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The A To Z of The Real Thing

Updated: Jun 20

Faith No More's third studio album The Real Thing was released on June 20th 1989. The album has since become a classic, it has been described as a seminal record, credited with inspiring a generation of new music, captured the hearts of fans and been cited as a defining influence on many artists. Join us in celebrating 35 years of this incredible groundbreaking record.

A IS FOR '...album of the year'

The Real Thing is still revered by critics and fans thirty five years after its original release on June 20th 1989. Despite rave reviews at that time the record took more than 12 months to achieve the success it truly deserved. However, partly due to extensive touring, MTV exposure and some crafty marketing, by the end of 1990 TRT was heralded as ‘album of the year’ by the music press. The Real Thing was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance category in 1989 and Epic was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1991.

'...with a platinum album, The Real Thing, and a Top Ten single, "Epic." Saving rock'n'roll from itself. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.' - Spin

'An absolute barnstormer of an album from start to finish' - Metal Forces

'It's the real thing and it takes some beating!' - Kerrang!

B IS FOR The Berlin Wall

On November 9th 1989 The Berlin Wall came down. Faith No More were in Berlin the same day to perform a fourth German date on The Real Thing tour at The Loft. It is one of those historic events on FNM's calendar that the band truly recall. Adrian Harte covers the event thoroughly in Small Victories : The True Story of Faith No More

"It was our third time in Berlin, and we could tell something was up. The first two times we went, it was fucking scary. We had guns pointed at us. There were dogs under the fucking vehicles." - Mike Bordin

The band were backstage preparing to return for their encore when the club manager spread news of the wall coming down. Tim Dalton was Faith No More's tour manager at the time and spoke on his blog about the gig.

“FNM closed their set with a very appropriate encore version of the Black Sabbath song ‘War Pigs’. Klaus had made it to the band during the main set/encore pause and in broken English/German had told the band the news of the wall. ‘Big Sick’ Jim Martin played the first of two solos and Mike Patton, screamed, “der Mauer ist weg! Der Mauer ist weg!” No one knew what the American rocker was on about. War Pigs continued and Patton screamed something about Satan. Then, ‘Big Sick’ Jim ventured another Gibson Flying V guitar solo and Patton gurgled, “Thank you, Berlin, fucking night, see you later, man. And guess what? The wall is gone?” he said, laughing maniacally. Luckily I recorded this encore, all eight minutes plus of it, and it was released as the B side of the single Epic."

C IS FOR The Cult Song

On October 30th 1989 FNM released From Out Of Nowhere, their third official single. It was the first single released from The Real Thing and the band's first to feature Mike Patton on vocals.

"That song came from Roddy. That’s completely Roddy’s melody, so maybe it was deliberately pop. But it was originally called “The Cult Song”, because it reminded me of The Cult." - Bill Gould

It was the first song Patton wrote lyrics to, and the first the band rehearsed.

"The first song I heard with Mike P was 'Out of Nowhere'…we had a rehearsal recording and he came over to my house to work on his vocal ideas to a few songs. I hadn’t heard his voice recorded before, and within 30 seconds of hearing his contribution, it almost freaked me out on how well it worked. And it wasn’t even in a control room, per se, but I could hear it and it was quite exciting." - Bill Gould

D IS FOR Alex Delarge

Falling To Pieces was the third single release from the album and hit record shelves on July 2, 1990. In an attempt to repeat the success of Epic team FNM re-enlisted the video directorial services of Ralph Ziman (See Z). During the music video we witness Roddy Bottum and Bill Gould's trademark stage moves and Jim Martin's imposing stature - throw in a little creepy stop motion - all saturated with lurid colours. Patton has a full fancy dress wardrobe including a bloodied surgeon, a Flava Flav timepiece and lederhosen. The most striking outfit however is a tribute to the main protagonist in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange.

E IS FOR Easy Like Sunday Morning...

