Now feel free to bitch on.
Hello Sir, what are you drinking?
Mike Patton: “A Negroni. Literally translated, it means ‘big negro’, in Italian. I’m not sure quite why they call it that, but I have to admit that I do like the name. It’s Campari, gin, vermouth and a slice of Orange. It’s an Italian aperitif.
Are you a big drinker, generally?
Mike Patton: “Naaah. I wouldn’t say big. I do enjoy it. [laughs] I would say I’m a, how do you call it, a ‘maintenance drinker’. Not a binger, but a maintenance alcoholic: I do it every now and then…constantly.
Do you ever drink for creative inspiration?
Mike Patton: “No no no. I get anything but creative. When I drink I dumb it down. It’s more about getting beligerent. Caveman tendencies come out. I get a little more aggressive than I should be.
Do you still live in Italy?
Mike Patton: “Not so much now. I do go there a lot and I spend a lot of time there. I’ve got a lot of ties there, but these days, no. It’s work time, so I gotta be here.
How many languages do you actually speak?
Mike Patton: “Two. Italian and English.
You don’t speak Spanish then?
Mike Patton: “My Italian ruined my Spanish, put it this way. I was on my way with Spanish and I was pretty good, and I picked up Italian in the meantime and my Spanish went to hell. I understand Spanish but I will speak back to you in Italian. They’re just similar enough to fuck you up.
Is your Italian quite fluent then?
Mike Patton: “It’s pretty good.
You must like Italian food then.
Mike Patton: “Who doesn’t?
What’s your favourite Italian dish?
Mike Patton: “Oh God. It’s not quite that simple. If you go there you think, oh, you know, there’s five or six dishes and that’s what you eat. Every city has millions and millions of different weird little specialities. The city that I spent a lot of time in, Bologna, they do these deep-fried whole frogs that are this fucking big. They eat the whole thing, everything. Amazing.
You’re having me on. What are they called?
Mike Patton: “They’re called Ragne Fritte. Ragne Fritte.
Mike Patton: Rane Fritte. They’re amazing. You never had ‘em?
I’ve never heard of them.
Mike Patton: Amazing. R-A-N-E.
Is it because your wife is Italian?
Mike Patton: Yeah. That’s why I live there, and everything else.
From your lyrics it’s clear that you are a bit of a reader…
Mike Patton: “You mean I steal a lot from books? Hahahaha. Guilty!
What interesting books have you read lately?
Mike Patton: “I don’t read on the road. But I should. I get car-sick, so I can’t read. I read more at home. The last thing I was reading was by a surgeon, called Richard Selzer, who writes about what he does. It’s called ‘Rituals Of Surgery’ this book I’m reading. It’s fucking amazing.
Will little bits of it pop up on your new record?
Mike Patton: “Oh yeah. More than bits. The next Fantomas record is kind of an ambient record, and it has kind of a surgical theme, I guess. I haven’t quite decided on the name, but it’s going to have some obscure, latin affliction of the heart, like some irregular heartbeat or something like that.
Yes. You posted on your website that one of the new Fantomas records is going to be called ‘Shaq Owns You’.
Mike Patton: “Oh. Hell. He he he. As much as I would love to do something like that, I don’t know if I could live with it.
What do you generally do on tour to kill time?
Mike Patton: “There’s not a lot of time to kill on tour. Depending on what kind of a tour. This tour, to be honest with you, I probably only have an hour or two in the van in the morning, and then maybe an hour or two after soundcheck, which I usually try and eat in, and find good restaurants. I would say that’s probably my biggest MO, when I roll into a town, is looking for a smoking restaurant, that’s my thing. I find friends, OK, fine, sure, but it’s all about food. On tour there’s not really a lot else to do. I don’t have to go score drugs, I don’t have to go looking for loose women. What really else are you going to do? OK, I have to go shop, absolutely. I come here and I know I’m going to 50 stores in the next three days and catch up on records and books and recent shit. But other than that it’s about meals.
What kind of food?
"It’s all good. I’m on a big Japanese kick. I really want to eat Fugu, which is the blowfish. And I recently met the Iron Chef Mori Moto, the Japanese Iron Chef and I’m going to his restaurant in Philly and I’m going to eat, and I’m really excited. I buy restaurant books, I have lots of books, and whatever town we go to we try and look up, whether its some high-end snobby shit, or it’s some low-down barbecue in someone’s back yard, it’s fun to try and find out about it. On the way here it was killing me because we’re stuck in traffic and I’d thought we’d have enough time to stop at this special pizza place in New Haven that I really like. We didn’t do it, couldn’t do it.
Do you believe in God?
