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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Raw | March 1995 | Issue 171


Neil Jeffries

WEIRD. REALLY. Weirder than usual, even. A lighting stand that falls over. A keyboard gremlin. A guitar gremlin. But weirdest of all, a singer seemingly hell bent on self-destruction. And no, I'm not talking about his periodic bouts of shadow-wrestling when he throws himself to the stage ... I refer instead to his point-blank and increasingly irritating refusal to sing properly

Based on the evidence of Faith No More's sublime new album, 'King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime', I'd expected the band to have reached a new level of on-stage maturity. The music has grown up, so why not the band? In truth, the band has, but the singer remains as childish as ever.

Which is a bloody shame because Faith No More are good enough to stand out without someone impersonating the sound of a small monkey being used as a football for 90 percent of the set. It perfectly suits opener 'Cuckoo For Caca' - you can't imagine someone like Placido Domingo singing the chorus 'Shit... Lives -. Forever!' anywhere near as convincingly as Patton - but it soon becomes an unnecessary distraction. 

Time and again Mike Bordin, therefore becomes the focal point. The rock on which FNM is built, an absolutely peerless drummer, his kit should really have been set up in front of Patton's mic to teach the singer a lesson. Six years of barking like a dog, and screaming like a banshee hasn't actually ruined his voice.

(Take This Bottle' - wherein he turned lounge lizard and ordered a Campari and soda - was magnificent.) But too often he yelled where once he would have sung. Hey, call me old fashioned, but I like to hear the words...

New guy Dean Menta, all in black, is very intense about his Les Paul, rocking backwards and forwards from left heel to right toe, concentrating hard on the machine heads. He doesn't do a lot - but then again, if you cast your mind back, neither did Jim Martin  unless you count dribbling beer.

Menta breathes new life into the 'Angel Dust' songs and makes them sound a lot less fraught than they did three years ago. He may be virtually inaudible for most of 'Easy' (slotted in after 'We Care A Lot') but whacks out That Solo note-for-note and on it - and 'The Real Thing' material - Jim Martin's guitar is not missed at all. 

Nobody, of course, missed Trey Spruance either, and it's a great shame that its his, not Menta's guitar you'll hear on the soon-to-be released album. They play exactly half of it but interrupted with just enough more familiar material to prevent any audience impatience. Mr Lighting Man's patience is tried in the middle of newie 'The Last To Know'. The lighting stand beside Menta does a dead faint, its lights still blazing as it draws a slow lazy arc forward and just fails to brain anyone in the audience because hands reach up to catch it. Patton has a theory: "Oh shit! This is trouble!"

The number grinds to a halt and Bill asks if anyone is hurt. Apparently not. Roddy therefore claims it was part of the show. Bill warms to the theme: "Yeah! Did you see the little bomb go off?" Mike: "Just like Metallica!"

If nothing else, the accident puts Menta in the spotlight. He, too, gets blamed for knocking it over, but gets a name check and a cheer. Ice, but no bones, broken.

The set is short - just 55 minutes - but they return to play 'The Crab Song', newie 'Evidence' and 'Epic', and again, unexpectedly, specifically another shot at the truncated 'The Last To Know'. A fine end but overall, a weirdly unsatisfying night and very unlikely to win them many new fans. 

Silly Old Trout | Dave Ling

FAITH HO MORE warmed up for their, er, warm-up tour at the Windsor Old Trout. DAVE LING pulls up a ringside seat.

A FEW days before the start of Faith No More's UK tour, the band played a low-key date at, of all places, The Old Trout in Windsor. Billing themselves as NEW FAT BASTARDS, the show took place before just 200 people and served as the debut public show of new guitarist Dean Menta.

Details of the appearance had been kept strictly hush-hush - to the point where the

band's agent had been ordered to pull the plug on it if any inquisitive soul should call him to enquire whether or not it was happening  and tickets had only gone on sale at the venue on the morning of the gig, resulting in most of the tickets going to local people. However, word eventually got around and some devoted people from London made it along.

The sound wasn't great at the start of the show and just five songs from the brand new 'King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime' platter were aired, but the band did throw in an unexpected 'Introduce Yourself' in their bizarre 90-minute slot.

Track-listings aside, everyone was far more interested in finding out whether Menta would slot in with his new bandmates' notoriously individual sense of humour. Apparently, Dean must've been made to feel at home, for Patton wasted tittle time in telling everyone: "He's not playing his guitar with his wrist, he's playing it with his arm!" Alas, the poor new recruit didn't have a mic to fire back his response.

Afterwards, the band admitted that they were relatively unfit and all felt knackered. Never mind, with another 9 to 12 months world touring ahead of 'em, they'll soon get back to match fitness.

Many bigger bands now jump at the chance of brushing off the ring-rust with low key shows before beginning huge world tours. Guns N' Roses debuted their 'Get In The Ring' extravaganza with gigs at small US (theatres, and Metallica once played a show at London's minute 100 club!


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