FNM have been playing The Commodores classic Easy in their live set since the TRT era, the earliest record of it being played is at Rock City on April 25 1990. According to the band have played it live 418 times and it is their third most played song after Epic and We Care A Lot. Faith No More decided to add Easy to their set as a counter balance for their faithful version of War Pigs by Black Sabbath, which they had been playing to audiences since Chuck Mosley's days:

"First off, we did it live. We used to do (Black Sabbath's) 'War Pigs', so the meat heads started coming just to hear us do that all the time, and Jim's chest was puffing out. He got to be Mr Black Sabbath, so we decided we wanted to do 'Easy' to fuck with people. We heard It on the radio and went, 'This is a great song, let's do it!'' - Bill Gould

F IS FOR '...fucking brilliant!'

In 1989 Slash records embarked on an advertising campaign which featured flattering but cheesy quotes from leading rockers of the day including: Metallica, Def Leppard and Guns 'n' Roses.

Axl Rose and Slash were both particularly vocal about their love for The Real Thing. So, in a plot boost album sales, huge billboard posters were pasted onto walls all over Europe featuring the slogan 'Slash says: Faith No More is fucking brilliant...'

Unfortunately the band themselves did not share their record company's enthusiasm and spoke about the poster campaign to Rolling Stone in 1990.

"It's like, 'Can Axl loan me twenty bucks?' I mean, it's cool that those people gave quotes to help us out, but it doesn't change your life." - Mike Bordin

"They made up these posters in Europe. It was so embarrassing, man." - Bill Gould

"That's the worst. When you drive into town and see that poster and you're in your fucked-up van, you just want to get out and rip it down." - Mike Patton

G IS FOR 'The good, the bad and the ugly...'

Big, Sick and Ugly Jim Martin and producer Matt Wallace went in search of the perfect guitar tone for TRT. They visited Rick Rubin, who was producing Wolfsbane’s Live Fast, Die Fast album, to watch engineer David Bianco in action. They returned to Studio D in Sausalito and spent three days trying to find the best guitar sounds. Wallace and Martin adopted a morning ritual before guitar tracking began each day.

'We always played the original version of ‘The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly’ by Ennio Morricone. We would put that on the cassette deck, and we’d literally turn up the monitors as loud as they could get, which was really loud. And we’d just stand there and listen to it and then we would salute the speakers, and we would salute each other. And then after the song ended, we’d go right to work and start doing guitars.

The energy, and the spirit, and the vibe of that record was really inspired by that song and that music. It was that sense of grandeur. We really wanted something that was big and panoramic and huge.' - Matt Wallace

H IS FOR ‘The head of the Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center’

In the summer of 1991 Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey hit cinemas in which time-travelling dudes Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter returned to save the future from evil by harnessing the power of heavy metal music! B-Side The Perfect Crime from The Real Thing (previously recorded under the title Sweet Emotion) was included on the official soundtrack. Big Jim also made a glorious appearance in the movie as Sir James Martin head of the Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center. His lines were: 'Station' and '...what a shithead!'


On November 4th 1988, Faith No More played at the I-Beam in their hometown of San Francisco. This was their first live performance with Patton fronting the band. Steffan Chirazi wrote this preview.


Your chance to check out the new version of the SF funk/punk/metal/rap kingpins. New vocalist Mike Patton of Mr Bungle has come on board to replace Chuck Mosely. Early indications are that the group's moving in a more metal direction. These guys are god-like in England by the way. - Bam Magazine

This show was to judge public reaction to the new music and more importantly the new singer. The reaction of the crowd was not all positive and not all returning fans were taken by the radical change in vocal style.

'The first show I did was in San Francisco about November 1988, and after the gig the bouncer brought this note back and said, 'Some girl asked me to give this to you' I'm like, 'Oh great, cool, neat- my first groupie!' And silly me, the note read: 'You stupid, sexist, macho asshole. What are you doing? Get off the stage. Where's Chuck? He rocks... All this stuff you know. I just went, 'Killer! I'm going home'' - Mike Patton

FNM returned to the I-Beam in April 1989. It is on this night that the band recorded footage for the From Out Of Nowhere video and when Patton cut open his hand requiring microsurgery!

