Faith No More’s Bill Gould Responds to Former Guitarist Jim Martin’s Songwriting Claims
Former guitarist of Faith No More, Jim Martin, recently agreed to a question and answer session with British fan based site, Faith No More Blog. Fifteen questions later and after all was said and done, mxdwn reached out to bassist, Bill Gould, for comments which indicated that Martin’s claims on songwriting were inaccurate. Read on for more details.
Fans wasted no time getting into the “nitty gritty.” A fan by the name of Matt Slavsky asked, “What is your relationship like now with the members of Faith No More?” Martin replied:
To be honest Matt, that is an emotional subject. There has been much negative rhetoric in the press, and it was my choice to either play their game, fight with them and let the press spin it, or leave them to play with themselves and allow you to make a decision based on the work I left behind. In an effort to avoid the negativity, I chose the latter. However, there are some points that I would like to address.
I read a couple of interviews Matt Wallace did, and his simplified explanations can lead one to believe that I hate homosexuals, I did not contribute to Angel Dust, and I did not play guitar on the record. Ouch. Something else is a little more accurate. The guitar parts are mine; that’s me playing guitar on all the tracks. I contributed much to the songwriting and arrangements. Bill added some fluff to “Midlife Crisis” and “Midnite Cowboy” and wrote everything for his song “Small Victory”, Mike wrote everything for “Malpractice”, I wrote everything and created the samples for “Jizzlobber” ; Bill contributed the keyboard outro. Mike wrote all of the lyrics for the album except Roddy wrote lyrics for “Be Aggressive”.
Matt’s commentary about Roddy seemed a little weird; we (band members) all knew Roddy was gay long before he “came out” and it was not an issue for anyone.
Matt also forgot to mention that he and I spent a lot of time together on the production of TRT and AD improving the recording method and sonic profile in the studio. I insisted on the co-producer credit for FNM on those 2 records because of that work. Notice The Real Thing and Angel Dust are the only two FNM records co-produced by Matt Wallace and Faith No More.
I saw something in Wiki where someone pulled a comment out of an old bucket: Jim Martin said “I don’t know why It’s called Angel Dust, I had nothing to do with it” While that is true, it is not complete. The idea was Roddy’s, and nobody else had anything to do with it either. He came in with a basic concept of a bird front, meat locker back, and Angel Dust for the title. The question was: “How do we get it (Roddy’s idea) to the record cover?” We lost control of the sleeve art on the last 2 releases. The Real Thing and Introduce Yourself were conceived and designed by “the record company” and we simply paid the bill. This was an opportunity of artistic expression and finally one of us had an idea everyone would go along with. I got in contact with Mark Leialoha to discuss the idea, he got Werner “Vern” Krutein involved because Werner ran a stock agency and was able to produce the necessary photographs allowing us to realize Roddy’s idea. I had the idea of the Russian army in the sleeve, inspired by The Pogues album “Rum Sodomy and The Lash” which I was really into at the time. I rode hard on that and made sure it happened the way WE wanted it to happen. There was a lot of squealing when it came time to pay the bill, but at the end of the day, we retained control of our resources, we were able to use our people, and we maintained creative control.
mxdwn asked Bill Gould if Martin’s description of who contributed to which tracks on Angel Dust was accurate. His response to Martin’s answer is as follows:
No, this is not accurate. I had thought that after 20+ years we would have moved on from this, and the last thing I want to do get into a point by point debate, but for the record, I wrote guitar parts for the following songs:
Land of Sunshine
A Small Victory
Everything’s Ruined (obviously not the solos)
Smaller and Smaller
and I gave direction on Be Aggressive (I wrote the song. not the solos). AND, some may call it fluff, but I wrote/played the ebow part in “Midlife Crisis.”
Martin only seemed to brush along the surface of Gould’s involvement with recording Faith No More’s songs. This was also not the only inaccuracy, according to Gould. In regards to the Q&A session question, fan Sean Kehoe asked: “If Faith No More tours again and if they asked would you make an appearance, kind of like when Chuck did a couple of songs?” Martin’s response:
Thanks Sean. I know the fans want the real thing, and I was prepared to have a real dialogue about doing a run together. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. As for a random appearance, I do not feel that would do anyone justice.
The reference to when Chuck performed “a couple of songs” with the band refers back to the band’s San Francisco concert San Francisco concert that took place a little over two years ago. mxdwn asked Gould for a comment regarding potential involvement and he offered this statement:
If that’s the case, then yes, we asked him to be part of the Warfield event with Chuck, he originally agreed, then backed out at the last minute.
Martin also answered the following question from a fan under the alias, Follow The Bubbles: “Is it true that [you] were offered to perform at reunion tour dates – if it is true, why did you decline?” His response:
For some time during 2008, I had been receiving information with increasing frequency that “we” were booking a reunion tour, festivals, Europe. I was informed that yes, the promoters were selling it as the original line up. In February 2009, Roddy [Bottum] called and said they were just beginning to think of putting something together, and just now feeling out everyone, and what did I think? I said yes, I was interested. I also told him I knew the tour was already booked, they were on the eve of announcing it, and it was time to sign the deals. I told him to send over the contracts so I could review them and started pressing management for details. Several days later, I was able to get management on the phone who told me they decided to use someone else…I know it’s odd, no, you didn’t miss anything. It happened just like that. In an effort to preclude any sloppy misinformation, I made the announcement that I would not be participating in the rumored reunion dates several days before they made their announcement.
Other general fan questions were asked as well, including “Which artist would you collaborate with, dead/alive?” and “What kind of music are you listening to today?” The interview with Martin definitely offers an interesting perspective on his involvement with Faith No More. One anonymous fan asked, “How do you keep such a cool head and stay so professional?”
My publicized “not being into” Angel Dust was all about the way the whole process went down. There was a lot of weird pressure to follow up The Real Thing, and as a consequence, the album AD was more contrived musically than I thought was necessary. I wanted more of the record to happen in the studio and Bill wanted every last tack nailed down before we went in. I wanted to spend time with it, management and the record company wanted to rush it out the door. There were a bunch of journalists in the studio. We were paying for a bunch of sampling that we could have created. Matt Wallace was calling me on the phone complaining about Mike Patton’s performance. Management and record company were calling me complaining about Mike Patton’s performance and desire for outside projects.
The record company president came in the studio and said: “I hope nobody bought houses” All the air got sucked out of the room. That was one of those great moments when reality slaps you in the face. Some of my associates (had) bought houses. The pressure was on, and everyone wanted to be in the studio with me while I recorded, endlessly tinkering and fucking with me and fucking with Matt, and Matt is a really fucking wound up guy already. Prior to AD, I would work alone with Matt and his assistant engineer period. I had to kick everyone out and even though it was not a new concept it really pissed everyone off.
Live performances were always very strong. From my perspective, we came across a lot heavier than the records. Over time, the chord progressions and the arrangements would morph in subtle ways that would make the set heavier than the studio version. As far as the bullshit in the press, yeah, there was a lot of negativity, and I tried to avoid being part of it to the point of refusing interviews. Of course I was unhappy; individuals were making decisions which would prove to be damaging to FNM. However, despite these distractions, real people paid to see a show and we were able to deliver thanks to the support of a great crew and a great sound man, Greg Bess, who was used to working with the heavy bands. I actually really enjoyed those shows.
Comments of fans on Faith No More Blog raved of appreciation for Martin taking the time out to answer these questions. To read the other questions and answers from this session, click here.
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