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31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: “KING FOR A DAY”

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Spurred by a lazy crossword clue in The Onion (36 down, four letters: “Faith No More’s only hit”), MetalSucks contributor Anso DF dedicates every single day in August to celebration and exploration of the San Francisco alt-metal greats. Here we prove that history’s greatest band landed more than one commercial hit (crossword answer: “Epic” natch), we revel in FNM’s embarrassing wealth of winning album tracks (themselves often fit for chart topping), and we dip into the staggering best of the b-sides (ditto). Along the way, we survey the context of FNM’s big break (amid similarly seminal acts Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, and Ween) to the post-Nevermind, panic-based music commerce in which the brilliantly versatile, fearless powerhouse band operated until their 1998 demise. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Song ”King For A Day”

Written by Patton (L); Gould, Bottum, Bordin, Patton, Spruance (M)

Released 1995

Appears on King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime album duhhhh

Produced by Andy Wallace

Guitars by Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle)

Key lyric “Don’t let me die with that silly look in my eyes.”

Single? No. But I heard it on college radio once. I was about to phone the DJ with compliments until he came back on air to say that he’d played the longish “King For A Day” only to enable a bathroom break. Compliment retracted.

The climate Old FNM — which is to say young FNM — would’ve gargled and mugged through a potentially grave song like “King For A Day,” but grizzled post-breakthrough FNM plays this song grimly sincere. This time, there’s nothing funny about inevitable death. The jam’s final act is the soundtrack to a guy laying on his side at a penthouse party, reassuring himself with blank fervor of his membership among the elite even as his heart slows and life passes from his body. Other partygoers give no indication of concern.

Awesome song elevated to supra-awesomeness by the onset of mega-heavy guitars at two points (2:47 and 3:06) in the big middle section. It’s the jump from an already-heavy broken chord riff (at 2:40, when our hero is assailed by the vertigo that accompanies his mind’s new rejection of old denial) to big, punching power chords (at 2:47, as he clutches nearby furniture, reels, and declines unoffered assistance), repeat, and then back to quiet (at 3:45, as floor rises up to fell him). So powerful! Dude, when I bedroom-jam this song, I use my nose to turn up my amp like three notches for this passage. And I play harmony parts to Billy Gould’s killer bass lixx (at 3:20 and 3:31). Sorry TMI. 

Didja know? “King For A Day” contains a rare Mike Bordin drum roll (at 3:39). Like, can anybody point me to another occurrence in a FNM song of Bordin starting a showy fill at rack toms and ending on floor toms? And wow freaking triplets too? How did this happen? Was he high that day? Does he wanna get high today and play that fill a bunch while I cheer? I can meet him wherever.

–ADF

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METALSUCKS’ 31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE

20 “King For A Day”

19 “The World Is Yours” (read)

18 “Absolute Zero” (read)

17 “Collision” (read)

Intermission “Das Schutzenfest” (read)

16 “The Last To Know” (read)

15 “The Real Thing” (read)

14 “Malpractice” (read)

13 ”Ugly In The Morning” (read)

12 “The Cowboy Song” (read)

11 “Helpless” (read)

10 “Smaller And Smaller” (read)

9 “Digging The Grave” (read)

“From Out Of Nowhere” (read)

“Last Cup Of Sorrow” (read)

6 “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” (read)

“Caffeine” (read)

“Falling To Pieces” (read)

“Stripsearch” (read)

2 ”Ricochet” (read)

1 ”Land Of Sunshine” (read)

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