"A couple of months ago, Patton could have written a symphony of misery. The occasion was a video shoot for the new LP at an I Beam gig. First, Patton cracked his front tooth in half on his mike stand. Then, during the band's cover of the Black Sabbath number, "War Pigs," Patton lost his footing, tumbled forward and smashed his hand against a broken bottle on the edge of the stage, severing a tendon. He finished the show and, the next day, spent 5 1/2 hours in microscopic reconstructive surgery. "The nerve is growing back," he said, "and we got it all on film."" - Michael Snyder - San Francisco Chronical

J IS FOR Justice For All!

Metallica released their forth studio album ...And Justice for All on August 25, 1988. The bay area metal titans played 219 shows during the Damaged Justice tour. During their 13 months on the road Metallica were joined by various support acts including Danzig, Queensrÿche, Mortal Sin, The Cult and our very own Faith No More.

From a marketing perspective this touring line-up was the perfect marriage; Metallica gained an up and coming companion, and FNM played to a new audience - which in theory should have translated into more LP sales.

FNM however found no love from Metallica's fanbase and instead relished in throwing insults at the crowd.

Adrian Harte mentions such events in Small Victories : The Real Story Of Faith No More

In Salt Lake City, on only their fourth show on the tour, agitator in-chief Bill Gould asked the crowd, "Are there any Mormons here tonight?" When the inevitable and desired chorus of boos arrived in response, he launched into his well-practiced tactic for winding up crowds: a ten-minute one-note bass solo. Mike Bordin recalls, "Bill’s bass solo was well known. They’re the guys in the zoo that are going to poke the fucking animal just to get a reaction. If everybody’s happy and cheerful, I think some of the guys don’t feel they’ve really done their job."

"Us playing for their fans was a stretch," says Bottum. "They weren’t that open-minded. I remember trying to go to a Metallica show in San Francisco, and I was wearing a full red long-johns union suit and big white puffy tennis shoes and a yellow rain slicker, and it was not cool for the Metallica people. I got laughed at and called names, which I was OK with. But it was like, Wow, you people like live in caves."

K IS FOR Kerrang!

The UK rock and metal music magazine has a history of posting some of FNM's most honest, humorous and sometimes painful articles - written by such names as (legendary FNM journalist and comrade of Jim Martin) Steffan Chirazi, Mike Gitter, Paul Brannigan and Chris Watts. These were accompanied by some of the most iconic FNM photographs captured by the omnipresent cameras of Ross Halfin and Mark Leialoha. Of course FNM have adorned many other publication covers along with many more great articles, but Kerrang! has given up the front page more times than any other magazine.

From 1989 t0 1991 FNM were cover stars five times, with fifteen full features, countless posters and a name drop almost every week.

L IS FOR ...Legacy?

The impact TRT had on the metal scene in the late eighties is undeniable, FNM's style and attitude was a breath of fresh from the hair glam rock of the time. The band paved the way for an alternative revolution, FNM made keyboards cool, sewed the seeds for future music and changed lives!

The Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato named The Real Thing as one of the albums that changed his life.

'This was one of the first truly 'free' albums I ever heard. Something that felt less like branding and more like expression, more identifiable and exciting to me than anything else I had encountered.'

In 2009 Krist Novoselic stated that FNM paved the way for Nirvana.

"Living on the margins for so long, living in the underground scene it's like: 'Oh this will never catch on. But it did, and it was starting to change where you had bands like Faith No More and Jane's Addiction. They were these rock bands but they were more like alternative or edgy. Then they paved the way for Nirvana."

