Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ever consider just how weird Faith No More was / is?

Such dapper fellows.
Sorry about the headline that can't make up it's mind on tense when it comes to Faith No More, but I honestly don't know if they consider themselves broken up again or if they're just on another long sabbatical.* Either way, have you ever really thought about just how unlikely their success was?

Think of it; Faith No More started off as a Bay Area artsy-ish metal / funk multi-racial combo who might've gone down as a one-hit wonder for "We Care A Lot." But they ditched their original singer and brought in a new longhaired pretty boy with an elastic voice who brought them larger fame via a video (and song) where most people accidentally assumed he was a little brother to any one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The rest of that album, The Real Thing, was built on reasonably catchy pop / funk / metal, setting the band up as a group to follow if you were looking for some edgy rock you could both hum along and dance too, depending on your mood.

I remember buying the follow up album, Angel Dust, putting it on the stereo and going, huh. The group had taken a decidedly darker turn and while there were still melodies in there the proceedings were far more abrasive and seemed unwilling to adhere to any single genre. This didn't toally shock me, since I had long ago picked up the first Mr. Bungle album just to get some more of Mike Patton's vocals only to discover a band that REALLY liked thrash metal and free jazz ... and cheerleader anthems and disco and whatever else the fuck they could shove into a song. But imagine the rest of the public, expecting something as catchy as "Epic" and instead seeing the band's new idea of a single was "Midlife Crisis." I bet it confused a few. But you know what? MTV embraced it anyway and the band remained popular! Despite confounding expectations and taking chances people still liked them.

This show was on my birthday!
In Russia though. Boo.
After that came the underrated King For A Day Fool For A Life Time, and I think this is where the band lost their following as they veered ALL OVER THE PLACE including what can only be described as a song sung by Tom Jones as his feet are tickled by the licking flames of hell. I bought this on vinyl before I bought it on CD. I think it was because the LP came out first? Or maybe the Tower by my house forgot to order CDs? Either way it sounded great to me. And while it lost the band followers I'm not sure why since there is literally something for everyone on this album. Literally. It is THAT all over the place. Which, I guess, to most people is probably pretty fucking weird. O.K., King For A Day Fool For A Life Time is super weird.

Its follow up, Album Of The Year, is probably the most straightforward and therefore most boring release in te band's history. It's pretty much just a straightforward rock album. Yawn. But its existence bookends the Mike Patton years to display a band that proved it could write mainstream hit and then went on instead to write hits that would only appeal to people in a parallel and slightly bizzaro dimension.

Pretty weird. But I liked it.

* I suspect they are DUNZO dunzo, which bums me out since despite my being a fan of the band since almost the very beginning I never, ever got a chance to see them play live. I did once book a show with their original singer at a club in Chicago though! So I got to see one of them live.

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