Michael Allan Patton (born January 27 1968) is an American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and video game voice actor, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Faith No More from 1988 to 1998. He has also handled lead vocals for Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Lovage, Fantômas, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Peeping Tom.
Patton has earned critical praise for his diverse vocals, which touch on crooning, falsetto, death growls, rapping, chanting, mouth music, beatboxing and scatting, among other techniques; critic Greg Prato writes, "Patton could very well be one of the most versatile and talented singers in rock music."
He has many producer or co-producer credits with artists such as John Zorn, The Melvins, Melt-Banana, Kool Keith, and Björk. He co-founded Ipecac Recordings with Greg Werckman in 1999, and has run the label since.
Patton grew up in Eureka, California
, where he and his friends (including long-time members Trey Spruance
and Trevor Dunn
) formed Mr. Bungle circa 1984. During the late 80s they recorded the cassette-only demos The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny
, Goddammit I Love America
, Bowel of Chiley
(featuring tracks that would appear on their first Warner Brothers album), and earned a modest local following. Patton joined Faith No More
in January 1989 and filled the vocal void left by the unreliable and recently-fired Chuck Mosely
, who moved on to the band Cement
. Faith No More's The Real Thing
was released later the same year. The album reached the top ten on the charts thanks largely to MTV's
heavy rotation of the Epic music video
(which featured Patton in a Mr Bungle t-shirt).
In the United States, Faith No More would never again match the commercial success of The Real Thing but their music continued to evolve into new and sometimes stranger areas of rock music. After three more studio albums (Angel Dust, King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, and Album of the Year) Faith No More officially disbanded in 1998.
Mr. Bungle and beyond
During his time as a member of Faith No More, Patton continued to collaborate with Mr. Bungle. His success in mainstream rock and metal ultimately helped secure Mr. Bungle a record deal with Warner Bros.
The band released a self-titled album (produced by John Zorn
) in 1991, and the highly surreal Disco Volante
in 1995. Their final album was California
Patton's other projects have included two solo albums in the Composer Series on John Zorn's Tzadik label (Adult Themes for Voice in 1996 and Pranzo Oltranzista in 1997). He is a member of Hemophiliac where he does voice effects along with John Zorn on saxophone and Ikue Mori on laptop electronics. This group is billed as "improvisational music from the outer reaches of madness". He has also guested on Painkiller and Naked City recordings. He's appeared many times on other Tzadik releases with Zorn and others.
There have also been several projects over the years that have not seen an official release, although some live bootlegs do circulate. These projects include House of Discipline (with Bob Ostertag and Otomo Yoshihide), Moonraker (with Agata Ichirou of Melt-Banana, Buckethead and DJ Eddie Def), Christian Fennesz and Mike Patton, and Patton & Rahzel. Patton contributed vocals to the Team Sleep song Kool-Aid Party, but the song did not make it onto the final album. This is likely due in part to the unfinished album having been leaked very early onto the internet.
In 2007, Mike Patton played the voice of the eponymous possessive primeval force in the video game The Darkness, working alongside Kirk Acevedo, Lauren Ambrose and Dwight Schultz. He also had a minor role in Valve Corporation's 2007 release, Portal as the voice of the Anger Sphere in the final confrontation with the insane supercomputer, GLaDOS. He has another role in an upcoming Valve title, Left 4 Dead. In October, 2007 it was announced that he would be voicing the main character in Capcom's remake of their classic title, Bionic Commando. Mike also provided the voices of the monsters in the 2007 film I Am Legend starring Will Smith. Patton is known to be an avid video game player.
In February 2006, Mike Patton performed an operatic piece, composed by Eyvind Kang, at Teatro di Modena in Italy. Patton sang alongside vocalist Jessika Kinney, and was accompanied by the Modern Brass Ensemble, Bologna Chamber Choir, and Alberto Capelli and Walter Zanetti on electric and acoustic guitars. Of the experience, Patton remarked that it was extremely challenging to project the voice without a microphone.
