Of all the heavyweights of modern hard rock, Faith No More are surely the trickiest to pin down. With a sound too often simplified as ‘alt.metal’, these visionaries blazed their trail with a sense of sheer fearlessness, building on proggy funk-rock foundations with sounds as diverse as jazz, lounge, post-punk, thrash and synth-pop, crafting a catalogue that feels gleefully avant-garde. By turns frivolous, solemn and downright demented, their work has felt like a perpetually shifting picture. Never, however, has it been less than electrifying.
What started as a collective (featuring bassist Billy Gould and drummer Mike “Puffy” Bordin) under the banner Sharp Young Men all the way back in 1979, metamorphosed into Faith No Man in 1981, then Faith No More following the departure of original vocalist/guitarist Mike “The Man” Morris and the arrival of keyboardist Roddy Bottum. Wildcard guitarist Jim Martin would join in 1983, as they cycled through a slew of singers – from the infamous Courtney Love to the late Chuck Mosley – who helped crystallise their conceptual sound. It wasn’t until Chuck stepped aside for visionary Mr. Bungle singer Mike Patton in 1988, though, that they became the world-beaters we know today.