The sophisticated gentlemen in Faith No More like to accessorize with a gimp.
  • Courtesy of Speakeasy PR
  • The sophisticated gentlemen in Faith No More like to accessorize with a gimp.

The Reader has never had much to say about Faith No More—in our admittedly patchy archives, the only reference I could find to these Bay Area alt-metal weirdos during their peak years was a dumb joke in a 1992 Bill Wyman column. “The imponderables of rock ‘n’ roll are many,” he wrote, clearly already pleased with his impending punch line, “from why does Billy Joel exist to why do so many current groups (Metallica, Faith No More, Soundgarden, to name just three) feature guitarists with funny facial hair.”

Well. I’ll leave you to wrestle with that one on your own. But I will say that I understand the omission. Faith No More were a little too famous to concern a newspaper that in certain respects considered itself a grubby countercultural gadfly. Not only that, they were and remain a divisive band—their sarcastic-sounding jock jams and leering, aggressive lounge-rock tomfoolery can leave you feeling like the whole thing is an elaborate joke at your expense. A lot of people hate them, and after 19 years at the Reader I feel qualified to say that a few of those people have written about music for us.

But I don’t hate Faith No More. I even thought “We Care a Lot” was funny in junior high. Though I appreciate front man Mike Patton more in Mr. Bungle and Tomahawk (I never caught up with Fantômas), I’m nonetheless happy to see FNM release their first album in 18 years. Sol Invictus (Ipecac/Reclamation) comes out May 19, and Patton and company play Chicago tonight—their first local show since the late 90s.

Everybody who’s been in the band since their 2009 reunion also appears on Faith No More’s last prebreakup release, 1997’s Album of the Year—founding members Roddy Bottum (keyboards), Mike Bordin (drums), and Billy Gould (bass), guitarist Jon Hudson (aboard since 1996), and of course Patton (who joined in 1988). The gimp in FNM’s publicity photos, who’s accompanying them on the road, isn’t necessarily the same person every night: late last month in Los Angeles, former Guns n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan supposedly wore the suit. I hope they steam clean that thing.

Anyway. If you care about Faith No More at all, you’ve probably heard both of the songs they’ve released to tease Sol Invictus, “Superhero” and “Motherfucker.”

Since we’re all here, though, how about a couple old favorites too? I’m gonna go with “Everything’s Ruined” and “A Small Victory,” both from 1992’s Angel Dust. Now that I listen to so much revolting metal, I don’t find Faith No More’s stabs at the genre especially persuasive—but songs like these, where the boys wade eyebrows deep into their own idiosyncratic hybrid style, still sound like fun. Weird, slightly uncomfortable fun.

And what the hell, here’s “From Out of Nowhere,” the lead track on 1989’s The Real Thing. I’m posting this one mostly because I’m pretty sure Patton is making fun of Anthony Kiedis in the video.

Tonight at Concord Music Hall
, doors open at 7 PM, openers Le Butcherettes play at 8, and Faith No More goes on at 9:15. The show is sold out.

Correction: This post has been amended to reflect the correct year of Faith No More’s previous Chicago appearance.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.