Published Jun 22, 2015There are bands that are influential, inspiring their peers to push themselves further and paving the way for future artists. There are bands that are innovative, creating new genres and fusing existing sounds into new, strange configurations, like sonic alchemists. There are bands that are difficult to pin down, constantly evolving their sound in a way that is both frustrating and thrilling, forever experimenting. Any one of these qualities can cement an artist's reputation as important, even necessary. Faith No More embody all three.
They have been credited as a major influence for Nirvana, invented the genre of alternative metal, and their work has deeply impacted the world of aggressive music while simultaneously being inimitable. Despite lineup changes and an ever-evolving creative practice, their sound has managed to remain absolutely unmistakeable while their output remains ever experimental. Despite a long period of dormancy, and a 17-year gap between records, the ardour of their fans and their importance to metal never waned, and their eventual return to touring and releasing new material has only strengthened their almost mythic status. Like kings who have been on crusade for years, Faith No More have returned to claim a throne left vacant only for them; even if someone had dared to attempt to fill it, such arrogance would have been impossible. There is no other band in the world quite like them.
1977 to 1979
Chuck Mosley and Billy Gould meet at a show featuring the Zeros, Johnny Navotnee and the Bags. The two become friends, and Mosley eventually plays keyboards in Gould's first band, the Animated, in 1979.
1979 to 1981
Mike Morris and keyboardist Wade Worthington found a group they initially call Sharp Young Men, which Morris will refer to in a 2012 bio "a piss-take on all the 'elegant' groups at the time." They recruit drummer Mike Bordin and later bassist Billy Gould and begin recording with producer Matt Wallace, who is working out of his parents' garage. Gould has a bad lung and throat infection, and is effectively deaf during the process. While recording, the group decide to change their name. Faith In No Man is briefly considered, but they ultimately decide to go with the stylized Faith. No Man.
The group release the single "Quiet in Heaven/Song of Liberty," featuring art by Morris that depicts Adolf Hitler wearing a tutu. Bradley Torreano of Allmusic would later claim that he preferred this first demo to their later full-length debut, We Care A Lot. Shortly after this single is released, Worthington leaves the band due to what Morris will call being "unsatisfied with his own contributions." Morris also admits to being hard on Gould, which causes significant tensions in the band. Roddy Bottum is brought on to replace Worthington, and soon he, Bordin and Gould leave the group and formed their own project, Faith No More. The name is believed to be a signal that Morris (whose nickname has oft been cited as "The Man") was "no more," though Morris denies ever being referred to as "The Man." "Quiet in Heaven/ Song of Liberty" will never be played live after the fracture, and will never appear on any Faith No More collections.
The band go through several singers in a very short period of time; many are in the band so briefly that their contributions aren't recorded. One of them is Courtney Love (who briefly dates Bottum), who will tell VH1's Behind the Music in 2010 that she lobbied for the band to let her in after seeing them perform in 1982. She plays with the band for six months, and though Gould will tell Metal Hammer "She was an awesome performer; she liked to sing in her nightgown, adorned with flowers," she was also difficult to work with. "She was a very chaotic personality — she took a lot of work. It just got too much after a while." According to Love, she was dismissed because the band wanted more "male energy." Nonetheless she and Bottum will remain close for years.
1983 to 1986
Chuck Mosley joins the band as lead singer, replacing Love, and is an instant match. Guitar player Jim Martin, who had previously been playing in the thrash group Vicious Hatred and also occasionally working with the jam band Spastik Children (also frequented by Cliff Burton, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett), is also brought on. Bordin knows Martin, having played with him in the band EX Street, and tells the Classic Rock zine "he's an asshole, he's always been an asshole. I was in a band with him and I quit because he was such an asshole. But he can play guitar." Despite this disclaimer, Martin is officially recruited.
With a somewhat stable lineup, Bordin, Mosley, Gould and Bottum pool their resources and record a four-song demo. These early efforts attract the attention of one of the original co-editors of Maximum RocknRoll, Ruth Schwartz, who has just founded Mordam Records (a play on the phrase "more damn records"). With additional support from Schwartz and Mordam, Faith No More finish the record and We Care A Lot is released in1985. In 1990 in Select Magazine, Neil Perry would remark on the record's "inexorable" energy (albeit rough production) and the hybrid style that "owed nothing to anybody." The record would not appear on CD until it was released in the format in 1995 in Australia and 1996 in Europe, the UK and Japan via the labels Liberation and London respectively. Faith No More tour in support of We Care A Lot through 1985 and 1986. Martin will tell Classic Rock that the tour was hard. "The wheels fell off the truck. We met many generous people who let us stay with them. We lived in the Metroplex in Atlanta, GA for a couple of weeks. Rats ate hot and sour soup out of my beard."
