Follow TV Tropes


Music / Faith No More

Go To
The band's lineup from 1997 to the present. note 

Introduce yourself! Right on!
Introduce yourself! Right on!
Introduce yourself! Right on!
Introduce yourself! Right on!

Faith No More is an Alternative Metal band formed in San Francisco, California in 1981 by bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Wade Worthington, vocalist Mike Morris and drummer Mike Bordin. A year later, Wade Worthington was replaced by keyboardist Roddy Bottum and Mike Morris was ousted. After going through a series of singers which included Courtney Love, the band was joined by Chuck Mosley in 1983. The same year, Jim Martin was recruited to replace guitarist Mark Bowen. After a long, long time spent changing the lineup before, eventually, Chuck Mosley was replaced by Mike Patton, and the band found massive success with their third album, The Real Thing, which contains their best-known song "Epic".

The band is best known for combining elements of Heavy Metal, Funk, Progressive Rock, Hip-Hop, Hardcore Punk, and Jazz, among many, many, many, many others, and is considered one of the most influential rock bands of modern times, "Epic" having massively influenced the Nu Metal genre.

They broke up in 1998 but reformed, triumphantly, in 2009. Their seventh album, the first in 18 years, followed in May 2015.

Oh, and apparently they are destined to one day found the "Faith No More Spiritual and Theological Center".


  • We Care a Lot (1985)
  • Introduce Yourself (1987)
  • The Real Thing (1989)
  • Angel Dust (1992)
  • King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime (1995)
  • Album of the Year (1997)
  • Sol invictus (2015)

(We care a lot!) About listing tropes regarding this band:

