"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Twas the night before…

The date: December 24, 1988
Location: Southern California

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the rock world
Not a guitar was sounding, not even a chord.
The bandanas were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that even more bandanas soon would be there.

The groupies were passed out, all snug in their beds,
With visions of DIO, dancing in their heads.
And Axl wearing his boxers, and Slash in his cap,
Had just settled their lawsuits, shot up, and decided to nap.

When out on the tour bus there arose such a clatter,
Bret Michaels sprang from his bed of whores to see what was the matter.
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
There he saw one of his whores, running away with his cash. More...

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Unearthing the Brutal Bangkok Underground

It doesn’t take long when wandering the streets of the sprawling, congested, and smog-ridden city of Bangkok, once known as the Venice of the East due to its many canals, long since paved over, to realize that metal lives here. Young and old sport metal t-shirts with surprising regularity, metal paraphernalia abounds in shops here and there, and even airport employees asked this recent visitor to the country, upon seeing his tattoos and metal garb, “What metal band are you in?” Though scene insiders in Bangkok remarked to this correspondent that the Bangkok scene is largely split among subgenre lines, it clearly does little to diminish the following among the brutal bands of the Bangkok scene. Here are four punishing bands hailing from Thailand’s capital waiting to unleash upon you and aural assault of massive proportions. More...

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Sunday Old School: Exodus

This past October Sunday Old School looked at British doom metal band, Electric Wizard. In the introduction, I stated that some bands are essential to a genres fan base, the first example being California thrashers, Exodus. So this week we’re going to examine the band in greater detail and see just how important to the thrash metal scene Exodus really are. The band was formed in Richmond, California by guitarists Kirk Hammett and Tim Agnello in 1981, along with drummer Tom Hunting, vocalist Keith Stewart and bassist Carlton Melson, who was soon replaced by Jeff Andrews, with Agnello leaving shortly afterwards to become a minister, leaving the second guitarist spot to be filled by guitar tech, Gary Holt. More departures would soon follow, with the band deciding to replace Stewart with their eccentric friend, Paul Baloff and Jeff Andrews departing after the band recorded their first demo to form an early version of Possessed and most notably, founding member Hammett leaving to join Metallica, who were just about to record their debut album, "Kill ‘em All" in New York. With Hammett now replaced by Rick Hunolt, the band began recording their debut album, "Bonded By Blood," which despite taking over a year to release due to business issues, proved to be well worth the wait, as it has since been hailed as one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback Exodus received for "Bonded By Blood," they decided to fire Baloff as he was too much for them to handle and replaced him with Legacy frontman Steve "Zetro" Souza. This lineup of the band proved to be stable to some degree, and they released their second album, "Pleasures Of The Flesh" in 1987 which entered the Billboard charts at number 82, a position which was matched by the third Exodus album, "Fabulous Disaster." This album featured the song, "Toxic Waltz" which received regular rotation on the MTV show, Headbanger’s Ball, ultimately proving to be one of the most popular Exodus songs. Tom Hunting left the band after the release of "Fabulous Disaster" but they took a big step by signing with major label, Capitol Records, who housed fellow Californian thrashers, Megadeth at the time. The resulting fourth album, "Impact Is Imminent" received very negative feedback and after a live album, "Good Friendly Violent Fun" and another album, "Force Of Habit" in 1992, which saw the band experiment with their sound, they decided to call it a day, reuniting with Baloff briefly in 1997 for a live album entitled, "Another Lesson In Violence" before breaking up again. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Video Heaven, part II

This week we travel from Russia to Brazil and take a look at some new videos recently released. More...

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Pit Stories: The Blood Soaked Stage

As we continue our constant quest to get the craziest mosh pit stories in all of metaldom, vocalist Patrick Hemer of German/French act Horizon got in touch with us to share a story of a headbanger who went just a bit too far. Check out Patrick's tale of a blood soaked pit below.

This took place when playing a festival in the south of France with the very first line-up of Horizon. As soon as we took to the stage, we noticed this guy in the audience, in the first row in front of our bass player, who was headbanging in the wildest, craziest and most violent way I’ve ever seen in my life. It looked unreal, almost supernatural. He seemed to move like a possessed dude in some horror movie. From the second song on, his face was covered with blood but he kept headbanging with the same superhuman energy until the end of the show, so I thought at this point that he might simply have hit his brow on the wedge just in front of him – there were no barricades between the stage and the crowd - and maybe he didn’t even notice it in the heat of the moment. Moreover, he obviously reached new heights of excitement every time a band member was getting close to him and we – stupid as we were – really did what it takes to give him the time of his life. Our roadies also had a great time and were totally bent over laughing.

