top of page
  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

The A To Z Of Mike Patton

Updated: Mar 17

Today Mike Patton turns 56 and we are celebrating his birthday with the ultimate A to Z.

Patton from A to Z has been done before by several publications and we may have borrowed from previous attempts ( what else relates to X other than The X-Ecutioners? ). Not much of the info below is new to a Patton fanatic however it may prompt you to dig out a record you haven't played in a while or may be good to inform a naïve friend or two.

We have provided a few alternatives for each letter for you to search on Google.

Adult Themes, Anarchy Up Your Anus and A Perfect Place...


There are five Faith No More albums to chose from with Mike at the helm, however Angel Dust illustrates many of Patton's talents perfectly whilst also being a milestone in the development of his skills as a singer and a lyricist.

Often considered as the pinnacle of the band's career it was the first FNM offering that included songs penned by Patton himself and showcased his schizophrenic ability to inhabit different characters. In the three years after 1989's The Real Thing there is a huge leap not only Patton's vocal style but also his image - he evolves from mischievous frat boy pin up to twisted shit terrorist.

This is where he truly began a delightful metamorphosis into the man we know today.

Bister Mungle, Brixton Academy and Business Casual...


Sometime after touring Angel Dust newly married Patton moved to the Renaissance City of Bologna in Italy. It is there that he discovered vocalist Demetrio Stratos, befriended Italian trio Zu and soaked up local culture - all of which would lead to future projects.

Patton became familiar with the language, the food and the country's musical heritage falling in love with classic Italian pop music. Sixteen years later he was inspired to record Mondo Cane one of his most adventurous musical endeavours.

"I have a strong personal connection to it. My wife is Italian and I lived there for six years. Even more than music, it was a really exciting period in my life when a lot of things were new. I was learning a new language, and living in a place that was new to me, and I was surrounded by all this incredible music. I developed a real bond with, not only the place and the people, but the music of that region." - Patton 2010

Chile, Caffeine and The Church of the Motherfuckers...


During an audio interview to promote the afore mentioned Angel Dust Roddy Bottum told us that the only drug Patton consumed was caffeine. More recently during a podcast conversation Bill Gould proclaimed that at that time Patton had developed a coffee dependency to help him relax and function properly. You only have to watch MTV interviews to realise the man is rarely seen without a mug of hot joe.

He famously conducted a sleep deprivation experiment during the writing of Angel Dust swearing that coffee was his only stimulant. The result - Caffeine.

Dan Boyle, David Lynch and The Dillinger Escape Plan...


Patton's unconventional and unequalled style has understandably attracted equally unique celebrity admirers. Pro hockey player Dan Boyle left the ice and joined FNM as a roadie in 2015. David Lynch, a personal hero of Patton, invited him to perform at his Festival of Disruption in 2018. But, it is the unlikely friendship between Patton and Danny Devito that is most intriguing.

In 2005 DeVito took his eighteen year old son Jake to Coachella festival to see Fantômas and was hooked.

Patton and Peeping Tom performed at the after party for the premier of season two of Devito's It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, while Patton returned the sentiment and included Devito in the video for Mojo.

The pint sized Hollywood actor has since followed Patton's projects closely and can often be seen at the side of stage enjoying his friend's performance.

"I don't really limit my influences. Everything in my life influences me, from my morning coffee to each meal. Really hard to nail down. Danny Devito influences me!" - Mike Patton 2006

Epic, Evidence and Ennio Morricone...


It would seem that Patton's home city has provided plenty of influence in his music making. He was raised in the secluded area of North California surrounded by redwood and lived there until he moved to San Francisco to record The Real Thing at the age of twenty. Before joining FNM Patton had rarely travelled and never been aboard a plane.

"It's very easy to get lost, growing up in small towns like that. You develop a certain nervous energy that sticks with you your whole life and you're always itching to get the hell out of wherever you are. I still have that, even though I'm happy in San Francisco. Maybe that's why I tour a lot, I'm not sure." - Patton 2005

It was at Eureka Junior High where he met Trevor Dunn, the two became inseparable and with not much else to do they soon formed their first band, Gemini.

