Patton in 2009
|Birth name||Michael Allan Patton|
January 27, 1968|
Eureka, California, US
Michael Allan Patton (born January 27, 1968) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and film composer, best known as the lead singer of the alternative metal band Faith No More. Patton was also the founder and lead singer of Mr. Bungle, and has played with Tomahawk, Fantômas, Dead Cross, Lovage, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Peeping Tom.
Known for his eclectic influences and experimental projects, Patton has earned critical praise for his diverse array of vocal techniques. VVN Music found Patton possesses the widest vocal range of any known singer in popular music, with a range of six octaves. He has worked as a producer or co-producer with artists such as John Zorn, Sepultura, Melvins, Melt-Banana, and Kool Keith. He co-founded Ipecac Recordings with Greg Werckman in 1999, and has run the label since. Patton's vast number of musical endeavours and constant touring have led to him being widely identified as a "workaholic".
Patton was born and raised in Eureka, California, where he formed Mr. Bungle, with Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn, in 1985. During the late '80s Mr Bungle recorded the cassette-only recordings, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, Goddammit I Love America, Bowel of Chiley and OU818, featuring tracks that would later be included on their first Warner Bros. Records release.
According to Steffan Chirazi's 1993 book The Real Story, Patton first met Faith No More during 1986. In the book, Patton was quoted as saying "Faith No More played Eureka in a pizza parlour place Mr. Bungle played dozens of times. There were 6 people there and 3 of them were my friends. It was really bad, a really pathetic show and I remember them standing around the van really upset. Puffy was really uptight wanting to know where to get weed. Nobody was talking to him, I think he asked us because we were just hanging around. Their situation then never even registered with me, touring was unreal, Warner Bros. was like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. At that time I didn't wanna know about any of that shit".
Patton was approached to join Faith No More after they heard Mr. Bungle's demo tapes in 1988. This forced him to quit his studies at Humboldt State University. In January 1989, he officially replaced Chuck Mosley as lead singer of the group. Mosley subsequently formed the bands Cement and VUA, and had several special "one-off" performances at shows with Faith No More and Patton before his death in 2017.
Faith No More's The Real Thing was released in 1989. The album reached the top ten on the US charts, thanks largely to MTV's heavy rotation of the "Epic" music video, (which featured Patton in a Mr. Bungle T-shirt). Faith No More released three more studio albums before disbanding in 1998 (Angel Dust, King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime, and Album of the Year). In several interviews, Patton cited the declining quality of the band's work as a contributing factor to the split.
However, on February 24, 2009, after months of speculation and rumors, "Faith No More" announced they would be reforming with a line-up identical to the Album of the Year era, embarking on a reunion tour called The Second Coming Tour. To coincide with the band's reunion tour, Rhino released the sixth Faith No More compilation, The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection in the UK on June 8. The same line-up eventually released a new album called Sol Invictus in 2015.
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 more 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".
During his time in Faith No More, Patton continued to work 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 experimental Disco Volante in 1995. Their final album, California, was released in 1999. The band ceased being active following the 1999–2000 tour in support of the California record, although their disbandment was only officially confirmed in November 2004. Patton explained to Rolling Stone "I'm at a point now where I crave healthy musical environments, where there is a genuine exchange of ideas without repressed envy or resentment, and where people in the band want to be there regardless of what public accolades may come their way. Unfortunately, Mr. Bungle was not one of those places."
Patton's other projects included two solo albums on the Composer Series of John Zorn's Tzadik label, (Adult Themes for Voice in 1996 and Pranzo Oltranzista in 1997). He is a member of Hemophiliac, in which he performs vocal 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 has appeared on other Tzadik releases with Zorn and others, notably as part of the "Moonchild Trio" alongside Joey Baron and Trevor Dunn, named after Zorn's album on which the trio first appeared, Moonchild: Songs Without Words.
In 1999, Patton met former The Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison at a Mr. Bungle concert in Nashville, and the two subsequently formed the band Tomahawk. Tomahawk's straightforward rock sound has often been compared to Album of the Year/King for a Day era Faith No More.
In 2001, he contributed vocals to Chino Moreno's group Team Sleep and released the album Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By with the group Lovage, a collaborative project consisting of Patton, Dan the Automator, Jennifer Charles, and Kid Koala. The next year, Patton performed vocals for Dillinger Escape Plan's 2002 EP, Irony Is a Dead Scene.
