Faith No More - R.I.P.

Well, they passed away from us in April, so this is a chance for me to be self-indulgent and write some tosh about why I thought they were one of the most important bands that ever existed. At least for me. More important than Nirvana or Korn, or Marilyn Manson or Metallica etc. So, if you want to read on, then do so, otherwise it's time to see what's on the next page.

Anyway, heading back to about '88. I was metalhead. Some would say I still am, and they maybe right. But they may also just be judging on appearances and their own stereotypes. But that's something different. Anyway, back in '88 there was this really strange looking and sounding band video being played on The Chart Show. Or something like it. The singer sounded, well, awful. The music was good, but not what I was used to. It was Faith No More with Chuck doing We Care A Lot. I discovered that, according to Kerrang!, they were Art Thrash. This was a time when I still didn't have enough of a mind to think for myself. I liked thrash, but only the well known stuff. The description of the band in Kerrang! just made it sound like something I shouldn't like due to my own stereotyping. So, I did nothing about it, except for look at the Introduce Yourself album in the shops. Regrets, yeah, I've had a few.

Fastforwarding through time, which is always fun, try it, we reach '89. Only a year, but things had started to change for me. A mate who was sick of hearing the same albums in the car going to college, was trying to persuade me that there was a great alternative. This band called the Dead Kennedys, a guy called Biafra and a one off project called Lard. I'd also started to take “chances” in what I bought. That meant buying stuff that I didn't know much about, and which the magazines hadn't rammed down my throat. When I look back now, it wasn't really taking much of a chance, but it was the start. And about this time, I saw an advert saying that The Real Thing was being released in a week or so. The band - Faith No More. This time, when it first came out, I discarded my prejudices and bought it. And from the moment From Out of Nowhere started up, was the moment where music suddenly became something that I experienced for myself, rather than being told what I could listen to. The damage was done, and this metalhead suddenly started to listen to his mates advice and listen to DK, Biafra and Lard (cheers Bozo). I also started listening to the Chilli Peppers, and other bands coming out at the time. You may not remember The Atom Seed. Scat Opera and many many more... Suddenly I discovered bands like The Bad Brains, a whole new scene of music. It was different, and it was exciting.

But it wasn't just the music, it was the act of “discovering” bands for myself. One of those discoveries, was the very first Beyond EP. That led to seeing them on the tour for that EP. The first band I was into from the very first EP onwards. Of course, they are now Gorilla, and I've had the chance via this zine to meet them, talk to them, interview them. For me, that's probably like many people today doing the same with Chino from the Deftones. But I probably wouldn't have taken the chance on them, if I'd not taken the chance on the FNM album a few months earlier. Who knows what I'd be listening to today.

Bit more time travel now, but not much, no need to hang onto the sides or anything. January 1990. Cardiff Uni. Been queuing for what seems like a bloody eternity, waiting for the doors to open for my first FNM live experience. Chants of no more faith in faith no more are going up, because we should be in there, not out here. but eventually we do get in. A band called Mortal Sin opened, and, well, they opened. Standard Aussie thrash. Months earlier I probably would've loved them. Now, well, they were like so many others, and FNM weren't, and that was what I wanted. Eventually FNM came on. And it was so different. Up until this point, gigs had been stuff like Maiden, Metallica, Motorhead, Anthrax. You know. Great music, great gigs, but well, they weren't like this. There was a sense of unpredictability that wasn't present in the others. There was also my first experience of people doing this stage diving business. And speaker diving. Patton seemingly taking no real interest in what happened, but then chiding the bouncers for stopping it. And encouraging them to jump instead. Insane voices emanating from this man. The entire album Real Thing album played live. Chinese Arithmetic. God I love that song so much. It was a gig which changed my outlook on how music should be live. Fuck arenas and big shows. This was in your face. Up close. There was that something there that just hadn't existed elsewhere. Months later Epic finally made the charts. I travelled to London to see them play (the night before the You Fat Bastards video was recorded.) Never travelled so far before to see a band. Times have changed a bit now!

Then, a couple of years later, Angel Dust appeared. And confused the fuck out of me. I liked half of it. To this day it's probably my least favourite FNM album. Yeah, that's right. Most consider it their masterpiece. Not me. I listened so long and hard to it. But never totally got it. Some great great songs. And then some other songs. But, in the scheme of my life, it still served its purpose. Because it taught me to appreciate more types of music, and actually turned me on to listening to more difficult stuff. More difficult even than Angel Dust seemed to me. Which might be a contradiction, but is the truth. I'm not sure I'd have been able to appreciate a band such as say Neurosis if it wasn't for AD. Totally different musically, but it's the mentality required to listen. The opendmindedness.

Maybe it was just timing, maybe all these changes would've occured anyway for me. Yeah, maybe. But FNM are the band that I can pinpoint as being the catalyst for me. That's why they were so special.

Couple of years later, King For A Day .... was released. The Big Sick Ugly one was gone. Would I still like it. Rumours abounded about their future. Mr Bungle had done demos (good) and the first album (bad. Not a patch on the demos). So what would KFAD be like. I'll tell you. A fucking masterpiece. My favourite FNM album, despite the people in the know, ie, the music press telling you it was an artistic failure. Bollocks. It stretched FNM further. Took them to new places. Maybe it was the completion of my musical journey. The final piece of the jigsaw, which when read, told me never to sell out to myself by refusing to listen to music I like simply because it didn't fit others stereotype of me. So now I can say I listen to various things, and if I get told it's not metal enough, or I ain't a punk, or I'm not hardcore enough, or trendy enough or anything else, I can just look people in the face and tell them it doesn't matter. I listen to what I listen to for myself and no-one else. Like this zine' I try to cover various stuff. I don't care if it's metal, punk, hardcore or whatever. If I like it, then that's the only criteria I need. And if Portishead would let me interview them, then it would appear in here, even if that sort of music doesn't fit with the general theme of this zine.

Last year saw the release of Album of the Year. Consistent, though without the awesome jagged edges that had made KFAD for me, and probably made it the artistic failure for the press. I got to see them live again, after various mishaps had meant I'd missed the AD and KFAD tours. Never got to interview them, which would've been nice. Never met them. Doesn't matter. I won't mourn their passing despite what the title of this bit may make you think. I still have their music. I have my memories. And that's enough. I also have the overall net effect of their existence. You've been sifting through the pages of some of it already. And of course, there's the new projects to look forward to. Journeys I'm sure into musical territories that are still unchartered by me.

Wow, all that and I didn't even touch the musical influence they've had on so many others. They never really had the commercial success they deserved. Or maybe they did. As much as I think they should've achieved more than many of their peers, my final memories of seeing them at Nottingham Rock City abides. And I'm glad I saw them there instead of some shitehole like the NEC or Wembley Arena which commercial success may have dictated they play.

So, it's the end of a musical era for me. There may be better bands. There may be bands that I rave about more, and try convincing people to listen to. In fact, I know there are. But there will only ever be 1 FNM. Here's to hoping that they never destroy what they had. Never get back together again. The past is dead. Here's to the future.