"We hated everyone else. We mocked everybody and had nicknames for everyone—it didn't matter if we knew them or not. We'd go down to the railroad, hop the freight train to the next town, and then hitchhike home." - Trevor Dunn 2013

The two friends soon hooked up with Trey Spruance and Mr. Bungle was born, as much from a love of thrash metal as disillusionment with their hometown.

As a young fella Mike found a job at The Works, the only record store in town, and having access to such a collection of music fuelled his appetite.

"Boy, that opened a lot of avenues for me. It really opened my ears. I had a real thirst for music, so I was soaking it all in—metal, rap, even the dreadful hippie music and reggae that some of the other guys who worked there would listen to. We would get new records in, open them up and listen to them, and then reseal them and sell them. The ones that were good, we'd make tapes of. So, we had these crazy mix-tapes playing in the store because everyone would have to be accommodated. You'd have David Lindley followed by Venom followed by Run-DMC and things like that. In some sense, those years definitely helped shape what I would do in the future." - Patton 2013

Ford Mustang, Firecracker and Funk Metal...


From Instagram posts to cryptic metaphors comparing his music to culinary arts it has always been clear that Patton is a foodie - meaning to say he likes good food whether it be bucatini cacio e pepe or corn dogs.

Pranzo Oltranzista, his second solo album released in 1997, is subtitled Musica da Tavola per Cinque (literally translated as Banquet Piece for Five Players), and is based on Futurist Cookbook by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

Patton shared a tasty menu in a 2019 interview with Mondo Sonoro which celebrated the release of Corpse Flower by complimenting each song on the album with a meal and a drink.

The extent of the singer's love of dining was revealed in a lockdown interview with English chef Andrew Clarke. Patton talked with enthusiasm, sharing his extensive knowledge of great restaurants around the world and explaining how his wife had developed his palate for Italian food.

Geocidal, Gemini and God Hates A Coward...


Greg Werckman is Mike Patton’s manager, partner at Ipecac Records and best friend. The two met via Billy Gould during the early nineties while Greg was managing Jello Biafra's label Alternative Tentacles. They bonded over "video games and basketball."

Greg has an interesting musical background, he was lead singer with nineties weirdo punkers Duh! (which also briefly included Dean Menta), and Greg also worked as a booking agent handling authors such as the eccentric Hunter S. Thompson.

"Being best friends with Mike and working with Mike has been a great honor. He is a real artist. His focus and attention is 100% on the creative process. Sales, charts, interviews, photos, reviews, touring are not things that he worries about or cares for as much as the collaboration of creating something unique. Each year we get several requests from people that want to write a book about him or do a documentary about him and hundreds of people that want to interview him. Quite simply, there is nothing he dislikes more than talking about himself. Let the music represent him." - Werckman 2019

Husky Hoskulds, High Voltage and a Hungry Ghost


The spooky holiday dedicated to all that is macabre is one that Patton has embraced time and time again. From Mr. Bungle masks to listing his favourite horror flicks he has some connection in all things dark and unnerving - which we will discover more about in M and Z.

Two of Mr. Bungle’s most notorious shows fell on October 31st. The first was in 1999 at Clutch Cargos, Michigan. The band exacted some revenge by wickedly dressing as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and simulating drug abuse whilst rushing out a medley of their songs.

The second was a remarkable virtual performance at Eureka library in 2020. The Night They Came Home paid homage to John Carpenter's classic Halloween in celebration of the release of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny - no masks were worn.

Imodium, Intonarumori and I Am Legend


On April Fool's Day 1999 Patton and Werckman founded Ipecac Recordings.

Together with fellow Bungler Dunn, The Melvin's front man Buzz Osborne and legendary thrasher Dave Lombardo came Patton's deafening avant-guarde band Fantômas.

The band would struggle to find a record company crazy enough to release their music so the invention of the label soon became a conduit for this and Patton's varied projects such as Maldoror, Tomahawk, Mondo Cane and Peeping Tom. In it's early development The Melvins joined the fledgling company which paved the way for more acts and soon Ipecac Recordings became a fully functioning record label.

