I estimate that I have written close to 480,000 words on Faith No More in various comment sections of this site alone. What’s 12,000 more?
Part 7 of 7
Part 1 here.
Part 2 here.
Part 3 here.
Part 4 here.
Part 5 here.
Part 6 here.
Reunited (and It Feels So Good)
When the band’s manager, Warren Entner, got married in 2006, he invited bassist Bill Gould and keyboardist Roddy Bottum. The two started reconnecting, as they had barely spoken since the band broke up, but at the wedding they hung out together all weekend. When Bottum got married himself in 2008, vocalist Mike Patton and drummer Mike Bordin attended. Bordin said, “I’d see Mike at the grocery store here or there, and it was fine. Bill wasn’t at the wedding… The deal there was that nobody needed anything from anybody, and we just sat there and enjoyed ourselves.”
There you have it, folks. Mike Patton goes grocery shopping. I mean, he is an adult human, so he has to eat, I just assumed that he was a.) too busy to grocery shop, and/or b.) too weird to grocery shop. Can you imagine popping in for milk and bread, and there’s Patton and Bordin stopping to chat in front of the door to the cooler you need to get to? You ask them to move, and Patton screeches in your face.
Almost as soon as Faith No More ended, the rumor mill began churning about a reunion. Patton, easily the most visible member, was constantly fielding questions regarding if, and when, a reunion would happen. He told a reporter in 2006, “Every four or five years, some Svengali who thinks he can change the world comes with a briefcase full of cash and makes a crazy offer, and it’s not easy to refuse. It would be very easy for some of us to rehearse for a couple days, smile, and cash the checks. I’m not at that point. I got enough on my plate. Maybe if he comes with two briefcases full of money.”
The rumors were strong enough, that their manager called Gould and spoke with him about a tour for the 20th anniversary of The Real Thing. The media had started to hear from UK club owners, saying that they had been approached about interest in booking a tour, but Gould publicly shot them down saying, “It would have to come from the band, and I haven’t spoken with any of them in over a year.”
As the rumors continued, Patton and Gould agreed to meet for coffee. After some initial tension (Gould asked Patton “what the fuck are you doing?” thinking the reunion rumors were coming from him), the two got to catching up and taking about their lives. There was no agreement to reunite, but Entner invited Patton, Gould, Bottum, and Bordin to his house for lunch, and brough up the idea about a reunion. A reunion for Download 2009 helped solidify that they were in demand, and the band agreed to a reunion, and agreed to Download before even announcing their return.
The band still had a problem, and if you’ve been following along, you already know what that problem is. Who will they get to play guitar? The band did attempt to involve original guitarist Jim Martin. On the phone, he was very eager and willing to join up, and stated he had no problem playing other material he wasn’t involved in. The problem was, that the band felt uneasy about Martin’s extreme agreeability. They determined that he had ulterior motives in wanting to come back, he was looking for dollar signs.
Martin has a different version of what happened. He states that Bottum had come out to see him to ask him to join, but it was an offer to just let the band say that they had made an offer for public relations reasons. Martin told Bottum he knew the tour was already booked, but he was still interested, and to have management send over the documents. According to Martin, the documents were never sent, and he was told that “they went with someone else”. John Hudson was that “someone else”, and he was more than happy to be back in the band, as he had felt that he was just getting started when it had all ended.
The jilted Martin immediately went to the press to leak that he had been contacted about the reunion, but the band had “Inexplicably decided to utilize someone else”. Gould said, “That was a big flag for us, the knife was unsheathed, it was just under his coat, but we hadn’t seen it.”
The band played one show at Brixton Academy as a warm up before Download 2009. After Download, the band continued on 44 more dates across Europe and South America. In 2010, the band played 30 shows, only six of which were in North America. I was practically salivating to see my favorite band of all time, but they kept going overseas.
Sol Invictus (2015)
In July 2011, Gould had had enough, he needed to create new music. After hemming and hawing, he approached the band, telling them he had a new song and did they want to hear it? It was a resounding yes. The song was a primitive version of “Matador”, that they band played in Buenos Aires in November 2011. The band never commented on the song, but did announce that Trey Spruance was going to be their special guest in Chile the following day, where they would play King For a Day in its entirety.
