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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Hot Metal | September 1990

This is the only way we communicate- through interviews

Words Steven Coates

Photos Wendy McDougall

admits Faith No More's Mike Patton about his relationship with the rest of the band. This and many more revelations are passed on to a bemused Steven Coates.

Mike Patton possesses an evil-sounding, sadistic little laugh - a nasal "Hehehehehehe" - that he reserves for moments when his perverse sense of humour has been aroused.

He reveals it when he's said something he probably shouldn't have. He reveals it when saying less than complimentary things about the rest of his band. And he reveals it when paying out on something he's supposed by rumour to like...

I came to know that laugh only too well over the course of a lazy Wednesday spent wandering with Patton and band mates Roddy Bottum and Billy Gould around Sydney's stranger shops, where they perused African tribal crafts and occult items, amongst other goodies.

It came bursting through when Patton reminisced about how Mike Bordin separated two ribs bungee jumping in New Zealand, and again when recalling the Parramatta show's audience reaction to his and Roddy's gay jokes the previous night.

As in "Hehehehehehe! When we get a crowd like that, we end up confusing 'em. People end up staring at us like we're animals in the zoo. Hehehehehehe!"

The laugh spiraled up again as Patton recalled Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis' recent all-out attack that Patton was a complete rip-off. "I thought it was pretty hilarious, to tell you the truth - I got a good kick out of it! Hehehehehehe!"

Suddenly, Patton then turned serious. "I have a tendency to say the wrong things sometimes," he admitted. "A lot of interviewers wanna hear that 'Everything's great man! I played a great show last night, love everyone in my band and I can't wait to write the next album - I'm having a great time!'

"Well it's not always like that, and I'm not gonna f__kin' lie!"

Yes dear readers, you could be right in detecting a note of road-weariness in Patton's words. However, after spending over a year sweating it out in the world's clubs and concert halls ( and the prospect of a number of - now completed - festivals through Europe in the near future), you can surely understand his fatigue.

The effect this prolonged spell of touring has had on the admittedly always strange (and often strained) interrelationship between the five Faithless Ones is an interesting one.

Certainly there is what psychiatrists would call a 'communication breakdown' evident here (and all rock fans do attend psychiatrists don't they - otherwise they'd kill themselves after listening to Judas Priest LP's!).

For example, just ask Patton about the long-running, cause-of-a-thousand-untrue-rumours issue of his other band, Mr Bungle, and he reacts by wanting to know what Roddy and Billy had told me 20 minutes previously when he was temporarily absent.

"This is the only way we communicate," he admits, “through interviewers! They'd never tell me anything, so we use interviews to air our dirty laundry in front of the whole world!"

Well, equally fascinated readers, here's the entire contents of their laundry bag - underwear, jockstraps, mud stains and all...

HM: Do you care about Mike wearing his Mr Bungle shirts everywhere?

Billy: "It can be a little tacky sometimes..." Roddy: "I care about him as a person, but I think he looks like an idiot. I think anyone who wears their own band's T-shirt looks like an idiot!"

HM: What would the rest of the band do if he (Patton) left?

"Well," muses Billy, "We've been doing allright so far - we're not going anywhere!

We'd write another record, find another singer, I guess. What do you do? What do you do if you lose your job? Just decide to stop eating?

"But it's not even a serious thing... it's only

HM: Do you think he does it - wears his Mr Bungle shirts - simply to stir up some controversy?

"Sure he does."

Patton's side of the story, told when the others have in turn disappeared for a while, is slightly different...

"I play with another band (apart from Faith

No More)," he states. "And to a lot of people that's adulterous or offensive.

HM: But would you leave Faith No More to concentrate fully on Mr Bungle?

"No - I can't see myself doing that now."

HM: What if Mr Bungle got a record deal?

"Well, we're working on it now, but nothing's happened yet.

"What I really want to do is do both at the same time, and I don't see why that's not possible. I mean, there's definitely enough room in the world for these two bands - they're completely f_kin' different!

"I'm willing to put in the time and the effort (to work with both) and as long as people don't get jealous, competitive, pigheaded or stupid about it, then it's gonna work just fine.

"I can't imagine myself not doing both...I'd never wanna have all my eggs only in one basket."

HM: How often do Mr Bungle play?

"As often as it's humanly possible. I mean, once we (Faith No More) had five days off and we (Mr Bungle) did three gigs."

HM: How much of a following does Mr

Bungle have?

"It's getting bigger - hehehehehehe!" he chuckles. Funny that...

"We haven't played much outside of San Francisco, so it's pretty much a cult following. It's a mysterious thing: everyone's got questions about Mr Bungle. That's the way I like it - because whenever we play, everyone will come!"

HM: Do you only wear Mr Bungle shirts to annoy the others?

"No, no. I wear 'em cause it's a beautiful design. I don't know if it pisses them off.

They'd never tell me if it did anyway...

While we're concentrating on the burning Faith No More issues of the moment, let's hear what the trio have to say about Anthony (RHCP)

Kiedis' comments on Patton.

Roddy: "It was a joke to us for a while, but no-one's really sure now."

Billy: "It just kinda came out of the blue.

We've always considered ourselves friends with them, always been on good terms.

"They really had no grounds to criticize us.

It would be really petty to give in to it and start saying shit about them (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) too, but it'd also be really easy and tempting.

Mike: "It seemed to me that they feel really insecure or threatened. Maybe they're just feeling old and inadequate... hehehehehehe!

"Actually, I admit to what he claims: I play their records every day, and sit in front of the mirror watching their videos! I'm getting it down, but it's still not quite right yet - I've still got a few tattoos to get inked!"

HM: When you played in Australia, your shows featured a cover of The Commodores ballad Easy, played FNM style. It's an interesting choice for a cover; whose idea was it?

Mike: "Lionel Ritchie came up with it - he was over at my house one day and he said

I'll let you guys do it!' I said 'Thanks Lionel, man!'

"No, we all like the song pretty much - except for Jim, hehehehehe. The only reason he plays it is because there's a (guitar) solo in it! He gets to spew all over the crowd!

"When I throw in little cover tunes here and there, Jim doesn't have a clue! If you said to Jim after a show 'Hey, that was great when you guys did 911 /s A Joke,' he'd go 'What?

What are you talking about? What's that - Pink Floyd?!’

HM: Clever as your choice of covers are, I'm sure more people are interested in when we'll see some new Faith No More product than in the covers you choose.

Roddy: "Not for a while - we're touring 'til Christmas, so we probably won't even think about writing 'til after after we stop touring

"Everybody's got ideas (for the new material), but I really don't know what it's gonna be like: probably just as varied, I would hope."

And will Mike Patton be inputting a lot more into the new album? After all, he joined Faith No More after the music for The Real Thing was completed, and just added his vocals.

"Uh, I dunno," he says. "Sometimes I think I should (do more), but then I think I should let them (the others) do it."

HM: So you don't have any definite ideas now for things you would like to add to the Faith No More sound?

"F_k no! | mean, when you're in the middle of it, when you're up to your neck in mud, you don't want to think about mud.


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