"Buzz actually came up with the name. I didn't even know what an ipecac was, but Mike did because he tried it once in his crazy Faith No More days when he was bored to death, so he drank a bunch and made himself throw up. It just seemed like it fit, because we knew the stuff that we'd be putting out would make some people sick." - Werckman 2013

Jizzlobber, Jon Hudson and John Stanier


Mike Patton and John Zorn’s relationship began when Mr. Bungle invited the contemporary composer to help produce their debut album. From there Patton joined Zorn project Naked City onstage continuing the education of using his voice as instrument.

Patton first recorded with Zorn on Elegy, a 1992 album combining explosive noise, chamber music and surreal soundscapes.

“He would give me direction in the studio, like, ‘Improvise this part. I’m like, ‘Improvise, what does that even mean? I’m a singer; I’ve got parts.’ He was just like, ‘No. No parts.’ So, really, he broke down musical language to me in its elemental particles.” - Patton 2020

Over the subsequent nineteen years the duo have worked and recorded together regularly - Hemophiliac, Moonchild Trio and much more. Patton simply says of his mentor and friend, “He made the world bigger.'

King Buzzo, King For A Day and The Kids of Widney High...


Norwegian artist John Eric Kaada is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Patton discovered Kaada's music whilst touring in Europe and his relationship with Ipecac Recordings began in 2003 with the release of Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time.

“We originally met somewhere on the road, in Scandinavia I think, and he was playing with his band Cloroform, which I really loved. That was the entry point into his world, for me. Then he started sending me some stuff that he was working on. I just thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ So I asked him to do a record for Ipecac, and it just grew from there. At that point it wasn’t about collaborating, it was more, ‘Wow, this guy is doing really great stuff and I’d like to help out in any way I can…’” - Patton 2016

The two artists first collaborated on the album Romances released in 2004, and again in 2016 on Bacteria Cult. Together they create profound, dark and cinematic soundscapes.

"One of the things I learned early on is that it’s no coincidence that he’s so established and admired as he is. He’s a guy that really works hard. It’s not like he has ten assistants helping him out. He’s really, really into quality, tweaking everything that can be tweaked to get it as good as possible.” - Kaada 2016

Lovage, La Chanson de Jacky and The Lonely Rager...


Patton's dad was a high school coach and he grew up with a passion for sport and the spirit of team. He is a fan of ice hockey and baseball. He supports the San Francisco Giants Football team, the Italian National soccer team and was converted into a fan of São Paulo football club Palmeiras by Max Cavalera.

However, basketball is his game and he has been spotted in Los Angeles Lakers shirts on many occasions.

Merzbow, Medulla and Music of the Night


Mike has lent his composing talents to various film and television soundtracks - A Perfect Place, Crank: High Voltage, The Solitude Of Prime Numbers and The Place Beyond The Pines, 1922 and NOS4A2. However there has always been a cinematic feel to his music.

The cinema has played an important part in his life and was his introduction to sonic enlightenment. The first record he bought was the Star Wars soundtrack.

"I grew up in a really small town. Movies were, to me, like a way out. It was an escape valve. I remember having my parents drop me off at movies all the time. It would be slasher films like Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker ... Star Wars was one of those, as well."

"I think a part of it, actually, [was that this] was before I was a 'musician,' I think what I was doing was listening more than watching. So really, my first experience with film was more auditory than visual." - Patton 2018

Patton has revealed many of his favourite films and directors over the years and included references throughout his career. From nods to Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick in Faith No More to samples of David Lynch dialogue in Mr. Bungle.

In 2001 his cinephilia reached a peek with The Director's Cut by Fantômas. The album is a collection of sixteen cover versions of themes from horror films and television series.

Patton is also no stranger to being onscreen in music videos and the 2005 thriller Firecracker directed by Steve Balderson. Patton stars alongside Karen Black and acts out two major roles.

"Working with musicians is great. They’re already performers. They’re acting each time they go on stage. Each person already does it, the major difference being that acting for film is considerably more subtle than acting from the stage. But Mike was a total pro. Working with him was amazing. And he nailed that subtlety perfectly." - Balderson 2015

Nevermen, Naked City and No Grave For Mama


Neil Hamburger is the comedic alter ego of Gregg Turkington.