In 2023 Slipknot singer Corey Taylor stated that watching FNM perform Epic on the MTV Video Music Awards gave him a reason not to take his own life and become a musician.

'Watching Mike Patton not give one red fuck about anyone in that audience was life-changing. He was dressed the way I wanted to dress, his hair looked fucking rad, and him and the band sounded incredible.'

In 1997 Korn's guitarist Brian "Head" Welch listed it as an album that changed his life.

'Faith No More moved me in a different way, a way more than anything else. It totally changed my direction. It said to me that you didn't have to follow a certain path, that you could just create anything, go out and mess around with anything, that there were no rules.'

M IS FOR Milli Vanilli

FNM have always had a reputation for being as obnoxious as possible to the music press - spinning elaborate tales, talking about taboo and often disturbing subjects and downright lying! During the nineties they became infamous for hilariously berating artists and pushing against pop culture, which often got them into trouble. Bon Jovi, Poison, Lenny Kravitz and Guns 'n' Roses were just a few who were in the firing line.

After the TRT release party at The Roxy in Hollywood Faith No More headed to a party at The Rainbow (known as a hangout for rock musicians and their groupies), here the band had an infamous encounter with notorious 80's pop fraudsters Milli Vanilli.

"I think, they're two of the most beautiful and ugly people I've ever met. Can't sing, can't dance, big hits, pure genius. Two of the whitest black people I have ever seen. No soul, nothing - they can't even say their f**king names. It was so glorious when they got out of the limo, they just looked at Bill and I and went, 'Uuhh' Going upstairs to that reserved section where they only let women in - what a huge front because they're homosexual! But they did come down to dance to their own video. Although it was a poor rendition, I showed 'em, I went for it dude. One of the guys looked at me when we were finished and gave me the thumbs up!" - Patton

N IS FOR Nestles

During the touring of Introduce Yourself FNM added Sweet Dreams, the Nestles White Alpine theme, to their set. However, the cover was made most memorable by Patton during The Real Thing tour often dropped in the set before the metal crunch of Surprise! Your Dead!. Similar to the band's cover of Easy, Sweet Dreams was delivered beautifully without a hint of sarcasm, in fact many would be forgiven for believing the song was their own.


"Most of us weren't really weened on Black Sabbath. Just like two big Black Sabbath devotees, Jim and the drummer Mike. I f* * kin' hate those guys, to tell you the truth. I never really got into 'em. I never even owned one of their albums before I joined this band, and then we went to Warner Brothers and they gave us all these Cd's. I didn't like most of them so I traded them in! I mean I like that song, and I have a couple of the albums and there's some good songs on 'em, but ... I don't know, I Just can't relate to a lot of it." - Mike Patton

Ozzy Osbourne's unique tone had a profound effect on two members of FNM, Jim Martin and Mike Bordin. FNM added Black Sabbath's War Pigs to their live set when Chuck Mosley was in the band but it was recorded in the studio for The Real Thing.

Puffy's dream of connecting with his hero was realised on November 9th 1990, when FNM were joined onstage by Ozzy for a performance of War Pigs at the forth birthday party gig for RIP Magazine at Hollywood Palladium.

P IS FOR Jeff Price

The cover art of The Real Thing was created by resident Slash Records artist Jeff Price who also created the cover of Introduce Yourself. The flame and splash emblem, which was taken from Milk Drop Coronet by photographer Harold Edgerton, has now become instantly recognisable and a part of FNM legacy. However, the band were at loggerheads with their record company and would have prefered to simply use the FNM star of chaos.

Extract from Small Victories : The Real Story Of Faith No More

Bill Gould and Roddy Bottum, in particular, had always been involved in the band’s artwork. Bottum: ‘Our covers were problematic. This one was typically hideous. I hate it now, and I wasn’t crazy about it then. It was for lack of a better image.’

