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Faith No More, The Alternative Metal Band

Posted: Mar 16 2022

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Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1979. Before settling on the current name in July 1983 the band performed under the names Sharp Young Men and later Faith No Man. Bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Roddy Bottum and drummer Mike Bordin are the longest-remaining members of the band, having been involved since its inception. The band underwent several early lineup changes, and some major changes later. The current lineup of Faith No More consists of Gould, Bordin, Bottum, lead guitarist Jon Hudson, and vocalist/lyricist Mike Patton. After releasing six studio albums, including best-selling records The Real Thing (1989) and Angel Dust (1992), Faith No More officially announced its breakup on April 20, 1998. The band has since reunited, conducting The Second Coming Tour between 2009 and 2010, and releasing the seventh studio album, Sol Invictus, in May 2015.

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The Inception of Faith No More

Formed in 1979 by lead singer Mike Morris and keyboardist Wade Worthington, with Drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Billy Gould joining further down the track. The original name was Sharp Young Man, said to be a piss-take of the more elegant groups at the time. Later the name was changed to Faith No Name which the band released their first music ‘Quiet in Heaven/Song of Liberty’, under. Recorded in Matt Wallace’s parent’s garage, Worthington left just after the recording and shortly after the band changed their name again to Faith No Man for the release of the single, Roddy Bottum replaced Worthington. Following the release, Bottum, Gould and Bordin quit the band shortly after and formed Faith No More. They chose the name in mid-1983 to accentuate the fact that "The Man" (Morris) was "No More". The band played with several vocalists and guitarists, including a brief stint with Courtney Love, until it settled on vocalist Chuck Mosley in 1983 and, later, guitarist Jim Martin. Their first release under the Faith No More name was a self-titled cassette in 1983, which featured a live performance from that year on Side A, and a 20-minute instrumental track on Side B.

We Care A Lot and Introduce Yourself

After the name change, the band initially started recording We Care a Lot without backing from a record label and, after pooling their money, recorded five songs. This gained the attention of Ruth Schwartz, who was then forming the independent label Mordam Records, under which the band, after getting the necessary financial support, finished and released the album. It was the first official release for both the band and the label. In 1986 the band signed to label Slash Records by Anna Statman who recently was sold to Warner Music Group meaning their next album will be widely released. Introduce Yourself was released in April 1987, and a revamped version of their debut album's title track ‘We Care a Lot’ saw minor success on MTV. Things started going south for Mosley and his behaviour when he started becoming erratic and aggressive during a tour of Europe in 1988. Incidents included him allegedly punching Billy Gould on stage, falling asleep on stage and one of Mosley's roadies getting into a fistfight with Martin during the European tour. Mosley was eventually fired after the band returned home from Europe. 


Gould reflected, "There was a certain point when I went to rehearsal, and Chuck wanted to do all acoustic guitar songs. It was just so far off the mark. The upshot was that I got up, walked out and quit the band. I just said: 'I'm done—I can't take this any longer. It's just so ridiculous'. The same day, I talked to Bordin, and he said: 'Well, I still want to play with you'. Bottum did the same thing. It was another one of these 'firing s
omebody without firing them' scenarios."

 

Mike Patton joins and The Real Thing

Mosley was replaced by singer Mike Patton in 1988. Patton, who was singing with his high school band, Mr. Bungle, was recruited at Martin's suggestion after he heard a demo of Mr. Bungle. According to Patton, he first met the band during a 1986 gig at a pizza parlor in his hometown of Eureka, California. Two weeks after joining Faith No More, he had written all the lyrics for the songs that made up the Grammy award-nominated The Real Thing, which was released in June 1989. Their single ‘Epic’ was released in January 1990 and was a top 10 hit with an extensive play of the video on MTV. In 1990, the band went on an extensive US tour. The Real Thing went on to go Platinum status in Canada, the US and South America. The album also had big sales numbers in Australia, the UK., and the rest of Europe, pushing the total sales well above 4 million worldwide. In 1991 the group released what would be their only live album, Live at the Brixton Academy which included two unreleased tracks, ‘The Grade’ and ‘The Cowboy Song’. They also contributed ‘The Perfect Crime’ to the film, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Martin also made a brief cameo in the film as Sir James Martin as the head of the Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center. Patton's original band Mr. Bungle went on to sign with Slash and Reprise Records’ parent label Warner Bros.