Things suddenly got less funny and started getting scary when we saw the stage after the show, in the cold neon light. Instead of a few blood drops they imagined they would find behind the wedge near the place the guy stood, the roadies had found something that actually looked like a crime scene. There was a LOT of blood! This moron had been banging his head and his face on a wedge for 40 minutes in a row and nobody saw he was bleeding that much because of the stage lights and the black shirt he was wearing. Then someone said that a person who had lost that much blood might be unconscious somewhere and should immediately be brought to the hospital. So we asked the security whether there had been any problem with an injured member of the audience and they said no. We then had the promoters search every bathroom and every place of the festival area for a possible unconscious person. Nobody. We even asked the local newspaper the next morning to see if someone had been found during the night but, apparently, the bastard had managed to make his way back home despite his terrible state.

We’ll never know what the guy was on, to be so frenzied and indestructible but we imagine there must be someone somewhere now who’s wearing concert memories in the form of battle scars on his face. Definitely Metal!

Patrick Hemer released his new solo album "More Than Meets the Eye" last month through Nightmare Records, and you can check out his music by heading over to MySpace or Patrick's official website.

Check back in again next week to find our latest pit story shared by metal fans and musicians.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground In Chile

Chile is a world unto itself, a land of extremes that begins at the harsh Atacama desert to the north and extends thousands of miles to the south in the fjords of Patagonia. The population is of hardy, rugged stock and it's people are as diverse as our own. Within this long country of one time zone, you have all kinds of microcosms and people of diverse ancestry. There are influences from German and Italian lineage and plenty of native and indigenous folk residing amongst the Hispanic populace. And of course, one common thread appears to always transcend boundaries - music. In the case of metal music, Chile has an unbelievable amount of bands in every subgroup imaginable. Black metal bands such as Runepath have put out demos that have gotten recognition on many webzines, and even the ambient new age doom of Uaral has gone viral on YouTube. The majority of people will think of Tom Araya, who recently got the key to a city as a musical emissary, as the most popular Chileno - but delve a little bit deeper and you will find all sorts of bands.

Chile has been thrashing for years, and you can see this as evident when old schoolers such as Vastator regroup are still around putting out videos and even collaborate with Veronica Freeman ("The Gods Give No Reply"). The great thing about the Chilean metal scene as of late is the organization put into it. The Digmetalworld label has put alot of effort into showcasing and streaming countless bands and releases from Chilean and other South American artists. A fan of one band can easily jump and discover music from other groups this way. While you may stream dozens of releases this way and get to know more metal bands, I still find that many will investigate on their own as well. Great blogspots such as Paganvs Info, for those who can read Spanish, also highlight a vast amount of music from the pagan metal scene in Chile and South America. Here on Metal Underground, we have streamed the entire newest releases of such diverse Chilean metal bands as Lefutray, Sacramento and several others. Today we will take a look at a few different styles of metal bands currently active in the Chilean scene.


I like what Folkheim stand for. They have the touch of the common man in their message of popular rights and autonomy for indigenous people. They don't celebrate Columbus Day, because in their words it would be celebrating 519 years of conquistador oppression. They recently bowed out of the Caviahue festival on moral and monetary grounds, and continue to speak their peace on issues such as the funding of the HidroAysen energy project which many deemed environmentally unsound. Hailing from Antofagasta, they play a rich variety of ethnic black folk metal. Folkheim's first EP was 2006's "Pachakuti," which followed their 2004 demo "Touched by Thy Undisturbed Essence." They continue to play shows all over Chile and have an incredible cult following.


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Sunday Old School: Artillery

It is always so unfair when you see mediocre and lackluster bands becoming hugely popular and selling millions of albums, especially when a band with overwhelming talent gets the shaft and never realizes it's true potential. But I learned a long time ago that life was never meant to be fair, and not a better example of this exists in the annals of metal than the story of Artillery. Formed in 1982 in Taastrup, Denmark - this band came along at the beginning of thrash metal and was one of a very small handful of bands that pioneered the technical metal genre. They were ahead of the times, and sadly still fly under the radar in terms of recognition within the metal community. The old schoolers and metal elitists know and recognize them for what they are, though - perhaps the greatest and most technical thrash band of all time. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: The Crue Top 25

News spread fast regarding Motley Crue becoming the first hard rock band to take up residency in Las Vegas. It was announced that starting in February the band will be playing nightly shows at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. In light of this semi-groundbreaking news a look (IMO) of the top 25 Crue songs to date. Note that although personal opinion was weighted heavily, I also took into account popularity, videos, etc… More...

