Few aggressive bands have wielded the kind of enduring influence and power that Faith No More have managed over their 30-plus-year career. Their ever-evolving, avant-garde and funk-inflected sound had a profound impact on alternative metal, and their high-energy, often bizarre and unpredictable live shows set new standards for frontman showmanship. Lineup changes and even an 11-year breakup couldn't dull their fans' ardour, and since reuniting in 2009, they have toured extensively. They also just released Sol Invictus, their first record in 17 years, via Reclamation Recordings/Ipecac.
This month's Timeline presented an opportunity to dig into some of the details of Faith No More's weird and storied career, and the results are exactly as fantastic (and sometimes gross) as you might expect. While a plethora of facts await your perusal in the print issue, here are a few things you might not have know about the San Francisco weirdoes.
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About Faith No More:
1. Courtney Love was briefly the vocalist of Faith No More, before they were joined by Chuck Mosley.
The band go through several singers in a very short period of time, many of whom are in the band so briefly that their contributions aren't recorded. One of these is Courtney Love (who briefly dates keyboardist Roddy Bottum), who will tell VH1's Behind the Music that she lobbied for the band to let her in after seeing them perform in 1982. She plays with the band for six months, and though bassist Billy Gould will tell Metal Hammer "She was an awesome performer; she liked to sing in her nightgown, adorned with flowers," she was also difficult to work with. "She was a very chaotic personality — she took a lot of work. It just got too much after a while." According to Love, she is dismissed because the band wanted more "male energy."
2. Mike Patton, Faith No More's current and longest-running frontman, has a tendency to use shit and urine (often his own) as part of his stage performances.
Mike Patton has a thing about poop. He's referred to himself as a "shit terrorist." In 1991 he relates to Kerrang!, "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."
During the European leg of the same tour, Patton poops on a bench outside Kensington Palace. Patton is not above using piss to make his point either. When in Seville, Spain, a fan throws a bottle full of urine at the band, Patton picks it up, climbs on top of Axl [Rose's] monitor and pours it over his head. Later, in a 1995 video interview in Venice, the band discuss an incident in Lyon, France, wherein Patton pees in a cup and drinks it in front of a horrified crowd.
3. While on tour with Guns N' Roses, Patton used poop to terrorize Axl Rose, who terrorized the band right back.
The band tour with Guns N' Roses, which is an otherworldly experience. Billy Gould recounts, "There was a rumour that Axl brought his psychic on tour with him. And it would be bad luck in any city that started with the letter 'M.' So he cancelled Manchester, Madrid, Munich, and he did Montreal, and that's when the riot happened. It got very bizarre. We saw Axl once or twice the whole time." While on that tour, Patton takes a shit in a container of orange juice, carefully seals it back up, and puts it in Axl's Rose's tour van.
4. Faith No More have an epic blood feud with Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Anthony Kiedis, frontman for Red Hot Chili Peppers, sees Mike Patton perform with Mr. Bungle and accuses Patton of mimicking his performance style, beginning an epic feud. The enmity is sunk in deeper when Warner Bros. delays the release of the Mr. Bungle record California, scheduled for June 8, 1999, because of Red Hot Chili Peppers' album Californication, released the same day. That summer, Anthony Kiedis has Mr. Bungle removed from several European festivals whenever the bands are both scheduled. In retaliation, Mr. Bungle parody Red Hot Chili Peppers during their Halloween show in Pontiac, MI. Each band member cosplays as a member of RHCP and they cover the songs "Give It Away," "Around the World," "Under the Bridge" and "Scar Tissue" with incorrect lyrics and obscene gestures. Kiedis is furious and has Mr. Bungle again removed from the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand; bassist Trevor Dunn makes fun of RHCP bassist Flea on his website.
5. Mike Patton has provided screams and other inhuman vocalizations for several film and videogame monsters, including zombies and evil supercomputers.
In 2007, Mike Patton provides screams and other vocalizations for the vampiric monsters in the film I Am Legend. He also makes his debut doing work for videogames, providing the work for the titular evil presence in The Darkness. The same year, he would provide vocal elements for the final boss fight with the maniacal AI/computer GLaDOS in Portal. Later he voices the character Rikki Kixx on the Adult Swim cartoon Metalocalypse and the zombies in videogame Left 4 Dead.