Dimple Records April 1995
FAITH NO MORE: APRIL 1995
On April 24th, Faith No More played a show at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco in support of their new album, King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. Through a lot of hard work (none of which was mine), I lucked into an opportunity to meet and talk to drummer Mike Bordin before the show started. When Bordin came down to meet us he was very outgoing, talkative, and seemed generally happy to be there. So I took a chance and asked him when the band decided that it was time for guitarist Jim Martin to go. (Martin was replaced for the new album). This was a question I was sure he had been asked a thousand times in the past few months.
"Well that's a funny thing. Nothing really changed. Jim's been a weird guy ever since I've known him. To his great credit or blame he is who he is, and he's not going to change for anyone."
Did this change in personel have a big effect on the writing?
"No. In the beginning, back in 1984, it was me and Billy jamming and writing stuff. And Roddy was there. We always had different singers and guitar players for each show. When we had Chuck Mosely we would sends tapes of our songs to him because he lived in L.A. Jim would come in later and put down the guitar parts." "For this record we decided it was time to see if we could get more guitar intergrated into our songs. For the first time we wrote this record with guitar in mind."
So you, personally, have a lot of responsibilty in writing the music?
"Yeah. I'm usually there from day one."
Each record seems delibertly different from the previous. Is this something you strive for? It certainly keeps it interesting for the fans.
"I think if you listen to all of them together it will take you on a hell of an interesting trip. But we don't go over the same ground. We're trying to keep ourselves interested."
A lot of early reviews of the new album say that it seems to be a mix of Angel Dust and Real Thing. I think it sounds more like the natural progression from the last album.
"I agree with you more but I understand what they're saying. That's a real quick, surface reaction. This record is a bit more straight forward and direct than Angel Dust."
After Trey Spruance came in and did the guitar parts, did he look at the touring schedule and get scared?
"Well he wouldn't get a passport. We had already been across Europe for a week and Australia for a week. Not to mention Canada which you still need a passport for, even though it's our backyard. Trey was in a position where he didn't have to make that kind of commitment with his time. He just wouldn't get a passport and I don't have time for that, you know? The justice of it is that Dean (Menta) has been waiting around a long time to do this."
Was Dean pissed that he was overlooked at first?
"Hey, he's in the band. He's on board now. It's not like we got some temporary, faceless guy."
You guys have already been touring for quite some time. How long do plan to keep going?
"15 months. We're going until Christmas solid and we'll probably tour until next summer."
Does touring that much wear on the band?
"Well it's what we do. Look at Patton, when he's not with us he's with another band. When he's not with that band he's doing something else. That guy is constantly writing. But I can't do that. This band is enough for me. When I'm not here I'm with my wife, my cat or my garden."
The song Cucko for Caca seems to freak a lot of people out. Do you think maybe they're taking it too seriously?
"That song is about the shit that we've gone through in the past five years."
Where did the phrase 'take it from our drummer Puff, being good gets you stuff' come from?
"The actual phrase was on a cap that somebody gave Patton. It wasn't even mine it just rhymed with my name."
Do you have any side projects? I read that you, Les Claypool, and Kirk Hammet did something together.
"Yeah we recorded some stuff. I play with Les a lot, I consider him a real good friend. I talked to Kirk earlier and he's going to be here tonight. I met Kirk through Cliff (Burton) who was a dear old friend of mine. We went to school together in the seventh grade. Cliff was the first person I played music with. We were smoking a joint in his bedroom and he said he was going to start playing bass and I said okay, I'll play drums. That's actually how I met Jim. Cliff and I played in Jim's band." "I just did a thing with Herb (Alexander), the drummer from Primus. The drummer from Redd Kross is putting out a record that's all drummers. Dale from the Melvins is on it and think Matt Cameron from Soundgarden is gonna do something. A lot of people are on it. Steven Perkins also. It was a lot of fun. I think it's coming out on Sub Pop."
Is this where you envisioned Faith No More being at when you started?
"No. We had absolutly no idea. We didn't form this band with any visions of success or anything like that. If we had done that we would have sounded like any other band that came out back in... 1982? I don't know. Back then we were listening to Black Flag, Killing Joke, Stranglers, Misfits. Big into the Misfits. All we wanted to do was get a show. Then, after that, all we wanted to do was make a record and go on tour. It's like planting a tree, either it grows or it dies. Luckily, for us it grew."
I think that the really good bands don't start out thinking that they're going to be the next big thing.
"No. You can't because that's like putting the cart before the horse. It's like saying I'll do whatever it takes to be something more than what I am. What the fuck is that? You should find out what you need to do, something you strongly belive in, and do it unlike anyone else. For us, we gotta tell the truth. We gotta do it our way, you know? We're not Bon Jovi." "It's difficult sometimes when people don't know what to make of you. We get that here more than anywhere else in the world."
Maybe people here are more groomed to like certain music and fashion trends.
"Yeah. It's like an assembly line. It's like orange-orange-orange-banana. Whoa! Get that fucking banana out of here! It doesn't matter if it's good or bad, only if it's not average. If it doesn't slide down like everything else then it's difficult to accept."
But you don't hear to many bands trying to style themselves after Faith No More.
"In Europe there are bands that sound like we have sounded in the past, like where we've been. But we don't even fucking know what we're going to do next! So nobody can really copy us." "You know, there's bands like AC/DC, they've got their own sound and that's their thing. But that's not for us to do. Not now anyway, maybe later. But I doubt it!"
How much longer do you see the Faith No More carrying on?
"As long as we got something to say we will do it. And as long as the core of the band is good. Right now, with a new guitar player in Dean, it feels good. And that's been a long time coming because we've haven't had that." "But as long as we feel we have something to say, we will go. And we look at that harder than anybody. A lot of times during the making of this record we said, 'Is this fucking worth it?' And when we listened to the music again and again, in it's early rough form, we decided we were into it."
How did you decide which songs make the final cut for the album? I know you guys recorded a lot of b-sides. "We actually recorded those b-sides specially for the singles. We did five extra songs, besides the b-sides, that didn't make it. And they could have easily have been on the album. But it's a long record as it is, 57 minutes. Which is maybe one or two songs longer then it should be." "But writing a lot of songs, to me, is a good sign. It's a sign of a lot of things coming out of us and that's healthy. It feels real good to me. I've never been a 100% happy with a record in my life. Real Thing, about 97%. Angel Dust, about 95%. Which is real good but those extra percents always bugged me. Now I'm 100% percent happy with this record. And it may not happen again because we had to work to death on this one. And if you ask why we made the lineup changes, it should be obvious from the record."
Do you have any favorite tracks from the record?
"Well, right now what I'm most proud of is the mellow songs sounding all the way mellow, rather than sounding like a heavy band that's trying to play quietly. I'm real proud of Evidence and Caralho Voador because when I listen to them they feel right."
Thanks for your time Mike.
"No problem. It's nice to talk to someone who actually gives a shit (about the band)."
Oh yes, I do give a shit. And I enjoyed a great show later on that night. Bordin and the rest of the band were in top form. They drew upon songs from all of the last four records. I've seen Faith No More many times before, but the noticable difference now is that they seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves.
Thanks to James Kneip.