Turkington met Faith No More in their early days when he performed with the band Hello Kitty on Ice.

"We’d do shows with Faith No More to like 10 people because we were no name losers with no following [laughs]. Just these kids playing the shittiest venues you can imagine"

When Patton joined the band Bill Gould introduced the two and they hit it off. Gregg worked as a tour manager for Mr. Bungle, and Patton appeared on 1992's Great Phone Calls Featuring Neil Hamburger. Gregg also befriended Trey Spruance and collaborated with the guitarist in Faxed Head and on various Secret Chiefs 3 songs.

Turkington would later introduce Faith No More onstage during 2010 dates on their Second Coming tour, and again at The Troubadour in 2015.

On the 2019 Neil Hamburger album Still Dwelling Mike Patton guests on the track Everything’s Alright originally from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

Most recently the unconventional comic applied his own brand of stand up to the intro of The Night They Came Home - made more bizarre by the lack of any audience.

Orange Juice, The Omen and Buzz Osborne


In 2014 Vintage Vinyl News published a list of singers with the greatest range. While vocal powerhouses such as James Brown, Mariah Carey and Axl Rose made the top ten it was Mike Patton who was crowned the greatest singer of all time with an impressive range of six octaves.

"I think that range thing is all bullshit. I don't think that I have the biggest range. And even if I do, who cares! ... This is not like the Olympics of vocals. [laughs] I could make a record without singing a note, and I'll be happy with it." - Patton 2019

Patton has always considered himself as a band member and his voice as an instrument - his vocal arsenal is even more extensive than his range - growling, crooning, operatics, rapping, beatboxing and more.

Porra Caralho, Phlegmatics and Porno Holocaust...


During Patton’s time in Italy he learnt to speak the language. He has also been known to converse in Spanish and Portuguese.

"I could speak Spanish and that helped a lot. I told all my friends not to speak to me in English, to let me make a fool of myself and I learned it and feel comfortable speaking it now. I learned it by imitating the sounds I could hear. I treated the language like music." - Patton 2010

The first element of speaking in a foreign tongue that was introduced into his music was in 1992 with the song Das Schutzenfest. With it's polka tempo Patton sings in German of man who attends a Bavarian shooting party and then has sex in a pig barn.

During the King For A Day sessions FNM recorded versions of Evidence sung in Patton's adopted languages Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. He also added the lines 'Eu não posso dirigir. E agora aparece. Meu dedo enterrado. No meu nariz' during the song Caralho Voador. Any Brazilian will tell you that it's not the most accurate Portuguese but damn it's a start.

He would go on the record in Italian on the Mondo Cane record and in French on Corpse Flower.

DJ Q-Bert, Quello che conta and Qemists.


Patton has never been fond of speaking on record, and something the singer and his collaborators have become particularly skilled at over the years is mocking the music press. During FNM interviews the band would re-tell elaborate and shocking anecdotes ( some true ) to deflect from personal questions or hungry interviewers who wished to deep dive too far. Bjork's pet fish and defecating in Axl's oj are some of the most infamous. In a similar way Mr. Bungle would use absolute nonsense.

This defence mechanism and Patton's eccentric way with words has gotten the singer into trouble many times but has provided us with some very entertaining quotes.

"Murder is like writing a song. You plan it out and if everything goes as it's supposed to, it's a success. I've never done it , though murder does have a certain appeal - if I knew I could get away with it." - 1990

"When I was staying in a hotel room once, I took a shit, rolled it into a ball and put it in the hair dryer so that the next guest to dry their hair would get hot shit in their face. Ain't that rock n' roll? I do hope rock stars are a dying breed. People love to lap them up -- you know how something always tastes better if you swallow it quickly." - 1992

"I talk so much about masturbation in interviews because I go on the defensive as soon as journalists start asking about groupies. It's much easier relating to yourself on tour than it is to someone you've just met. Maybe I should say I've grown beyond it and now I'm into farm animals. Too many journalists still believe the rock n' roll myth. From my side it's definitely not like that. A lot of bands are doing it, but they must have had insecure childhoods -- maybe their parents dropped them on their heads." - 1992

Retrovertigo, Rosemary's Baby and Rahzel


In 2020 Mr. Bungle reformed with Dave Lombardo and Scott Ian to re-record their very first demo of music, you can now hear the original songs written by eighteen year old Patton and co in full thrasher glory.

