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

Interview: Faith No More Members Look Back on 35 Years of Introduce Yourself
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35 years ago, alternative metal act Faith No More released their sophomore studio album, Introduce Yourself. Along with being the band’s first major label debut, it is also the last record to feature ex-band singer Chuck Mosley (Mike Patton would join the band afterwards). Much like we just celebrated the 30th anniversary of Angel Dust, it’s now time to pay homage to this incredible release.

We reached out to members of Faith No More to talk about Introduce Yourself; we asked them about working with Chuck, the lyrical themes found on the album (particularly the song “We Care a Lot”), and much more. You can find our video interview with Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, and bassist Billy Gould below, along with the brand new 4K HD version of their iconic music video for “We Care a Lot.”

Faith No More talk Introduce Yourself

 

The Pit: What Songs on Introduce Yourself stand out to you the most?  

Mike Bordin:  Standouts to me are, I think, “Anne’s Song” is excellent because it was very different than everything else we’ve done. “Spirit” because it was a very old riff and part that we had from the very, very, very, very, very beginning of the band and we’d finished it. I love how it turned out and we still played it on our most recent tours. “The Crab Song” became the live staple which was excellent. “Chinese Arithmetic” for me because it was so much fun to play and it reminds me of the times that we spent on tour… we wrote that song in a place called the Metroplex in Atlanta, on the stage because it just sounded so good that building. So, there you go!

The Pit: Are there any interesting stories surrounding the touring for Introduce Yourself?  

Mike Bordin: Well that was a long ass time ago. I’ll say that first of all, what I can remember offhand… the first thing that comes to mind is that was the first time we went to the UK and Europe, which was really a good beginning for us. Finding an audience or finding and connecting with people, also going places and sort of really learning how to present what we did and that was the beginning of that process. We had more support behind us with Slash Records and Bob Biggs and Amber Stappen, who believed in what we were doing and tried their best to help get us out there and keep us out there. So yeah. Kind of the beginning for real of getting us out there- that was Introduce Yourself. Obviously, it was also the end of our run with Chuck, which was frustrating and bittersweet because although it was frustrating, there was still a lot of good feelings and a lot history and hard work that we had with him. But, it ran its course and became pretty clear that we weren’t going to keep getting better, evolving, improving, learning and honing our craft. So, we made a change and that was a big change. It was controversial and some people were very scared about it outside of the band. As far as business goes, because they don’t want to upset the applecart, but we did it and that’s how it goes. 

The Pit: What inspired the band’s shift to cover heavy lyrical subjects like drug use and the AIDS epidemic? 

Roddy Bottum: I assume, yeah, you’re talking about We Care a lot. I wrote the lyrics to that song and it was something that was sort of really in our just collective. As far as like living in San Francisco and being who we were and the friends that we had and the lives we were living, I think. It was just… we were just singing about stuff around us. I think also as a direct response to I think We Care a Lot. was really based on like We are the World. You know that sort of cheesy kind of charity song that came out in the 80s or early 90s I think it was. But in a cheeky, defiant sort of way that was kind of our response to that, like kind of a political anthem. Also, we were listening to Run DMC lot at the time was really big on our sort of like playlist, and the song was sort of generated musically by that sort of vibe. And then, the lyrical content sort of rapping, which you know we hadn’t done that. Sort of incorporated, was inspired by that. And like I said, the lyrical content was just based on sort of like, things in the world. It was probably different, though, because it was coming from my voice rather than Mike’s or Chuck’s so. 

The Pit: Why did you decide to re-record “We Care a Lot”? 

Roddy Bottum: I think like in the mix of like the first batch of songs that we wrote. That song was strong and felt like sort of the most, I don’t know, accessible sort of song at the time, and we put our record on a pretty small label called Mordam Records, which is great. A woman named Ruth Schwartz put out the record and it did fine, but like you know I mean on a very small level. So at the time we decided to making a record for Slash, it felt like you know why not, like re-record the song and give it a second chance. It was really just sort of like we were hoping for, you know, more attention and more kind of record sales and stuff. It felt like not cheesy at all. It’s just like, yeah, Let’s do that. We were able to make a really, pretty strong video for it. We had a budget for a video… that was also part of the decision I think. 