Mike Patton: “Sure. Why not? Why should I refute all these amazing…tall tales. I’m going to roll with it. A million flies can’t be wrong.
What is your worst defect?
Mike Patton: “Oh boy. Here we go. Er. I’m probably too patient sometimes. [grins]
Are you a workaholic?
Mike Patton: “Sure. That’s not a defect. Hahaha. I could be doing much worse things.
Are you irritated when people refer to you as the former singer of FNM?
Mike Patton: “No. They’re absolutely right. I’m glad it’s ‘former’. That’s fine by me. I have no problems talking about any of that stuff. A lot of people seem gunshy about asking me about it, I’m not sure why. I’m at peace with all that stuf. It was a great run, great ride, great band. But it had its time, and if you don’t have the courage to pull the plug when it’s time, you suck.
What have you not done yet music-wise that you would still like to do?
Mike Patton: “Well if I really knew the answer to that I’d be out doing it, and not talking to you. Hahaha. But, that being said, the next few projects I’m up to have a lot more of, I guess an electronic slant to them, rather than ‘rock band’. I’m making a record with four DJs, and I’m probably going to make another couple of records that have no live musicians on it really at all, just programming. And then there are some that are a mix, as well. I’m leaning in that direction for the moment. Which is great, because then I won’t have to tour it.
They have DJs onstage.
Mike Patton: “Yeah, but they’re boring. No-one wants to see that shit. No, I take that back. A DJ you can watch, but some bozo with a laptop, that’s rough.
Techno Animal use latptops…
Mike Patton: “They’re great. But they have smoke all over the stage so you can’t see ‘em, hahaha. And it’s so oppressively loud that it makes sense, it brutalises you. Dalek use the same approach, it’s louder than a lot of rock bands, and it really makes sense. They’re a really great group.
Yes, I saw them supporting Tomahawk in London when you had your famous episode…
Mike Patton: “How famous was that, really? Don’t bullshit me. That was nothing. It was nothing. It was hot air. I’m not saying I didn’t piss. It wasn’t hot air coming out of my dick, but all the rest of it was nothing but hype. Right? What could have happened? The cops never showed up, nothing happened.
At least you put Rammstein to shame.
Mike Patton: “I did? What to they do?
They have fake jizz.
Mike Patton: “They’re Germans. Hahaha. I’ll leave it at that. They’re Germans.
Are there any musicians you fantasise about working with?
Mike Patton: “Er. Sure Burt Barcharach. Tony Bennett. Guys like that. Band leaders, easy listening stuff. I’d love to work with a jazz trio at some point. Torch songs, ballads. We’ll see. I’ll figure something out.
Tell me about being approached by ‘The Project’?
Mike Patton: “Sorry?
The new band Slash and the other ex-Guns’N’Roses guys are putting together.
Mike Patton: “Did you just call it ‘The Project’?
That’s what they are calling it.
Mike Patton: “HAHAHAHA. That’s hilarious. It sounds much better than I’m sure it is. Er, well, I wasn’t really approached. I just got a phonecall from an ex-manager asking if I would be interested. Well, I wasn’t and that was about it. Not very exciting.
Why weren’t you interested?
Mike Patton: “Why do you think? You know. I think everyone else knows too, except them. Which is the funny part.
I hear they are now doing stuff with Scott Weiland.
Mike Patton: “I thought he was dead.
No, he’s alive. He’s just been arrested for cocaine possession again.
Mike Patton: “OK. Well this band will kill him off and do the world a favour.
What's tonight's gig going to be like?
Mike Patton: “I don’t know what tonight’s gig is going to be like. It’s going to be a clusterfuck, a mess. But we’re going to somehow pull it off, that’s kinda how these kinda go. It is that way whether I like it or not, so I accept it. It’s a zen thing, I guess. You become the chaos. You embrace it because there is no other. I can sit here and worry my brains out and lose my hair over it, but what good is it really going to do me? I’ll let it happen. I used to worry about shit like that, and then you get older and you learn.
What’s your take on praise and criticism?
Mike Patton: It’s funny. It’s amusing at times. But it’s very hard to take seriously. And I mean good and bad. Very very hard to take seriously. And unhealthy to take seriously. As long as you can laugh at pretty much anything, I think you’re going to be OK.
Do you read reviews?
Mike Patton: “Sometimes. When I have to. And the really good ones are always the bad ones; somehow the venom is more entertaining, but I don’t know, like I said it’s hard to get caught up in.
5 Fave Jukebox Selections:
György Ligeti ‘Nouvelles Aventures’
Luciana Berio ‘Visage’
Peter Maxwell Davies ‘Eight Songs For A Mad King’
Igor Stravinsky ‘Rite Of Spring’
Mauricio Kagel ‘Exotica’