As the music industry imploded throughout the 2000’s, and so few new bands turning up to do anything creative or challenging (Gorillaz, Radiohead, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones notwithstanding, but the latter two being 90’s carryovers anyway) it only seemed to confirm what I already knew in the 1990s: Faith No More were the last great rock band of contemporary times (they disbanded in 1997). Whether you wanted music that was hardcore and progressive, punk rock and raucous, slinky lounge jazz, country, hardcore gangsta rap, German beerhaul, or just “other”, Faith No More could do it all and ultimately, do each one better than most artists working within those genres as their primary style. The good news was that the breakup of FNM freed up lead vocalist Mike Patton for a multitude of projects from solo discs, to countless collaborations, and even a bevy of newly formed supergroups such as Peeping Tom, Tomahawk, Fantomas and even one new album from his first group, Mr. Bungle!
Although FNM had a dedicated cult of fans and solid critical support, they never seemed to get the mainstream recognition and accolades they were so clearly more deserving of (well, apart from their breakout hit “Epic” and the gajllions selling albums The Real Thing and Angel Dust!) This is a band that was ‘grunge’ even before ‘grunge’ was a thing, seasoned alt-rockers even as Fishbone, The Cure and Siousxie and the Banshees were coming into prominence, and were so progressive that they were well over the “funk rap metal” craze even by 1989! (Wow that Taylor Swift is WAY off the mark!).
Through the miracle of the slowly growing Internet (um, yay?) FNM’s reputation as grandmasters of the weird and experimental has grown too, but also largely because of 1: a multitude of “nu metal” bands citing them as a major influence (Limp Bizkit, System of a Down, Deftones, ad nauseam) and 2: said Patton projects reminding people where he honed his amazing voice and clever songwriting skills.
Any cursory glance at Wikipedia pages for either Mike Patton or FNM strangely vilifies my opinions far more than anything else did in the 90’s, when everybody else thought I was just nuts!
By the miracle of a great Buddhist’s belly rub, FNM reconvened in 2008 for some very successful worldwide touring and finding - surprise-surprise - thousands upon thousands of loyalist hungry fans were ready and waiting. Fending off rumors of a new record for a few years (even claiming the then untitled “Matador” was a cover tune!) the band took the pure punk ethic DIY approach, founded their own label, recorded and released an entirely new (if painfully short, but this was by design, too) and very successful record, the wondrous Sol Invictus, earlier this year.
Instant fan favorite track “Sunny Side Up” is the third single from the album and the first video clip produced to promote the album! It is the first new FNM video since 1998’s “I Started A Joke” (a Bee Gees cover produced without the band in the video, as it was released post-break up to promote their Best Of [sic] album).
In many ways, “Sunny Side Up” continues a theme that the former video started 17 years ago! For one thing, the band does once again not appear in the video themselves and actors are hired to “portray” them! It appears likenesses of the actors to the band members were not of particular issue except in the case of singer Mike Patton and drummer Mike Bordin! For another instance, both videos feature an indifferent crowd that is then won over as the full power of the chorus is revealed.
“Sunny Side Up” is set in an archetypal senior citizens retirement center, where an apathetic crowd is swayed over by an equally elderly version of the band! The video starts in black and white to stylize the crowd’s indifference, and color begins to saturate one palate at a time after a mystery violet drug is poured over everyone’s sugar cubes! It fits the theme and lyrics of the song just fine, and the actor who plays Mike Patton in particular is to be commended for his capturing of the feral, almost violent stage candor of the temperamental singer! The actor credited is named “Richard Johnson” but it’s actually hard to believe that it is not Patton himself wearing aged latex!
The video is short, accompanied by a truncated, almost radio-ready version of the track. Apart from relating to the song’s content (somewhat) the video also is poking fun of the band’s visibly aging nature (even Patton finally has some greys in his hair of late!). But it’s also a hilarious social satire of senior community centers (I have some experience in that field and I can tell you it’s pretty authentic) and the natural tendency to resist conformity in spite of, or perhaps because of, social status.
Just hilarious. Cheers!