31 DAYS OF FAITH NO MORE: ENCORE
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August is out of days on which to discuss Faith No More, but hey look we just can’t stop. Check us all into a clinic for FNM madness has overtaken us all. This August, as our Anso DF devoted 31 days of precious summer to documenting one FNM super-fan’s experience, the rest of MetalSucks’ staff and cherished friends stood aside, eyes closed, shaking their heads, and muttering: How could he disclude all Chuck jamz? Where is “Midlife Crisis,” a supremely newsworthy song? What, is he kidding with this Ansometrics?
Well, if we’ve learned absolutely, positively nothing else from 31 Days Of Faith No More featuring Anso DF, at least it’s now out in the open that we know a lot FNM super-fans. So we invited our pals — be they writer, editor, writer/editor, editor-writer, awesome band dude, “label fuck-o”, or person not named Anso DF — to write about a FNM jam’s importance and excellence and personal relevance. It’s everybody else’s turn now, commenters too! (Can some mellow dude write about “We Care A Lot” cuz none of us did! Jesus!) And now we call Faith No More back to the stage for freaking day 32 of 31 Days Of Faith No More featuring Anso DF.
Introduce yourself Leyla Ford of MetalSucks
Song “Ashes To Ashes” from Album Of The Year (1997)
Evidence “Ashes to Ashes” was the song that sealed my love for Faith No More — except I didn’t know it was theirs. I remember hearing it constantly on the radio as a kid and absolutely loving the deep-to-soaring vocals. A couple years later when I happened to catch its video, I yelled “Holy shit, that was them!” and made the connection between that familiar guitar intro and what had only recently become my favorite band. The dark, rather brooding atmosphere of the song coupled with the dark, rather brooding figure of Mike Patton proved too powerful for my impressionable self. But my love bloomed at the end of their reign as Album of the Year was to be their final studio album. Though poorly received compared to previous releases, it remains my gateway Faith No More record.
Introduce yourself Joseph Fisher of PopMatters
Song “Why Do You Bother” from We Care A Lot (1985)
Evidence Chuck Mosely does the Devil’s bidding on this seething cut from Faith No More’s proper debut record, 1985’s We Care a Lot. A paean to irredeemable nihilism, “Why Do You Bother” goads its subject to succumb to the inevitability of destruction, decay, and, ultimately, death. “It’s not your right to tell me/Where this trip will go,” Mosely warns over Roddy Bottum’s foreboding keyboards and Mike Bordin’s thunderous drumming. In true self-deprecating fashion, “Why Do You Bother” entirely undercuts the power of FNM’s first significant single. You care a lot? Why? Why do you bother? After all, you’re dying today. Give up on that urban dream. Turn on, tune in, drop out — because you don’t have much of a choice in this twisted cityscape. Faith No More would get dark plenty of times after this, but they would perhaps never again sound this unapologetically evil. A ferocious introduction from a ferocious band, no doubt.
Introduce yourself Matt Fletcher of awesome band Shai Hulud
Song “Kindergarten” from Angel Dust (1992)
Evidence The first line of “Kindergarten” — “Return to my own vomit like a dog” — does not disappoint, especially if you’re a Gwar-worshipping 15 year-old like I was when Angel Dust was released. But when revisiting this song, I find that its music and the rest of its lyrics conjure feelings one gets when returning to places where you once spent a lot of time. “Drinking fountains are shorter than they used to be / The swings on the playground don’t even fit me anymore” — these lyrics are quite reflective. Maybe we’re trained to not be nostalgic and not choke up about the past, or maybe we’re preoccupied with our current vomit that we have little time for reflection. And maybe those things in our past, such as “carving our initials in a tree” were much purer; their permanence, at least in our minds then, hinted at a hidden potential or future glory that is often unmet. Though not a ballad, “Kindergarten” is chill, melodic, and perfect for the feelings that the lyrics induce. There is a grooving bass line, and a beautiful dancing string part in the middle; the guitars are smooth; it’s not a heavy song for these guys, more dream-like. None of it is sad; the word for “Kindergarten” is contemplative. I never could tell what Mike was shouting auctioneer-style in the middle of the song, but it makes me think of years passing by and how much more quickly they’re spent as you age. If you’re intrigued, and want to know what this song really sounds like without actually hearing it, then try this: Go back to one of your old haunts, compare yourself now to yourself then, and realize what has stayed and what has changed. Remember the perceptions you had of that place, as well as life, in that past. Then look at where you are now and think how you never thought you would be there years later thinking about any of this shit.