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Pit Stories: Losing A Tongue To The Pit

Every week we catch up with metal fans and band members to find their most brutal and memorable pit stories from live shows. This week guitarist Rick Jimenez from This is Hell shares the following recounting of losing half a tongue but still catching the end of the show:

In 2000 I was at an On The Rise (Mike Gallo from Agnostic Front's first band) show. A NJ band called Redline was playing and were covering "Reign in Blood." I was thinking "everyone does the intro and then goes into their own song all the time, whatever," but after the intro they kept going with it and I got extremely psyched. Everyone moshing was about 7 feet and 300 pounds and I was only 19 and about 100 pounds and 4 feet tall so I'm thinking there is no way I'm going to get in on the mosh.

Once the chug breakdown came though I couldn't contain myself anymore so I get out and start doing 2000 NY mosh... about 10 seconds later I'm about 20 feet from where I first started, on the ground, half my tongue on the ground. Mike helped me up and brought me to the bathroom... then someone else came in and handed me the rest of my tongue in a cup of ice. I was driven to the hospital, had my tongue sewed back together and got back to the show in time to see On The Rise. Casualty of the core.

This is Hell released the new album "Black Mass" (reviewed here) earlier this year, and you can check out the band's music by heading over here. Metalunderground.com also spoke with Rick Jimenez last month about the album, with the full interview available at this location.

Check back in next Tuesday as we continue to share more mosh pit stories from metal shows.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground In Toronto

Toronto is located in the South Eastern part of the province of Ontario, five hours east of Montreal, Quebec and three hours away from Ottawa, Ontario. A fair comparison to use to describe Toronto would be as the poor man’s New York City: it is large, expansive and industrial (and emotionally cold) in feel, but extremely culturally diverse, and while there are great opportunities for people to spark their individual creativity, the pressure to conform is palatable. Toronto seems to primarily be an “indie rock” town, but in the past few years, hardcore bands such as Fucked Up and Cancer Bats have been making waves, and Protest The Hero started off in Whitby, a suburb outside of the city. There are a plethora of new metal bands in the GTA, and while they get little (if any) love by Toronto press – metal or otherwise, they are around, getting opening slots for the American and European metal and hardcore bands that come into town.

Sons of Otis

In terms of style, Toronto metal acts seem to prefer to emulate the NWBHM feel, while Quebec metal bands seem to be more technical and favor Black metal and /or grindcore styles. Toronto’s Sons of Otis stands out as being a trio of extremely proficient musicians who stand out from the pack with their unique take on metal. Their sound, which is categorized as psychedelic stoner/doom, is infused with American blues music, which adds a deep-in-your-belly groove and a soulfulness to their sound.

While the band has been kicking around since 1992 and has toured with bands like Electric Wizard and YOB and performed at the renowned Roadburn Festival in Holland in 2010, they have been lauded with critical acclaim, but for some reason commercial acclaim has been stymied by horrible record deals, lineup changes and in my opinion, a musically immature city where their uniqueness isn’t appreciated. While I’d heard of the band for a number of years, their opening set for Dark Castle and YOB this past July blew me away, and if I were in one of the bands performing that night, I would have been intimidated. Sheer power and heartfelt passion for their craft cannot be faked simply to win an audience over. These guys are the real deal.


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Sunday Old School: Pantera

It’s very close to that time of year again when metal fans all over the world pay their tributes to Dimebag Darrell Abbott, the legendary guitarist from Pantera who was murdered on stage on December 8th, 2004 while performing with his post-Pantera band, Damageplan. To understand why his death is so important to metal fans, it’s best to start, as all legends do, at the beginning. Darrell formed Pantera thirty years ago with his brother Vinnie Paul, along with guitarist Terry Glaze, vocalist Donnie Hart and bass player Tommy Bradford. Hart and Bradford left the group the same year, with the latter being replaced by Rex Brown, while the rest of the group decided that Darrell would be the bands sole guitar player. They soon became an underground favorite, touring throughout their native Texas, as well as Oklahoma and Louisiana, and supporting the likes of Quiet Riot and Dokken.

In 1983, the band released debut album, "Metal Magic" through its own record label of the same name with a second album, "Projects In The Jungle" following the next year. Both albums were very much in the glam metal vein but the second demonstrated the first hint of thrash metal influences, a style which was embellished on the third album, "I Am The Night."

Thrash metal soon crept its way into Pantera's sound permanently however, leading the group to part ways with Glaze and search for a more aggressive vocalist, which was found in New Orleans native, Phil Anselmo. With Anselmo, Pantera recorded the fourth album, "Power Metal," a hybrid of thrash metal and the popular hard rock style of the time. Following this release, Pantera decided to radically reinvent itself, shedding the big hair and make up the group had previously adorned and soon gained itself a manager in Walter O’ Brien, with a record deal coming shortly afterwards with Atco Records.