There is a rich history surrounding this tape from 1986. On October 4th the same year, Faith No More played a show at Humboldt state university in Arcata. Patton and Trey Spruance attended and handed a copy of The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny to Mike Bordin.

Fast forward to the autumn of 1988 and Faith No More were on the hunt for a replacement singer after the rather unpleasant sacking of Chuck Mosley. Patton got calls from Jim Martin and Bordin on the strength of the cassette asking him to audition - and the rest is history.

"He [Trey] gives me the tape and we play it later doing whatever we were doing, and Jim loves it, because it sounds like Slayer, it sounds like speed metal with death growls and all this crazy stuff. And I'll never forget it; Jim turns around and says to us, 'This guy has got to be this giant fat guy with all the power that he's got in his voice!'" - Bordin 2015

Snow Angels, Sade and Shit Terrorism...


“...frankly, if you’re not a Slayer fan then I don’t trust you!"

Patton's musical influences include many genres - from Elton John to Sade, from Diamanda Galás to Serge Gainsbourg, from Ennio Morricone to Frank Sinatra. But he also includes eighties thrash metal in his education.

"Mike and I basically rode the crest of metal all the way through the '8os. We were big metal-heads. I remember us walking around with a boom-box by the river listening to the first Slayer record after it came out. It still blows my mind that 20 years later we were playing in a band with Dave Lombardo." - Trevor Dunn 2013

Venom, Possessed and Slayer were also amongst the band which inspired a young Mike Patton.

When looking for a drummer to bring Fantômas to life Dave Lombardo was more than happy to help. They have since collaborated with John Zorn projects, in Dead Cross and most recently with Mr. Bungle.

"Over the years, I always thought he was great, but playing with him, and making him jump through every hoop imaginable and watching him do it - he's wide-eyed. Any bizarre suggestion or anything that might be unfamiliar to him - 'Yeah, sure, why not? Let's try it! This is great!' He's just so excited about this stuff that it's energising and empowering." - Patton 2005

"Fuck, he's a great guy. Not only is he a dear friend, comrade, brother. We're both self-taught musicians. We took no formal music training. We understand the language on stage and there's this energy, and fire that emanates from his voice that drives my energy... We just understand each other's musical language... He knows what to expect and what I can deliver, whether it's something high-powered or soft and smooth, he knows he can get that from me. We have good chemistry." - Lombardo 2020

Trevor Dunn, Tacos, and Turd...


Toodles was an antique child’s doll which found her way into several interviews and photo shoots during the end of 1992 and into 1993. The origin of Patton’s creepy companion differs from interview to interview. Whether Patton acquired her from a voodoo priest in New Orleans, dug her up in an Atlanta graveyard or bought her from an antique store in Davenport - the two were inseparable for a few months.

"TOODLES is what I've been wanting to talk about! Toodles comes from Atlanta. I dug her up. It was on the Guns N'Roses tour. We went to a graveyard, a really old graveyard all prisoners. No names on the gravestones, only numbers. There was this really small grave, and I figured, how could there be an infant prisoner? So I dug it up, and there was Toodles. I could hear 'Sweet Child o' Mine' playing across the night from the open air arena, and I knew we were meant to be together" - Patton 1992

Urlo Negro, Unearthing and Used Cars...


As much as Patton discourages analysis of his lyrics the verse and ambiguity demand we do. Even though his vocal rhythms marry up with the music perfectly we can’t be expected to be satisfied with his "I am more a person who works with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning." quote. Sorry Mike!

The youthful poetry of The Real Thing, the perceptive character studies of Angel Dust, the cathartic angst of King For A Day... and that’s just within FNM.

One of the first cast members he rather disturbingly inhabits is a paedophile in Edge Of The World, but there is more disconcerting subject matter in Underwater Love when he sings about drowning his girlfriend.