Introduce yourself Elise of Reign In Blonde
Song “As The Worm Turns” outtake from Angel Dust sessions (1992)
Evidence Anyone who likes Faith No More or breathes oxygen knows that the band’s sound pretty much erupted when Mike Patton replaced Chuck Mosley as frontman. Besides the bolder subsequent songwriting, Patton held his own while singing the Mosley-written tracks including “We Care A Lot” and “Introduce Yourself.” But perhaps the best way to prove Mikey as the undisputed champ is his 1992 re-recorded version of We Care A Lot’s “As the Worm Turns.” Even though Patton proved that he could show a softer side on songs like “A Small Victory,” his attitude and phrasing always made him seem entirely self-aware, as if to say “Yeah, I am being a whiny bitch right now, but fuck you.” Thus, taking Mosley’s “Worm,” a mopey ditty about unemployment and self loathing, and turning it into something much more commanding and mosh-worthy. It’s also somehow vaguely reminiscent of those goofy songs fans sing during English football games. Either way, I’m into it.
Introduce yourself Kelli Mallela of Metal Blade Records / ADF BFF
Song “Jizzlobber” from Angel Dust (1992)
Evidence Swamp noises, melodies that are often times bizarre and even somewhat discordant, the sounds of church organs and a choir, and distorted guitars: These are just some what the listener hears when in “Jizzlobber,” a song I have heard referred to as “art-damaged death metal.” Not a bad description. It has been said “Jizzlobber” is about singer Mike Patton’s fear of jail or about aggressive, unhealthy sexual behavior. Reading the lyrics, I could say it’s either one or maybe even a bit of both. Undoubtedly one of the most metal songs on the album, the harsh screaming of “Jizzlobber” led me and my friends to delve deeper into heavy music back in 1992. Though we had just started to get into Metallica and Megadeth around the same time, FNM was one of our first experiences with screaming on this level … and we loved it. It was bands like Faith No More and Nine Inch Nails who motivated me to see what other heavy groups were out there and consequently led to me discovering bands like Carcass, Pantera, Napalm Death, and Cannibal Corpse. It’s no surprise that Angel Dust was our gateway drug to the extreme metal scene and we haven’t looked back since.
Song “The Crab Song” from Introduce Yourself (1987)
Evidence I have always fervently supported Chuck Mosley over Mike Patton in regard to fronting FNM. Snotty, abrasive, and less calculated, Mosley covered all the bases in this darkly beautiful ode to love lost. He conveyed anger, hurt, frustration, playfulness, visceral hatred, sadness, and drunken despair in under six minutes. Musically, the Jekyll and Hyde paradox is in full effect here with a precious acoustic intro accompanying Chuck’s spoken love/hate desperation. The metallic döppelganger doesn’t rear its ugly head until the 2:45 mark, which is followed by energetic rapping about an angry lover who seeks blood. For those who hate on Chuck, just listen to this killer version and then check out Patton’s piss-take of the song during the Rock in Rio II. No comparison. Chuck slays.
Song “Edge Of The World” from The Real Thing (1989)
Evidence My engagement with the music of Faith No More started with a rejection, not by me but rather by my parents. In 1989, I pleaded for a copy of The Real Thing CD for Christmas, and on that special day I found it sitting under the tree. However, I was still of the age that my mother insisted on investigating the lyric sheet for offensive content. Lo and behold, she found “Edge Of The World,” a presumably fictional paedo paean to a Lolita type. Its narrator’s most damning lines were as follows: “You can trust me / I’m no criminal / But I’d kill my mother / To be with you.” Needless to say, that album never made it to the stereo, despite my poorly-received counter-arguments. A few years later, a friend and I swapped cassette tapes and I got to listen to that as well as Guns N’ Roses’ Charles Manson cover. Parents just don’t understand.
