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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

RIP | August 1990


Obscure No More

Steve Blush


No longer just a cult favorite, Faith No More and their intelligent brand of metal are seeping into the pop consciousness. If you asked Axl Rose, Metallica's James Hetfíeld or even Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliot, they'd tell you that the future of rock is Faith No More. Their trademark blend of metal power riffs and textured arrangements, embellished with tasteful rap vocals, has made this San Francisco Bay Area quintet one of the most critically acclaimed outfits of 1990. And now that their latest release. The Real Thing, is gaining mass acceptance—over 100,000 units sold at press time— Faith No More have become a force to be reckoned with.

They've certainly come a long way since their origins as Faith No Man, a forgettable early-80s post-punk ensemble indebted to the Killing Joke/Chrome school of sonic assault. With the addition of sicko axeman Jim Martin and then vocalist Chuck Mosley, they altered the name, and released We Care A Lot, their 1985 debut album on the indie Mordam label. This led to their consequent signing with Bob Biggs' Slash Records, and 87's Introduce Yourself LP, which featured a reworking of "We Care A Lot," FNM's first and only foray into new wave dance 12-inch hell.

Despite magnificent press (NME, Sounds, Kerrang! cover stories) and solid fan base, Faith No More seemed relegated to cult status. After Mosley's eventual departure because of long-standing personal problems, the band—Martin, drummer Mike Bordin, bassist Bill Gould and keyboard player Roddy Bottum—hooked up with heartthrob crooner Mike Patton, best known as the voice behind a juvenile, Chili Peppers-inspired outfit called Mr. Bungle.

This past year has been a whirlwind for Faith No More. On the road virtually nonstop since May 89—highlighted by a West Coast arena jaunt supporting Metallica, and a three-month nationwide tour with Voivod and Soundgarden—Faith No More have finally achieved popular appeal and industry respect (as evidenced by their recent Grammy nomination).

FNM's popularity has a lot to do with their long-standing relationship with Metallica. The connection goes back to high school, where Bordin and Martin were close friends of the late Cliff Burton (who died tragically in a 1987 tour bus accident), jamming together and turning young Cliff on to cool punk bands like the Dictators and the Misfits: many say this is where Metallica's interest in punk began. Coupled with the fact that Hetfield donned an FNM Tshirt on the back cover photo of their Garage Days Revisited EP, the wheels for Faith domination were set in motion.

Via AT+T, I asked Jim Martin, in London on the set of (and before their lip-sync performance on) "Top of the Pops"—Great Britain's answer to "American Bandstand"—and on the eve of

their sold-out show at the prestigious Hammersmith Odeon, to explain FNM's recent surge to rock glory. "It started out small, and has gotten large," he said. "And it looks like if it gets the right food, it'll get even bigger."



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