In between tour legs (the band had agreed to only do two weeks at a time), Gould was frustrated with the inertia of the band. He wanted to do more, but everyone else was of the idea that one new song was enough. Gould invited Bordin to the rehearsal space, and the two just bounced ideas off of each other like they did in 1983. Soon, they brought Hudson into the rehearsal space, and Bottum was sending tapes back and forth from his new home base in New York. But eventually, they were going to have to confront Patton with the songs.
What would become Sol Invictus grew naturally. No labels, no managers, no producers or engineers, no agendas. It was all just the band and whatever whims they followed. Now, they just had to get Patton onboard. If they had no singer, they had no album. They weren’t sure he’d want to do it, because no one had ever talked about going this far. Gould thought for sure Patton would resist, but he explained, “There was no resistance. He liked it and he was like, ‘you want me to sing on it?’ which was kind of weird. But I said, Yes! Please!” Patton later told Rolling Stone, “I was pretty flattered, to be honest. Not only did the shit sound fucking great, the amount of work that had already gone into it was touching.”
The first single, “Motherfucker”, was released on November 28, 2014. I actually called my local record shop (45 minutes away, if that’s still local) to make sure they would have it. I went and picked it up. I conferred with some friends who were let down by the single. I explained to them, that it was the perfect single for a reunited Faith No More in that would buck expectations. The majority of the world would expect some crazy heavy thing with Patton either rapping or screeching all over it. So instead, they open the song with vocals from Bottum, and keep Patton only to the chorus, and there isn’t any guitar on it until the last third of the song. It’s just like Faith No More to release the first single that sounds the least like Faith No More!
The band set up Reclamation Recordings to self-release the album, as they didn’t owe any more records to Slash/Warner Bros. The band did consider other labels, but kept it independent for complete freedom and control. Plus, it’s a lot easier to self-release something in 2015 than it had been previously.
The album was released on May 13, 2015, and was welcomed with rave reviews. It was considered the rare reunion album that contributes to a band’s catalog, rather than diminish it. The album was #1 in Finland, charted top 5 in Australia, Czech Republic, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and Poland. It was also top 10 in the US, UK, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
I couldn’t believe I had a new album in my hot, little hands after all these years, and with it, a North American tour that would bring the band five hours away… and I was finally going to see them. It was June and it was ungodly hot. We got to the city early, our hotel was only a block and a half from the outdoor venue. My friend and I decided to walk down to the venue early and scope it out. As we were walking around the back side of the block, there was a chain link fence with those plastic straps inserted through for privacy. At one point the sidewalk rose, and the property dipped, so you could kind of see over the fence. At a glance, there was Roddy Bottum, all by himself, sitting in a lawn chair with his feet in an inflatable kiddie pool. We shouted at him, and he waved back and said hi to us. We told him that we had been waiting decades to see the band. He said, “Well, I hope we don’t disappoint!” My friend said, “Don’t worry, you won’t.” I added, “YOU won’t, but Patton’s going to blow it! Tell him I said that!” Roddy laughed heartily, and we waved and went on our way.
They didn’t blow it, not even Patton.
But wait, there’s more!
In 2016, Gould got the master tapes to We Care a Lot and issued a “definitive band edition”, which was completely remastered and remixed, with bonus demos and live tracks. To celebrate, the band performed two shows with former vocalist Chuck Mosley (with Patton in attendance), billed as Chuck Mosley & Friends.
Mosley had started playing with Primitive Race, which featured guitarist Mark ‘Gemini’ Thwaite (Tricky, Peter Murphy, The Mission, Gary Numan) and drummer Dale Crover (Melvins). Mosley’s lyrical prowess is in top form here. Unfortunately, Mosley would die just nine days after the release of Soul Pretender.
The band issued this statement:
It’s with a heavy, heavy heart we acknowledge the passing of our friend and bandmate, Chuck Mosley. He was a reckless and caterwauling force of energy who delivered with conviction and helped set us on a track of uniqueness and originality that would not have developed the way it had had he not been a part. How fortunate we are to have been able to perform with him last year in a reunion style when we re-released our very first record. His enthusiasm, his sense of humor, his style and his bravado will be missed by so many. We were a family, an odd and dysfunctional family, and we’ll be forever grateful for the time we shared with Chuck.
As of 2018, Faith No More is working on new music.
If you’re read this far, thank you so much, and thank you for your comments. I’m going to leave you with a pro shot video of Faith No More with Mosley from their 2015 show at The Fillmore in Detroit, and a just released last year recording of Mosley covering “Take This Bottle” from 1995’s King For a Day…. Fool For a Lifetime.