Faith No More
It's not that unusual for a group to be huge in North America and virtually unknown elsewhere. Likewise, there are an equal, if not larger, number of groups that are worshiped in England, the rest of Europe and Australia but are only known for one or two songs in the U.S. What's odd is when the group hails from the U.S. like Faith No More. Remembered in the U.S. for the song "Epic," and a couple other tracks, Faith No More managed to build a large following internationally.
In '81, a group of Bay Area musicians came together as Faith No Man. Two years later the group had only two original members, drummer Mike "Puffy" Bordin and bassist Billy Gould. An early addition was keyboardist Roddy Bottum. After a stint with Courtney Love on vocals the group landed Chuck Mosley. Also, guitarist Jim Martin came on board. '85 saw the release of the group's debut "We Care A Lot" on Mordam Records. Moving to the Slash label, their sophomore effort "Introduce Yourself" was issued. Following a relatively successful European tour Mosely was bounced due to his constant drinking, limited vocal range/expertise and general foul disposition. Perhaps the constant drinking led to the other detriments.
It was Martin who came across vocalist Mike Patton's demo tape, containing his work with the Death Metal influenced group Mr. Bungle. Patton joined Faith No More in '89 and immediately began working on lyrics for the group's next effort, "The Real Thing," containing "Epic" and "Falling To Pieces." They were touring as Metallica's opening act but things didn't really connect until MTV put "Epic" into their heavy rotation. The band received a Grammy nomination for Best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock performance. By the end of '90, "The Real Thing" had gone platinum in the U.S.
A year later, Faith No More released an album in the U.K. entitled "Live At Brixton." "Angel Dust," the group's fourth studio album, saw the beginning of a fissure. Martin, not liking the group's direction, bailed on rehearsals. Gould picked up the slack. The '92 album featured "Midlife Crisis," which did exactly what first singles should do, it got played on the radio and MTV. But "A Small Victory," while popular in Europe, failed to resonate in the states largely because the prominent keyboards differed from Faith No More's established sound. MTV passed.
Opening for Metallica, again, and Guns N' Roses didn't build much of a following. At best they got a lukewarm reception from the headliner's fans. Though "Angel Dust" went gold in the U.S. it was something of a disappointment. In Europe and Australia, the album was far more popular, even outselling "The Real Thing."
Coming off the tour supporting "Angel Dust," Martin was sacked. '95 release, "King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime," featured Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance. Whether he was unwilling to embark on a lengthy tour or didn't really fit in, he soon departed with Dean Menta, a former Faith No More roadie, stepping in. "King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime" reached the top of the Australian charts but barely registered in the U.S. Once again, MTV passed.
A European tour was cut short due to lack of response/interest. The group headed home with hopes of working on a new album but spent much of the next two years involved in solo projects as rumors of a break-up circulated. Bordin toured with Ozzy Osbourne, Patton hit the road with Mr. Bungle in support of their new album while Bottum found success with Imperial Teen.
Turns out Menta wasn't a long term player either. He was replaced by Gould's friend, Jon Hudson, for the band's sixth studio album, the '97 release, "Album Of The Year." Following a relatively successful international tour the group announced their break-up. It came only 12 days after their last show (Lisbon, Portugal, 4/7/98).
Jump a decade or so - Crank 2: High Voltage hit theaters in '09. The soundtrack contained songs written and performed by Patton.
1985 We Care A Lot
1987 Introduce Yourself
1989 The Real Thing
1992 Angel Dust
1995 King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime
1997 Album Of The Year
Like groups before them, Faith No More served as a bellwether without fully capitalizing on being ahead of the pack. Still, they did all right. Their blend of college Rock, Wave and Metal reaches its zenith on "The Real Thing." Patton's forceful, guttural vocals and Martin's guitar make a compelling combination. Of course, smash hit "Epic" with Patton's whinny snarl jumps out but "Falling To Pieces" and the churning "Underwater Love" are not to be overlooked. There's the violent Nu Metal "Surprise! You're Dead" and the spacey weirdness of "Woodpecker From Mars." The latter is a keyboard romp in the same vein as the B-52's "Rock Lobster."
The mellower "Angel Dust" has the mid-tempo keyboard driven "A Small Victory," the bass thumping "Midlife Crisis" and the pop oriented "Everything's Ruined." There's also Martin's last stand on the guitar drenched "Jizzlobber."
Subsequent albums have their moments, like "Ashes To Ashes" on "Album Of The Year," but often sound disjointed. The revolving door at guitar didn't help. Earlier efforts are generally good but Mosley's off-key, 2 and-a-half note range is a distraction. Though in fairness, he does a passable job on "We Care A Lot" and a couple other tracks.