On April 23, 1987, Faith No More release sophomore effort Introduce Yourself, including a new iteration of their debut's title track "We Care A Lot." A more cogent and coherent release, Introduce Yourself is a major step forward for the band in terms of both songwriting and production. The band move to Slash Records for the release, seeking wider distribution than their difficult-to-find debut. "We Care A Lot" ultimately becomes one of their most frequently played live songs, appearing on every compilation and getting featured in movies like Grosse Pointe Blank and Bio-Dome. The track's music video, directed by Bob Biggs & Jay Brown, is also their first to get any attention from MTV and receives some moderate airplay.
In January, "We Care A Lot" hits #53 on the UK Singles Chart. While on tour, Jim Martin gets into a fistfight with a roadie, one of Mosley's friends, and Mosley takes the roadie's firing badly. Later, Gould punches Mosley onstage. Tensions culminate after the release party for Introduce Yourself, where Mosley falls asleep on stage (according to the official FAQ on the Faith No More website). After extensively touring in support of Introduce Yourself in 1987 and 1988, Mosley is fired from the band for what they refer to in their official website bio as his "constant drinking, limited vocal capabilities, and squabbles with bandmates." "New Improved Song" is featured on the Sound Waves 2 compilation.
As they search for a new singer, (for a while they consider Chris Cornell of Soundgarden), Jim Martin eventually suggests Mike Patton, current frontman of the experimental band Mr. Bungle from Eureka, CA, which Patton founded in 1985 while still in high school. Patton is hired; he will continue to front both Mr. Bungle and Faith No More simultaneously. Within two weeks he has written all of the lyrics for the record The Real Thing, which is already complete except for the vocals, and after six more months of work, on June 20, 1989, the record is released on Slash. The Real Thing expands their musical palette, combining, metal, funk and rock. It will become their most successful record to date, and be considered a heavy metal classic, but recognition of that greatness is gradual. The first single, "From Out of Nowhere," fails to chart in the UK. Faith No More contribute the track "Sweet Emotion" to the Kerrang! Magazine Flexible Fiend 3 special-edition compilation. The tour for The Real Thing launches in 1989 and will continue into 1991.
The single "Epic" is first released in January to only moderate success; in February, The Real Thing finally breaks the Billboard Top 200, but it will take until October it to peak on the charts at #11. "From Out of Nowhere" is re-released in April, 1990 and this time charts, making it to #23 on the UK Singles Chart. "Falling to Pieces" is released on July 2, and climbs to number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100; then a re-release of "Epic" becomes Faith No More's first number one hit single on the ARIA Charts, and their only top ten single the Billboard Hot 100, coming it at #9. The video for "Epic" receives a great deal of airplay on MTV, and also draws the ire of animal rights groups who objected to the video's depiction of a fish out of water, agonizingly flopping around in slow motion.
The international tour in support of The Real Thing further boosts the record's profile and exposure, ultimately pushing total sales well above four million worldwide. The band are mostly unaware of the commercial success at first, to the point of refusing to believe it. Patton will tell Metal Hammer "our manager would check in with us maybe once a week. He called and said: 'Your single is blowing up over here.' We didn't believe him. We thought he was buttering us up so he could keep us on the road, and we all wanted to go home. I remember landing in the airport, going to a hotel, turning on the TV by chance and seeing the damn video and going: 'Oh shit... the joke's on us!'"
The tour for The Real Thing is the first Faith No More tour to include Mike Patton, and it begins dramatically: on the second night, which is being filmed for the music video for "From Out of Nowhere," Patton has a beer bottle smashed over his hand, lacerating him badly and cutting into several tendons. While Patton would ultimately regain motion in the hand, the nerves were permanently damaged and he has loss of feeling as a result of the injury.
Their August 20 show is recorded by producer William Shapland and director John Booth for the band's first and only live record. The band also perform "Epic" and "From Out of Nowhere" on Saturday Night Live.
Faith No More release You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy on April 28; the CD included bonus tracks "The Cowboy Song" and "The Grade," previously only on the "From Out of Nowhere" twelve-inch. Some promotional versions of the record are sent out with a rubber fish in reference to the "Epic" video. Later that year, Faith No More contribute the song "The Perfect Crime" to the film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, in which Jim Martin briefly appears as Sir James Martin, leader of the "Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center." He has two lines: "Station!" and "What a shithead."
