Network Magazine 1995

Network Magazine 1995

Faith No More
King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime
Slash/Reprise

"We felt what we really needed after this rich, complex meal was a fucking really strong cup of coffee"

Metaphors come as easily as breathing to Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin. The one he's spinning now describes FNM's transition from 1992's dark, fractured Angel Dust album to its new one, the chopped and hot-rodded '95 model called King For A Day/ Fool For A Lifetime. Yep, the band that once blew the single's chants wide open with the rap/thrash/chamber music fushion of "Epic" is back, and this time .. it sounds cohesive.

Over the phone from Milan, mid- tour in Europe, Bordin agrees. "This is the first time ever in the history of the band-ever-we wrote songs with guitar in mind instead of writing songs In spite o/the guitar Everything was included this time, and that's never happened before," he explains.

The difference is in the absence of long-time guitarist and heavy metal Neanderthal, Jim Martin Firing Martin (eventually replacing him with newcomer Dean Menta) was, in Bordin words, "like we got the bully off the playground. Bordin even hints that bassist hi Billy Gould has dubbed guitar tracks on previous records, then nails the coffin shut when he adds, "For us to stick with a guy who had really become more of a personalty, an Image, t a anything that's wrong. That's not what we're about:"

Exactly what Faith No More is about has always been something of a mystery.The band started out In San Francisco in the early '80s, developing its trademark marching-through-quicksand thud as an artsy punk band fronted by a very young Courtney Love. Grating vocalist Chuck Mosely joined for two albums, including We Care A Lot, which garnered the band some significant radio airplay in the mid-80s, but got sacked before recording a third. Enter one Mike Patton, a long-haired Robert Downy Jr look- a-like fresh out of school, and the result was 1989's multiplatinum The Real Thing A then-radical mix of white funk and Black Sabbath it struck out in new directions while simultaneously grinding the band into an unwanted cliche. At that point, most groups would get suicidal. FNM lust got creative. Metaphor Mr. Bordin?

"Y'know like when you watch a basketball game, and theres that guy that pulls down the rebound and immediately puts his elbows out and starts moving his torso- it's like, get away from me, I've got the ball, gimme some space to work.' I think Angel Dust was a lot like that. With Real Thing people were saying, 'we've finally : figured out where we're gonna put you, we're gonna put you in this one little narrow box ' and it's like 'No. No way' Angel Dust was a process of clearing out some space. This time, that wasn't necessary We just operated within the fence of the field that we had instead of trying to expand the perimeters."

And what FNM has honed to perfection on King is the band's genius for playing it terrifyingly straight. Countless shock-rock bands can churn up evil gut-crunchers like "Cuckoo For CaCa" or "Ugly In The Morning." But only a real bunch of sickos would then switch gears for string-drenched soul numbers ("Evidence") and twangin' highway lonelyaches ("Take This Bottle") that could be slipped into rotation on any faceless adult contemporary radio station.

Take the album closer, 'Just A Man." A grotesque mix of bad reggae, Velveeta gospel choruses and Michael Bolton-style histrionics it's easily the most frightening thing on the record.

Bordin sounds downright gleeful. "It's totally frightening. That song is like the spawn of some bizarre and perverse experiment. Some people, they don't get that. Some people do get that, and the people who do get it, really appreciate it"

Thanks to Mattew Klem.

Source: Mattew Klem
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele