Interview: Faith No More Give Update from the Studio
By Jon Wiederhorn
By the end of 2011, Bill Gould was getting tired of playing the same old songs with Faith No More. The hugely influential alt-rock band had reunited in 2009 to play live shows, having broken up a year after the release of their sixth and most recent record, 1997’s 'Album of the Year.' So the bassist filled his practice space in Oakland with recording gear and started tinkering with new song ideas. Drummer Mike Bordin and guitarist Jon Hudson joined him, and in early 2012, the trio was demoing new songs. While Faith No More keyboard Roddy Bottum and vocalist Mike Patton reacted favorably to the material, they were initially reluctant to get involved; Patton, for one, was deeply involved in other recordings and was hard pressed to find the time to be part of the process.
“There was a weird caginess they had where they didn’t want to just jump in the ring,” Gould recalls. “I started to think we were just doing this for ourselves. Then little by little, they warmed up to it and decided to contribute more.”
In early 2012, Patton agreed to work with the band on the song “Matador,” which Faith No More performed in concert that summer. Bottum, who lives in New York, started sending in keyboard parts for other songs via digital files, and Gould integrated them into the songs. Bottum eventually flew to Oakland to track piano. Then last year, Patton joined the process full bore. He sat down with the rest of the band, listened to all of the demos, and mapped out what he wanted to do with the vocals. Then he returned to his home studio to record. At present, Faith No More have around 10 songs tracked and another 15 in demo form.
The first official single is “Motherfucker,” an offbeat track driven by marching drums, spare piano, echoey string scrapes, and half-sung vocals layered over a euphoric chorus. The song will be released as a limited-edition 7-inch single for Record Store Day Black Friday on November 28. Another track, “Cone of Shame,” is “blues-based rock and roll,” according to the bassist, with some “influences from Link Wray, Cramps, and a little black metal.” But Gould’s favorite song is still “Matador.”
“Parts of it remind me of the first Siouxsie and the Banshees album,” he says. “We used real pianos and that brings this organic quality to it to the music.”
Like most everything Faith No More have done, the new album--which is due for release in April 2015--will follow the group’s own singular vision, regardless of what fans and critics may want or not want it to be. “It’ll be much different than everything else out there—but that’s sort of the point,” Gould says. “It’s a combination of what we don’t hear in the outside world and what we feel is lacking from other bands. And in the end, it will sound like Faith No More.”