June 20, 1989. Faith No More‘s first album with new lead singer Mike Patton was about to soundtrack my summer in quite an unexpected way.
Were it not for my music-savvy Uncle Neil, I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Real Thing (on cassette, of course) until 1990, when “Epic” was all over MTV and I was modeling my mullet after Mike Patton’s undercut-with-lines. Neil got into FNM with former lead singer Chuck Mosley, heard the new album with Patton, knew I liked De La Soul and Public Enemy and rock and metal, and wised me up.
Thirty years later, The Real Thing‘s blend of funk and metal and rap and jazz still checks off so many musical boxes for me. And Patton’s vocal versatility will forever put him in the All-Time-Greatest-Lead-Singer” conversation as far as I’m concerned. Side note: after the band broke up in 1998, Patton launched Ipecac Records a year later. The label celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and this CNBC piece on Patton and Ipecac is worth reading.
The Real Thing was a real summer companion for a 12-year-old Adam 12, especially when I took a wicked spill of my bike late in the summer, tearing open my left arm just below the elbow. This required a trip to the emergency room and quite a few stitches. Thankfully, I had my Walkman and FNM with me. So to this day, every time I hear “From Out Of Nowhere,” I’m immediately transported back to the ER, having gravel picked out of a gash in my arm.
I’d be willing to bet Patton would think that was cool. Maybe I’ll have a chance to tell him someday.