Patton is no stranger to criticism but this letter, from 2012 Wendy Moncrief sent to her local paper after finding a copy of The Real Thing in a lockbox under her daughter’s bed, is priceless.

“The song “Underwater Love” is potentially very dangerous. Yes, I can see it is not new, and the album was released back in 1989. I’ve never heard of it, but it is disgusting. The song is obviously encouraging our children to become mermaids and such, which may sound all cute, until of course your child drowns…then what??? The band was very negligent to children when it wrote this song. I think they should remove it peacefully, or by force if necessary. I’m sure they won’t go quietly. These rock and roll bands are all the same with their drugs and such."

Vlad Drac, Vomiting since 1999 and Video Macumba


Although Patton has never discussed the name of his home recording studio Vulcan can be traced as far back as 1999 - electronics, voice, additional overdubs on She by Maldoror at Vulcan Studios. Mike has recorded or engineered vocals for many of his projects in the San Franciscan hold-up including albums as recent as Tētēma.

"You can bring some people into a shitty basement as long as you have some decent microphones and some proofs, and know what you want you can do it in your pyjamas – and what’s better than that?" - Patton 2008

Waratorium, White Hats / Black Hats and Where Is The Line?


Many venues in San Francisco have staged Patton's different bands. Slim's being home to Mr. Bungle, Fantomas and Tomahawk. The Stone and The Chapel his performances with various collaborators such as John Zorn. However, the home town setting for some unforgettable shows has been The Warfield.

The first time Patton hit the Warfield stage was in August 1992 during a run of cancelled Guns N' Roses tour dates. He returned with FNM on every subsequent tour in 2010 and 2015 on multiple nights. Most recently Mr. Bungle used the venue to perform The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny.


And not much else. General Patton teamed up with the NYC hip hop DJs/turntablists in 2005 to create a fascinating record unlike anything he has produced since.

"This was something I'd been thinking about for five or six years. I knew I wanted to make a record with turntables only, and preferably a crew of a few guys. It took a while to figure out who would be up for this kind of venture. I talked to Q-Bert, I did a few gigs with some other people here in San Francisco, all of which was great. Then, a couple of years later, I

played some live gigs with The X-ecutioners and man, they were up for anything. Absolutely loose, voracious, they had no idea what I was gonna do - I don't think they knew if I was gonna be singing songs, or lyrics or anything, they just said, 'Let's just hit' And they busted my chops, and were listening, and we really had a nice connection, I felt. We did a few more gigs, and I decided, these are the guys." - Patton 2005

Young Gods, Yard Bull and Yamantaka Eye


Demos of the Peeping Tom album were floating around the pirate airwaves years before the end product reached record shelves. The record was produced by swapping mp3's via email with collaborators such as Norah Jones, Dan The Automator, Rahzel, Kool Keith, Doseone and Massive Attack.

"I don't listen to the radio, but if I did, this is what I'd want it to sound like. This is my version of pop music. In way, this is an exercise for me: taking all these things I've learned over the years and putting them into a pop format." - Patton 2006

Zu and Zeus...


So you are casting a voice actor to make nightmarish noises for bloodthirsty zombies, who ya gonna call?

Mike Patton provided the voices of the Dark Seekers, infected humans who become vampiric monsters in the 2007 film I Am Legend. Patton landed the part after screenplay writer and fan Mark Protosevich suggested they utilise his vocal talents based on the Fantômas albums.

"The film's producers and sound people wanted the creatures in the movie to sound somewhat human, but not the standard. I guess what most movies in that genre use are pitch-shifted animal sounds and stuff like that. But they wanted this to sound closer to a human being, and they thought, 'Why don't we contact some musicians?' I guess they called a few guys, and they ended up with me." - Patton 2007

But those are not the only zombies to speak in Patton's demonic tones - he is the infected in the survival horror video game Left for dead and voices the title character in The Darkness.

"You have to use imagination and try to think about the character. It's very different than making music. When I make music I'm myself. Also, you have to do things over and over doing voice work. I'm also used to directing myself instead of being directed. It was an interesting process, for sure, but a lot of hard work, believe it or not." - Patton 2007

1,647 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page