The A To Z of Mike Bordin
Faith No More's truly phenomenal drummer Mike Bordin celebrated his 6oth birthday recently. Check out our A to Z.
A IS FOR ANGELO MOORE
Mike Bordin played drums on Sacrifice, the second album by Fishbone singer's side project Brand New Step, released in 2013.
B IS FOR CLIFF BURTON
In 1975 impressionable thirteen year old Castro Valley High School classmates Mike and Cliff Burton became friends. They hung out listening to Black Sabbath and The Sex Pistols. This adolescent comradeship led to the pair taking up the instruments that would later define their professional lives.
"I was thirteen years old. It was 1975 and I was sitting in my friend Cliff Burton’s bedroom and he said, “Hey man, I’m going to play bass.” And I said, “Okay, I’ll play drums.” It was a total knee-jerk reaction. It was completely unthought-out. And from the moment I started playing it kind of took over for me. It was an obsession, but it was positive. It was something that kept me out of trouble and defined those middle years where I could’ve gone way off the rails and gone the wrong direction." - Bordin 2015
C IS FOR CHOKED
Mike played drums on the song Choked, a collaboration with Primus' Tim Alexander and Tool's Maynard James Keenan, released on the compilation Flyin' Traps (1997).
D IS FOR DUB WAR
In June 2022 Welsh alternative metal heads Dub War released the single Get Back Up which featured Mike on the kit. The song was taken from Westgate Under Fire, the band’s first album of all new material in 26 years.
E IS FOR EZ STREET
At the age of 15 Mike and Cliff Burton joined the band E-Z Street whose leader was future FNM guitarist Jim Martin, and which took its name from a strip-club in San Mateo. E-Z Street didn't last very long due to the mutual dislike between Bordin and Martin.
F IS FOR FRY BY NIGHT
Mike and Cliff Burton’s very first band was Fry By Night which also featured 12 year old Eddie Chacon on vocals who would later find fame as one half of the pop duo Charles and Eddie.
“They were a little older. I was 12 and obsessed with songwriting. I had this little Radio Shack tape recorder with a pitch button and I’d slow down songs in order to fully understand what was going on.” - Chacon 2020
The band’s name was originally Fly By Night until a typo on their first gig poster fatefully changed it for them.
G IS FOR SF GIANTS
Mike is a huge fan of baseball and supports home team San Francisco Giants.
Bordin appeared in the unreleased 2019 documentary film Baseball Furies talking about his love of the game.
“Mike is a serious Giants fan, and he’s very proud of his fandom. It was really special to talk to him about how much he loves the team and the game. He showed us some of the best baseball cards in his collection and then took us to this shed where he had some incredible vintage baseball arcade games.” - Jason Dummeldinger 2019
H IS FOR HOCKEY
New York Rangers hockey star Dan Boyle joined FNM as a drum roadie during their Sol Invictus tour. Boyle being a huge FNM fan and Bordin being a huge hockey fan was a match made in heaven.
“It’s not like a TV show or a gimmick because we’re out there playing shows. I would never presume to take myself seriously, but music is who I am and what I do, so I don’t fuck around with it. He’s helping us do our work, and it’s great because I like having him around.” - Bordin 2015
I IS FOR INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Chinese Arithmetic is quintessential Mike Bordin. His signature power beats are instantly recognisable.
“I wrote it on the stage at the Metroplex, just one afternoon when there was no show. My drums were up, and I started playing that intro to it. I just started playing the drum beat because it sounded so good there. It was a room like the On Broadway, like a miniature Brixton Academy, with a little balcony and a high roof, and naturally sounds big. There’s natural ambiance—stuff like rims and clicking aren’t lost. It’s got every element of Faith No More.” - Bordin 2013
J IS FOR JOE HOLMES
Former Ozzy and David Lee Roth guitarist Joe Holmes is currently working on a solo album which features Mike on drums. So far we have only heard a teaser of the track Deadfall.
K IS FOR KORN
Mike joined Korn on tour in 2000 filling in for drummer David Silveria who suffered an injury to his wrist.
L IS FOR CK LADZEPKO
Mike studied African percussion in school with the Ghanaian teacher C.K. Ladzepko. His teacher couldn't play a drum kit but he could play 30 different instruments with his hands, feet and elbows and sing different rhythms.
“I did that for a year or two, and it was nothing to do with the drumset, it was a dude from Ghana who was really cool, just this little guy - and man, every single limb, more than one rhythm could come out of each limb, plus his dancing, singing and he just had everything, he had rhythm everywhere. And the way that they stack the rhythms and put them against each other was really something for me. He was the real deal.” - Bordin 2015
M IS FOR MR KRINKLE
Track 11 from the 1993 Primus album Mr. Krinkle is about Mike Bordin, who used that name as an alias when he checked into hotels.
"The thing about Mike, he is one of these guys like Mike Watt - he has a very interesting perspective on things, and he's really good at tossing out these colorful little quips on how he perceives things. So we would have these great conversations on the phone. That's what 'Mr. Krinkle' is all about. mThe line, "Seems the rumors are about your team might move away" refers to the San Francisco Giants, who were considering a move to Tampa. Mike Bordin was not happy about it.” - Les Claypool
N IS FOR NEVERMIND THE BOLLOCKS
Mike was at the Sex Pistols final show at Winterland SF in 1978 with Cliff. The concert had a profound effect on him.
