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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Metal Hammer | 1989

THE RIGHT STUFF

Mark Day


SAT IN the lounge of the Columbia Hotel, Faith No More's guitar god Jim Martin and the unfortunately named keyboard player Roddy Bottum are enjoying the delights of English bitter. Not so new boy Mike Patton, who's athleticism comes in part from his avoidance of alcohol.

F.N.M.'s latest slab of overlapping noises and straining attack is 'The Real Thing', their first since the well publicised departure of wigged-out mohawk crooner Chuck Mosely, with much attention focused on 'the replacement'.


"What's the difference between me and Jim?" asked new boy Mike Patton, before I even contemplated bringing the subject up.

O.K., what is the difference? Mike: "Bitter and cola."

"Bitter is better. Can I get it at home? Only in special places." according to Jim 'the glasses' Martin "I'm very much short sighted. In fact, I believe I'm legally blind."

Despite Patton joining F.N.M., his old band Mr. Bungle are soldiering on.

"They're still together to this day." Indeed Patton claims to still be a member.

Jim: "If he's there when we need him, we don't give a f*** what he does otherwise."

Mike: "It's more of a fun thing, everybody else in Mr. Bungle goes to school or has jobs."

Does this follow in the tradition started by Chuck Mosely, who's other outfit was Haircuts That Kill?

Roddy shrugs "Yeah, but he never did anything with his other band, he just talked about it. It never really happened."

Jim claims membership of Spastic Children (an occasional Metallica off- shoot), Vicious Hatred and Pigs Of Death...

"We all like playing, it's just like friends getting together and jamming. Faith No More's our bread and butter, but the other things are more for fun. That's not to say that Faith No More's not fun, but we're getting paid for it. That's really great."

WHEN THE band twice toured the U.K. to promote 'Introduce Yourself', the press made much of the internal bitching, fighting and conflict within the (then) aggro-filled quintet. The simmering tension was credited as the driving force behind the band, particularly when it seemed to erupt through the music on stage.

"I don't think that internal tension thing ever had much to do with the music." frowns Roddy, "It was something the press picked up on, they wanted something to write about and we happened to fight a lot at the time. I mean the rest of the band, without Chuck, has always written the music, that's the way it is now."

But you don't deny there was a lot of grief going on at the time, Jim?

"How can we deny it?" Roddy: "It just wasn't as interesting to us as it seemed to be to people over here."

And of course, having seen the new line up perform with just as much bruising energy as of old, I can only confirm that there are no deficiencies evident now that the band have stopped swinging punches at each other.

WITH THE internal self destruct urges removed, maybe they'll be in the running for some serious success. How huge could the band get, Jim?

"The huger the better. But if it doesn't get huge we're still going to do it anyway."

Roddy: "The hugeness of it is just a consequence of what we're gonna continue to do regardless. We're gonna keep playing the music we like and if it gets huge that's great.”

Whether the public are going to turn on to F.N.M's rock-a-delic thunder- storm remains to be seen. Despite their liberal bastardisation of trad. rock values to make way for tribal funk and rap, Faith seem to have gained easier acceptance within the rock fraternity than most 'fringe' acts. Of course, the patronage of acts like Metallica hasn't done any harm.

'THE REAL THING' takes the brooding musical assault of tracks like 'Chinese Arithmetic' and 'The Crab Song' from 'Introduce Yourself' further, with increased depth and colour courtesy of Roddy's growing keyboard contribution. This is combined with a set of lyrics from Patton which vary from the excellent Slayeresque 'Surprise! You're Dead!' to the whirlpool of 'Underwater Love' and the emotional fragmentation of 'Falling To Pieces'.

Are you a bitter and twisted in- dividual, Mike?

"Sometimes. I think there's a lot of stuff in the lyrics that almost everybody feels. Most of the lyrics and the songs are really moody with a lot of mood shifts."

Jim: "Then again, most everybody is a bitter and twisted individual at some point."

For some reason the track 'Zombie Eaters' has nothing to do with Romero- inspired splatter movies. It's a world as seen through a baby's eyes. You wouldn't guess from "There's always zombies eating human flesh, right? So I kind of figured out people might eat zombies, it's kind of a joke." Weird.

'Surprise! You're Dead' has to have the best line on the album, with the brutal, blunt "Surprise! You're Dead!, Guess what? It never ends...". Clive Barker could have done no better for stark, minimalist horror.

Jim: "That's more to do with Dracula. Who's the guy who started writing those stories? Bram Stoker? Based on the idea of the undead. Pretty horrible. It's definitely Slayer in- fluenced for sure. I like Slayer a lot."

So what direction is the band going in, Jim?

"Ahead."

Nastier?

"Sure, sometimes. Just more of everything. Nicer too, sometimes."

So is the big pop single round the corner?

"It'll be an accident if it does. 'We Care A Lot' was an accident, we just played the song and everybody liked it."

Could you see yourself opening for a stadium band like Whitesnake?

Roddy: "Nah, we're just going to tour by ourselves for a while. We're trying to get on the Metallica tour, we think that might happen in the States round about September."

Jim: "I'd like to tour with Robert Plant, he likes us! Why not? He was a hero, y'know? I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, learned to play guitar listening to Led Zeppelin."

Then he made some horrible solo albums?

"I can't deny it, but he's still great y'know, even though I hate his music." Roddy: "I like his sampled stuff, y'know the one where he throws in all these Zeppelin riffs."

Jim: "At least he's coming to terms with it. There was a time when he wanted to deny Led Zeppelin. It seemed like that anyway, I'm glad at least he came around."

And from one classic dinosaur rock band to another, and the legacy of one O. Osbourne Esq...


FOR ME, the real disappointment about 'The Real Thing' is the fact that their grungy slab of a cover version of Sabbath's raging 'War Pigs' is relegated to C.D. and cassette formats only. As a vinyl junkie, I'd rather have seen it on the album, and I'm sure that it would have cemented their metal credibility beyond question.

"There wasn't enough room." ex- plains Roddy, "The other songs would have suffered because there wasn't enough space on vinyl. We had too many songs.'

No desire to drop one of your own tracks to get 'War Pigs' onto the vinyl, Jim?

"We like our own material the best. But talkin' about Black Sabbath, that was the first record I ever bought, I love Sabbath. The first song I ever played on guitar was a Black Sabbath song, 'Iron Man""

Are you still a Michael Schenker fan?

"Yeah. I haven't heard any of his newer stuff but I still like his old stuff. I digged UFO when he was in it. And I liked the Scorpions when Ulrich Roth was with them, when he left the Scorpions were over for me."

O.K., SO the truth is that the inter- view starts degenerating due in no small part to the lager consumed by your humble narrator. Be warned, dumb questions coming up.....

So what would you want to win if you were on 'The Price Is Right', Jim?

"A new car or a hundred thousand bucks."

So what do ya drive at the moment? "I borrow my dad's truck when I'm home. He's good enough to loan me his truck."

Would you loan a truck to someone who behaved a lot like you?

"F*** no! No way! I don't trust anybody with any of my stuff."

Why not?

"Cause it's my stuff. I don't like people touching my stuff."

What's your favourite stuff?

"My favourite stuff? My stereo, my dick, my tapes and CD's, that's about it."










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