Michael Allan "Mike" Patton (born January 27, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, producer, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, film actor, and voice actor, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Faith No More. He has also handled lead vocals for Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Lovage, Fantômas, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Zu and Peeping Tom.
Known best for his eclectic influences and numerous projects, 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, Sepultura, The Melvins, Melt-Banana and Kool Keith. He co-founded Ipecac Recordings with Greg Werckman in 1999, and has run the label since.
Joining Faith No More
Patton joined Faith No More in January 1989 and filled the vocal void left by the recently-fired Chuck Mosley, 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 T-shirt promoting his own band Mr. Bungle).
In the United States, Faith No More would not again match the commercial success of The Real Thing. 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.
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".
Mr. Bungle and beyond
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.
Patton's other projects 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, 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 many times on other Tzadik releases with Zorn and others.
There have been several projects over the years featuring Patton that have not been officially released, 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.
Patton performing with Fantômas at Quart Festival, Norway on July 9, 2005.
In 2004, Patton worked with Björk and the beat boxer Rahzel on her album, Medúlla.
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 his desire to compose for film director David Lynch.
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. 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 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 said 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."
In May 2007 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 2007, Mike Patton played the voice of the eponymous 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 the Valve title Left 4 Dead, voicing the majority of the infected zombies. 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.
He is regarded as very 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. He also worked on the Derrick Scocchera short film "A Perfect Place" for the score/soundtrack, which is longer than the film itself.
In December 2008 along with Melvins, Patton co-curated an edition 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.
In 2009 Patton created the soundtrack to the movie Crank: High Voltage. He also performed vocals on the track "Lost Weekend" by The Qemists.
On May 4 2010 Mondo Cane, where Patton worked live with a 30-piece orchestra, was released by Ipecac Recordings.
"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"."
Faith No More reunion
In February 2009, Faith No More announced that they were reforming for a tour and possibly new material, first as a footnote on a blurb for Patton's score for Crank: High Voltage and later as an official announcement on fnm.com . Their first gig on the road again was at the Brixton O2 Academy in London, where 1991's Live at the Brixton Academy was recorded, on June 10th, 2009. They have played as one of three headliners at The Download Festival 2009, in Castle Donington, which was Faith No More's first time at the festival. At the festival they covered "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, with Patton making fun of her unique vocal style. Bassist Billy Gould has also stated that an American tour is "not out of the question".
In June 2009 Faith No More announced that they will be headlining the NME stage at Reading & Leeds festival. On July 4, Faith No More performed a concert together at the Open'er festival in Kosakowo Airport near Gdynia, Poland. Faith No More also played the large Roskilde Festival near the city of Roskilde, Denmark.. Faith No More also performed in Portugal in Festival do Sudoeste the 8th of August, where Mike Patton sang one song, Evidence, completely in Portuguese. They had already played the same song completely in Italian on June 14th, 2009, at the Rock in Idro Festival in Milan. 12th August 2009 was the date for FNM's first Turkish live appreance in Istanbul.
Faith No More will be headlining the Australian Soundwave Festival in 2010. On the 27th of August 2009, Faith No More played in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland and were supported by local band Adebisi Shank. On September 1, 2009 Faith No More played at Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, supported by Monotonix and Dinosaur Jr.. August 2009 Faith No More headlined the Radio 1/NME Stage at both Leeds & Reading Festival where they played the theme tune to popular UK Soap Eastenders as part of their setlist. Faith No More also played in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of the Festival Maquinária, which also featured bands such as Jane's Addiction, Evanescence and Sepultura. Some of the summer shows started with Reunited, a song originally performed by Peaches & Herb.