In 2005, Patton signed on to compose the soundtrack for the upcoming independent movie Pinion, marking his debut scoring an American feature-length film. However, this has been held up in production and may be on the shelf permanently. His other film work includes portraying two major characters in the Steve Balderson film Firecracker. He has also expressed his desire to compose for film director David Lynch.
Patton's long-gestating Peeping Tom album was released on May 30, 2006 on his own Ipecac label. The set was pieced together by swapping song files through the mail with collaborators like Norah Jones, Kool Keith and Massive Attack, Odd Nosdam, Jel, Doseone, Bebel Gilberto, Kid Koala, and Dub Trio.
"I don't listen to the radio, but if I did, this is what I'd want it to sound like", Patton says of the project. "This is my version of pop music. In a way, this is an exercise for me: taking all these things I've learned over the years and putting them into a pop format."
Recently, Patton has worked with Björk and the beat boxer Rahzel. He is often featured on new releases, and is regarded as extremely hard working. Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottum remarked about Patton "caffeine is the only drug he does", in reference to the Faith No More song Caffeine from the album Angel Dust, which Patton wrote while in the middle of a sleep-deprivation experiment.
More recently Patton has lent his talents for the Derrick Scocchera short film "A Perfect Place" for the score/soundtrack, which outlengths the film itself.
It has been announced that in December 2008 along with Melvins, Patton will co-curate an edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. Patton will choose half of the lineup and also perform the album The Director's Cut in its entirety with Fantômas. Patton will also be appearing as Rikki Kixx in the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse in a special 2 part episode on August 24th.
Reactions to fame
Patton is highly regarded in alternative musical circles, and seen as something of an idol
in the eyes of modern alternative youth for his air of mystique, his constantly-changing musical sensibilities, his impressive vocal range, and his experimental nature. He remains an elusive figure in music, rarely giving interviews. Recently he has openly stated that, despite some of the rumors, he enjoyed his time in Faith No More
, and in 2006 he chose a Faith No More video for MTV2
's "Mike Patton Takeover".
Apparently, in an interview with Artisan News Service, when asked how he remembers his days with Faith No More Patton responded, "Fondly. They were good years. It was a decade of my life. It was lots of ups and lots of downs, but ultimately that's where I learned my chops and learned the craft and the business."
When interviewed about his lyrical content with Faith No More, Patton responded, "I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning".
Controversies and antics
- Patton's right hand is permanently numb from an on-stage incident during his third concert with Faith No More, where he accidentally cut himself on a broken bottle and severed the tendons and nerves in his hand. He can use his hand, but he has no feeling in it (much to the surprise of both Patton and his doctor, who told him the exact opposite would happen).
- In 1995, on a live performance of Faith No More in Chile, the audience started to spit on Mike. He approached the first rows and encouraged them spit into his open mouth between verses.
Patton married Italian artist Titi Zuccatosta in 1994. They separated in 2001. During an appearance on the radio show, LOVELINE (Listen
), Patton said that it was a case of two people wanting different things and hinted that his excessive work habits may have been a factor. "It's very hard. It's a daily struggle", he commented in regards to the rigors of juggling a busy music career and a marriage. "It had to happen... Even though we knew each other really well when we got married, it doesn't get easier." He later added, "We're trying this. See what happens. There's still hope." Relatedly, Patton used to own a home in Bologna
(which he sold around the time of the break-up), and speaks fluent Italian.
- 1989 - The Real Thing
- 1989 - Kerrang! Flexible Fiend 3 (magazine flexi disc insert, Faith No More performs Sweet Emotion (an early version of The Perfect Crime)
- 1990 - Live at Brixton Academy (Includes 2 studio recordings from The Real Thing sessions. These comprise of The Grade - a short guitar instrumental by Jim Martin and The Cowboy Song.