Being Faith No More, such disputes were aired proudly in public. The following January, the Chicago Sun-Times reported: Faith No More finished its latest album in two months. The record company spent twice that long working on the album cover. After all that, the group doesn’t like the way the cover looks. ‘I think it’s pretty awful,’ vocalist Mike Patton said, describing the cover for The Real Thing. The artwork depicts a portion of the Earth being swallowed up in flames. ‘Part of the way it turned out was our fault, because when [the record company] came around and asked us what we wanted, we just said, “We don’t know.”’

Q IS FOR Quinta Vergara

The Viña del Mar International Song Festival is held at Quinta Vergara park in Chile and was founded in 1960. It mostly featured traditional South American acts until the eighties when pop and MOR acts like Sheena Easton and Air Supply made it onto the line-up. In 1991 organisers decided it was time for a change and Faith No More were scheduled off the back of their mind-blowing show at Rock In Rio.

These two headlining nights captured the imagination of the Chilean youth and forged a bond with Chile that lasts to this day.

R IS FOR Red Hot Chili Peppers

As tedious as this 'feud' has become for FNM fans, we had to include it. In Kerrang! issue 292 of June 1990 Anthony Kiedis made some comments about Patton which became the headline for the article.

“My drummer says he’s gonna kidnap [Patton], shave his hair off and cut off one of his feet, just so he’ll be forced to find a style of his own.”

This of course fuelled the press to push for a response from Patton in pretty much every interview to follow during 1990. Patton responded in his fabulously brattish way.

"That's a dumb thing I've got absolutely nothing to do with. I don't care. I really don't. Reading that article gave me a good laugh - it sounded like old Anthony felt a little threatened, I dunno. If he wants to give me press instead of his band, his girlfriend or whatever, that's fine by me. I'm sure he didn't count on it getting slapped on the cover of Kerrang! Then, after that, they called me up right afterwards, asking me to do a rebuttal. What is this, Bon jovi vs Axl Rose? I don't need it." - Mike Patton

"I don't have a clue. It just kind of came out of the blue. I mean, I could speculate, but I really don't know. It doesn't bother me a bit. I got a real big kick out of it. to tell you the truth. I mean, if he's gonna talk about me in interviews, that's fine - it's free press! It's pretty out of line. Either he's feeling inadequate or old or I don't know ... That's beat, but I have no reason to talk shit about him." - Mike Patton

"I'd really like to set all that straight. What he doesn't realize is that I am Anthony Kiedis, and I'm the raddest dude. Let me tell you, I'm in the greatest band, and it's so cool. But all these jerks, one of which is that Mike Patton asshole, all want to be me. So I'm gonna get him, and I'm gonna get him good." - Mike Patton

S IS FOR The Sailor Song

Surprise! You're Dead! was one of the first songs that Jim Martin and Mike Bordin began work on in the summer of 1988, however the genesis of the song was much earlier. The riffs were written during jamming sessions between Jim and his childhood friend the late Cliff Burton

While the lyrics talk of murderous undoings, torture and destruction it's Patton's delivery that makes us believe he is playing a tongue in cheek character rather than committing to Martin's vision. 

"Yeah, read the lyrics. They're really ridiculous. The song kinda sounded cartoonish so I wrote that kind of lyric to it. Hey, I listen to a lot of Slayer." - Mike Patton

In 1993 FNM released Video Croissant a VHS compilation of their promo clips. Included was Surprise! You're Dead!. The short film was stitched together by Bill from footage captured on a hand held camera during the band's 89/90 tour in Europe and America. As a black and white Patton mouths the lyrics whilst sat in a public toilet we can further understand the irony of the song. 

T IS FOR Top of the Pops

During their touring of TRT the band made many memorable appearances on TV including a stunning performance on SNL introduced by the actor John Goodman.

But the most fun was their appearance on UK music show Top of the Pops. Long before Nirvana famously made a mockery of the 'play along to the backing track rule' Mr. Patton hilariously refused to lip-synch and left us in no doubt whatsoever that he was not singing the song.

