Visions Issue May 1997

Visions Issue May 1997

FAITH NO MORE - democratic slaveholders

by Wolf Kampmann

with angel dust they went to space to breathe the dust of stars. the higher they went the deeper they fell. with kfadffal earlier success became stardust memories. the michelangelos of crossover made themselves an average mainstream band. personal problems like the unkind split with guitarist jim martin were more important then the creative potential of a band that was different to others because they didnt just write some songs, but really were able to compose and arrange.

should one give them another chance, with the risc to be disappointed again or would it be better to say that they are history?

in the beginning of 97 there were rumours of a new we need that? ok..lets listen to it....and then: THE ATOMIC BOMB....album of the year (what a silly name) has everything that you havent expected anymore from fnm. mike pattons voice pretends to be gnoms and giants, he whispers and screams, he marches and explodes. roddy bottums keyboards fly like magic carpets over deserts and jungles. the songs live in minimalism and great gestures....producer roli mosiman was important for that. No question:

bassplayer billy gould is tired. he worked 1.5 years on that album. "the last record was a pissed-off album. there had been a lot of aggression and frustration...and we had to let it out. so the recored was ok. the new record has a very different emotional background. its not that direct. but it is more listenable because it doesnt fight against the listener from the beginning."

right. you can fall into the sound landscapes of that band again. after listening to the album you do not feel breathless or want to take a shower. it is like a sculpture out of a big stone block that was done very well. a piece of music that glitters in many colors and shapes. but not only the album is a unity...also the band again present themselves as a unity. the guitarist-problem seems to be banned. after jim martin trey spruance from mr bungle was hired. but like his old buddy mike patton says: " he didnt wanna tour. he dont like the stuff that is combined with a tour like that. for him a record is a project. he comes to the studio plays his part says thank you and disappears. he did a great job on the record. he is an incredible guitarist. i play with him in another band. but i think he doesnt understand what it means to work with a band like this one. he never could sit down and give an interview like this one." so they had to look for another string-slave until they met dean menta. dean turned out to be an excellent tour guitarist. but when it came to writin new songs billy and the rest of the band realized that it didnt work. "we finally realized that it didnt work. we sure realized that more than him. its not that we fired him..but we decided to look for someone to be honest we fired him in a way."

the new , fourth guitarplayer is called john hudson. he is not well known so far and is an old friend of billy gould. the future will show how long the four others will accept him. the guitarist job doesnt seem to be very easy in fnm...mike patton replies: "no the guitarplayer has an easy job. i could play that parts if i wanted to and sometimes i even do it. a baby could do that. guitarparts that you canplay with one finger. the problem is that most guitar players dont know that kind of playing. we have certain things we want from a guitarist. his role is more the one of a dj. a specific sound. much rhythm..rather boring...nothing what a guitarist really wants to do. and we all know what guitar players want to do. playing fuckin solos....they are nearly as weird as vocalists." perhaps the guitarplayer really doesnt play the same role that he does in similar bands. so they told me that its a tradition that the guitarist isnt involved in the songwriting. why it turned out to be a problem with dean when it came to songwriting will stay a secret then. so finally they all think that they cannot be stopped by exhibitionistic 6string guys. "every person has certain qualities" says billy gould " one is able to do this...the other one to do that. so we have to search long until we find the right guy on the guitar. you wouldnt marry the first woman you meet. you look for someone , work with him and develop a certain relationship. on the other hand we are a band that needs to do records and go on tour. this is just life and life goes on. you cannot stay with the same problems all the time you have to find solutions for the moment and find the final solution next time. all we want is a guitarist who thinks like we think."

but fnm doesnt reduce their problems to the guitarist-question. the feel themselves like in a marriage that is difficult to work out good with 4 or 5 partners. there are always rumours about splittin up. "with every record we came to a point of frustration and we asked ourselves if it makes sence to keep the band alive. kfad was no exception. it just happens" says gould.

Mike Patton: " like married people you try to solve your problems by fighting. its to complex to just say..i have enuogh and leave. you are married. we had a breakfast where we really discussed if we should split up and it was a really painful breakfast. very emotional. but you have to talk about your problems from time to time to have the chance to go on. the longer you wait the worse it becomes."

bill gould:" there are many bands which have members that hate each other, but pretend to be the best friends. i dont know how they do it. we are fnm and we just can treat each other like we learned it. if we have a fight for some reason the whole world seems to know it."

mike patton: "it sure has something to do with the fact that in most bands there are two guys who do everything. its a s/m thing in most groups. people are hired and fired. we dont like that"

bill gould:"we are a group. and if you started as a real group you cannot go back. nobody would except someone who would behave like a bandleader. everyone wants to bring his stuff to build the sound. its hard because if just one member has a different opinion then we cannot do it. another thing is that every member goes in a different direction. people change and with them the band changes."

a democratic group that has guitarists treated like slaves. the greek democracy already was based on slavery and really developed important things. everyone has to find his own way to survive. and faith no more...the new album is an evidence for that..found their way. so if not one of their ex-guitarists plans a war against them or will blow them up or a future guitar-slave plans a revolution...Patton & Co will soon carry angle dust on their wings.....

Thanks to Björn Eichstädt for translating the article.

Source: Björn Eichstädt
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