The Pit: Given that this was the band’s first major label release, was it approached differently?  

Billy Gould: So we made Introduce Yourself the way we made We Care a Lot. I mean we did We Care a Lot on a super tight budget. I think we made it in two parts ’cause we couldn’t afford to make the whole album in one go and the way we made sure we were efficient was we knew everything we were going to be doing. Before we went in and we worked it out, we worked it hard and we refined it so that we just went in and banged it out. We did the same with Introduce Yourself and pretty much I would say 99.9% of the arrangements were done by us. We had Matt Wallace produced We Care a Lot , but we pretty much had done all of the arrangements and stuff, so he was kind of there as an engineer pretty much, and so we wanted to, you know, we were independent minded. We wanted to keep control over our work and we kind of went into it that way. Where it changed a little bit was, you know, we got signed to Slash Records and they didn’t know us. They didn’t want to give us a bunch of money to go and record. They didn’t know Matt and they wanted to have somebody they trusted so they told us we needed to bring in another producer on the project which is Steve Berlin from Los Lobos. Steve, you know we were a little cagey at first, because we didn’t know him and we didn’t know what he was going to do. Was he a spy? What was he doing? But he was cool, we really got along. Well, he loved the music and he was actually, you know, a good set of ears around. He’s very knowledgeable guy and I got to think I learned a lot actually having him around and his perspective was great. So nobody was guiding us, but everybody was supporting us and I mean, you know you listen to that record now it’s got some little rough around the edges. It doesn’t bother me at all, but you can tell with that roughness that you know we were left to our own devices to a certain extent. 

The Pit: What was it like touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and that time period for the band?  

Billy Gould: That was interesting. We, you know, we did something like 56 shows in 55 days, I think. It was a crazy tour, there weren’t any days off that I can think of, and we were all pretty young. We were in our early twenties, people were going out and we could bounce back from most things. We got drilled pretty hard I mean, we were in a van, they were in a camper. In the beginning we were kind of like, you know, checking each other out because you know they’re this band from LA, we’re this band from San Francisco. We had, at the time, neither of us really were similar from anything that we were coming from and we both kind of had a certain groove-based thing to what we did. I guess it’s kind of natural that we would tour together. It was a little weird at first, and after about a week it warmed up and towards the end I mean it was you know, and after a couple of months of that we were just in the groove. It’s funny, we never really stayed in touch with them after the tour. But, that tour, there was a lot of things that happened and there was a lot of great gigs, and a lot of great times. It was a great period of time and it was like we were still all, we were both playing small clubs mostly and it was very real. It was very much like you could play a gig after our show, we’d go off stage you know and we’d be hanging out in the crowd and they would go on. We would share these horrible little dressing rooms and yeah, it was very cool. I don’t know it’s strange to think about, now that we’re looking back on that period of time and it was actually a really cool period of time. 

The Pit: Are there any special memories you have recording the album with ex-singer Chuck Mosley? 

Billy Gould: There’s one thing that really stands out. I think Chuck was under a little bit of pressure because he wasn’t a singer by trade. I was in a band with him when he was 13-14 years old and he was a keyboard player and the singer thing just kinda came by accident. He happened to have a singing voice, I mean he’s a musical guy. He jammed with us one night and it worked, we just kept asking him to come do it again and he kind of became by default our singer. I think by being a singer you know, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that and I think some insecurity and he had that built in. So I remember when we signed to Slash and were going in to introduce ourselves, there was more at stake. People were starting to pay attention to us and look at us for the first time in our lives and I remember when he had to sing, he would always catch a cold. He would always you know, and you can actually hear it on the record, he’s stuffed up. It would actually drive us absolutely nuts, but he really put himself under a lot of pressure and I think he did a great job actually on that record, but it was, as you can imagine it was a little nerve wracking. 

 

What does Faith No More’s Introduce Yourself mean to you? If you haven’t checked out our other recent Faith No More features, you can find links to both articles below:

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

‘That genre became more popular than we ever were’: Faith No More Talk About Their Impact On The Nu Metal Genre

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