Despite now being considered something of a debut album for the band, the fifth album, "Cowboys From Hell" was released in 1990 and was instantly a hit with fans of the heavier side of metal, as well as some of their heroes such as Judas Priest and Slayer. It was certainly a breath of fresh air at the time, varied in sound but fluent, songs like the pummeling title track were just as much a part of the band's sound as the haunting epic, "Cemetery Gates." The band toured heavily to support the album, taking to the road with such respected acts as Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies and even earning a slot on the Monsters In Moscow festival with the likes of AC/DC and Metallica, in what was still the Soviet Union. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Nasty Reputation

This week a look at a new video from Canadian rockers, Reverse Grip. They have released a new video for “Nasty Reputation”, a track from their new four-song EP. Reverse Grip is a hard rock band formed by the three Broda brothers (Sean, Dru and Dylan) with a mission to bring back true rock n' roll. WARNING: The following video contains drinking and lots of cow bell. More...

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Pit Stories: The Out Of Control Circle Pit

Each week we chat up metal fans and band members from every style and sub-genre to find their best tales from the mosh pit. For this week's look into the pit, guitarist Andreas Allenmark of Swedish act Cipher System shares the following story of a circle pit gone out of control:

This "accident" happened when I was on tour with another band. We were playing in Germany and had been drinking quite a few beers the night before and I had been taught a few tricks from another band.

One of those tricks was the sign for a circle pit. After a few songs I started thinking about that sign, what if I should try it...just to see if the audience understood what it meant. So I waited for a break in the song then showed them as distinctively as I could.

After that I continued my headbanging mostly looking down at the guitar and floor. When I looked up again I saw that a circle pit really had started and almost developed to a riot atmosphere, people were really hurting each other. I regretted my foolish naivety, almost stopped playing just to try to calm them down again. My last thought was, what if my brother saw me now? He is a police officer and what I had done would be considered to be a crime in Sweden.

Cipher System released the new album "Communicate the Storms" earlier this year. You can check out track-by-track videos from the band discussing the album here. For more details on Cipher System, navigate over to the band's Facebook profile.

Check back in again next Tuesday as we share more Pit Stories from metal bands.

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Unearthing the Metal Underground In Logan, Utah

Logan, Utah sits in a picturesque little furrow by the name of Cache Valley, which is home to many small towns. Righteous mountain views are prevalent throughout and Logan is home to an array of diverse businesses, people and music. One thing that has become very apparent throughout the last few years is that, despite the small town vibe, the town has an awesome variation of pure metal that is comparable to cities ten times its size. Autostigmatic, Simple as Suicide, and Osco are but three of the bands that keep Logan’s metal scene alive and kicking some serious ass.


Autostigmatic is a four piece that is reminiscent of greats like Pantera and Slayer but with a crucially unique metal sound that brings fans back in hordes, craving more with every show. Live, they are non-stop head-banging metal that is cemented in the underground scene not only in Logan, but across Northern, Utah. Hovey is the front man, leading the mayhem with fierce vocals and guitar riffs that merge superbly with ferocious guitar abilities. The band produces deep and contagious bass lines and their drum beats are a hardcore combination of metal meets stampede, all in all creating a sound that pulls you in and saturates your soul.


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Sunday Old School: L.A. Guns

If you lived in Southern California during 1983 to present day there is a very good chance you have played for a band named L.A. Guns. I demand a VH1 Classic documentary on this phenomenon. I already have the title: "Eight is Enough: The story of nine albums and eight lead singers.”

This is the story of L.A. Guns.

To start we need to get the administrative part out of the way. Instead of populating every other sentence with a line-up change, here we go.

We will refer to the “Classic Line Up” of L.A. Guns as Phil Lewis, Tracii Guns, Mick Cripps, Kelly Nickels, Steve Riley. The “Steve Riley L.A. Guns” a.k.a. L.A. Guns #1 as Phil Lewis, Stacey Blades, Scott Griffin, Steve Riley and the “Tracii Guns L.A. Guns” a.k.a. L.A. Guns #2 as Jizzy Pearl, Tracii Guns, Doni Gray, Jeremy Guns. Recently Jizzy Pearl has left Tracii’s version of L.A. Guns, being replaced by Dilana Robichaux. So now the story is “Nine Lives: Nine albums, nine lead singers”.

