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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Kerrang! | August 5th 2006 | 1119


Words Catherine Yates

Photo Paul Harries


POSSIBLY ONE of the most influential bands in modern rock. A platinum-selling act with a decidedly non-mainstream agenda, Faith No More were true revolutionaries, with a singer who redefined the boundaries of rock performance in a way few have ever matched. A lightning bolt of energy onstage, a twisted lyrical genius on record, Patton began his career as he meant to go on - irreverent, unhinged, utterly contrary and always brilliantly inventive.

Though their 1990 rap-rock smash 'Epic' became a key influence on nu-metal, their 1992 masterpiece Angel Dust remains one of his proudest achievements.

"That was when we became a band," he says, looking back. "We locked people out of the studio and did it the way we wanted. The pressure was on but we knew what we had to do - and we actually did it!" Still, those who missed them first time round are unlikely to get a second chance. Despite fronting a band with such a pervasive legacy, Patton has no interest in resurrecting former glories. The last time the singer performed Faith No More songs was on their final tour in 1997 - a state of affairs he's determined to preserve, and one that's something of a sore paint with much of his fan-base.

"Obviously in any 10 year relationship there were many rollercoaster rides up and down, but I'm really proud of the music we made and I'm really glad it happened," he explains. "Just because I'm not wanting to retrace those steps, people assume that I look down my nose at those years, and that is not the case. Never has been.”


PATTON MAY just be the least monogamous rock star on the face of the Earth. At the height of FNM's success he was still recording and touring with his original outfit, San Francisco freak collective Mr Bungle. While his post-FNM career has eschewed the traditional solo project-supergroup-reunion tour path of his peers (see Alice In Chains, Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, etc), for a non-stop hurricane of activity, as prolific as it is diverse. Over the past nine years he's formed two successful supergroups - Fantômas (featuring Slayer's Dave Lombardo and Melvins lynchpin Buzz Osborne) and Tomahawk (with Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Dennison and Helmet/Battles drummer John Stanier), released a phone directory's worth of collaborations embracing anything from electronic noise to hip-hop, as well as doing guest spots for a range of artists from Sepultura, Team Sleep, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Melvins, to Massive Attack and Björk.

"People just stick to their bands, you'd be surprised at what people can get away with," he says of his genre-hopping hyperactivity.

“That's what we're all trained to do as human beings -find a niche, stick with make your money and shut the fuck up. And artists do the same as bartenders or anybody else. More often than not you hear a band and you say to yourself, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?'. Either people that are listening just don't know better or they're stooges. It's a living, it's a way of doing it," he shrugs. "But it's not my way."


LIVE, AS on record, Patton's penchant for provocation and bizarre antics has been outside the rock norm.

At Faith No More shows he could be found dousing himself in urine, at Tomahawk gigs he doused the crowd, while Mr Bungle shows have counted, among their stage props, bags of used underwear. Equally, his capacity for calling bullshit when he saw it earned a long-running feud with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as a personal wrist-slapping from Axl Rose during FNM's Guns N' Roses '92 support. Not necessarily the man you'd expect Slash to call to front his then-new project, Velvet Revolver.

"It was before it was called that, but they asked!" He laughs. "I mean they were real nice about it, but I was like, 'Er, sorry, not my thing'. That and being asked to join INXS pretty much take the cake. In my experience, very popular, successful bands - they do their thing, and that's it - then do a reunion tour with one original member! Look at Axl Rose, that guy could get away with murder. What does he do? Nothing. He headlined Download recently? Was it Guns N' Roses music? Wow. I'd have watched that - his hair's like a bad reggae wig."


SOMEWHAT SURPRISINGLY for someone with a history of shitting in hotel hairdryers and committing entire lunatic asylums to record, Patton doesn't do drugs. Never has done.

His main recreational obsession is caffeine - he once penned an ode to its sleep-depriving qualities on 'Angel Dust', and he drinks coffee and Red Bull pints at a time. He 'has' to, apparently. "I'm really, really into Red Bull," he says. "If I have more than seven hours sleep a night, I get a headache!"

So it's less surprising to learn that when he's not touring or releasing his own records, he's putting out ones by other people on his Ipecac label (named after a plant that doctors use to induce vomiting in patients who have overdosed on pills, no less), home to anything from Queens Of The Stone Age vinyl and Melvins, to albums comprised of obscene phone calls,

"I just intended to have a roof over my head and some of my friends and it's turned into a whole little universe really, where a lot of crazy things make sense Pretty much everything we put out in some strange way, is some kind of musical misfit that wouldn't make sense on an Epitaph or Relapse label, but makes perfect sense on ours!"


AT 38, he's still fucking with people. After 10 years of shunning conventional tune and song, he's taking on the mainstream with Peeping Tom, essentially a pop project. Assembled through the mail and featuring a host of big name collaborators including Massive Attack and mega-platinum MOR songstress Norah Jones, it's twisted, slinky grooves may just get him his biggest post-FNM audience yet. Or not.

"Maybe," he says. "It doesn't seem like a Kerrang! record to me, but I'm glad people are interested. Then hey, I want people to like everything I'm doing! 1 think a lot of people could relate to it, but y'know I'm not kidding myself. What I hear as being normal and pop and fun to listen to I know very well isn't what most people would hear!"

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