The Faith No More and Mr. Bungle Companion is Greg Prato’s tenth book, including such titles as Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other:The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon, The Eric Carr Story, and MTV Ruled the World:The Early Years of Music Video. He writes for Rolling Stone as well, and could probably write a killer book on just about any band.
But this book is not simply a journalist writing about a band. It is also a book written by a long-time fan of both of the bands. He has personally interviewed each of the band members and has attended many performance by Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. As he says in the forward, “Out of all the rock n’roll shows I’ve attended over the years, without question, the first time I ever saw Faith No More live in early 1990 was one of those life-changing experiences, where suddenly, you listen to music and view live performance differently.”
The book predominantly covers the progression of both bands in chronological order, starting with Faith No More’s early days with original vocalist Chuck Mosley. Every album is discussed in detail, like The Real Thing, Angel Dust and Disco Volante, and each subsequent tour, video, etc., are covered as well. Each chapter is chock full of quotes both from band members and other musicians that experienced the touring life alongside Faith No More.
Mike Patton became the common thread between Faith No More and Mr. Bungle and his outlandish antics are discussed in detail in this book, including the aforementioned chapter, “Shit Terrorist”, which refers to Patton’s obsession with umm…….. defecating in unlikely places, such as a shower, or in a hotel room vent. Hey, everyone has strange things they like to do, right?
Humorous stories abound, for instance, in Chapter 10, which discusses the 1992 tour with Soundgarden, FNM, and headliners Guns N’ Roses, “which turned out to be one of the few (possibly only?) instances in rock history where an opening band continually unabashedly badmouthed the headliner both from the stage and in the press-and still finished the dates.”
As stated earlier, this is not just a FNM/Bungle reference book, but also a venue for the author to share his personal experiences regarding the music. But, don’t worry, he gives the reader fair warning when he is about the enter “fan-land”: “Now, if I, Greg Prato, may digress for a moment–there was a fine film from 2002, ‘Adaptation,’ in which a screenwriter (Charlie Kaufman, played proficiently by Nicolas Cage) is have a difficulty writing a film screenplay. So what he winds up ultimately doing is writing himself into the storyline…which is what yours truly is about to do in this book.”
It’s amazing to learn how many other musicians have listed the bands as influences and Prato provides us with quotes from many top names in the music industry, such as Jason Newsted (Newsted, former member of Metallica), Max Cavalera (Soulfly, former member of Sepultura), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Devin Townsend (Devin Townsend Project), Ville Valo (HIM), Wes Borland (Black Light Burns/Limp Bizkit) Everlast, and Mike Fleischmann (Vision of Disorder), just to name a few.
Those that classify themselves as Faith No More fans are surely aware of Mr. Bungle, whether it is their cup of tea or not, but there are definitely those out there that are primarily aware of Faith No More only after Mike Patton joined the band, so the detailed information on Mr. Bungle, and the early years of FNM before Patton will be extremely helpful in assisting the casual fan to move up in the ranks, to perhaps, super-fan.
Through line-up changes, breakups, and reunions, Prato takes the reader on the complete journey, featuring himself as the tour guide. And not just a tour guide who has studied his lines, but a tour guide who really knows his stuff and has a passion for it. And it’s a tour that you will want to take again and again. Overall, a highly entertaining read. With such a great story, it makes you wonder why it took so long for someone to tackle the subject. Thankfully, Prato has done it so well, that if in fact in the future there are more books on FNM and/or Bungle, this book is sure to be a major information source.