  • The Alcoholic: Billy Gould wrote "Take This Bottle" to express how awful he felt about being one.
  • Alternative Metal: One of the founders of the genre.
  • The Cameo: From 2010 until his 2017 death, former singer Chuck Mosley occasionally joined the band live to sing one of the We Care a Lot and Introduce Yourself tracks.
  • Careful with That Axe: Patton is a fucking specialist at this. Crosses easily into Chewing the Scenery.
    • "Cuckoo For Caca" has this lovely piece: 'YOU CAN'T KILL IIIITT!!! YOU CAN'T KILL IIIITT!!!'
    • From "Caffeine", this pearl: 'I'M WARNING YOU, I'M WARNING YOU, I'M FUCKING YOU, I'M WARNING YOU'
    • Most of "Jizzlobber" has Patton on this mode, the chorus in particular:
    • "Helpless" has a subtle but still creepy example. Near the end of the song, there's three tracks of Mike Patton's vocals going at once - two of them are sung call and response parts, the third is just Mike shouting "HELP!" at the top of his lungs in time with the music... The screams aren't given as much emphasis in the mix as the more melodic vocals, but eventually everything in the song fades out but that part, so the last few seconds of the song are just Mike repeatedly screaming "HELP!" like his life depended on it.
  • Church of Happyology: The lyrics of "Land of Sunshine" are mostly taken directly from fortune cookies and Scientology personality surveys. Scientology isn't mentioned by name in the song, however.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Well, when you title your song "Motherfucker" and the refrain is "Get the motherfucker on the phone" over and over...
  • Comedic Sociopathy: "Ricochet" has the line "It's always funny until someone gets hurt, and then it's just hilarious".
  • Concept Video: The "Last Cup of Sorrow" video is an Affectionate Parody of Vertigo, with Mike Patton as Scottie, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Madeleine, and the rest of the band making humorous cameos.
  • Cover Version:
    • "Easy" by the Commodores, "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath, the Midnight Cowboy theme, "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, "Let's Lynch the Landlord" by Dead Kennedys, "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb, "I Started a Joke" by The Bee Gees, "I Wanna Fuck Myself" by GG Allin, "Niggas in Paris" by Kanye West and Jay-Z, "Highway Star" by Deep Purple. Not all of these are full covers — some were brief snippets they would include in the beginning or middle of their own songs when playing live.
    • In a live performance in the UK they've covered the Eastenders theme, to an enthusiastic reaction from the audience
  • Darker and Edgier: King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime was heavier and almost keyboard-less due to Roddy Bottum being largely absent during that album's production.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Real Thing", "Jizzlobber", "Zombie Eaters", "King for a Day", their cover of "War Pigs"
  • Evil Laugh: The chorus of "Land of Sunshine" consists of this provided by Mike Patton.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: The album version of "Anne's Song" fades out near the end of the track, then it quickly fades back in for about ten seconds and just abruptly cuts off — this is particularly jarring because the next track on the album, "Introduce Yourself", has a Lyrical Cold Open.
  • Fat Bastard: Their only Live Album was titled You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy.
  • Funk Metal: After the Red Hot Chili Peppers, perhaps the genre's best-known band, even though they didn't work exclusively in it by any means...
  • Genre Roulette: Their specialty. There aren't many genres that they haven't dabbled in at one point or another.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • "Caralho Voador", from King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, has a verse in Portuguese (as well as the title note ). For bonus points, it's styled after Bossa Nova.
    • The non-album track "Das Schützenfest", which is sung entirely in German and written in the style of polka. Apparently it's about meeting a girl at a festival held by a rifle club, then making love with her in a pig trough, and there's also a gratuitous Shout-Out to German folk singer Heino somewhere in there.
    • They have performed live versions of "Evidence" in several languages. The translation isn't always so smooth. A studio version of the song in Spanish was available via iTunes, and appears on the Argentinian release of Fool for a Day... King for a Lifetime.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Sol invictus translates as "Invincible Sun" in Latin.
  • Greatest Hits Album: They have a few, two with cheeky titles, Who Cares a Lot? (the very first track is "We Care a Lot") and The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection.
  • Harsh Vocals: Mike Patton occasionally uses these in songs like "Caffeine", "Cuckoo for Caca", "Ugly in the Morning" and "Surprise You're Dead". The most surprising example, however, is "Midlife Crisis", which uses them in the verses, but does it in such a way that it just sounds like a sort of whispered rapping. When most people hear the song for the first time, it sounds completely normal, yet was completely innovative.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Patton screaming DON'TLOOKATMEI'MUGLYINTHEMORNING! throughout "Ugly in The Morning." By the end he's just singing gibberish.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Crack Hitler", "Jizzlobber", "Cuckoo for Caca", "Naked in Front of the Computer", and "Motherfucker". The latter was a single, no less.
  • Jeopardy! Thinking Music: They'd play it in concert as a joke.
  • List Song: "We Care a Lot", listing things the band supposedly cares about as a mockery of Live Aid and celebrity charity songs.
  • Lead Bassist: Billy Gould. Not only is he exceptionally skilled, but he's also one of the band's songwriters, not to mention most of their biggest hits, notably Epic are completely dominated by Gould's bass playing.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Land of Sunshine", which has quite a funky tune, is about cults brainwashing people by asking a lot of personal questions and then pretending these things are 'wrong' and they can help them. note 
    • With its cheerleader samples and generally uplifting tone, "Be Aggressive" sounds like it should be some sort of Pep-Talk Song... It's actually an ode to gay fellatio.
    • "Edge of the World" is a smooth, soulful song about a paedophile.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Mike Patton is a musical example, with wildly varying voice pitches. It's perhaps worth noting that his vocal range is considered to be the highest on record, being three whole notes past the singer with the second-highest range (Corey Taylor).
  • Metal Scream: With Mike Patton, in a few songs.
  • Motor Mouth: "Surprise! You're Dead!" has Patton on a roll for this one.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Trey Spruance's guitar credit is buried at the very end of the credits in the liner notes for King for a Day... due to the band being pissed at him for backing out of the band at the last minute after replacing Jim Martin and recording the album (he saw the tour schedule and decided it wasn't for him).
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Epic", "Stripsearch", "Naked in Front of the Computer", "Zombie Eaters", "Pristina"...
  • Non-Indicative Name: The title of Album of the Year is a sarcastic contrast to the band's unhappiness with the final result - the artwork using images of Tomás Masaryk's funeral was selected to represent their imminent breakup.
