A Heavy Metal Legend’s Bizarre Relationship With Danny DeVito

tatu43, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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The relationship between Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and comedian Danny DeVito might appear strange on paper, but the two committed artists with penchants for the absurd go together like a peanut butter and feces sandwich (and if you know much about Patton, you know that’s a compliment). 

In an Artist-On-Artist interview, DeVito explained that his son initially introduced him to the musician’s work by convincing the actor to check out Fantomas at Coachella in 2005, saying: “My son and his friends brought me a greater appreciation of really good music. He said ‘We’re going to Coachella, the music festival in California, and you’ve gotta check this out.’ 

“We played it all the way down in the car. I swear to God, when I saw Mike on stage with this group that he’s put together, it was one of the most exciting experiences.”

When asked about Coachella in a 2006 interview with Pagesix.com, DeVito enthused: “Fantomas blew me away. They are super out of this world beyond! Mike Patton is a genius. You know he was in Faith No More and MR BUNGLE, right? Fantomas are experimental and just crazy.”

In an interview from the same year, Mike Patton referenced the Taxi actor when asked about his influences, saying: “I don’t really limit my influences. Everything in my life influences me, from my morning coffee to each meal. Really hard to nail down. Danny Devito influences me!” 

From that point onward, the pair appeared to become close. The Patton-fronted project Peeping Tom performed at the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia season 2 premiere party and the cast were hopeful that he’d do a cameo on the show someday, as cast member Glenn Howerton explained: “I know that Patton was willing to do it at one point. I don’t know if that is still the case.”

“We haven’t got anything for him at this point,” he continued. “But I do want to have him on the show. I am a big fan of his.”

At the same time,  DeVito made an appearance in the video for the Peeping Tom track, “Mojo”. In the Matt McDermitt-directed clip, DeVito plays a despondent insomniac watching late-night television in his underwear while being bombarded by infomercials and surrealist exploitation programming.

“It’s a pretty cute, haunting video,” Patton told MTV

When DeVito was a guest DJ on California radio station KCRW, he went as far as to include a Peeping Tom track in his five favorite songs of all time.

“I get a lot of inspiration from my daughters and son,” the actor said. “About four or five years ago – we usually go to a music festival called Coachella -and one year, all my son Jake could talk about was Fantomas. So a bunch of us went over to the Fantomas tent, and boy, I’m telling you, it was one of the greatest shows I ever saw. And from that day on, I’ve been a huge Mike Patton fan.” 

“I’ve revisited listening to Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, and all the stuff,” he continued. “Anyway, about a year or two ago, he put out a new group called Peeping Tom, and on that album is Five Seconds. The thing about that song is that you want to listen to it a lot. The words are amazing. When he says, “you are the air that I breathe,” it just blows me away. There’s kind of an angst, but a declaration of love in there.”

DeVito has been spotted numerous times hanging out on the side of the stage during Mike Patton gigs. In the caption of an Instagram post by Dave Lombardo after a Mr. Bungle show in February of 2020, the drummer said: “It was so great to see Danny Devito last night. One of nicest guys I’ve ever met. Watching him give our vocalist Mike Patton acting tips was a treat all on its own. A true artist with an appreciation for many styles of music.”