The Mike Patton Corner: Faith No More’s King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime
It feels wrong to start a review for such a creative and unique band with a tired cliche, but there’s no other way to put it: In 1995, Faith No More were at a crossroads.
Guitarist Jim Martin was fired via fax due to his unwillingness to move on with the band into a more creative direction, something which had long made him the object of Mike Patton’s ire. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum was reeling from the death of his father, as well as of Kurt Cobain, with whom he’d spent a lot of time during the last few months of his life (Courtney Love was his good friend due to her almost year-long stint in the 80’s as Faith No More’s singer). The band spent much of the writing and recording sessions for their new record without Bottum and four months looking for a new guitarist. If all that weren’t enough, they were also involved in a bad car accident while Patton was driving, which probably inspired some lyrical topics like injury, aging, and death. Morale was low, but ideas were many, resulting in one of Faith No More’s most disjointed, adventurous, and accessible albums, King for a Day…Fool for a Lifetime.
Stylistically, this album is very diverse, some might say inconstant, but the genre experiments are generally limited to one per song, as opposed to Mr. Bungle’s frequent mid-song style shifts. Speaking of Mr. Bungle, the man they got to replace Jim Martin was none other than Bungle’s own guitarist Trey Spruance, who came with less than the highest recommendation from Mike Patton. According to a popular Faith No More FAQ, Patton was quoted (or paraphrased) by drummer Mike “Puff” Bordin as saying, “He’s a great guitarist, he’ll do the job, but he’s not dependable and he’ll fuck us up ultimately due to his lack of any sense of responsibility.” Because of the band’s hectic schedule, Spruance ended up not touring with them or continuing as their guitarist moving forward. Despite all this, he was a decidedly great choice for this album in particular given his chameleonic nature, and his performances feel perfectly in place no matter what genre the band are attempting. The production on this album is also excellent, every instrument is well balanced and can be clearly heard, and the placement of Patton’s voice is always perfect. On this album, Faith No More dabble in festival funk rock…