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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Metal Maniacs | 1989

FAITH NO MORE Incomparable in-concert incongruity

With 14 months of constant touring supporting a diverse group of acts (which only goes to prove how difficult it's been for the industry to categorize Faith No More) including Aerosmith. Poison, Billy Idol, Voivod, Soundgarden, and homeboys Metallica, it was a tumultuous year for these San Francisco favorites. 22-year-old Mike Pat- ton, the baby of the band, literally grew up on the road. Needless to say, the sights he encountered were more than a little illuminating for the sweet- faced boy from Eureka, a small Northern California town. On the other hand, Patton's manic behavior onstage was something of a sight in its own right for the mainstream audiences that saw the band for the first time, opening up arena sized venues on the Billy Idol tour. It's this mix of normalcy and madness that makes a live Faith No More performance so compelling. The band's live set, which includes "We Care A Lot," the song that first brought them to the attention of people outside the San Francisco club scene, selections from both Introduce Yourself and The Real Thing, and the band's twisted taste in cover tunes (including Madonna's "Vogue" and the Commodore's “Easy", is not for the timid. That's not to say Faith No More is a contrary proposition, but they recently dropped the cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" from the set because they thought it was getting too expected.

Like overseas servicemen who miss the birth of their babies, back home, Faith No More was missing in action when their own success occurred. On the road in Europe at the time, the band was only dimly aware of what was happening and ill-prepared to cope with it. As the memorable video for "Epic" in- creased in rotation on MTV, and The Real Thing moved steadily up the charts, it was becoming clear that Faith No More was destined to become 1990's unlikeliest success story.

For Faith No More, the road to the top was fraught with peril and more than a little controversy. The band was visibly annoyed at the fact that while their pictures were in every magazine they had seen little in the way of financial gain from their endeavors. And then there was the rumor that Patton was leaving the band to reunite with his pals in Mr. Bungle, something that made the other members of Faith No More more than a little nervous. The British press, who had supported Faith No More since the early days, had a field day with the story.

Of course, as long-time camp followers were well aware, a little tension in the ranks is nothing new for Faith No More and if any band can survive the situation, it's this one. The stories running rampant in the British press invoke a sense of deja vu, being uncannily reminiscent of the 1988 European tour when original singer Chuck Mosely was kicked out of the group.

Faith No More's first tour was in 1986 when the band set out on the road in a '66 Dodge and a stolen trailer in support of their Mordam Records debut. With the success of "We Care A Lot," which had been re- recorded with new lyrics for the 1987 Slash Records release of Introduce Yourself Faith No More went on a more extensive tour the following year, headlining in clubs and providing support for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in larger venues. By now, Faith No More was an under- ground success in the United States, and regularly played on college radio but they were hardly prepared for the response in Europe where a music press, desperate for something to latch onto in the wake of anything exciting hap-pening in their own country, adopted Faith No More as the saviours of Rock n roll.

Too confused to be saviors, the band headed back to San Francisco in disarray, hastily reassembling to write new songs and audition singers. Perhaps even more important than being able to sing and write lyrics was the requirement that the new frontman had to be an exciting stage performer, something that for all his erratic behavior, Mosely most definitely was. The hyper-kinetic Patton more than fits the bill, leading the band down new roads of popularity and musical incongruity.

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