Patton has an obsession with feces, and has referred to himself as a "shit terrorist. In 1991, he tells Kerrang! "When I was staying in a hotel room once, I took a shit, rolled it into a ball and put it in the hair dryer so the next guest to dry their hair would get hot shit in their face. Ain't that rock'n'roll?"
1992 to 1994
Faith No More contribute the track "Let's Lynch the Landlord" to Virus 100, a Dead Kennedys covers collection released by Jello Biafra's label Alternative Tentacles. In January, they enter Coast Recorders studios with Matt Wallace with 17 songs; they emerge with 19 finished tracks. On June 8, they release Angel Dust, which represents another significant evolution in Faith No More's sound, this time moving in a distinctly experimental direction. Roddy Bottum names the record, telling public news in Houston, TX that the title evokes what the band does sonically: "it's a really beautiful name for a really hideous drug and that should make people think." Angel Dust is the first record to feature Mike Patton's significant compositional contributions, and it is iconoclastic, operatic, and still devastatingly heavy. Patton draws lyrical inspiration from the Oxford Capacity Analysis (a personality test, administered by the Church of Scientology and often used to destroy a neophyte's self-esteem), fortune cookies, late-night television and his own sleep-deprivation experiments. The record also makes extensive use of samples, including Diamanda Galas, Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 and the Beastie Boys.
The band tour with Guns N' Roses, which is an otherworldly experience. Gould recounts, "There was a rumour that Axl brought his psychic on tour with him. And it would be bad luck in any city that started with the letter 'M'. So he cancelled Manchester, Madrid, Munich and he did Montreal, and that's when the riot happened. It got very bizarre. We saw Axl once or twice the whole time."
Patton's shit terrorism strikes again during the G N'R tour. As related on the Faith No More blog, while on that tour, Patton takes a shit in a container of orange juice, carefully seals it back up, and puts it in Axl Rose's tour van's vending machine. During the same tour, in Seville, Spain, a fan throws a bottle of urine at the band — Patton picks it up, climbs on top of Axl Rose's monitor, and pours it over his head.
Angel Dust is a divisive record within the band, and ultimately alienates guitarist Martin from the rest. It has often been stated that Martin is unhappy with the musical direction of Angel Dust, and the extent to which Martin participated in the songwriting (aside from the track "Jizzlobber") has sometimes been questioned. Martin and the rest of Faith No More begin working separately; the band record "Another Body Murdered" with Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. for the Judgment Night soundtrack (released in September 1993) without Martin. Martin maintains it was his decision to leave the band, whereas the rest of the band would recount in a 2014 feature in Metal Hammer that Martin was in fact fired from the band via fax in fall 1993.
In a 2012 interview with Loudwire, Martin says the reason he was unhappy with Angel Dust was less musical direction and more process, including feeling rushed by record company executives and hounded by journalists in the studio. "There was a lot of weird pressure to follow up The Real Thing, and as a consequence, [Angel Dust] was more contrived musically than I thought was necessary." In the book Faith No More: The Real Story, a biography by Steffan Chirazi, producer Matt Wallace mentions the death of Martin's father as a contributing factor to his departure. After a search for a new guitarist, Trey Spruance, who is also in Mr. Bungle with Mike Patton, fills the position, after it is first offered to (and turned down by) Justin Broadrick of Godflesh and Geordie Walker of Killing Joke.
In 1993, Bottum officially comes out as gay, something his bandmates have known for some time. The song "Be Aggressive" is written by Bottum and explicitly refers to oral sex; he finds it hilarious to make the straight Patton sing the lyrics. In 1999, The Advocate will refer to Bottum as "the first hard rocker to completely come out of the closet, a move that paved the way for former Judas Priest screamer Rob Halford to make a similar announcement in 1998." Bottum himself will admit "You'd think there'd be a lot more homosexuality in metal with all the dressing up, especially during the Poison hair-band era."
Singles from Angel Dust include "Midlife Crisis," "Everything's Ruined" and "A Small Victory," the latter of which is nominated for a Best Art Direction award at the MTV Video Music Awards. While not on the first pressing, later versions of Angel Dust include a cover of "Easy" by the Commodores, which ends up being wildly successfully. Noted by now for their love of bizarre covers, Faith No More also include a version of the Midnight Cowboy theme song on the record. Angel Dust sells 665,000 copies in the U.S., and in some other markets even outsells The Real Thing, with world-wide sales totalling 3.1 million copies.