Introduce yourself Sammy O’Hagar of MetalSucks
Song “Be Aggressive” from Angel Dust (1992)
Evidence I dated two cheerleaders in high school. Now, this isn’t a comment on my hipness factor during that time — trust me, JNCOs and Nine Inch Nails shirts didn’t get you laid then either — but more that I went to the one school in existence where being a cheerleader didn’t launch you into the social stratosphere. So maybe this sheds light on my soft spot for “Be Aggressive.” Sure, it could be the band’s trademark prowess of mashing together two disparate styles and making something at least interesting out of it, if not something great. Or Mike Bordin’s tribal/glam forward momentum, those harrowing descending chords during the chorus, Roddy Bottum’s relentless silent movie organ, or rappin’ Mike Patton. But it probably hearkens back to picking my significant other up at cheerleading practice, watching the slow girl furrow her brow at the jokes the other cheerleaders made while The Large One did cartwheels in uniform while not wearing gym shorts to the silent horror of the non-team members in the room. Come to think of it, this song is probably perfect for that.
Song “She Loves Me Not” from Album Of The Year (1997)
Evidence Without a doubt, Faith No More is the band that got me into heavy music. I’ve always been a sucker for dynamics and melody, and that’s how this band hooked me. It wasn’t just 100mph and loud as fuck the entire time. There really wasn’t too much ground these guys didn’t cover. Also, it goes without saying that Mike Patton’s skills are far beyond those of just about any melodic vocalist in metal. Out of all of their material, I’ve always preferred their slower, more soulful songs. That’s why I love “She Loves Me Not.” With bands like FNM, the greatness is as much in the big picture as it is in all in the little details — details like distortion on Patton’s voice in a ballad, details like reverbed out feedback solos that Radiohead or Muse would have been proud of, details like multiple vocal approaches all done to a T by the same guy, details like a white drummer that can actually swing. All that said, I was always more of a Mr. Bungle fan. Disco Volante is my favorite Bungle record, but California is incredible and I think that “She Loves Me Not” could have easily gone on that record. It’s funny to me that Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance’s stint in the band was over by the time this song was recorded. It goes to show that in this incestuous circle of West Coast musical luminaries everyone could hold their own as much as the next guy. Even though the audience may focus on one star in particular, all these guys were amazing.
Introduce yourself Kip Wingerschmidt of MetalSucks
Song “Easy” from Angel Dust sessions / Songs To Make Love To (1992)
Evidence There is a small handful of great rock bands who have covered soul/easy listening classics in awesome ways and made them their own. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s short-lived Honeydrippers murdered “Sea of Love”, and Faith No More clearly did great justice to The Commodores “Easy”. Thankfully the band kept it simple and Patton nailed each melody with ease and grace, making the FNM version feel comfortable and relaxing. I almost prefer their cover to the original. Although Lionel Richie’s afro is mighty tough competition.
Introduce yourself Axl Rosenberg of MetalSucks
Song “Midlife Crisis” from Angel Dust (1992)
Evidence What I think a lot of people forget about Angel Dust nearly twenty years after its release is that it was pretty shocking when it came out. Everyone was expecting The Real Thing, Part II. So “Midlife Crisis” ended up being more than just the first single off of Dust — it was like a declaration of war. I’ll never forget seeing the video on MTV for the first time — the band’s entire aesthetic had changed. And while you could hear a million frat boy date rapists groan this was no
“Epic” and pretty much every executive at FNM’s label weep at the lost record sales, for those of us who were more opened minded, there was no denying it: This song was both catchy and brilliant. And to this day, it’s still my favorite FNM song. When the band performed it live on their reunion tour, they would get to the part right before the final chorus explodes at the end, and then suddenly stop playing. The entire crowd would thus sing the chorus instead, in a glorious moment of rock n’ roll unity. Then the band would play a few bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” and THEN, finally, finish the tune. It made the whole thing that much more cathartic and unforgettable. I still have no idea why “perfect is a skinned knee,” but whatevs.
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31 32 Days Of Faith No More f/ADF. Ansometrics is copyright 2011 Hipsters Out Of Metal! administered by Ansology Group WLA.