Interview with Mike Patton
by Jon Phair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith No More is currently on the road supporting their latest album King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime. The band will be appearing in the area for two big festival shows on May 27 and 29. I had a chance to speak with frontman Mike Patton while the band was on tour in Texas.
J: Hi, what's up?
M: Not much.
J: I've been psyched to do this 'cause I've been a fan for a long time now. I even skipped school and work for this.
M: (laughs) Cool.
J: The new album is becoming my favorite. Who are you on tour with?
M: Thanks, we're out with Steel Pole Bathtub.
J: This is your first new album without Jim Martin. What led to his leaving?
M: Well, we weren't having a good time together and it was pretty obvious. We saw it coming for too long, while we were making the Angel Dust album. The whole time for two years while we were touring we kept hoping it would get better. After that much time you can't help but feel like an idiot for feeling that way. Basically, what it came down to was he couldn't hold up his weight musically.
J: It seems like maybe you guys shied away from the press for Angel Dust, whereas on this record you seem a little more comfortable with it.
M: I think it's that we've gotten more used to the fact that it's part of our lives whether we like it or not.
J: Is it more of a necessary evil?
M: Yeah, I mean it's not very fun to do, you know? Especially when you realize you're not communicating.
J: What do you mean by that?
M: After doing it a lot, it's kind of hard to really respect what it is the press does. But on the other hand, what the press does is also sell our music, so ...
J: How did you handle the songwriting for the new album?
M: It's kind of different really, it depends on each song. Some people would have an idea for one song from a guitar part and others would generate from a rhythm section idea. No matter where the song starts, it always has to end with all of us, in a room together working it out.
J: The new album has more of a basic, straight-ahead live feel to it, is that what you guys were going for?
M: Yeah, this is probably as direct of a record that we could ever make. I don't think there's a lot of room for interpretation, it's pretty much just what it is.
J: With each successive album, does it get harder to weed out a setlist?
M: Not really, it actually becomes like "Oh great we've got some new songs, we don't have to play that fuckin' shit anymore" (laughs), "that piece of shit."
J: Like what songs are you referring to?
M: Oh, everybody's kind of got their own pet peeves. "Falling to Pieces" is one of my pet peeves.
J: You guys are kind of known for doing the little snippets like "Nestles" and "Vogue"; I saw Bungle did stuff like that. Did you kind of bring that to FNM?
M: No, I just think that's kind of a natural reaction once you become a little bit bored. Your mind starts wandering to the gutter, you know. It's kind of like the lowest common denominator thing. (Many seconds later in an extremely unexpected psychotic/stream of consciousness burst Mike says) ..........Shitty music!!!!! (laughs)
J: So you guys aren't doing that on this tour then?
M: Yes, absolutely.
J: So does that mean you're already getting bored with these songs?
M: No, not really, I just think there's certain awkward moments, you know, like weird pauses where it's really good to ease the tension with something like that.
J: I'm going to see you with Duran Duran and Sheryl Crow so you could come up with some interesting ways to humiliate them. Jam with Simon LeBon.
M: (laughs) Yeah. Wait, who, Sheryl Crow is playing that?
M: Oh my god, that's terrible. She is detestable.
J: I remember a lot of cool stories of you getting in trouble on tour, caught with fake tits and porno in airports, is that true?
M: Yeah, you're not supposed to smuggle that stuff.
J: Did you ever get in trouble for the Bottle of Piss incident? (opening for GNR, pouring piss all over himself)
M: No, porn is one thing; no one cares about piss. (laughs)
J: I read something funny once where you were ripping on Anthony Kiedis. What was that?
M: Yeah. (laughs) I never really ripped on him, he sure hated me though. (talks while laughing) I basically don't give a fuck about him. He really had a thing for me, thought I was ripping him off and so on and so forth. When people get tied in with their egos it's very, very easy to play with them. But you know, I met him and he kissed my ass (laughs), so you tell me?
J: Besides getting a lot more popular, how do you think the band has changed since you joined?
M: We've gotten better musically, in our own little ways. We've kept ourselves pretty amused, pretty entertained, which is pretty much where it begins and ends for me. I think we're a little more adjusted. When The Real Thing broke out it was kinda more shock. It's kinda like being around somebody you don't like, like a co-worker or family, somebody you've known for a long time but you realize you don't like them. You get to know them, everything's okay, you move in with them, everything's fine but then all of a sudden you realize what's going on. You realize you don't like them, so you HATE them, you know. You waste all your energy hating them, you hate them and hate them and hate them. So you kick them OUT of your house to pacify this hate. But then you realize, "Hey, wait a second, this guy's not going away, he's still here and I'm gonna see him every day 'cause he's related to me or I work with him" (laughs) So your hatred just kinda becomes numb after a while ... I don't know if that's a good explanation, or what?
J: Uh ... (laughs)
M: I don't know why I said that. I don't know what I was talking about, sorry about that.
J: What's an average day like on tour with FNM?
M: Well, you wake up and have a couple of unsupervised hours to go do something. Usually you spend it trying to find a decent meal. After that, you check out of your hotel and go to the venue, do a soundcheck. Then you've got like three more unsupervised hours and I drink a lot of coffee. If you have friends around, you try and go find them around that time. When you don't have friends someplace it kind of sucks because the time just doesn't go by fast enough. Basically, you sit and wait to play. Then you play, it's over and you wait around for an hour while everything's being loaded up. You drive to the next city and you can't get to sleep until four in the morning, just because it's hard to try to wind down. You get to the next city at six in the morning, stumble into a hotel room, and start all over.
J: What's up with Mr. Bungle?
M: We recorded another record and it should be out this summer. We're not sure about the artwork or the title.
J: I've heard a lot about the Bungle "Turd" tape; how can I hear that?
M: What? How did you hear about that?
J: Friend of a friend; like I said we're big fans.
M: (laughs while talking) There's probably no way you could ever hear that tape (laughs).
J: I've heard that it's on a Radio Shack Realistic 120 cassette.
M: Wow, you know it all. Yeah that's the problem; we don't know where it is. The last time I saw it, it was in the corner of a room and the tape was all wound into a little ball, all rolled up and broken.
J: What kind of stuff was on there?
M: Oh God, just me and one of my friends making noise.
J: I've seen Bungle/FNM bootlegs circulating. It seems like a lot more bands like Metallica, Black Crowes, and Queensryche are allowing live taping at their shows; how do you feel about that?
M: Fine, most of them would sound better than a board tape. Board tapes are really sterile; all you get is what's coming through each individual channel, you get no ambience at all, it's not honest. It doesn't show you what it sounded like that night whereas a bootleg would. You know, you're gonna hear people, you're gonna hear what it actually sounds like out there (laughs). Bootleggers are the biggest fuckin' geeks though; they're even worse than like computer geeks. Oh man, it's funny, I happen to know some people who are really into it; God, that's fucked up.
J: I just usually try to trade, but every once in a while you can sneak something in.
M: Yeah, I know, that's fun. I've done that before too.
Thanks to Star Leigh Wall.