 

Angel Dust

The next album, Angel Dust, displayed a move to a more complex experimental effort. From the album ‘A Small Victory, ‘Midlife Crisis’ and ‘Everything’s Ruined’ were all released as singles. The album also included the band’s cover of The Commodores ‘Easy’ which is hailed as one of the band’s biggest hits. The album charted in the Billboard 200 but wasn’t that commercially successful in the US. In other countries, it broke its previous records, worldwide sales are around 3.1 million copies. Following the tour of the album, Martin left due to overall unhappiness with the musical direction of the band. The position was filled by Mike Patton's Mr Bungle bandmate Trey Spruance.

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King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime and Album of the Year

Shortly after wrapping King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, just before the band was to begin its world tour, Trey Spruance was replaced by Dean Menta, the band's keyboard tech. Released in 1995 the fifth studio album varied a lot in genres. Released from the album included singles ‘Digging the Grave, ‘Evidence’ and ‘Ricochet’ and the album went gold in but was significantly lower in sales. Two years later the band released Album of the Year with new guitarist Billy Gould, it did better than expected in some countries like Germany and Australia where it went to number one, the singles released from it didn’t do as well. The album received negative reception from US-based critics. Pitchfork wrote “Album Of The Year leaves one feeling like waking up and finding last night's used condom – sure, the ride was fun while it lasted, but what remains is just plain icky. And you definitely don't want it in your CD player." Following the album's release, Faith No More toured with Limp Bizkit in 1997, who were frequently booed by Faith No More's fans. By the time 1998 arrived the rumours of the band’s imminent demise had begun. Kicking off with the rumour that Mike Patton had quit. They played their last show in April of that year and pulled out of support for Aerosmith. Billy Gould released a statement by email and fax, saying "The decision among the members is mutual and the split will now enable each member to pursue his individual project(s) unhindered." The band "thanks all of those fans and associates that have stuck with and supported the band throughout its history."

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Reforming

In 2008 rumours began again, this time to do with the band reuniting. Bassist Billy Gould dismissed them immediately, "If anything like this were to happen, it would have to come from the band, and I haven't spoken with any of them in over a year. So as far as I know, there isn't anything to talk about, and I'm pretty sure that if you were to contact Patton, he would tell you the same thing." But less than a year later, Faith No More announced they would be reforming and heading out on a tour called The Second Coming Tour. Alongside the tour, they released a compilation album and played major European festivals Download in UK, Hurricane Southside in Germany and Greenfield in Switzerland. The tour finished up in Australia at Soundwave Festival during which they did covers of ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga and ‘Switch’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees. In 2011, they played another four shows in South America, kicking the shows off with a mystery song. However, they took another hiatus up until 2014. Playing their first show in two years at Hyde Park in London, supporting Black Sabbath, they debuted two new songs ‘Motherfucker’ and ‘Superhero’ and in 2015, headlined Soundwave in Australia.

Sol Invictus

In May 2015 the band released their seventh album, Sol Invictus. The songs on the album were influenced by The Cramps, Link Wray and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Speaking to Revolver, Gould described the song ‘Matador’, he said: "parts of it remind me of the first Siouxsie and the Banshees album. We used real pianos and that brings this organic quality to it to the music". The second single from the album, ‘Superhero’, was shared by the band on March 1, 2015. In August 2016, the band performed two concerts with former lead singer Chuck Mosley to celebrate the reissue of their debut album We Care a Lot. The band was billed as Chuck Mosley & Friends for the two shows and featured the lineup of Mosley, Mike Bordin, Billy Gould, Jon Hudson and Roddy Bottum. Former Faith No More singer Chuck Mosley died on November 9, 2017, due to "the disease of addiction." Present In February 2018, it was announced that a documentary film on the late former Faith No More frontman Chuck Mosley had begun production; titled Thanks. And Sorry: The Chuck Mosley Movie. In 2019 the band updated its official website and social media accounts with an image of the band's eight-pointed star logo in front of a snow-covered mountain top, accompanied by a clock counting down to November 26, 2019, the band announced its first shows in five years set to take place in Europe in June 2020, including Sunstroke Festival in Ireland, Hellfest in France and Tons of Rock in Norway. They subsequently rescheduled most of its tour dates in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The band are also due to be playing two shows at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles with System of a Down, Korn, Helmet and Russian Circles, which were initially set to take place May 22–23, 2020, but were postponed twice due to the pandemic. Faith No More was scheduled to play shows in September 2021 but was cancelled due to Mike Patton citing mental health reasons.

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