  • Parody:
    • The video for "From Out of Nowhere" is this to Hair Metal music videos.
    • "Das Schützenfest" is a parody of German polka music, and how music sung in other languages can often include offensive lyrics that would go past the radar of someone who doesn't know the language in question.
  • Oktoberfest: Das Schützenfest. (Technically something different than Oktoberfest, but the cliches in the lyrics are the same.)
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted by singer Mike Patton and drummer Mike Bordin. Their first singer was also named Mike Morris.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "Happy Birthday, fucker" and "I deserve a reward, 'cause I'm the best fuck that you ever had" from "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies".
    • There was an improvised Precision F-Strike when the band performed "Evidence" on Hey Hey It's Saturday, as Mike Patton turned to Bill Gould and said "I think I fucked up".
    • In live performances, Mike Patton pretty much always adds a couple of these to "Epic" - "it's outta sight" becomes "shit's outta sight", while "so you lay down on it and you do it some more" becomes "so you lay down on it and you fuck it some more" note .
  • Prison Rape: "Jizzlobber" is about Mike Patton's fear of going to prison and (presumably) being raped.
  • Progressive Metal
  • Rap Rock / Rap Metal: Early pioneer of this.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The Chuck Mosley era song "New Improved Song" was released on a sampler in 1988, before he left the band. It's possible the band would have intended it on their next album with him, but it didn't happen, so it was rewritten by the Mike Patton lineup as "The Morning After" and appeared on The Real Thing.
    • The 1989 Real Thing outtake "Sweet Emotion" appeared on a flexi disc, before it was reworked as "The Perfect Crime" for the 1991 soundtrack to Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey.
  • Recycled Lyrics: "Chinese Arithmetic" and "R n' R", both from Introduce Yourself, share the following passage:
    We've got the same ideas, we got the same old fears;
    Different colors sometimes, but hey, who cares?
    It's just years that shears our lives apart
    like the time you tried to teach your nephew to fartnote 
    He couldn't do it. PUSH!
    • "Last Cup Of Sorrow" includes the lines "Raise your glass and let's propose a toast / to the thing that hurts you most" - this is a slight variation a lyric from "Bloody Mary", an old Mr. Bungle demo ("Raise your glass and toast / To the thing that hurts you most")
  • Retraux: The song "Mouth to Mouth" from Album of the Year is written in the style of the band's work with Chuck Mosley. Mike Patton imitates Chuck's rhythmic style of rapping (similar to tracks like "R'N'R"), and the Middle Eastern sounding music calls to mind the way many of the songs from that period were based around synth lines and tight bass and drum rhythms. The track particularly stands out because the rest of the album is far more driven by electronica and metal. Many fans have wondered what "Mouth to Mouth" would sound like with Chuck on vocals.
  • Sampling: In a few songs, most of them on Angel Dust.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • "Epic":
    "What. Is. It?" "It's IT!"
    • "Cuckoo For Caca"
    "Shit! Lives! Forever! 'Cause shit! Lives! Forever!"
  • Shout-Out: The video for "Last Cup of Sorrow" is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The artwork to the single is modeled after a famous poster for the film.
  • Sore Loser: "A Small Victory" is sung from the perspective of one. Losing "shouldn't bother [them], but it does."
  • Spelling Song: "Be Aggressive". With cheerleaders, and everything!
    Be! Aggressive! B-E Aggressive!
  • Spiritual Successor: They have seemingly found one with Japan's most successful metal band.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "Motherfucker" has Roddy Bottum speak/rapping the verses, with Mike Patton only singing the chorus. Combine that with an Intentionally Awkward Title and a chorus consisting of a Cluster F-Bomb, and it was a particularly unlikely lead single for Sol invictus.
  • Straight Gay: Roddy Bottum. Bottum revealed his homosexuality in 1993. In a 2001 article in The Advocate, Bottum stated that "I would never have thought as a gay teen I'd be in a band that would be considered heavy metal or hard rock."
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Their cover of "War Pigs" was a live staple, so at a certain point they decided to spite the metalhead audience who started to ask for "War Pigs" and go into the Commodores' "Easy", and later The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke" instead. The band would also cover Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's In Love With You" before their initial breakup.
  • Stylistic Suck: The "Everything's Ruined" video, which features laughably obvious Chroma Key and Stock Footage, inspired by county fair video booths. While the video is deliberately cheap-looking, it really was shot on a tight budget - after more lavish clips for "Midlife Crisis" and "A Small Victory", there wasn't much money left for a third video to promote Angel Dust.
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • "We Care a Lot" features constant flashes to a baby. It's never explained.
    • "Epic" involves the band performing on a soundstage while soaked by a storm, ominous close-ups of Patton, a flopping fish (which they jokingly claimed to have stolen from Björk) and Bottum's piano exploding at the end
    • "Falling to Pieces" includes exploding fish and hands with eyeballs.
  • Take That!:
    • "We Care A Lot" mocks charity singles of its era. One line even goes "(We care a lot) about starvation and the food that Live Aid bought".
    • "Epic" continued the trend by mocking the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their song style at the time.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: It's very rare for this band, but they do have an example in their cover of GG Allin's "I Wanna Fuck Myself" - in order to mimic the low-budget feel of the original, they deliberately made the recording quality as murky and indistinguishable as possible.
  • Troll:
    • Bottum wrote the lyrics to "Be Aggressive" as unambiguously about gay fellatio as possible just to see if Patton would actually sing them.
    • As noted on Surprisingly Gentle Song, to spite the metalheads who wanted "War Pigs" came other songs. Billy Gould stated that "just to see the number of middle fingers go up when we go into 'Easy' is amazing."
    • Mike Patton has had a reputation for doing off-kilter covers live.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Singers Chuck Mosley and Mike Patton. To put it kindly, Chuck couldn't sing, at least conventionally, but part of his charm was his raw. rhythmic, almost rap-like approach to singing. Mike Patton is a freak of nature with the biggest vocal range, and range of techniques seen in all of popular music.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the fish from the "Epic" video? It was returned alive to its aquarium.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: A fair part of their discography; "Epic" springs to mind as a specific example, although you will hear all sorts of contradictory accounts of what Mike Patton allegedly said the lyrics mean, many of which are urban legends. Mike has mentioned before that he feels his lyrics are his weakest skill in composition, and he only sees lyrics as another instrument.