“A major turning point was when the two of us saw the Sex Pistols at Winterland. Would you have guessed that judging by where Cliff ended up professionally? Maybe you would, but the point is, we were open-minded. We were open to evolution. Evolution is important. You’ve got two choices: you’ve got to roll with it or it’s going to roll right over you.” - Bordin 2015
O IS FOR OZZY
Mike first played with his hero Ozzy Osbourne at an RIP Magazine birthday show in Hollywood, on November 9th 1990. The Prince of Darkness joined FNM for their rendition of the Black Sabbath classic War Pigs. Mike was able to explain to Ozzy how his music had changed his life and in 1996 Mike was invited by Ozzy to join his band. During the 1997 Ozzfest Tour Mike played with Black Sabbath filling in for Bill Ward who was suffering from health issues.
Mike featured on three Ozzy Osbourne studio albums Down to Earth (2001), Under Cover (2005) and Black Rain (2007). As well as Live at Budokan (2002) and re-recordings of Blizzard of Ozz (2002) and Diary of a Madman (2002). Mike left Ozzy's band when FNM reunited.
“Black Sabbath was really important to me as a kid, growing up, I don't want to overstate it, but we sat and talked, and he said, 'You guys are so different, why did you do War Pigs? Are you taking the p**s?' And I said, 'No, Black Sabbath are super-important to my life and I owe a lot if not all of the path I've taken to that early influence and he remembered that.” - Bordin 2016
P IS FOR PUFFY
In his late teens Mike sported an Afro hairstyle and was given the nickname 'Puffy' by Jim Martin which stuck.
Q IS FOR THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND
In 2002 the late HRH Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her golden jubilee with a concert which featured the likes of Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney. Oddly enough Ozzy was on the bill also. When Mike B found out his band would be playing for The Queen, he had this to say.
“It’s beyond belief when we found out we were playing for the Queen of England.”
Only to be dropped for Phil Collins in the final performance!
R IS FOR RHYTHM SECTION
Together Mike Bordin and Billy Gould create an unformidable rhythm section, often voted by music press as the best in metal. Their super tight locked in tone and style serves the music whilst also breaking free to create some of the most intense FNM musical moments.
"It always kind of has been. You know, starting with Cliff—what a gift. Playing with Robert [Trujillo] and the great Geezer Butler, who’s the king of everybody—again, what a gift. But with Bill there’s just this weird language that we use to relate with one another. And I don’t think that particular language is very common, it’s unique to who we are as a rhythm section. And when it works well, in a collaborative sense, it’s really great because the result is more than just two people. It’s like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And like I said, to get a second chance to play with Bill and all the guys—it’s just so special. I really treasure it." - Puffy 2016
S IS FOR SHARP YOUNG MEN
In 1981 Puffy answered the same ad as Bill Gould and both became members of Sharp Young Men, with Mike Morris (guitar/vox) and Wade Worthington (keyboards). The band soon became Faith. No Man, Worthington left and was replaced by Bill's childhood friend Roddy Bottum. Bordin, Gould and Bottum became a unit and replaced Morris with Mark Bowen, who stayed with them for a year. For a while the band tried different singers until Chuck Mosley became their permanent frontman.
T IS FOR ROBERT TRUJILLO
Mike and the third Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo both became Ozzy Osbourne touring musicians in 1996. They also recorded together on Degradation Trip, the second solo album by Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell. Today they two remain close friends.
U IS FOR UC BERKELEY
Mike Bordin was the fourth and final drummer for the Fun Addicts and was Mike's first working band while attending UC Berkeley where he earned a degree in …
V IS FOR VIOLET
Mike has two daughters; his youngest Violet is an artist who designed a poster for FNM in 2015.
W IS FOR WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE
Mike appeared on the U.S. version of the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire on January 21, 2001 and won $1,000 after incorrectly answering his $32,000 question. He did not use his 50:50 or Phone-a-Friend lifelines. He was not on one of the celebrity editions, he appeared on the show with regular contestants. In the audience were Mike’s wife and friend Robert Trujillo.
X IS FOR EXPLOITS
Mike is never one to shy away from getting stuck in whatever the task. He has bungee jumped, sky dived and been a passenger in a race car on MTV. And also shown presenters the right way to pot plants.
Y IS FOR YAMAHA
“I’m a good Yamaha boy. I’ve always played them. All Yamaha drums are totally hand-made. Most other companies start with pre-made shells and Taiwanese hardware, but Yamaha makes the shells and hardware themselves. It’s quality stuff.”
Live, Bordin usually uses a large Birch Custom Absolute kit, but he strips things down in the studio.
“I usually use just one 24” kick, one 15” rack tom, and a 16” as a second rack or floor tom,” he says. “Yamaha has also been making me other drums I sometimes use, like a 22” kick and 12” and 13” toms. And I love their 13” x 7” Akira Jimbo snare, a big beech drum with an open sound. It’s as loud as a handgun, even though I don’t think it was originally designed to be a big rock snare."
You can pick up a Mike Bordin signature snare for a few hundred dollars today!
Z IS FOR ZILDJIAN
For all the drum nerds…
MIKE BORDIN'S SETUP
1.19" K China
2.21" A Zildjian Sweet Ride
3.21" Z Power Ride
4.15" A Custom Mastersound HiHats – Pair
5.19" K Dark Crash Thin
6.20” A Zildjian Medium Thin Crash