A Tribute to Faith No More, the Greatest Band of All Time
Around 1999, as I was finishing high school, some guys I started hanging around with (who would become lifelong friends) introduced me to Faith No More. I had heard the band before; most people are familiar with the song Epic, and at the time a couple singles from their 1997 album were getting radio play. But these guys were major league fans of the band, so I was exposed to the full catalog. This was a breakthrough discovery for me, because I fell into a new world of incredible, genre-bending music that, when viewed as an entire body of work, has no equal in my mind.
As many Faith No More fans will admit, a significant portion of this brilliance comes from Mike Patton. I’m by no means a music expert, but from what I’ve read, his range as a vocalist is unmatched by any rock musician. Many bands develop a “sound” that is recognizable and becomes their signature, but Faith No More’s musical style has changed in literally every album they’ve released! Each one is a separate beast, to the point where a song from King for a Day would sound completely out of place on Angel Dust, even though they are only separated by a couple years. Patton’s powerful and uniquely adaptable voice is a major part of the band’s impact; the guy’s singing can fit seamlessly into any genre or type of music.
Since I’ve been drawing so much lately, I figured I should try a sketch of these legends:
It’s certainly not my best work, but I think it does mostly look like the guys in the band. This is a representation of Faith No More around the Angel Dust album era, as you can see Jim Martin is still in the band. Although it’s hard to choose one, Angel Dust is probably my favorite album, possibly because it’s the first one I actually bought. It’s the first Faith No More album I really wore out, so there’s some sentimental value.
It’s hard to get a real feel for how different each album is without hearing the entire thing, but I thought it might be helpful to provide some examples. I’ll include below some favorites from various releases, which may give you some idea how much the styles change. To me, you could almost imagine they are different bands entirely. Despite the diverse sounds, through them all you’ve got Mike Patton singing, Roddy Bottum on keyboards, Billy Gould on bass, and Mike Bordin on drums. The only difference in the roster once Patton joined was the revolving door of guitarists after Martin left.
Bringing the conversation back around full-circle to my introduction to Faith No More, unfortunately I got into this incredible band late in the game. The band had actually broken up just before I became a fan, which was a pretty disappointing realization as I found myself increasingly captivated by their music. I followed Mike Patton’s post-FNM musical exploits as he experimented with different bands; I even got to meet him after a Mr. Bungle show:
Even though I got to see Patton in various bands, it just wasn’t quite the same. He’s an immense talent, and his other bands were very good in their own right, but the contributions from Bordin, Gould, and Bottum made the band great rather than good. The story does have a happy ending for this fan, though. I finally got to see Faith No More in concert when the band got back together a couple years ago. In July 2015, around 16 years after learning of their greatness, I got to experience them live at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas, Texas. It was a long wait, but well worth it.
I should probably also link the more recent drawing I did of Mike Patton: https://jonamdall.com/2020/04/26/musical-virtuoso-mike-patton/
Definitely interesting to see how much my artwork has changed!
Pingback: Musical Virtuoso Mike Patton - Amdall Gallery
Hi Jon, Just picked up that you’ve liked my drawing on my blog. Thought I’d drop by and see what you do. Of course, now I’m daunted as your drawings of the band are stunning. I need to be more daring!
Thanks for checking the site out, Claire! And for the kind words about this sketch
cool sketch, great poat and definitely a fantastic band!
Much appreciated! I was also a big fan of that Patton sketch you did last month, it was great.
Always fun to see Patton pop up in random places. I’m still amazed he and FNM both are not more well-known, as incredible as they are. After all, I would put the FNM catalogue up against any more famous band.
I think VH1 is still a thing, but I have no idea if they play music videos anymore. Yeah, I would image it’s difficult to find one song from each album that best represents what that particular album was all about. Edge of the World and From out of Nowhere off of The Real Thing are pretty far from one another on the spectrum. I think you’re spot-on about Digging the Grave and Midlife Crisis being the most commercially successful songs from their respective albums.
I’ve always wanted to make a mix tape introduction to FNM, but I have the worst time trying to figure out which songs would be best for it. Also the number of songs to include… I guess 20 songs might be a little much for a mix tape, ha ha. I would probably have to make several different mix tapes for someone to fully explore their greatness.
Hmmm, yeah picking just 20 songs would be really tough. Just songs from albums, or can we include rare stuff and covers? I think I’d go with these:
As the Worm Turns (Patton Version)
Chinese Arithmetic (Patton Version)
Introduce Yourself (Patton Version)
The Real Thing
Woodpecker from Mars
A Small Victory
The Perfect Crime
The Cowboy Song
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Take This Bottle
I Started a Joke
Last Cup of Sorrow
Mouth to Mouth
Wait, is that 20 already? Doh! I didn’t even address the newest album. Honestly, I could probably include every song from Angel Dust and King for a Day as “favorites,” probably the same for Album of the Year.
I would say anything FNM performed would be acceptable. That’s an excellent list of songs, sir. It’s funny… looking at your list of songs reminds me how long it has been since I’ve revisited the FNM catalog. I love some of the deep cuts, many of which you listed above. If I had to choose 20 FNM songs, I would go with these:
Anne’s Song (I love the Chuck Mosley version for some reason, ha ha. RIP Chuck Mosley)
From Out of Nowhere
The Real Thing
Falling to Pieces
I Started a Joke
A Small Victory
The Last to Know
Just a Man
Last Cup of Sorrow
MotherEffer (trying to be family friendly)
This Guy’s In Love With You
Ashes to Ashes
Yeah, it’s hard to pick just 20 songs. I’m glad you made this post, Jon. Its sparked a renewed interest in one of my all-time favorite bands. Sadly, I only have a few of their songs on my ipod at the moment and its been that way for some time now. However, I’ve been sitting here listening to the songs I just listed and will add most (if not all) to it. Hell, I’ll probably add every album I own and purchase the few I’ve managed to lose over the years, ha ha.
All hail Patton!
Dude, I can’t believe I forgot Easy and This Guy’s in Love with You! Is it okay to do a “best of” list that’s like 100 songs long?
Angel Dust was my first Faith No More album, too. I do remember watching the videos for Epic and Falling to Pieces on MTV prior to ever picking up on of their albums. Definitely one of the most musically versatile bands ever! You picked some great examples from their catalog. All four of the tunes are in my list of favorite FNM songs.
Ahhh yes, those long gone days of MTV actually playing music videos. Is VH1 still a channel too?
Man, it was pretty hard to pick just one song per album, and I didn’t even cover the new one (I don’t have it ripped, I guess I’m lazy). Just too many great ones to choose from, and how can just one best define the entire album? It might have made sense to pick the most commercially successful song on each, but I honestly couldn’t remember which was the biggest hit from King for a Day or Angel Dust. Was it Digging the Grave? And maybe Midlife Crisis?
Hey wow, looks like the post about my favorite band was my 50th! Sweet