- 1991 - Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - Soundtrack (Faith No More performs The Perfect Crime)
- 1992 - Angel Dust
- 1993 - Songs To Make Love To
- 1993 - Judgment Night - Soundtrack (Faith No More & Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. perform Another Body Murdered)
- 1995 - King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime
- 1995 - Metallurgy, Vol. 1 (by Various Artists, Faith No More performs Engove (Caffeine))
- 1997 - Album of the Year
- 1998 - Plagiarism (by Sparks, Faith No More featured on This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us and Something For The Girl With Everything)
- 1998 - Du riechst so gut '98 - EP (by Rammstein, Faith No More remixes a version of the song)
- 1998 - Who Cares a Lot? (compilation)
- 2003 - This Is It: The Best of Faith No More (compilation)
- 2005 - Epic and Other Hits (compilation)
- 2005 - The Platinum Collection (compilation)
- 2008 - The Works (compilation) - 3cd, first two with hits and one with rarities
- Patton recorded several bonus tracks and/or b-sides with Faith No More, most of which have only been available on their non-US releases. Those tracks not included on any of the domestic titles listed above are original songs As the Worm Turns (Patton Vocal), Absolute Zero, Evidence (Spanish Version), Light Up and Let Go and The Big Kahuna, as well as covers of Greenfields, I Wanna Fuck Myself, and Spanish Eyes.
- 2001 - Tomahawk
- 2003 - Mit Gas
- 2007 - Sun Dance - Single (features the non-album instrumental track El Tecolote)
- 2007 - Anonymous
- 2006 - Mojo Exclusive EP (features the non-album track Preschool)
- 2006 - Peeping Tom (album by Patton features collaborations with Odd Nosdam, Doseone and Jel of anticon., Rahzel, Dan the Automator, Amon Tobin, Kool Keith, Massive Attack, Bebel Gilberto, Kid Koala, Norah Jones, Dub Trio, among others)
- 2007 - We're Not Alone - Single (features We're Not Alone (Dan the Automator Redux), a distinctly different version from the album track with newly recorded Patton vocals)
- 1995 - Burn or Bury (by Milk Cult, Patton performs vocals on Psychoanalytwist)
- 1996 - Roots (by Sepultura, Patton sings on the track Lookaway)
- 1997 - Blood Rooted (by Sepultura, Patton sings and co-writes Mine. His singing can be also heard on the remix of the track Lookaway.)
- 1997 - Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach (by Various Artists, Patton (vocals and keyboards) collaborates with David Slusser on She's Gone Away)
- 1997 - Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg (by Various Artists, Patton sings and plays all instruments on Ford Mustang)
- 1997 - Fear No Love (by Bob Ostertag, Patton contributes vocals to The Man in the Blue Slip and Not Your Girl)
- 1997 - AngelicA 97 (by Various Artists, House of Discipline contributes The Art Of Fist-Fucking (1 & 2) and Patton contributes to Romance For A Choking Man/Woman (with Marie Goyette) and cudegokalalumosospasashatetéwaot)
- 1998 - Charlie (by Melt-Banana, members of Mr. Bungle (and many others) contribute vocals for Area 877 (Phoenix Mix))
- 1999 - Memory Is An Elephant (by Tin Hat Trio, Patton sings on hidden track Infinito)
- 1999 - Tribus (by Sepultura, Patton co-writes and sings The Waste)
- 1999 - No Coração dos Deuses - Soundtrack (Patton performs Procura O Cara with members of Sepultura)
- 1999 - Song Drapes (by Jerry Hunt, Patton contributes text/vocals on Song Drape 7 "I Come")
- 2000 - The Crybaby (by Melvins, Patton sings and plays instruments on G.I. Joe)
- 2000 - Great Phone Calls (by Neil Hamburger, Patton featured on Music of the Night)
- 2000 - Down With The Scene (by Kid 606, Patton contributes vocals on Secrets 4 Sale)
- 2002 - Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three (by Various Artists, Patton performs on Six Pack)
- 2004 - Virginal Co Ordinates (by Eyvind Kang, Patton contributes voice & electronics)
- 2004 - Medúlla (by Björk, features Patton on Pleasure Is All Mine and Where Is The Line)
- 2004 - White People (by Handsome Boy Modeling School, features Patton on Are You Down With It?)
