Faith No More’s “The Real Thing” Turns 30

 

Faith No More’s smash hit album The Real Thing (Slash/Reprise) turns thirsty years old today and it still holds up not only as the album that catapulted the weirdo art-punks cum alternative metal band into the mainstream, the majority of it still holds up as a classic. All of the bands’ earlier formative material on the We Care A lot EP and the Introduce Yourself album definitely had threads passed down to its cute, feisty little brother of an album, but in many ways, much of the creative energy and reckless abandon of future releases surely was foretold here. Continue reading

Faith No More Members Are Working On New Music

In a major piece of news for Faith No More fans, Roddy Bottum in a new interview says that he has been getting together with his co-founding bandmates Mike “Puffy” Bordin and Billy Gould to make new FNM music. Although this is no future release date planned at this point, this is definitely an encouraging sign. New music from the seminal band would be the first original release since the bands acclaimed, but ardously produced Sol Invictus (Ipecac) release. Faith No More performed their last show, which was at the conclusion of 2015. Read some quotes from Bottum below. All of the members have been busy with other projects, most notably frontman Mike Patton and his hardcore supergroup Dead Cross, and scoring soundtracks such as Stephen King’s 1922 for Netflix. Continue reading

Faith No More, Philm: Live at The Observatory

Photo Credit: Mike Patton

Photo Credit: Mike Patton

LA avant-garde rockers Philm got the call to open for tonight’s show and while most of the crowd were unfamiliar with their music, they definitely were not unfamiliar with the band’s centerpiece member – drummer Dave Lombardo and his powerhouse drumming style. He along with his bandmates – vocalist/guitarist Gerry Nestler and bassist Pancho Tomaselli throw down some mean riffs surrounded by Lombardo’s jazz/fusion meets punk driven drum sounds that grabbed the crowd immediately. While their music is still new to most people, they definitely won over some fans tonight.

A video posted by @reinishimoto on

Following a string of LA shows (with alleged appearances by Duff McKagan one night) in Orange County sounded like a tough task, but Faith No More sound ways to impress. The highly anticipated evening started their set around mostly Sol Invictus, their brand new album and disappoint they did not. Each member had their moment to shine in the spotlight, taking turns showcasing themselves to the eager Santa Ana crowd.

Fans knew the word to such tunes as ‘Motherfucker’ and ‘Superhero’ and immediately sang along as if those were longtime favorites. They fused in older favorites such as ‘Surprise! You’re Dead’ and ‘Midlife Crisis,’ with a little crowd pseudo heckling by frontman Mike Patton midway through. Patton varied up his usual stage antics and vocal stylings throughout the evening, while the crowd eating up every moment of their set time and keeping everyone on their feet.

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Keyboardist Roddy Bottum and bassist Billy Gould both interacted well throughout the set with Patton, enhancing their already chaotic sound even more. Bottum handles some of the vocal duties as well as playing some acoustic guitars in spots. Gould laid down the low-end alongside drummer Mike Bordin, while guitarist Jon Hudson is quietly riffing away in the corner maintaining a low profile throughout the evening.

The classic tunes were split into two encores, one featuring ‘Epic’ and ‘Ashes To Ashes,’ and the next one covering ‘King For A Day,’ ‘We Care A Lot’ and ‘I Started A Joke,’ and the crowd definitely got their fill of classic Faith No More while hearing much of their newer material.

If this is an indication of what is to come, Faith No More may be taking the next step up that they did not hit before they went on hiatus years ago. They apparently did not miss a step over the years and time will tell if they will continue their streak of bringing high energy shows that audiences have grown to love.

Rei Nishimoto

Set List:
Sol Invictus
Superhero
Sunny Side Up
Separation Anxiety
Cone of Shame
Black Friday
Motherfucker
Matador
From the Dead
Caffeine
Evidence
Surprise! You’re Dead!
Midlife Crisis
(with Boz Scaggs – ‘Lowdown’ interlude)
Epic
Ashes to Ashes
Encore:
King for a Day
We Care a Lot
I Started a Joke

Faith No More – Sol Invictus

faith no more sol invictus album cover low res

People love a great comeback story. Anything that shows a triumph against some kind of adversity, especially if you created it yourself, they will lap that up all day long. Some musical acts leave at the top of their game, while others split just in time before fizzing out creatively. When it came to Faith No More’s acrimonious split in the late 90s, it felt like it might have been coming for a while. The band certainly did not burn out their creative spark, nor did they wear out their welcome with fans. They were so prolific, so versatile, and so smart, you knew there would never be another act quite like them. When they came back in 2009 as a live act, they opened their shows with ‘Reunited’, the soft R&B song from 70’s duo Peaches and Herb, as a nod to the fans. After testing the waters with each other, the band decided they could stick together and make new music. Well the long wait is over and Sol Invictus (Reclamation Recordings/Ipecac) is here to put to rest any doubts you may have had about their comeback.

Opening with the title track, the band picks up basically where they left off with 1997’s Album of The Year (Slash). The track sounds right at home with their past, yet has some interesting elements on its own. Gradually easing in like a foot in a fuzzy slipper, it’s an “ah yes…” moment you get to have with yourself as the track envelopes you. Recurring lyrical themes on the album about regeneration, reinvention and that other “re” word we spoke of already begin popping up here too. ‘Superhero’ reminds one that despite being remembered for big commercial hits, at their most accessible they were never a true singles band that was pappy and easily digestible. ‘Sunny Side Up’ is an angsty ballad with great lyrical grist. Most of the tracks have a sonic kinship of the beloved King For A Day…Fool For A Lifetime (Slash) album too: hidden meanings, lyrical twists, massive piano and bass driven songs as a foil for Mike Patton’s emotive soulfulness and rubbery larynx.

Faith No More, by Dustin Rabin

Faith No More, by Dustin Rabin

‘Separation Anxiety’ is the heaviest track on Sol Invictus and certainly if you are the type of person that pines for the first three FNM albums, this is the song that will resonate with you the most. ‘Cone of Shame’ is wildly dynamic and strange, but also driving and melodious. Patton shows off the most of his insane vocal ability here too. The perfect blend of all of the rollicking elements of the band you want in one track.

Although Billy Gould, who produced the album (except for Patton’s vocals) is always seen as a driving force of the band and definitive mouthpiece, Roddy Bottum’s keyboards dominate this album. All of his weird 80s synth-pop craziness, mixed with his deft jazzbo piano stylings are ever-present in songs such as the torchy ‘Rise of the Fall’, the sinister yet beautiful ‘Matador’, and elsewhere.

‘Black Friday’ is a vampy Cramps-style number, complete with slapback guitars and whipping beats. This is also the track where guitar stands out the most, lending to the idea that without being the heavy guitar driven band of their youth, there is room for all of the parts of the monster to flourish properly. ‘Motherfucker’ is a conundrum of a song. You intrinsically laugh at the notion of a clever pop song as a massive ‘fuck you’ to those in power. Mike Patton as a new-age politicized Beat Poet? Why not! However, the song is undeniably subversive and smart, as is all the best material this band has put out. The build up to the chorus is glorious, Patton’s notes held like the vibrato of a well-bowed cello, hitting you where you live.

‘Back From the Dead’ may sound like a 60s slice of pop, right down to its jangly guitar and churchy “ahs” and “oohs” backing vocals. However the sentiment of “Welcome home my friend…’ in the lyrics could totally be a very meta, and self-referencing. After all; resurrection may be for those who got it wrong the first time, but the same cannot be said of Faith No More whose return is a welcome and worthy one. Let’s hope it lasts as long as it can.

9.0/10

KEITH CHACHKES