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No More Faith No More

Funk metal quintet calls it quits after fifteen years

April 20, 1998 12:00 AM ET

During Faith No More's fifteen-year run, they spent nearly as much time diffusing break-up rumors as they did making music. As of today, they no longer have to worry about either. The band officially announced its break-up eleven months after the release of its sixth album, the optimistically-titled, but critically-panned and commercially-lackluster Album of the Year.

In a prepared statement, the band said: "By breaking up, the decision among the members is mutual, and there will be no pointing of fingers, no naming of names, other than stating, for the record, that 'Puffy started it.'" The band is currently in the process of canceling dates for a spring European tour.

FNM reached the height of their popularity in 1989 when vocalist Mike Patton replaced original frontman Chuck Mosely. Soon after, the funk metal outfit released the multi-platinum The Real Thing and, more importantly, provided the music industry a needed respite from glam and classic rock. Unfortunately for FNM, the group didn't get the chance to ride the coattails of the new music revolution for long. By the release of their next album, 1992's Angel Dust, grunge had already taken the U.S by storm, and FNM went from being music pioneers to just another metal band -- a label they seemed to embrace by opening for Metallica and Guns n' Roses on a '92 summer stadium tour. To date, Album of the Year has sold a mere 164,000 copies in the U.S.

Still, the more FNM's audience dwindled it the U.S., the greater it grew in Europe. So, instead of packing it in, FNM toured long and hard overseas and persevered with four different guitarists, two vocalists and a good deal of in-fighting. In January '97, bassist Billy Gould told Rolling Stone Network, "there's definitely tension in the band. There's been some arguments. But, I think Faith No More has been a priority for everybody for so many years that this is the time for everybody to do their thing."

Throughout FNM's reign, nearly every member split their time with various projects: Mike Patton fronts the experimental band Mr. Bungle; drummer Mike Bordin toured with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath; keyboardist Roddy Bottum plays with Imperial Teen; and Billy Gould did remixes for bands like Rammstein and is currently working on a solo project.

As far as any unreleased FNM in the offering, Gould says it will see the light of day, "but it's all kind of new to talk about."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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