Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Peak n'Oil No #1 - Faith No More

Faith No More - my Number 1 band to listen to as we circle the plughole

Well, it took me a while to get there but finally I can reveal the Number One band to listen to when contemplating the decline and fall of our industrial civilization.

Faith No More - yes, even the name of the band spells it out - the band from California who make the act of juxtaposing easy listening classics with death metal riffs seem like the most natural thing in the world. It's their later stuff, however, that saw them break away from the pack and mature into something that will still be eminently listenable as long as CD players continue to spin. The albums Angel Dust and King for a Day ... Fool for a Lifetime are regularly taken out of their cracked and scuffed CD cases in the Heppenstall household.

Faith No More were the band to see in the early 1990's and, yes, I was there whenever they came to the Brixton Academy in London, stage diving with the rest of them. They are a band who fire on all four cylinders, and there are no duff members. The band was always driven by bassist Billy Gould and keyboardist Roddy Bottum (not forgetting the drummer/founder Mike Bordin) but really came into itself when the very strange Jim Martin was brought in on guitars and, later, the youthful Mike Patton was employed as frontman and lyricist.

When surveying their back catalogue there are simply too many tracks to choose from, but I've narrowed it down to the following.

Starting at the beginning back in the mists of time in 1985 We Care a Lot revealed FNM to be more than just directionless mutoid waste rockers - they could be snarky social commentators too. It's pretty anarchic stuff and  vocalist Chuck Mosley does a good job of sounding like a sneering cynic. The words are great and, just like writing a blog about peak everything and the end of industrialism - it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it.

Moving on, Everything's Ruined sees the welcome introduction of Mike Patton, and speaks for itself.

Off the same album we have Caffeine (this is a live version from 2009). My look how they've aged ...

Moving onto their next great album King for a Day ... Fool for a Lifetime we get such greats as The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (seemingly a peon to business executives) ...

Cuckoo for Caca - surely the best song about nuclear waste that was ever penned delivered in a suitably, er, urgent way and featuring the verse ... Shit Lives Forever ... you can't kill it ...

And let's not forget FNM's gentle side with such tracks as the Icarus mentioning Just a Man. To me, this track is pure poetic beauty. Check out the lyric:

"Man was born to love- 
Though often he has sought 
Like Icarus, to fly too high- 
And far too lonely than he ought 
To kiss the sun of east and west 
And hold the world at his behest- 
To hold the terrible power 
To whom only gods are blessed- 
But me, I am just a man" 

And let's not forget the Bee Gee's cover I Started a Joke. Patton can't take credit for the lyrics, but it's hard to listen to this track without thinking that it is being some by some tragic personification of industrial capitalism ...

The album Album of the Year also yields a few nuggets, such as the ethereal Stripsearch which says quite a bit about contemporary life and our increasingly authoritarian governments.

And finally, from Angel Dust, FNM's Midnight Cowboy is a suitable track to end this Peak n'Oil Top 10 on. Pour yourself a glass of something strong, turn up the speakers, put your feet up and imagine our whole way of life go riding off into the sunset.

In case you're wondering what Mike Patton does these days (or in case you're not) he has become an Italian and now sings classic Italian pop hits (in Italian) with his own symphonic orchestra ... and he also sings opera.


  1. And contemporary apocalyptic before their time: "Zombie Eater" is also on the album "Real Thing."

  2. Faith No More = Awesomeness! (this from someone slightly under 50)-thanks for the post wrt this underrated group!
    Cheers to you my friend!

    1. I hadn't realised that they were never that popular in the US. They were/are way more popular over here in Europe.


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