1995 to 1996
Faith No More's next record, King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, is their most varied and least cohesive, with wide variances in tone and style from song to song. It is often cited as a fan favourite, and the disparate songs are structured in such a way that they hang together thematically and retain a sense of narrative progression. The recording of the album is difficult. It takes nine months to write and three more to record in what Gould refers to as "sensory deprivation" conditions at in Bearsville Studios, in Woodstock, NY. The process is further hampered by a car accident; Mike Patton is driving and Spruance and Bordin are passengers. Roddy Bottum is unable to contribute to the process, reeling from the death of his father and the suicide of Kurt Cobain (Bottum remains extremely close to Courtney Love). He soon enters rehab for a heroin addiction.
The single "Digging The Grave" charts in the UK and Australia, and is featured on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head in August 1995. "Ricochet" also seems some chart success, and is used for the soundtrack to the video game Fox Hunt.
Reviews for the record are mixed; San Francisco Chronicle calls it "an utter triumph" while Metal Hammer decrees it a "crushing disappointment." Most reviews are middling, praising the album's diversity while simultaneously confused by its deep weirdness. The sales figures posted are more modest at 1.5 million, going gold in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Germany. In addition to King for a Day, the band release a seven by seven-inch box set of singles, b-sides and interviews.
Unable to commit to an extensive tour schedule and also never settling in as a permanent member of the band, Trey Spruance quits Faith No More immediately before the band embark upon a world tour, and is temporarily replaced by keyboard tech and roadie Dean Menta. Menta has a hard time dealing with Patton's onstage behaviour, telling the Classic Rock zine "the peeing, the pooing, the drinking the pee, the peeing in the shoe and drinking. The peeing in a cup and handing it to a young girl in the front row who assumed it was water and guzzled it. Things like that."
In 1996, Mike Bordin begins performing with Ozzy Osbourne's band.
After the tour, a permanent replacement (at least as permanent as guitarists tend to be in Faith No More) is found in Jon Hudson, a roommate of Billy Gould's. With Hudson, the band write and record Album of the Year, which is released on June 3, 1997. The record would go Platinum in Australia and debut at the #2 on German charts, staying there for five months, and would ultimately sell over two million copies worldwide. It would be their last record released by Slash, as well as their final offering before their 17-year hiatus.
The album eventually sells 213,000 copies in the U.S., significantly lower than many other releases, though it does significantly better overseas, going Platinum in Australia and Gold in the UK, and sells just under two million copies worldwide. Reviews are again extremely mixed; Allmusic considers it a fitting end to an illustrious career, whereas Rolling Stone dismisses it as "irrelevant."
The music video for the track "Last Cup of Sorrow" is inspired by the Hitchcock film Vertigo.
Mike Bordin begins to fill in for Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward after he is injured, and also serves on the 1997 Ozzfest tour.
Rumours of the band's demise begin to circulate as they tour for Album of the Year, primarily originating from a thread in the newsgroup alt.music.faith-no-more (in the early days of the internet), which claimed singer Mike Patton had quit the band. While the rumour was initially denied, the band is fracturing, and soon drops off a tour with Aerosmith. The formal announcement comes via fax and email that Faith No More are no more. Their final show takes place Lisbon, Portugal on April 7, 1998.
Faith No More release their first greatest hits compilation, Who Cares A Lot?, featuring tracks from all of their Slash albums, in November, including several unreleased tracks, namely "The World Is Yours" and "I Won't Forget You."
At least part of the reason for the split is that the band members (especially Mike Patton) wanted to focus on other projects and side ventures, which all enthusiastically do after the dissolution of the band. Patton begin to focus on his newly-founded experimental metal supergroup Fantômas, which includes drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer), guitarist Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle).
1999 to 2000
The single "Yoo Hoo" by Imperial Teen, Roddy Bottum's indie pop project with Lynn Perko, is used on the soundtrack for Jawbreaker. In April, Mike Patton founds Ipecac Records with Greg Werckman (ex-label manager of Alternative Tentacles), originally to release the first Fantômas record, but soon their stable grows to include artists like the Melvins and Isis. With a policy of only signing artists to single-album contracts and keeping costs as low as possible in favour of higher royalties, Ipecac quickly builds an artist-friendly reputation. Patton also founds Tomahawk, another metallic experiment, with guitarist Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), drummer John Stanier (Helmet) and bassist Kevin Rutmanis (Melvins).