- 2004 - The End of the Fear of God (by Various Artists, Patton duets with Kid 606 on Circle A)
- 2005 - Crime and Dissonance (by Ennio Morricone, compiled by Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls with Patton's commentary)
- 2005 - Toto Angelica (by Alvin Curran, contains snippets of past Angelica Festival performances, including Patton's in 1997)
- 2005 - Oceanic: Remixes/Reinterpretations (by Isis, Patton contributed a version of Maritime)
- 2005 - Burner (by Odd Nosdam, features Patton on 11th Ave Freakout Pt 2)
- 2005 - Wei-Wu-Wei (by Corleone: Roy Paci, Patton contributes vocals on Tutto diventerà rosso)
- 2005 - Patton performs vocals on Koolade (formerly titled "Kool-Aid Party"), an unreleased song originally recorded for the album Team Sleep
- 2006 - Wishingbone (by Subtle, features Patton on Long Vein of the Voice)
- 2006 - New Heavy (by Dub Trio, features Patton on Not Alone)
- 2006 - Trouble – The Jamie Saft Trio Plays Bob Dylan (by Jamie Saft Trio, features Patton on Ballad of a Thin Man)
- 2006 - Quero Saber (by Carla Hassett, duet with Patton on a cover of The Beatles' Julia)
- 2007 - Athlantis (by Eyvind Kang, Patton contributes vocals)
- 2007 - Vein (by Foetus, Patton remixes How to Vibrate)
- 2008 - Another Sound Is Dying (by Dub Trio, features Patton on No Flag)
- 2008 - Profanation (Preparation for a Coming Darkness) (by Praxis, features Patton on Larynx)
- 2008 - Transylvania (by The Tango Saloon, features Patton on Dracula Cha Cha)
- 2008 - Auk/Blood (by Tanya Tagaq features Patton on Fire - Ikuma)
- 2008 - Join The Q (upcoming album by the Qemists features Patton on Lost Weekend)
- 2008 - Body of Lies - Soundtrack (Serj Tankian and Patton have contributed Bird's Eye for the upcoming film )
- 2008 - Greatest Knockouts The Album, Vol. 2 (upcoming album by Rahzel, features Patton on Come Fly With Me)
- 2008 - upcoming debut album by former Mr. Bungle member Bär McKinnon's band Umläut will feature Patton on Atlas Face
- 2008 - Weather Underground (upcoming album by Massive Attack, Patton is set to contribute vocals)
- 2009 - upcoming album by Zu is set to feature Patton on vocals
- 2007 - The Darkness - Voice of The Darkness (Starbreeze Studios)
- 2007 - Portal - Voice of the Anger Sphere (Valve Software)
- 2008 - Left 4 Dead - (Turtle Rock Studios/Valve Software)
- 2008 - Bionic Commando - Voice of Nathan Spencer - the Bionic Commando (Capcom)
- 1999 - CNN READ
- 2000 - Lollipop READ
- 2000 - Flashing Hobo READ
- 2001 - Deadwinter READ
- 2002 - Frontwheel Drive READ
- 2002 - The Insane Domain READ
- 2003 - Counter Culture READ
- 2004 - Alternative-Zine READ
- 2005 - MSNBC READ
- 2006 - Suicide Girls READ
- 2006 - Blog Critics READ
- 2006 - Quirkee.com READ
- 2007 - HoboTrashcan's One on One with Mike Patton READ
- 2007 - MovieWeb READ
- 2008 - Starpulse READ
- 2008 - Stuff.tv READ
- Zorn, John, ed. (2000). Arcana: Musicians on Music. New York: Granary Books/Hips Road. ISBN 188712327X.