Rebelrazor Magazine issue July ? 1995
An Invitation to be King for a Day
Rebelrazor is a music lifestyle magazine in Australia. This article was accompanied by a very old picture of the group minus Dean and with Jim.
"I'm in Israel. I volunteered for the army." says Billy Gould, one of the founder members of FNM, calling from the latest stop on the KFAD tour which is sceduled to erupt in Australia in August. Billy has seen the band through 14 long years, three guitarists, two vocalists and some turbulent times, including the notorious heroin addiction and coming out of FNM keyboardist and close friend, Roddy Bottum.
After the deserved, widespread success and acclaim that Angel Dust and KFADFFAL have finally brought them, FNM are standing tall in their own right. Over the years, they have toured with just about every big name "alternative" American band in existance. Metallica, Soundgarden, L7, Babes in Toyland; you name tham and chances are FNM have shared a tour bus chemical toilet with them. " There are bands that have really irritated us to tour with, but usually it's a pleasant time. When we tour, we tend to play everyday. It's absolutely work orientated; especially if we are coming all the way to Australia; it's really expensive. Everyday we're not playing, we're spending money." Unlucrative as playing in Australia may be, FNM are making the long haul out here - for the second time this year!
Unmoved by staid questions on personal interband relationships, I decided to
follow up on subjects that seemed to stir Billy the most;music,and surprisingly
"I like alot of world music. I listen to the way they construct songs. It's kind of like looking at a building and adliring its architecture; thats how I listen to music, from an aesthetic and constructivist point of view. I pretty much never listen to any of our records. With the older records, its kind of like looking at your baby pictures. I enjoy making music, if it was just a job, I wouldn't be doing this;I'd find another job. When you get older you go through changes - you're not into what you were when you were a kid; you get into other things that excite you. No matter what you do, even if you have a certain type of job, you're not the same person at 25 as you were when you were 20. I like to play guitar alot, buy I still consider myself a novice. I like keyboards;I like them all. I like playing musical instruments."
So if there is anything that FNM hasn't achieved yet, but would like to? "Sure. Australia is probably the exception, but I would say that we are not generally accepted for who we are. We still get some tags and labels put on us that probably aren't accurate. Musically, I think that people probablyhave an incorrect idea of what kind of band we are. And personally... for example, in EnglandI read an article in a magazine, and all they talked about was Patton's predilection for faeces. First of all, that's so old and so uninteresting, and second of all, I can't beleive that there's nothing more to write about the band than that. It's like that in America too. People tend to make a superficial assessment of a band and exploit that, and I think that we have a lot of things going on that never make it to the media. What really blows our minds in Australia at the moment, is that Evidence is a single, and it's played on various radio formats. It canbe on adult contemporary radio, but at the same time be on a rock station;it works either way, and I think thats great. I America, people tell who you are, even though you're not what they are telling you that you are. There's not prejudice against alternative bands, but theres only a few pwoerful people, and they have an idea in their minds of what a rock band is, and you have to fit their vision of the world. And most of these people are very ignorant from the beginning. Practically speaking, we have a harder time getting our way, and we make that up for touring a lot. We don't have a choice -these songs we write,unfortunately- or fortunately. Touring's alright. When we get to go to interesting places like Israel, it's great. The food's real good here, pleanty of beans and hummous..."
Which brought us to that FNM album cover. I'd always been interested to know
what provoked the imagery on the rear of the AD album cover; the bloody, impaled
beef carcasses, hanging in the abattoir. Was it meant as a statement? Are any of
the band vegetarians?
"That album cover was taken like a statement. We have been vegetarians at different times, but bot now. I think you have to see it ina realtin to the cover. It's definately not an anti-eating animals statement, we all designed that cover. People do get shocked by it I guess. To me, it could have been more extreme, it's not as striking as it could have been. We just wanted a solitary chicked hanging from noose..."
I had been told to keep the conversation to 20 minutes, and my time was up. Billy, however was keen to continue. " I'm just waking up now. It's like ten in the morning here. Your'e in Sydney? We're gonna be there in about a month. Actually, Australia's a great place to play. We have always had a great time playing there. Seriously, it's probably one of the places where were accepted for what we are, not what category we fit into, and I appretiate that a lot. I like Melbourne a lot, because it reminds me of San Francisco. It's got the same atmosphere to me. The people and the weather are very similar. I think it's got a great culture. Ther's some great Italian food there, and Vittoria coffee. Have you had that stuff?!" Billy's obviously a fan. "See you in Sydney," he finishes up, "if we can get you to come to the show." Get me to come to the show? You'd need manacles and a set of thumb screws to keep me away!
Thanks to Rick Carter.