We recently spoke to Adrian Harte, author of Small Victories: The True Story of Faith No More. Harte is also the founder and editor of the Faith No More 2.0 website — www.newfaithnomore.com. Here's what Adrian had to say. about his new book, the band and, perhaps, some guesses as to the future of FNM.
FNM sort of passed me by, so for others like me you never got into the band, what's in the book for them?
One of the main motivations I had in writing in the book was a belief that Faith No More had not received their due respect, and had not been given their rightful place in the rock pantheon. I wanted to show why Faith No More matter. How they emerged from a pop and hardcore area and era, were embraced and repelled by metal, and how they and alternative rock went MTV mainstream in the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, reading this Faith No More story, you can trace the evolution and de-evolution of rock music in the past four decadeFait
Throw in band splits, Courtney Love, sackings, punch-ups, car cashes, and addiction, and there is plenty of mischief to go with the music. And fans of Metallica, Soundgarden, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot — and even Charles and Eddie! — will see their favourites pop up throughout the book.
What five songs would you choose to introduce a FNM agnostic to the band and why?
We Care A Lot
This was Faith No More's perfectly-pitched antidote to the Live Aid rock star do-goodery of the time. Yes, that's not Mike Patton on vocals, but Chuck Mosley, the band's singer on their first two albums, who perfectly encapsulated their outsider attitude with his sneery punk-derived proto-rap delivery. The 1985 single, the band's first college radio hit, features FNM trademarks: the Bill Gould and Mike Bordin rhythmic underpinning, Jim Martin's crunchy guitar, Mosley's rap, and Roddy Bottum's floating keyboards and smart lyrics. The song was re-recorded with updated lyrics for the band's second album in 1987.
The Real Thing
The real epic from Faith No More's breakthrough 1989 album of the same name. Eight minutes of rock perfection that showcased the 21-year-old Patton's precocious songwriting and singing ability.
My favourite Faith No More song, and it also won the World Cup of Faith No More, an online poll to find FNM fans' favourite track. It is the sound of modern rock forming, as the band break down the guitar-rock paradigm with rich sampling and borrowed beats. Catchy as hell too.
Ashes to Ashes
Even in the post-Jim Martin iterations of the band, Faith No More could still ramp out riff-based tunes, and this one showcases Jon Hudson's more understated style to perfection. Patton's resonant vocals are perhaps the best of his career. The book tells the story of how FNM played this on the BBC's Top of the Pops chart show with a hired-gun drummer with dramatic results, and also has a Bruce Willis connection.
The song that proved that Faith No More were back to their best or better on comeback album, 2015's Sol Invictus. The first song Bill Gould and Mike Bordin worked on together as the band got creative again in 2012
How cooperative was the band, and what will/should their fans take away from the book?
The band, and former members of the band, were extremely co-operative, and I spent many hours interviewing them by phone, email, and in person in San Francisco.They were incredibly honest and forthcoming, and also helped me find other contacts and players in their story. They also give me access to their own photo archives, and the book contains many previous unpublished photographs.
I won't presume to say what fans can take away from the book, but I know that even the most dedicated Faith No More fan — and I've already heard this from a few FNM obsessives — will learn lots of new stuff about their favourite band. This is the Faith No More book that the fans have been waiting for, and the book the band deserve.
What were the biggest surprises when you were compiling material for the book?
There were a lot. And I'm not going to reveal them all here! Suffice to say that the band members themselves were surprised by some of the things they read in the book.
What's next for Faith No More the band, and Adrian Harte the author?
I reveal some about FNM's future in the book, but the truth is I really don't know anything for sure — and the band probably don't know either. They are busy on their own separate projects for much of 2018, but I'd hope to hear something next year. As for me, it's back to work and family life, but I have a few ideas for a second book. Possibly a sports biography or a deep dive into why the world has fallen out of love with rock music.
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