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Faith No More week

Continuing the Faith No More Week celebrations, we next take a look at three of Mike Patton’s post-FNM projects. Make sure to take a look at the first part of the bluffers guide, with our love letter to Mr. Bungle, as well as the rest of the week’s content!

There’s no denying that, in years that followed the demise of Faith No More, Mike Patton was a very busy man indeed. With a whole host of different projects to his name, there’s a lot to take in – so we’ve put together a little bit of a bluffers guide to those projects for you. Aren’t we nice? We’ll start with:


TomahawkTomahawk are, along with Fntômas, something of a supergroup. In 2001, Patton joined forces with guitarist Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard, bassist Kevin Rutmanis of the Melvins and drummer John Stanier, of Helmet and Battles, to produce an album of off-kilter rock songs that probably tracked closer in feel to Faith No More than any other Patton project.

This is slightly more surprising than it may first appear, as the initial creative force behind Tomahawk is actually Denison, and his twisted riffs are the foundations on which Tomahawk songs are built. From a personal perspective, the prospect of Tomahawk was hugely exciting, as it brought together my favourite vocalist and one of my favourite drummers. What could go wrong?

I wasn’t disappointed. Tomahawk’s sound is dark, claustrophobic and tinged with Americana. There’s a subtle country and western influence, particularly in Denison’s twangy riffs, and the songs are liberally peppered with extra samples and textures. They are carefully replicated when the band play live by Patton, stationed behind such a bewildering array of kit – including a distinctive microphone built into a gasmask – that he has to come out and set it up himself, rather than leave it to the roadies.

Over the course of their eponymous debut and the 2003 follow-up Mit Gas, Tomahawk developed their reputation for quirky quality through tracks like “God Hates A Coward“, “Pop 1“, “Mayday” and “When The Stars Begin To Fall“. But, then things went – even by the standards of those involved – a little bit…weird. Bassist Kevin Rutmanis left both Tomahawk and Melvins at around the same time, for reasons that have never really been explained. Tomahawk retreated from playing live entirely and, in 2007, released their exceptionally bizarre Anonymous. Based on traditional Native American songs, it marked a most dramatic departure from the previous albums. Perhaps because of the near-total lack of a frame of reference, Anonymous has never really spoken to me and probably marks the first time I was genuinely disappointed by a Patton album. It does hold a certain curiosity value, though – especially for people with an interest in Native American music.

It was back to business as usual when the band re-emerged briefly in 2013, with long-term Patton collaborator Trevor Dunn picking filling the vacant bassist position. Fourth album Oddfellows sees the band return to the sound of their first two albums as if they’d never been away, especially with lead single “Stone Letter. Touring for the album was inevitably curtailed by Patton’s duties Faith No More, but we were left with the impression that Tomahawk was still very much a going concern.

For fans of Faith No More looking to dip their toes in the vast and varied ocean of Patton’s collection of projects, Tomahawk is probably the place to start.

- Simon



People who come across Fantômas generally fall into three categories: “too weird for me”, “That one with the film soundtrack was cool, the rest is too weird” – or, like me, you love it all.

Ever elusive, the one time I’ve seen them perform was opening for Korn where people did NOT get into it at all and started booing them after a short while. Just let that sink in for a moment: you have Mike Patton, Buzz Osborne, Trevor Dunn and Dave Lombardo on stage, and people next to you are booing them to get Korn on stage. This was post-“Y’all Wanna Single {Say Fuck That)” just to be clear, and whoever thought this tour pairing would work was probably either overestimating nu-metal fans’ appreciation for the avant-garde, or just thought “Faith No More had that rap thing going on and this band has the same vocalist, let’s go with it!” Whatever happened I’m grateful as it gave me the chance to see Fantomas live but admittedly it wasn’t the most desirable situation to witness the weirdness.

And weird they are, to be fair. Each album is vastly different from the next. The first and last (self-titled and Suspended Animation respectively) are perhaps the most similar – both are collections of 30 short and stupendously odd songs with an interesting concept for each: The self-titled has each song represent a page of a comic book, while Suspended Animation comes with a calendar for April and each of the songs is a specific day.

In between those two, Fantômas released two albums both related to the art of cinema. Delirium Cordia was written as a soundtrack to a non-existent horror film and plays as a single, seventy minute track – albeit one that has a good twenty minutes of virtual silence tacked on the end. The Director’s Cut, probably the most accessible of the four albums, sees Fantômas delving into classic cinema to cover, in their own style of course, well known theme songs like “The Godfather” and “Rosemary’s Baby”.

The highly conceptual nature of the band have made their works a bit of a mixed bag for a lot of people, but while I’ll admit to rarely having an urge to throw Delirium Cordia on, I do dig what they did with it. Considering Patton went on to make a few film soundtracks in recent years, it was probably good practice too.

Were this not enough weirdness, Fantômas joined forces with the remaining members of the Melvins – as well as bringing guitarist David Scott Stone along for the ride – to form the Fantômas/Melvins Big Band. The combined group, with both Dale Crover and Dave Lombardo kicking up a fearsome wall of drums together, took to the stage to welcome in the new millennium, playing choice cuts from both bands’ repertoires. They reprised the performance in London in 2006, which was filmed for a DVD release. And the sharper eyed amongst you may be able to spot The Monolith’s own Simon in the crowd shots.

- Jón

Dillinger Escape Plan – Irony Is a Dead Scene

Dillinger Escape Plan - Irony Is a Dead Scene
1. Hollywood Squares
2. Pig Latin
3. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things
4. Come To Daddy

After Dmitri Minakakis left The Dillinger Escape Plan in 2000, the band we all know and love were allegedly pretty close to calling it quits. Apparently a fan of the band, Mike Patton contacted them and said that he’d fill in on vocals until they found a replacement. No matter what, they were not to break up.

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Mike Patton, more he goes ahead and becomes responsible for one of my favourite bands staying together.

What came out of this collaboration was an EP – just the one – called Irony Is A Dead Scene, before the band went on and found their new (and current) vocalist Greg Puciato. This EP is no mere throwaway or placeholder though; it’s honestly a match made in musical heaven. The EP showcases a tangible evolution from Calculating Infinity, including the beginnings of the more melodic content and the experimental can of worms later explored on Miss Machine, and indeed every release since The cover of Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy” has weirdly become a regular in the band’s live shows despite being, in my opinion, the EP’s weakest track.

Despite my love for Calculating Infinity, I’d never want to put the lid back on the aforementioned experimental can, as the band’s constant evolution – as well as Greg’s various “Pattonisms” – found their roots here, and have brought the band to new heights of greatness. Miss Machine, Ire Works, Option Paralysis and One Of Us Is The Killer are all fantastic albums that would have probably turned out completely different or possibly never come out if it wasn’t for this collaboration with everyone’s favourite avant-garde madman.

- Jón

Simon Jón writer banner Jan 2015