AOL May 21, 1997
Faith No More
Mike Bordin drums
Roddy Bottum keyboard
Billy Gould bass
Jon Hudson guitar
Mike Patton vocals
In case you didn't know, Faith No More was on the verge of a splitting just a few months ago. After 15 years and seven albums, they were going to call it a day. The members were going to set out for greener pastures, take time off to travel Europe and maybe even find themselves in the process. Over. Done. Kaput. At least that's what the music industry gossip mongers thought. "There has been speculation that the band was going to breakup ever since our first album," laughs bassist Billy Gould, who with keyboardist Roddy Bottum and drummer Mike Bordin started the San Francisco outfit in 1982. "There have been points every year for the past 10 years where it looked like the band might not go on. It happens once every six weeks."
Not that the breakup rumors were entirely unfounded. What with vocalist Mike Patton devoting a heap of time to completing his second solo album and touring with Mr. Bungle, Bottum starting up Imperial Teen and Bordin playing with metal veteran Ozzy Osbourne, what was any concerned fan to think?
Sure, various band members took time off to work on some of their personal projects, but after all those things had run their course everyone was ready to come back home to Faith No More, refreshed and ready to make another record. Judging by the explosive material on its seventh disc, Album of the Year, Faith No More is in rare form. Tempering the aggressive urgency of its last record, 1995's King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime, the band returns to the splashy melodies and big sonic themes of its past work o 1989's double-platinum The Real Thing, 1992's gold Angel Dust o with its latest outing.
"If you look at all of our records, you can see that they're following a certain path," Gould says. "Even though we're on the path, we're not sure where it's going. But in retrospect, we see that we need to be doing what we're doing while we're doing it. King For A Day was a very angry record, and it was a stripped down record. We made it like that intentionally because we all needed the feeling of getting punched in the face. This record has a much moodier vibe."
Faith No More started rehearsing material for Album of the Year after cutting short its tour for the last album. They had planned on coming home early to complete work on the new disc as quickly as possible.
It was a nice concept, unfortunately there were several unforeseen snags that hampered the recording process. First of all, the group had to get down to the business of finding a new guitarist, a process that took nearly half a year. Founding member Jim Martin had left Faith No More in 1994, and Mr. Bungle's Trey Spruance had recorded all the guitar parts for King For Day. Enter Jon Hudson, a former roommate of Gould and member of the band Systems Collapse. With Hudson aboard, Faith No More proceeded to write and record 10 songs. But they were just warming up. Those sessions were put aside and work on the new album continued.
Faith No More knew then, that they were in it for the long haul. Album of the Year was recorded in stages, while various band members were on the road and involved in other side projects. Gould, who co-produced the disc, had to juggle the work in progress around whoever was in town on any given day. While certain songs ("Ashes To Ashes," "Paths of Glory") were from the initial session, the group proceeded to record a whole new batch of songs that refined its signature sound. The first product of the second session turned out to be the album's first single, "Last Cup of Sorrow." "I think the record came out well," Gould says. "When I look at what we had a year ago, I'm really glad that we took the time to redo it. It's just stronger."
The band recruited engineer Roli Mosimann (The The, Young Gods) to join them in galvanizing their sound, but his input went far beyond the typical mixing desk duties. Mosimann introduced Faith No More to computer compositional techniques for the first time in its career. The band had typically recorded its songs straight to analog tape in the classic rock tradition. When Mosimann added modern technology to the equation, it added juice to an already electrifying sound.
It provided the foundation for a record which has judiciously been titled Album of the Year by its creators. "We're just making writer's jobs easier for them," Gould shrugs.
Thanks to Star Leigh Wall.