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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Mojo | January 2017


His "yelling to the beat" helped invent rap-rock - but that loud mouth led "outside influences" to unseat him.


"Bill [Gould, FNM bassist] and I had played together in our first band The Animated, playing super-fast pop songs, kinda like The Dickies. Then he went to university in Berkeley, where he and Roddy [Bottum, keyboards] met Mike [Bordin, drums], and they started Faith No More. They always had trouble hanging onto singers, so whenever they played LA, Billy would ask me to sing. I wasn't a singer, I'd just go up there and rant and yell. For a while Faith No More had Courtney Love singing with them, but that didn't work out. I had my own band, Haircuts That Kill, and I'd met a girl from Holland and was gonna move out there.

Then Billy said, "We've got shows booked but no singer, come sing with us again." And we actually did pretty good - we might even have practised beforehand. Then Bill booked some more shows, and then it turned into an album and a tour. I had to say goodbye to Holland.

Our shows were really chaotic, punk rock, but the music they made was so different, really ahead of its time, and I wanted to make my vocals as good as I could."

"On the rhythmic stuff, I would rap, or rant. I loved rap, though I wasn't any good at it. But I wasn't going to let that stop me. I was yelling to the beat. And not to brag or anything, but yeah, I'm the first person who rapped over rock. I took some singing lessons for the melodic stuff, but really it was listening to David Bowie that taught me how to croon. I loved them all, even Jim [Martin, guitarist], though l antagonised him.

Jim's a fuckin' genius, he just didn't understand ghetto people. I was outspoken, loudmouthed, the only one who didn't grow up with money.

I'd ask why we were paying people working on our tour $100 a day and only getting $10 ourselves. Sol complained a lot, and we fought a lot.

But always thought the fighting added to the aggression of the live show, and to the music."


"The friction between us never bothered me, but outside influences - managers, label people - started putting pressure on the band to get rid of me before they recorded the third album. Warners reckoned it could go platinum. I was a 'trouble-maker', and they knew it'd cost a lot more to get rid of me after the band got successful. Roddy was closest to me, so they got him to tell me over the phone that I was fired. I was very upset. I tried to show that I was a team player and that I would shut the fuck up and do what I was told, to no avail.

Someone - probably those outside influences - started a rumour that l had substance issues. It explained my dismissal, so no one did anything to dispel them. After a while, they became part of the narrative, taking on a life of their own. But any real issues with drugs arose after I was fired. I felt cheated, as I never really wanted to sing for them in the first place. I had other plans, but I started to realise they were on to something. And right when things started rolling along, I was fired with no explanation. It hurt something awesome, and to kill the pain, I turned to drugs. That day, in fact.

I made up with the group soon after the legal stuff was settled - I was Roddy's date to the 1990 Grammys, we've all been tight since then. They re-released our debut album We Care A Lot this summer, and we played a couple of shows together in August. It was scary - I wanted people to acknowledge that I did a good job when I was in the band - but it was great, a huge, tearful love-fest."

As told to Stevie Chick.

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