Jim 1990 - "It was fucked up. They made us hangout all day..."

U IS FOR Underwear

Their are a select few photo journalists who have recorded FNM's career. The legendary Ross Halfin in particular has managed to capture some of the most iconic promo shots of the band. His portraits have been used on album and single covers, posters, t shirts and more.

Possibly the most iconic photo of FNM is the infamous underwear pose - taken in 1989 and used as the cover of the From Out Nowhere 12” picture disc, posters and a fabulous shirt. The portrait perfectly captures FNM’s mischievous characteristics, even if Big Jim wasn’t playing ball.

‘I remember it was one of the first big photo shoots for us set up by London Records. Ross Halfin, 'Famous Rock Photographer', was pretty aggressive, barking orders and abusing band members, particularly Puffy. He ordered everyone to strip down. I said 'forget it' (I thought it was dumb). The other guys did, he snapped the picture and at that moment, I understood why he was famous…’ Jim

V IS FOR Vocalist Needed

After the departure of Chuck in 1988 FNM were in need of a new singer, Mike Bordin began the search.

"I wrote this note, and gave it to Slash of Guns N' Roses to distribute throughout their network which of course he didn't do. The note said: 'Faith No More need a f**king singer. Must not have huge ego, must not stuff sausage down pants, and must be able to go for throat'." - Bordin

It wasn't long before FNM settled on twenty year old Mike Patton. Even though Patton did not contribute music composition on TRT he wrote the lyrics to the entire record in less than two weeks.

'I was really impressed with Patton. The band had already written all the music, and he was given just two weeks to come up with all the lyrics and melodies. He really rose to the occasion. He's the most phenomenal singer I've ever worked with, and when he's backed against the wall he s absolutely brilliant.' - Matt Wallace

His subject matter was often laced with dark humour and disturbing imagery. Underwater Love describes drowning your lover, Edge of the World follows the misdeeds of a paedophile, whilst Zombie Eaters is written from the perspective of a baby.

'Yeah, it [Zombie Eaters] deals with my somewhat absurd fascination with babies, and birth. In many ways it is of course very beautiful, but it's also so f**king gross, grotesque: the way kids grow up and can be influenced by anything to me. Don't ask me why I think about babies and birth, it's just one of my subconscious thoughts. I pretty much write the words to fit the song, so with 'Surprise! You're Dead' type thing, I ended up writing lyrics that reminded me a bit of Slayer. 'Epic' is much more about sex and sex, we had to change some words because they were considered too obscene. Things like, 'So you lay down and you do it some more' should've been, 'fuck some more' but I guess because they were being printed and everything it was thought to be too much. 'From Out Of Nowhere' is more about people who are obsessive and feel the need to fill up on somebody else.' - Mike Patton

W IS FOR Woodpecker from Mars

Roddy Bottum is of course an essential part of FNM’s unique sound - bringing to the mix pop elements, adding a graceful and sometimes eerie atmosphere to the rhythmic metal crunch and writing unforgettable Melodies.

On TRT he upgraded his keys to an Emu EMAX developing his arsenal of sounds - the strings patch on From Out Of Nowhere and The Real Thing, the Hammond organ on Underwater Love and The Cowboy Song and the spellbinding classical piano outro of Epic.

However Roddy’s time to shine is on the record’s only instrumental Woodpecker From Mars. Roddy takes the lead melody and the spotlight on stage over a prog metal aural assault born from Big Jim's sessions with Cliff Burton.

