I Care a Lot: In Defense of Faith No More


Now that our esteemed music editor has gotten his lambasting-by-comments cherry popped, I figured it's only fair that I come clean about my perspective on the merits of Faith No More and their impending string of reunion shows.

I think it's fucking great news; FNM is a band worth revisiting, and here's why:

1) "Epic" may have been their mainstream, MTV hit, but they had several other songs that were deservedly popular on both college and modern rock radio, especially "From Out of Nowhere", "Falling to Pieces" and even earlier on, "We Care a Lot" (it was originally recorded with their first singer, Chuck Mosely, but Mike Patton did a great job with it live as well). Furthermore, "Epic" wasn't even the best song on the record, in my opinion. The title track is a gorgeous, sprawling mindfuck and "The End of the World" was a bizarre, waltz-y coda to one of the few records from that era that I still enjoy listening to in its entirety.

2) Any band that can pull off covers of both Commodores and Black Sabbath songs gets points for creative dexterity in my book.

3) Angel Dust is indeed a very strong (if challenging) release, and one that I've just recently rediscovered. Patton put his schizoid stamp all over this record musically, not just lyrically, as was the case with The Real Thing). He was also simultaneously recording with acidic funk fusion project Mr. Bungle, which undoubtedly colored the final product.

4) The influence the band had on their young audience is testimony to FNM's historical worth. I can't tell you how many metalhead kids I saw (myself included) begin to explore jazz, funk and punk after becoming obsessed with FNM. This is only a good thing, provided you embrace the idea of expanding your listening horizons. Gateway bands were extremely important to fueling the punk and underground breakthroughs that would come later in the '90s; most people tend to point to Jane's Addiction and Soundgarden as the big names that helped lead that crossover, but FNM were a pivotal and positive influence as well.

5) Almost even more important was the fact that Faith No More was the springboard for Patton's mad scientist sensibilities, and the multiple projects he went on to lead (Fantomas, Peeping Tom, Tomahawk, collaborations with John Zorn and many more) are smart, adventurous endeavors that are always intriguing, even when they aren't his strongest moments. His label Ipecac is also an important home for a diverse stable of ambitious artists like Northern State and Isis, as well as admirable veterans like Ennio Morricone and the Melvins. The guy is a workaholic wizard, and I love him for that. Keyboardist Roddy Bottom also went on to good things, fronting sunnily subversive pop-punk outfit Imperial Teen.

5) Finally, the big reason I can think of to embrace the idea of a FNM reunion is that the performances will almost undoubtedly be solid. Patton remains a riveting performer who takes excellent care of his pipes, and the vocalist is usually the weakest link on these types of revivals. Hell, I'd even wager that the songs will be more interesting, considering how much he has grown as an artist.

So I say, bring on the Faith No More reunion. Don't let a handful of frat boys dissuade you, dear Jonathan.

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