‘I did expect that to be the last album’: Faith No More Talk Album of the Year

Silvio Tanaka from Sao Paulo, Brazil, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Back 25 years ago, Faith No More released their sixth studio record Album of the Year – the record that very well could have been their last. Album of the Year was the last release to come from the band before they would take on an 11-year hiatus (releasing Sol Invictus in 2015).

Much like we celebrated the anniversaries of Angel Dust and Introduce Yourself (celebrating their 30th and 35th anniversary, respectively), we also reached out to the band to learn more about this record! In the video you will find below, we asked the band about their favorite songs off the record, we asked about bands they had toured with, and among other topics, if they felt that Album of the Year was really going to be their last record. This interview features Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, and bassist Billy Gould.

After the interview, be sure to check out the brand new 4K HD version of the music video for “Last Cup of Sorrow.”

Faith No More talk Album of the Year

Regarding other Faith No More coverage, we also recently spoke with that of band bassist Billy Gould about the impact that the band had on the nu metal genre.

Below you will find our full transcription of this latest interview with Faith No More.

The Pit: What are your favorite songs off of Album of the Year?  

Roddy Bottum: I really like on that record, “Strip Search.” I like the keyboard things that John Hudson basically wrote; I believe he was responsible for those; it was sort of a song of his making that was really strong and different and had a sense of majesty. Also in that way, but in another way, “Ashes to Ashes,” I think, was a really strong like, Faith No More song; [it] felt to me like very Faith No More. The chord progression, the strings that happened, that was mostly Billy; I really appreciated the lyrics of it. The mountain line, not mountain lion, the line about mountain, it’s always been really strong to me. It’s funny, like back then, I don’t think we as a group paid that much attention to what Mike [Patton] was singing, which is insane to say and insane to recognize. But when I go back, sometimes I’ll read his lyrics as I listen to stuff and it’s like “Wow.” He’s really, really a strong writer. I guess we all acknowledge that, but I don’t know. It’s just funny when I read back stuff or listen back and listen to what he was saying. I feel really strongly about his craft. 

The Pit: What was it like for you to co-produce Album of the Year? (Directed at Billy Gould)

Billy Gould: It was great, it was an absolutely great experience, even though it was a frustrating album to make. You know, I ended up co-producing in the beginning when we didn’t have a producer. We were just writing songs and recording them and, of all the guys, [I was] probably the most technical, so I was around for most of it […] It got to a point where most of the music was recorded and I was kind of the overseer with the engineer, so I was, you know, kind of producing it I guess. I mean, I’d never thought of producing Faith No More, but there’s also a certain point in, [considering] my technical limitations, where I could only take it so far. I could get the recording in the arrangement part, but I couldn’t get into the real technical post-production and mixing and we needed help there.

I mean, we just recorded with Matt Wallace, who’s been doing this forever [and] is super knowledgeable; and then [there’s] Andy Wallace who’s like a master. So, I would never have taken it to that level. We met Roli Mosimann once in New York and I loved his work with The Young Gods. He’s a great guy. He’s technically savvy and he kind of came into this like, kind of as a mixer, but he showed me a lot of things and he helped us clean up a lot of things. He brought Pro Tools into it for the first time. I think it was 1996-1997, and not a lot of people were using it, and we were. We got into Pro Tools and then we got into some things that really tightened a lot of little things up that made a huge difference actually – especially like in a song like “Strip Search.” He really co-produced the record, because it wouldn’t have been the same without him. He stayed at my house, and we had a great time.

It was just something that, you know, it worked out really well. It actually felt [honoring] and [I was] a little bit scared to even have production credit on it. But I think it was a great thing and that was the beginning of what would set my path for the next 20 years. 

The Pit: Why did you decide to create a remix of “Pristina”?

Billy Gould: You know, the reason I did it was because, well, I wrote the song, and at the time, the way remixers were going, there was a certain sameness [going on]; I didn’t want to just give [the track] to some remixer who was going to turn into like some kind of industrial house music song or something. [The song had] a feeling and I think I just did it on my own. I just thought I would like to hear somebody take the song and take it to this level. You know, like almost a smooth jazz level, and I think I played it to everybody and they just said you should use this as a remix – I think that’s how it came into part. I think I just did it for fun; so it was super cool being able to do that. Probably the best compliment I ever got on it was – Mike Patton was in the record store and [the remix] was playing and he was like “This is a really cool song – What is it?” Then he realized it was my remix. I take that as a huge compliment that means that it did the job. 

The Pit: Are there any behind the scenes stories about creating Album of the Year that stand out to you?  

Billy Gould: Friend of mine worked in a recording studio in San Francisco, and as I mentioned in another [answer], we had a Pro Tools system that we rented to do some work on the record; but the record was all recorded on a 2-inch tape, so we had to [find] a way to transfer the 2-inch tape into Pro Tools to make some changes. Since we had the Pro Tools system at my house, we had to try to get a 2-inch tape machine. So my friend had a recording studio that [he] was part owner in, and he’s like you can borrow the tape machine for the weekend. So I had this pickup truck – we went over to the studio and we got the machine in the back of the truck, got it to my house, [and] wheeled it into the backyard.

My workroom was like this gardener shed that was turned into a music studio, and I remember because, I had a couple dogs and [there] was dog shit all over the yard. We were wheeling this giant machine around, around the dog shit, into the basement and we made all the transfers there and did all the work there. Roli stayed over at my place for at least a month, maybe longer than that and we worked in that room and we got the tape machine back and it just really was as DIY as it gets, super cool. It meant we were doing things ourselves and we really made that record ourselves. You know, with our own hands, and it was a great feeling actually, it was fun. 

The Pit: Who are some bands you have enjoyed touring with over the years?  

Mike Bourdin: We went on tour with Soundgarden a lot. I love the music, I respected them as musicians and people. We always had a good time. Metallica took us under their wing very early, extremely grateful for that. Nothing but good feelings and a gratitude for that. Learned a lot, learned a lot about hostile audiences that maybe didn’t want to see us particularly, and how to present our music, which is very, very important. And it also forces you to really believe in what you’re doing, because if you’re sort of wishy washy about it you’ll get slaughtered. Guns N’ Roses have been talked about a lot, my opinion is that I’m extremely grateful for what they did, for sharing their stage with us, for getting us to play Angel Dust in front of a lot of people. It focused our aggression intensely because it was a very aggressive album and allowed us to present the music on the biggest stage that was. And again make sure that we really, really were believing in what we did, and I think it was really good for me to really learn how to present music on a large scale and let the music speak. Helmet – great, Kyuss- legendary, Babes in ToyLand- excellent, L7- a lot of fun. Prong- good stuff. 

The Pit: Did you think that Album of the Year would be your last record? Did Sol Invictus change your view of AOTY?  

Mike Bourdin: I did probably, deep down, expect that to be the last album, because I was contributing to it while I was on tour with Ozzy, which wasn’t a bad thing – I was grateful to be doing both. I was grateful that Bill was spending so much time in his laboratory, cooking things up. I liked the songs. I liked the performances. I liked what we were doing. I felt good about the album, and I was happy with how it came out. So when Sol Invictus came out, it was fantastic also, but really didn’t impact how I feel about Album of the Year at all – so there you have it. 


Check out our other recent Faith No More interviews:

Interview: Faith No More Members Look Back on 35 Years of Introduce Yourself

Hard Drugs, Sexual Freedom & Musical Experimentation- Faith No More Members Reflect on ‘Angel Dust’ Creation & Legacy