Mike Patton (no pseudonym):
Strangely enough, while using his plain ol' birth name, Patton was at his most indulgent and least rewarding while experimenting with tape loops and avant garde noise. His first album Adult Themes for Voice was recorded on a four track in hotel rooms using overdubs of his voice. His second album featured sparse arrangements of cello, guitar, percussion, and sax performed by Erik Friedlander, Marc Ribot, William Winant, and John Zorn. Of course it wouldn't be a Mike Patton record if it didn't have a strange concept (in this case, food and recipes) and vocal squelches. For his third record, he proved himself an accomplished composer capable of showy arrangements in the vein of Elmer Bernstein and John Barry, and illustrated that he formerly contributed more to Mr. Bungle than just vocal bits.
Who: Just Mike
Studio Albums: Adult Themes for Voice, Pranzo Oltranzista, A Perfect Place
Dubbed as Patton's attempt at straight up "pop music," Peeping Tom turned out to be more like a demented satire of popular radio than a project with potential of receiving airplay. He heckled popular opinions of rock star culture by painting the darker side of partying over heavily layered hip-hop beats with big Hollywood hooks. After laying down some bare-boned tracks, he collaborated with various A-List artists by mail with detailed instructions about specific touches that were needed to enhance the tracks. Despite downplaying the death metal tiger growls and fragmented song structures that generally define his projects, the result is still a distant cry from pop.
Who: Entirely composed by himself, with included guest spots from Rahzel, Amon Tobin, Kool Keith, Jel, Odd Nosdam, Massive Attack, Bebel Gelberto, Kid Koala, Doseone, Norah Jones, Dub Trio, and Dan the Automator.
Dating back to Patton's high school days, Bungle was a group with practically no mainstream potential, and probably the strangest group ever to get a deal with Warner Bros. Versatile as all hell, they covered Middle Eastern, carnival themes, acid jazz, electro, funk, death metal, ska, and anything else they fancied -- sometimes all within a single song. At times disturbing, other times downright brilliant, in the early shows they hid their identity with Mexican wrestling masks or bondage gear to add to the onstage insanity. John Zorn produced the self-titled album and would later team with Patton on a bundle of improvisational recordings of his own. The freewheeling and highly experimental Disco Volante followed, and Mr. Bungle went their separate ways after recording their true masterpiece, California.
Who: Vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Danny Heifetz, and horn player Clinton "BÃ¤r" McKinnon. Spruance, Dunn, and Heifetz formed Secret Chiefs in 1995.
Studio Albums: Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante, California
Faith No More:
FNM was the most commercially successful band of Patton's many groups, best remembered for their breakthrough single, "Epic," and its accompanying video of a fish flopping around in slow motion. Patton's raps and soulful nasal-inflected hooks on The Real Thing stuck out like a sore thumb in relation to the formulaic arena hair metal scene of the late "˜80s. Along with Anthrax and Red Hot Chili Peppers, they were one of the first long-haired groups to combine rap and metal (which would later prove to be a smelly can of worms) and defied their so-called genre, always striving to push their boundaries away from the mainstream metal stereotype. Rather than adhering to the cardinal rule of metalheads, "If it doesn't rock, it sucks," the band spooned out covers by the Commodores, Technotronic, and even the Bee Gees in their sets. Angel Dust confused metal fans further by adding samples and more prominent synth sounds to the mix and albums started becoming less hook-oriented as time went on and the lineup rotated.
Who: Most memorably, Mike Patton, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin, Bill Gould, and Jim Martin. Patton was the replacement for Chuck Mosely and a handful of other trial vocalists including Courtney Love, who played with the band for almost a year before The Real Thing was recorded. After Jim Martin's departure, Jon Hudson, Dean Menta, and Trey Spruance each filled the guitar slinger's role briefly.
Studio Albums: The Real Thing, Angel Dust, King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, Album of the Year
Until their most recent album Anonymous, which had a Native American tribal theme, Tomahawk felt like a pretty straight forward metal band -- well, as straightforward as expected when you throw Patton in a room with the guitarist from Jesus Lizard, the bassist from Melvins, and the drummer from Helmet. While no singles were ever going to come from these guys, it didn't stop Patton from howling, "This beat will win me a Grammy!" over a tricky time signature. On stage, the singer was at his most menacing dressed as a cop while singing through a microphone wired into a gas mask.
Who: Patton with guitarist Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), drummer John Stanier (Helmet, Battles), bassist Kevin Rutmanis (Melvins/Cows)
Studio Albums: Tomahawk, Mit Gas, Anonymous
Specializing in fractured insanity, with heavy emphasis on concept (the first album served as a soundtrack for a comic book), Director's Cut reworked horror themes, and Suspended Animation dissected cartoon themes and sfx. On stage, Patton takes the role of a conductor, leading the group through a hurricane of sudden starts, stops, and freak-outs punctuated by bizarre sound FX. The most amazing part about these guys is not that they can compose something utterly confounding, but that they're technically strong enough to pull off the precise onslaught of sudden changes in their live performance, even though the records sound like they've been hacked to bits with cuts and pastes.
Who: Patton with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne, and Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn.
Studio Albums: Fantômas, The Director's Cut, Millennium Monsterwork, DelÃ¬rium CÃ²rdia, Suspended Animation
GUEST SPOTS AND COLLABORATIONS
And here's a playlist of some of Mike Patton's most notable guest appearances and collaborations:
Bjork - Medulla
"Where Is the Line"
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Irony Is a Dead Scene
"When Good Dogs Do Bad Things"
Dub Trio - New Heavy
General Patton - Vs. The Executioners
"Get Up, Punk! 0200 Hrs (Joint Special Operations Task Force)"
Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People
"Are You Down With It"
Isis - Oceanic: Remixes/Reinterpretations
Kaada - Romances
Kid606 - Down with the Scene
"Secrets 4 Sale"
Lovage - Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By
"Book of the Month"
Melvins - The Crybaby
Sepultura - Blood Rooted
Sparks - Plagiarism
"This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" (with Faith No More)
Congrats! Once you've played all of these tracks, you have successfully passed Mike Patton 101. Here's your reward: