Meeting Mike Patton (Part 1)
Filed under : Celebrity Stories, Serial Stories
Written on April 23, 2015
Since Faith No More is in town for 3 nights, and I just got back from the 1st of their 3 shows (and have passes for seeing them again tomorrow, April 23rd), this is a good time to tell my Mike Patton stories.
Mike Patton, if you don’t know, is the lead singer of Faith No More. Before that, he was the lead singer of Mr. Bungle, and he’s been so prolific that his discography has its own lengthy Wikipedia page (which I’ve taken the liberty of comparing to Paul McCartney’s entire catalogue).
The first time I saw Faith No More was January 27, 1993 1I know this because I do my research, not because I can pull dates like that out of my ass, when they performed at Club Rio. I was 14 years old and, though I’d seen several live acts by that point, that was the first concert I ever went to where I knew every single song played by the band I went to see. Since then, I’ve never missed a tour while they were in a town where I lived. I saw their last show in AZ back in 1997 (which is still, 18 years later, the last time they’ve performed in AZ), and I saw both reunion shows they did here in LA in 2010.
Back in 2001 (November 2, 2001 to be exact), Mike Patton’s latest project Tomahawk played their first-ever show at the Pomona Glass House. Because I was (err.. am) a lunatic for all things Patton, I needed to see his new act. The Tomahawk album (also called Tomahawk) was released only 4 days prior, so I’d already listened to the album about a hundred times prior to the show. It was a great show, especially for a first-ever show, and I went with my roommate Cheyenne 2as mentioned here and here to see them. Because it was a small venue, we figured maybe we could actually meet Mike Patton. We hung out back, in the alley behind the venue, waiting for Patton to show up. At one point, the back door opened but it was one of the guys from one of the (shitty) opening acts, and he talked with a few of the other people also waiting for Patton (there was maybe 6 of us in total). The shitty-band guitarist said “listen, I’m heading out, but I’ll leave the door open. Patton’s a cool guy, just walk in and talk to him”. With that, the kids in front of us just walked right in. I told Cheyenne “this isn’t gonna go well..” and I turned out to be wrong. A few minutes later, the kids appeared and said “He’s fucking awesome! Just walk on in!”.
I figured, at the time, they were just fucking with us. But, as they clearly weren’t being escorted out by security, I also figured we had nothing to lose by at least trying to walk right on in and trying to meet Patton. So, we walked right on in the back door and he was just standing in the middle of the room, talking to two guys who were asking about his upcoming project Peeping Tom (which, funny enough, wouldn’t put out their first album until 2006 – but many of us Patton die-hards had their early demos way back in 2001) and I overheard Patton say “yeah, I’m working on it, look out for it next year on Ipecac 3Mike Patton’s record label”.
With that out of the way, he looked at me and said “what are you doing here?”. Though I often freeze-up around my idols, I am very proud to say this was one of my rare moments 4which is to say very few moments ever of well-timed brilliance, as I replied “ohh.. I heard there was punch and pie”. He laughed, and grabbed my shoulder in a “you’re okay to hang out for a minute” kinda way. I just asked if he would sign my Tomahawk CD, and if I could get a photo with him. He said “sure, man! let’s do it” and we took a photo.
It was fucking wonderful. And I had proof I met my musical idol. I went to their show in Hollywood a few nights later, making me probably one of the few people in the world who had – at that point – seen 2/3rds of every live Tomahawk show ever.
At some point, Cheyenne and I came up with the crazy scheme to go ahead and travel to San Francisco to see the last 2 shows of their tour in a few months. We met up with him again, two nights in a row, I made an ass out of myself (for which Patton blamed himself), and was later granted his personal email address, an interview, and a follow-up letter. Details of which I’ll reveal in the follow-up.