FAITH IN THEIR CRAFT
San Francisco legends Faith No More are ready to hit the Brisbane leg of the Soundwave Festival this weekend with some new songs
It’s a midlife crisis. Even if it isn’t, who cares a lot? Faith No More pulled the rug from under everyone and announced their first album in 18 years, Sol Invictus, will be released via Reclamation Records and Ipecac on May 19.
Gee. If only the five-piece genre-stompers from San Francisco were touring Australia this week and ready to PLAY SOL INVICTUS SONGS LIVE. Annnnd breathe.
“I never thought this record would happen actually,” drummer Mike Bordin says with boyish pride. “And I’m fired up as hell man, I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Initially, the band got back together at a wedding in 2008. Not to play, mind you, it was Roddy Bottum’s marriage to his boyfriend (they’re now separated). The quintet quickly let bygones be bygones and set off on a hugely successful reunion tour shortly after.
“There came a point in the touring when we became sick of playing the same songs. We were backstage at the end of the reunion shows, looking at each other – not to sound corny – we were appreciating what we were in each other’s lives and it felt like a necessary step to take,” keyboardist Bottum says.
“Billy (Gould, bassist and producer) really pushed that step forward, the rest of us we’re like ‘Mmmmyeah we coooo-ooould ...’ then the rest came on board.”
Gould brought the song Matador to Bordin. The metaphor is strong, it was a red rag to a bull.
“It wasn’t any different in the past with us writing We Care a Lot or writing Epic together,” Bordin enthuses.
“Throughout the history of the band the songs have started with bass and drums. Bill said to me ‘I’ve got some stuff, you should listen to it, how do you feel about that?’ I’m like ‘Bring it man’ (respectful tone).
“Bill also has that relationship with Mike. It’s like a game of musical telephone, y’know what I mean?
“We were farting around with keys and all the while Mike is getting demos saying ‘This sounds great!’ Then it becomes a matter of trimming the sails and really dialling it in. Bill is a composer, he’s a visionary in his own right,” Bordin beams.
Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) was recorded in Vulcan Studios in Oakland, California.
“Right off the bat, I’ll say this record is in balance. It’s complete. All the different elements that I expect from Faith No More I get from Sol Invictus,” he continues. “I get heavy and I get melody and I get space and I get speed when you need something tight and fast and I get hypnotic just as much as the early albums, The Real Thing and Angel Dust.’’
Gould told Rolling Stone that Sol Invictus is “hypnotic and gothic, we’re coming back to where we were with our first album,” citing Siouxsie and the Banshees and Roxy Music as touchstones. “Then Patton’s being Patton, crooning, screaming, with a bit of soul underneath it all.”
The chugging, first single Motherf---er was one Bottum brought to the table. For the first time, the erudite keys man kicks a little misanthropic spoken word “Corner in the market on the geese without the bones/ Hushing out the public in a strike without a drone.”
He agrees with Gould’s description.
“Sol Invictus feels very insular and sombre, we really avoided the damage,” he says, referring to major labels and the cretins in suits who listen to music with earbuds. “Having had it under wraps for so long resulted in a lot of common good for the project.”
They played Soundwave in 2010 and showed Chat Roulette on giant screens.
“I remember we were neighbouring Jane’s Addiction, there was a thin curtain between our room and them and we were being really quiet so we could hear what was going on – not that I’m that excited about what those people do – I felt there was some drama going on that we were trying to tap into,” Bottum says like a smart-arse, drawing back the curtain.
“I don’t mean to sound like Kanye West,” Bordin says, “but as an old dude who’s been doing it for a while, this band still stimulates the hell out of me.
“I need to be on my toes, I better bring my A-Game or they’ll slaughter me.’’
Faith No More will be performing at the Brisbane Showgrounds this weekend.