder so it doesn't seem we should be done yet."
Do you worry about becoming 'fashionable'? "It's none of my concern. It's beyond my control I didn't wake up and have this hair style, y'know. I've been the way I've been for a long time."
I ask why he isn't sound checking with the rest of the band and he flashes me his lingers as a reply. His thumbs are torn and raw looking. "I'm down to the bloody stump."
So we talk about 'The Real Thing'. Was it the album the band expected to end up with?
"...we ended up with the album we were hoping tor. but when we were writing the songs I had no idea what it would be like."
So how did the songs come together? "Jim plays guitar. I play drums. Billy plays bass..."
You know what I mean! "I contribute...'From Out Of Nowhere' started out as keyboards and drums, 'Zombie Eaters' started out as guitar, a piece that Jim wrote. 'Woodpecker From Mars' started out as keyboards and bass. 'Epic' started out as bass and drums. 'Falling to Pieces' bass, drums and keyboards...everybody contributes"
And you're working tracks like 'The Worm Turned' from the first 'We Care A Lot' album into the set now? "Simply because we'd feel weird cutting that part of ourselves off. We'd be ignoring a root of the tree, if you will."
But you weren't playing that material on your last few visits. "That comes back to us changing the set. We want lo do things we haven't done Why should we punish people who have seen ten shows. twenty shows by playing the same set? It would be a cheat"
The record in question was a sell financed demo with additional tracks financed by US. indie 'Mordam Records'. It features original vocalist Chuck Mosley (as does the better known 'Introduce Yourself, which it preceded) and the first, slower 'n' sloppier version of 'We Care A Lot' a near-hit in re-recorded form. "It was one of the first times we went into a studio...didn't know what we were doing, really, But I think that record's O.K.. I kinda like it."
Back to the people who see twenty shows and more. Are you surprised that you have this gypsy following? "People have been really good to us. even when the press have had their doubts - when the record first came out it was 'who Is this new singer? what is this?'"
Would you have followed anyone around like that? "When I was thirteen years old I stole a car and drove tour hundred miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to see Black Sabbath. I was a fanatical devotee of Black Sabbath round the time of 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' and 'Sabotage'. When I was nine years old I discovered listening to Jimi Hendrix on the radio, things like that. Music has been one of the most important things in my life since I was nine years old. I had a lot of tough times when I was a kid with my family and I always turned to music...the Rolling Stones' 'Exile On Main Street', Creedence Clearwater Revival. Hendrix. Zeppelin...then I found Black Sabbath and that was it!"
And now you play 'War Pigs' every night as an encore... "The only way I can describe it is having dessert after a good meal."
The muffled hum of the sound check is bleeding into the room... "Jim's playing 'Into The Void" right now. From the second side of Sabbath's 'Masters Of Reality'"
You're terribly serious about all this, aren't you? "Like I said I wasn't a great kid, I was pretty rotten and I grew up with every rock record that was put out between 1973 and 1977. '78. '79. The Scorpions. U.F.O., Ted Nugent, Tommy Bolin, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath....everything. That was the most important thing to me. After that time I was dissatisfied and I felt rock music was a dead end. So I listened to a lot of different progressive stuff and when the Sex Pistols came around...Killing Joke... Public Image Ltd. opened everyone's eyes to reggae and dub music..."
Do you think you Faith No More are I I opening Metal people's eyes to new possibilities?
"I hope so. because I felt that the rock thing was locked into something so repetitive and ridiculous. Something that should be so exciting but is so worn out it's dull, trite and common place That's no good. I dunno...! I guess I am pretty serious in some ways. I try to keep a level head. I don't drink a lot. I like peace and quiet. Saying nothing for twenty four hours would be an ideal day. I like it calm."
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "If it all finished tomorrow I'd start it up again. I think. What am I going to do? Play a guitar in a bar and drink!"
BASS PLAYER Billy Gould is both a bookworm and a joker. Earlier. he'd been inventing an elaborate history for a catatonic punk girl we'd seen in a service station. Incest, violent abuse and drugs were speculated upon. Nice guy. Bill.
Unlike Mike Bordin. he's never been interested in following particular bands...