Anthony Kiedis, frontman for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, sees Mike Patton perform with Mr. Bungle and accuses Patton of mimicking his performance style, beginning an epic feud. The enmity is sunk in deeper when Warner Bros. delays the release of the Mr. Bungle record California, which was supposed to come out June 8, 1999, because of the Red Hot Chili Peppers record Californication, released the same day. That summer, Anthony Kiedis has Mr Bungle removed from several European festivals whenever the bands are both scheduled. In retaliation, Mr. Bungle parody the Red Hot Chili Peppers during their Halloween show in Pontiac, MI. Each band member cosplays as a Chili Peppers member, and they cover the songs "Give It Away," "Around the World," "Under the Bridge" and "Scar Tissue" with incorrect lyrics and obscene gestures. Kiedis is furious and has Mr. Bungle removed from the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand; bassist Trevor Dunn makes fun of Peppers bassist Flea on his website.
2001 to 2007
In 2001, Mike Bordin competes on a non-celebrity episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; he flubs the $32,000 question and walks away with $1000. The following year, Bordin re-records the drums for Ozzy Osbourne solo records Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981) for reissues, replacing original drummer Lee Kerslake's work. These releases are almost universally panned. In 2011, 30th Anniversary reissues of both those records include Kerslake's original drumming.
In 2003, a joint effort between Slash and Rhino records produces the greatest hits compilation This Is It: The Best of Faith No More. Mike Patton sings on the Dillinger Escape Plan EP Irony Is A Dead Scene while the band searches for a new vocalist; in 2004, he contributes to the Björk album Medúlla.
In 2005, Flashback Records releases Epic and Other Hits, generally considered to be a poor compilation that, despite its name, leaves off a great number of the band's true hits and instead reproduces six of the tracks from The Real Thing. The Platinum Collection, released the following year by Warner Bros., is considered a much more representative collection.
Mike Patton makes his acting debut in the Steve Balderson film Firecracker. Patton releases the first, and to date only, record of experimental collaborative project Peeping Tom in 2006, which includes contributions by Kid Koala, Massive Attack and Norah Jones, among others. In 2007, Patton provides screams and other vocalizations for the vampiric monsters in the film I Am Legend. He also makes his debut doing work for video games, providing the voice for the titular evil presence in The Darkness. The same year, he would provide vocal elements for the final boss fight with the maniacal AI/computer GLaDOS in Portal.
In March, Rhino puts out the compilation The Works, a sprawling collection that reproduces almost all of The Real Thing, Live At Brixton Academy and Angel Dust, though strangely out of chronological order and featuring many rarities or new material, disappointing many fans. Around this time, the first glint of reunion rumours begins. These rays are at first overshadowed by Billy Gould, who claims not to have spoken to his former bandmates in over a year. Patton voices the character Rikki Kixx on the Adult Swim cartoon Metalocalypse and the zombies in videogame Left 4 Dead.
Despite the initial dismissal, the band announce on February 24, 2009 that they are reforming for a reunion tour, dubbed The Second Coming Tour, featuring the Album of the Year lineup (Gould, Patton, Bottum and Hudson). In conjunction with the tour, Rhino releases double compilation album The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection in June, which includes both hit singles and rarities. The band's repertoire of weirdo covers further expands, and a version of "Switch" by Siouxsie and The Banshees is added to sets.
In 2009, Mike Patton and Billy Gould finally submit the lyrics for Album of the Year (which were not printed in the liner notes) to FNM.com; a fan-controlled site at the time, the domain is ultimately reclaimed by the band and becomes their official website. The band tour throughout 2009 and 2010, with major festival appearances in the UK (Download), Germany (Hurricane and Southside), Switzerland (Greenfield Festival), Norway (Hove), Denmark (Roskilde Festival), and Australia (Soundwave).
Chuck Mosley releases the LP Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food on August 11, 2009, which features a guest appearance from Roddy Bottum. Patton also creates the soundtrack for the action film Crank: High Voltage.
On April 14, 2010, Mosley joins Faith No More on stage in San Francisco; it is the first time since 1988 that he has performed with the band. He performs "As the Worm Turns," "Death March," "We Care A Lot," and "Mark Bowen" and then during the final encore, he and Mike Patton sing "Introduce Yourself" as a duet.
In May, Mike Patton releases Mondo Cane, a collection of covers of 1950s and '60s Italian pop music that he performs with a choir, a 40-member orchestra and 15-piece backing band. The reception is incredibly favourable, and Mondo Cane hits #2 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart and spends 42 weeks there. The record also charts in Switzerland and Finland.