'Billy and Mike and I would come up with loops typically, and this was along that vein. It was a melody that I went with. I’d just got the Emax keyboard, and it was a violin sound we all found exciting and live-sounding.’ - Roddy

‘That song was a fucking weapon. It’s us declaring who we are, and it’s definitely not Bon Jovi or Whitesnake, the big bands at the time. It’s much more lining up with Metallica and Slayer, although we weren’t exactly them either. We’re showing what’s next. All those things build up, build momentum, and break things loose, and then came Nirvana

and they opened it up for good.’ - Bordin

X IS FOR X-rated

In 1990 FNM were hot property in Europe, the USA and Australia and a solo Mike Patton graced centerfolds of countless magazines around the globe. In an attempt to counteract fame and deflect attention he would engage in conversations about all sorts of x-rated subjects such as masturbation, murder and torture. This bizarre behaviour however only endeared him to fans more.

'Masturbation is a lot easier to do than relating to someone. It's like playing a video machine. You can relate to a machine a lot easier than a human being. You can just pound yourself for hours and hours and not think about it. With sex, no matter how great it is, there's always something missing. The only difference now is that I masturbate in front of people. There was this girl in Philadelphia--I hung out with her all day and we ended up in my room. I ended up masturbating while she watched. Masturbation is like this little knot I have inside of me that I can't untie.' - Patton

Y IS FOR 'You Fat Bastards...'

In 1989 FNM again graced the shores of England and Scotland for fourteen dates across the two countries, however it wasn't until 1990 that the UK was truly encapsulated with the band's music. This was possibly FNM's most hectic tour schedule and they were in the UK for dates in January, February and again in April due to the unexpected success of The Real Thing.

The Epic tour consisted of thirteen dates in Ireland, Scotland and England. The band played Hammersmith Odeon on April 27th and Brixton Academy on April 28th, the second of which would be preserved for posterity on the You Fat Bastards live video and album.

"Brixton was an afterthought in lots of ways," Faith No More's booking agent at the time Derek Kemp explains. "We had sold out the Astoria on the previous tour, so the next logical step was to play Hammersmith Odeon. I put the Odeon on sale, and it sold very quickly. I tried to get a second night there, couldn’t get the dates, so found out Brixton Academy was available, so put the band into there. At that time, the capacity for Hammersmith Odeon, because it was all seated then, was about 3,500, maybe just a little bit less, and the capacity of Brixton Academy was around about 5,000. In two nights, the band played to over 8,000 people in London alone." - Small Victories : The True Story of Faith No More by Adrian Harte

Z IS FOR Ralph Ziman

The accompanying video for the single release of Epic on January 29th 1990 was the vision of director Ralph Ziman. Bursting with striking visuals reminiscent of a Salvador Dali landscape - an exploding piano, terrific lightening, that Mr. Bungle shirt and Jim Martin's nod to the late Cliff Burton.

The newly established MTV generation of 1990 helped channel FNM into ears and hearts of the world - Epic was played on MTV up to five times a day! The video was edited by MTV and FNM let them without realising the impact it would have.

The video ends with an astonishing scene - A fish out of water which is flapping to the classical sounds of Roddy's piano. There are stories that the fish was stolen from Bjork at a party (started by the band) but it was simply bought from a pet store round the corner from the studio. Both Gould and Ziman claim the fishy idea as their own.

"The floundering goldfish was my idea. It was that kinda (cult director) John Waters thing where you try to get maximum attention for minimum money! The piano exploding was pretty cool, too." - Bill Gould

"I remember, the band had one day off from touring and they were in London. The record company had phoned us on very short notice and asked us to do a music video. The y made it sound like a really low priority. I think it was being done for Warner Bros. at the time. I just made a list of things I thought we could do. Exploding piano. A fish flopping around. We literally had one day to pre-produce it. So we handed the fish off to the art department. I can't remember what it was. If it was a carp? It was a fresh water fish. We shot that in London in some studios next to the tour venue. And we wound up letting that fish go into the river when we were finished. We had a couple of them. We would let them flop around, and then we'd swap it over, and we'd shoot another one. I don't remember what kind of fish they were, but the animal handler had brought them in because they were feisty." - Ralph Ziman

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1 Comment

Lily Bee
Lily Bee
Jun 20

I'm absolutly fan from FNM ..especially Mike

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