In 2004, Patton worked with Björk and the beat boxer Rahzel on the album Medúlla. That same year, Patton released the album Romances with Kaada and contributed vocals to the album White People by Handsome Boy Modeling School (Dan the Automator and Prince Paul). In 2005, Patton collaborated with hip-hop DJ trio and turntablists The X-Ecutioners to release the album General Patton vs. The X-Ecutioners.
In February 2006, Mike Patton performed an operatic piece composed by Eyvind Kang, Cantus Circaeus, at Teatro comunale di Modena in Modena, 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. Patton remarked that it was extremely challenging to project the voice without a microphone.
Patton's 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 Dan the Automator, Rahzel, Norah Jones, Kool Keith, Massive Attack, Odd Nosdam, Amon Tobin, Jel, Doseone, Bebel Gilberto, Kid Koala, and Dub Trio.
In May 2007, he performed with an orchestra a few concerts in Italy, by the name of Mondo Cane, singing Italian oldies from the 50s and the 60s.
In 2008, he performed vocals on the track "Lost Weekend" by The Qemists. In December 2008, along with Melvins, Patton co-curated an ion of the All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas festival. Patton chose half of the lineup and performed the album The Director's Cut in its entirety with Fantômas. Patton also appeared as Rikki Kixx in the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse in a special 2 part episode on August 24.
On May 4, 2010 Mondo Cane, where Patton worked live with a 30-piece orchestra, was released by Ipecac Recordings. The album was co-produced and arranged by Daniele Luppi. Recorded at a series of European performances including an outdoor concert in a Northern Italian piazza, the CD features traditional Italian pop songs as well as a rendition of Ennio Morricone's 'Deep Down'.
Patton is a member of the supergroup Nevermen, alongside Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio and rapper Doseone (with whom Patton had previously collaborated on the Peeping Tom side-project). In 2016, the group released an eponymous debut album on Patton's Ipecac label.
On December 27, 2017, Patton performed his collaborative EP, Irony Is a Dead Scene, as well as a cover of Faith No More's "Malpractice," with the Dillinger Escape Plan live at the band's first of three final shows at Terminal 5 in New York City.
In May 2018, Patton performed two concerts in Modena, Italy, with the American pianist Uri Caine. The setlists of the concerts varied and included songs from Erik Satie, Elton John, Slayer and Violeta parra. They also performed a new song called Chansons d'amour from an album Patton will be releasing with french musician Jean-Claude Vannier. The shows were recorded but it is not certain the material will get a release.
In 2005, Patton signed on to compose the soundtrack for the independent movie Pinion, marking his debut scoring an American feature-length film. However, this had 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 a desire to compose for film director David Lynch.
In 2009, Patton created the soundtrack to the movie Crank: High Voltage.
Patton composed the soundtrack to the 2012 film "The Place Beyond the Pines".
In 2016, Patton provided the voice to lead character Eddy Table in a short animated film, "The Absence of Eddy Table".
Patton is known to be an avid video game player. In 2007, he provided the voice of the eponymous force in the video game The Darkness, working alongside Kirk Acevedo, Lauren Ambrose and Dwight Schultz. Patton reprised the role in The Darkness II in 2012.
He also had a 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 the Valve title Left 4 Dead, voicing the majority of the infected zombies. He also voiced Nathan "Rad" Spencer, the main character in Capcom's 2009 video game Bionic Commando, a sequel to their classic NES title.
Patton married Cristina Zuccatosta, an Italian artist, in 1994. The couple divided their time between San Francisco and Bologna, Italy, until their separation in 2001. Patton once owned a home in Bologna and speaks Italian. Regarding his close association with Italy, Patton stated, "It happened after I got married. I married an Italian lady, and I had to get acquainted. Basically, it started with the language because her family and her parents didn't really speak English. I had to learn the language, so I did that. The longer you spend in a place like that, it really sucks you in. It really envelopes you and makes you feel like one of them."
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 tendons and nerves in his hand. He has use of the hand, but no feeling in it (despite his doctor telling him the opposite would happen).
Patton's reaction to his fame has been unconventional. He has acted irreverently towards the music industry, and expressed his distaste for the infamous lifestyles of rock stars. In a 1995 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he stated: "It's hard to see as much as you'd like to with our schedule on the road, but it's harder to do coke and fuck whores every night. Now that's a full time job."