2011 to 2013
After an 11-month hiatus, Faith No More perform four South American shows in November 2011. On the very first date, they perform a "mystery song," sparking speculation about a new album. In November 2011, Faith No More reunite with Trey Spruance at the Maquinaria Festival in Chile, and play King For A Day...Fool For A Lifetime in its entirety.
In July 2012, Faith No More make an appearance at the Sonisphere festival in France. Later that year, Mike Patton reprises his role as the voice of the Darkness in the game The Darkness II.
As rumours of more new material circulate, Billy Gould is cautiously optimistic about a new album, telling Blabbermouth, ""We're considering doing something new, but we're not going to go into a room and bang out a bunch of songs just to put something out; it has to to be right."
Faith No More release their first tweet: "Hey! Stay tuned for more Tweets from Twats!!! The reunion thing was fun, but now it's time to get a little creative" with a photo of Mike Patton making a ridiculous face. On July 4, the band play with Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Motörhead and Soulfly in High Park in London, their first show in two years. They also debut the songs "Motherfucker' and "Superhero."
On August 19 they tweet "The Reunion Tour is over; in 2015 things are going to change." On September 2, Gould finally confirms to Rolling Stone that new material is forthcoming. A new single, "Motherfucker," is released November 28, 2014 as a special seven-inch for Record Store Day's Black Friday.
In February and March, Faith No More headline the Soundwave festival in Australia. While on that tour, the band announce the record will be called Sol Invictus ("unconquered sun" in Latin) and will appear in May. The track "Superhero" premieres on Marvel.com as well as the Ipecac's own website on March 1, and appears on vinyl March 23. Sol Invictus is released on May 19, and the band begin a late summer tour in support of the record beginning July 26.
Essential Faith No More
We Care A Lot (Mordam, 1985)
The band's first official full-length and flagship release for burgeoning Mordam Records is important not just because it was a wildly influential band's debut, but because the wildness and experimentation that characterized this first effort would define Faith No More's sound for the rest of their career. It also marked the official beginning of their long and productive relationship with producer Matt Wallace. Many of the tracks from this record would appear in different forms and iterations in their releases and performances in the future; in fact the title track, "We Care A Lot," would be re-recorded on their very next release, Introduce Yourself. While recorded with original vocalist Chuck Mosley, Mike Patton's interpretation of many of these songs are available in many forms, such as on their Live At The Brixton Academy record, many bootlegs and bonus tracks to singles releases. It's a career-defining first effort that Faith No More still wholeheartedly acknowledge and celebrate.
The Real Thing (Slash, 1989)
The Faith No More record to include Mike Patton, The Real Thing represents a considerable step forward in terms of the depth and the daring that the band were willing to undertake. With much of the music written before Patton joined the band, with the singer and lyricist writing his contributions over a drastically compressed two-week period, it's a remarkable coherent record that nonetheless managed to combine metal, alternative rock and funk in refreshing and unexpected ways. The record also netted the band a pair of Grammy nominations: the record was up for Best Metal Performance in 1989 and the track "Epic" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1991. "Epic" remains one of their best-loved and oft-performed numbers, and has been featured, among other places, in the video games Rock Band, Burnout Paradise, SingStar, Street Fighter IV and Saints Row: The Third.
Angel Dust (Slash, 1992)
While ultimately the strangeness of the record was a major cause behind guitarist Jim Martin's departure from the band, the weird and divisive Angel Dust remains intensely loved by fans and their best-selling record outside of the U.S. It is also the first record where Mike Patton had any significant contribution to the composition of the music, and his hand can be keenly felt in the record's manic energy and strangeness. It is an album of opposites and extremes, juxtaposing the violent and grotesque against the sublimely beautiful. Part of the record, in particular the tracks "Caffeine" and "Land of Sunshine," were written while Patton was performing sleep-deprivation experiments on himself. The songwriting was a collaborative effort, however, with excellent and often hilarious results: he track "Jizzlobber" was a collaboration between Patton and Martin and, depending on who you ask, is either a song about porn stars or being afraid of going to jail. "Be Aggressive," a song about oral sex, was written by Roddy Bottum specifically because it amused him to make Patton sing especially filthy lyrics. The record also branches out much more heavily into sampling, drawing from sources as disparate as classical music, airport flight announcements, aboriginal chanting and the Beastie Boys.