"I've never done it. but if I'd had a car I might have. In Los Angeles I used to see a lot of local shows, like the Germs and Black Flag. I even stage dived at a GoGo's show once. I was in a local band called The Animated. I was the only white guy in the band and we sounded a lot like The Buzzcocks."
The band are returning to the U.S. for exhaustive louring alter Europe. "They can't just promote us out of the blue. People wouldn't understand, so they've got to come and see us live. We're totally different to the Bullet Boys. y'know? The Bullet Boys you could promote, people know it's a Heavy Metal band and you know what you'll get on the record. With us you've got to tour..."
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "Groupies? It depends how low you're willing to stoop, my man? How desperate are you? I draw the line on a very individual basis girls with open, running wounds on their mouths."
But you do play to a Metal audience in the U.K. "Yeah, it's fun. They get nice 'n' drunk before they come to the show most of the time. They have a good attitude. There's an overwhelming feeling of confidence when we play a show and people are into us. they're having a great time. It's like a circle, you work off each other."
Bill's turn to look back at the first album. "We were young. Jim was workin' a job so he was keepin' his hair short. I had to be the manager of the band so I had short hair so people would think I was respectable. There's some good songs on that record."
Of course, what Billy really wants to be talking about is organised crime. Been reading up on the Kray Twins while you've been here? "I like them! I'm a Kray Twins fan. After soundcheck tomorrow I hope to see the film about them. It seems like a lot of people have known the Kray Twins or their relatives have known them. Very popular people round here! You pick up the stories here and there."
Nice guy. Bill.
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "I made a solo album it would be twisted shit. I don't like straight forward rock."
AND FINALLY, Jim Martin. Prone to unleashing an animal howl in the tour bus every now and then. Prone to speaking in stupid English and Scottish accents. Prone to laughing his weird high pitched laugh to himself - in very short bursts. Prone to playing with his food - organising it Into orderly shapes. Turn on the tape recorder and he'll never give you three words when one would do. Unlike Mike Bordin. Jim'll always tell you he's doing this "for the money".
Top of The Pops? "It was fucked up. They made us hangout all day..."
The single didn't go any higher on the chart. Maybe you put people off. "If they're put off that easily they were never on in the beginning..."
Are things getting better or worse? "Both A lot more people know about us. I've been talking to Mike B and Billy about 'the old days'. What do you remember?"
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "You don't get good porno here it's all pretty tame. Not worth buying."
"We were stuck in Atlanta for ten days once Bill had booked us a gig and we went down, we had nowhere to stay. The guy let us live at the club. We had no money so we couldn't move on."
Was Bill a good manager? "Nope"
What was bad about management? "We had to stay in Atlanta for ten days."
Any other reason? "He's a little bit absent minded. I'd see him walkin' down the street, there's the money bag hangin' out of his briefcase..."
Any new songs for the next record? "No. We write them before we go into the studio. We got ideas but we haven't worked them out.'
Do the rest of the band ever reject your stuff? "Hey Roddie!", The keyboard player's prone on the other side of the room. trying to sleep. "Roddie. how come you guys never rejected anything I wanted to do?" "Uhhh. we trust you," is the muffled reply.
Want lo tell me any secrets about the other people in the band? "Write down that Mike Bordin's name is Puffy. He hates it."
What do they call you behind your back? "Who cares? It's not very advantageous to call someone something behind their backs they'll never know about it or suffer from it. Say It to their face or say it behind their backs loud enough that they can hear it. He he he..."
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "The next record is going to be along similar lines, unless the rest of the band are a bunch of traitors!"
Like Billy. Jim does not travel too far. "It's not something I would do. The most I ever travelled was eighty miles to see Metallica. I had the chance once to see Pink Floyd perform 'The Wall' in Los Angeles but it was too tar to drive..."
Any ideas for a stage show now you're playing bigger places? "A human sacrifice would be good But not a staged one. we'd really have to kill someone."
I take it you've got guns then? "I've a couple of rifles. shotguns and pistols. I shoot stuff from time to time...birds and small furry animals that girls like. They're trying to take your weapons away in the US. now and that sucks What's the deal? I'm not going to kill anyone"
The Wit And Wisdom of Jim Martin: "Sure, I get envious of Mike Patton. Of course. But there's always a price to pay."