In a 2001 interview with Kerrang!, Patton reflected on his musical influences, stating —
|“||The first music I was probably exposed to was early '70s crap that was on the radio when my parents took me to the supermarket. Styx, Kansas – some shit like that. At that age I wasn't at all interested in music. I only got into music when I couldn't hang around anyone else. At school, I was a hyper geek and I got hassle from the jocks. I wanted to be one of them, that was the thing. So one of the first things I got into was collecting old 45s, beginning with The Partridge Family or something. Then I got into death metal and hardcore: anything that was fast, loud, nasty and retarded. In my early 20s, I had got to the point when I realised all I had played in were rock bands and thought I could do other things with my voice and put it into contexts that have nothing to do with rock music at all.||”|
|— Mike Patton|
Patton's vocals touch on crooning, falsetto, screaming, opera, death growls, rapping, 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"; colleague Blake Butler called him "a complete and utter musical visionary and a mind-blowing and standard-warping genius."
A list published by the Chicago-based music website Consequence of Sound, acknowledged Mike Patton as "the greatest singer of all time." The May 2014 article referenced VVN Music's (Vintage Vinyl News) analysis of various rock & pop singers, ranking them in order of their respective octave ranges. The article served as a retraction to a previous article, which originally awarded the number one position to Axl Rose. Both articles praised Patton's impressive 6 octaves, 1/2 note range (Eb1 to E7), versus Axl's admirable 5 octaves, 2-1/2 notes (while mentioning, for transparency, that world record holder Tim Storms has a range of 10 octaves).
AllMusic labelled him as an "icon of the alt-metal world". He has often been cred as an influence to nu metal, a form of alternative metal spearheaded by bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit in the late-90s. Patton has been less than enthusiastic about being linked to such bands, stating in a 2002 interview that "Nu-metal makes my stomach turn".
Prominent vocalists such as Brandon Boyd (Incubus),[better source needed] Doug Robb (Hoobastank), Daryl Palumbo (Glassjaw), Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage), Dimitri Minakakis (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and Spencer Sotelo (Periphery) cite Patton as their primary influence.
Dan Estrin (Hoobastank guitarist): We have a lot of people that bash us because they think we sound just like Incubus, a lot of people don't understand that we're all the same age, we grew up in the same neighborhood and we're influenced by the same bands. Both our singers were heavily influenced by Mike Patton from Faith No More or Mr. Bungle.
Q: Was Mike Patton a big influence on you?
Daryl Palumbo: Growing up he was one of my heroes... absolutely. I want to say no because I hear he’s a bitter old man and that he laughs at bands that cite him as an influence. Everybody on M-fucking-TV and all heavy bands everywhere site Patton as an influence and he talks shit about them? I still think he is the greatest singer in heavy music history but I feel way above any other band that cites him as an influence. Fuck it if he has a problem with it.
Mike Patton is one of my favorite singers. Faith No More, one of my favorite bands of all time. Very inspiring to me. I fell in love with that band at a very young age, and I saw them a few times growing up. I was bummed out when they parted ways [in 1998], but they're doing shows again, which is awesome. But as far as influence, the way that I sing, I definitely was inspired by Mike Patton [...]
Growing up, I was always a huge fan of his. If there's anybody that I tried to mimic when I was a kid, it was him [Mike Patton]. I probably wouldn't have even started singing if it wasn't for him. He and H.R. from Bad Brains were my two big influences when I first started it when I was really young. Not only is it an awesome honor and everything to have to come after him, but it's also not as difficult as you would think just because I was already so influenced by him to begin with.
Q: Your voice is very unique in that you can go from very melodic to very heavy from one phrase to the next. Who are some of your influences and where did you learn to sing so melodically?
Howard Jones: I think, obviously, Mike Patton from Faith No More is a big one. [...]
[...] I’d say that the band that probably influenced me more than any was probably Faith no more. Just because I listened to it so much, when they were active. [...] I would say “The last to know” by Faith no more! I sing that song in the shower all the time. And I actually wrote the chorus to the song “Breathe life” on our album, I wrote that in the shower. (laughs)
Q: Who would you list as your influences?
Dimitri Minakakis: [...] Mike Patton is a big influence on me. When I was 12 or 13, that's when they came around. [...]
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