San Francisco didn’t used to be so nice, but thanks to the greenhouse effect, it’s kind of pleasant,” says Billy Gould, the bassist of Faith No More. Since 1982 the funk-jam metal band has dwelled in this city where tourists bravely order Rice-A-Roni in the depths of Chinatown and pray for a quiet day on the Richter scale. As keyboardist Roddy Bottum says, “The people are really lax and pretty much open to anything.”
Lest you think this freewheeling style applies only to leftover hippies and long-haired band members, know this: The local law has a joie de vivre of its very own. During the recent shoot for the photographs that appear on these pages, Faith No More — which also includes vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Jim Martin and drummer Mike “Puffy” Bordin — whooped it up on the streets of San Francisco and also managed to shanghai (in the town once famous for this seafaring custom) some agreeable members of the San Francisco Police Department for a few mug shots.
“We asked, ‘Can we take some pictures of your car?’ ” Bottum says. “And they said, ‘Ah, suuuuure.’ “
“It was quite amazing,” says Gould. “It was a real cop handcuffing us. It was quite stimulating.”
“We asked, ‘Do you mind if the model [dancer Dalayna Downs] gets on top of the car and dances around?’ ” says Bottum. “And they said, ‘Suuuuuure, go ahead.’ “
Although the squad car became permanently pock-marked by a powerful pair of pumps, the SFPD took it all in stride. Perhaps this evidence of laid-back behavior will improve the image of West Coast cops, despite the recent high-profile exploits of the SFPD’s energetic southern cousins. The band was surprised by the amicable attitude of the police, and Gould had one of those Monumental Revelations. “It was so much fun to be on the friendly side of things,” he says. “I just realized: Cops are human. That was a big realization for me.”
Before chumming with the local fuzz, Faith No More completed “The Perfect Crime” for the soundtrack album of the film Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. This summer, instead of touring on the state-fair circuit, FNM is holing up in the studio to work on the follow-up to its Top Five album The Real Thing. “We’ll be pretty much done writing the songs within this month,” says Bottum, “and hope to have the album out sometime between summer and Christmas.”
“It’ll be different from The Real Thing in a big way,” says Gould. “The way we write, every song is different.”
Already scheduled to play at the International Rock Awards, in London on June 12th — Bottum and Bordin have been nominated for Most Valuable Player awards — FNM has tentative arrangements for a short September excursion to Japan and South America and may play a fall show with its Bay Area brethren Santana and the Grateful Dead. Claiming to be still shellshocked from their eighteen-month promotional odyssey for their last album, the members of Faith No More hope to relax this summer but seem unwilling to rule out more appearances modeling for their well-dressed fans.
“Let us be kids for all the kids out there,” says Gould. “I’d like to let us be the inspiration for all their future fashion adventures.”
Can the soundtrack for Bill and Ted Shop for Matching Coordinates be far in the future?