Need a comprehensive list of lead singers? Why not, here they are: Phil Lewis, Jizzy pearl, Paul Black, Axl Rose, Michael Jagosz, Chris Van Dahl, Ralph Saenz, Marty Casey.

And finally other members (non lead singers) that at one time were members of L.A. Guns: Nickey Alexander, Ole Beich, Rob Gardner, Robert Stoddard, Michael Gershima, Johnny Crypt, Brent Muscat, Muddy, Keff Ratcliffe, Adam Hamilton, Keri Kelli, Scott Griffin, Kenny Kweens, Chad Stewart, Alec Bauer, Danny Nordahl.

Push the paper to the side and let’s see if we can figure out how this band bio grew to the size of a phone book. More...

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DIY Update: Google Music Open To Bands

Google’s masterplan to compete with everyone is becoming more apparent with its latest releases. Having just opened up Google+ pages, which is equivalent to Facebook pages, the search giant has now taken the beta tag off of Google Music and opened its doors to bands to sell their music on the Android Marketplace, which will compete with iTunes.

Google Music first opened in a beta testing phase to test their cloud storage and streaming service. The cloud will be the backbone for the music store, acting like a digital locker where all music purchases are saved. More...

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The Rockstar Ramblings: Talk Dirty To Me

Over the past few weeks the band Kid Rocker has filed lawsuit against the band Poison for allegedly stealing songs originally written by Kid Rocker (band was broke up and presented the songs to C.C. as members of the band Screamin’ Mimis). Video (at the bottom) has surfaced, showing the bands riff for what would later become an alleged Poison hit. My opinion: given this alleged theft occurred over 20 years ago I find the timing suspicious. No word yet as to why wait until now to bring the lawsuit. The songs include “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Fallen Angel”, and “I Won’t Forget You.” What a perfect time to celebrate the video for “Talk Dirty to Me”; a made for MTV spectacle that started it all for the glam conglomerate we would come to know as Poison. Full Disclaimer: I was twelve and a big fan of this video when it came out. Did it shape my life in any way? Still working through this twice a week in therapy. More...

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Pit Stories: Katatonia's Impromptu Tattoo

We've been hitting up metal bands and fans from around the globe to get their most devastating mosh pit stories, and this week drummer Daniel Liljekvist of Swedish act Katatonia shares the following tale of losing an eyebrow piercing and getting an impromptu tattoo:

So back in 1997-1998, me and a girl I used to know traveled all across Sweden photographing bands we liked. Especially the band Refused. This story takes place at a small venue in Stockholm called Kafé 44. I think it takes around 250 people and the place was packed! There were some 200 more kids outside in the street that didn’t get in. So the bands on the bill (Refused and The Hives, who actually opened for Refused back then) decide to play two sets at the same night. So as soon as the venue was empty with people after the first set they start bringing in the kids that waited outside. I had a photo pass so I could stay for both sets however; I had run out of film for the camera so I decided to just watch the second set.

Pretty soon I was in the pit myself. People were stage diving, moshing and when they played the song “Circle Pit” all hell broke loose. I climbed up on top of the PA system and dived straight into the crowd, hitting my forehead in someone’s belt buckle and in the same time ripping out my eyebrow piercing. So I’m bleeding like hell and have a big chunk of eyebrow dangling as I try to stand up when another diver lands on me, ass first on my lap, and it stings. Turns out the guy who landed on me had a ball pointed pen in his back pocket and it had penetrated my right thigh. So now I have a small blue dot that will always remind me of that awesome night in Stockholm. My first tattoo even. Cheers!

In other recent news, the band managed to get an easter egg included in the new video game "Skyrim." Katatonia also just finished a North American tour alongside Opeth in support of the band's most recent album "Night is the New Day" (reviewed here). You can check out an interview with Katatonia from the tour by heading over to this location. The band is also expected to release information in the near future about working on a new full-length album.

Check back in next week as we continue to share more pit stories from metal heads and musicians.

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Unearthing The Brutal Metal Underground

If there was ever a genre of metal that seems to get the least amount of exposure, it would possibly be the brutal death metal scene. There are literally dozens of bands putting out material every week, and occasionally a few rise above the heap to become well-known with most metal listeners.

Brutal death metal, which has as it's subgenres slam, grind, and porno, can partially trace it's inception back to Earache grindcore compilations and mostly to the late 80's/early 90's when such extreme bands as Blood Duster, Lividity, and Broken Hope put out grisly material that raised the bar in terms of gore, lyrics, and horror-themed album cover art. The following years saw Dying Fetus become one of the top bands of the next wave, with caustic maim-inducing music that influenced countless bands in today's brutal scene. When done well, the music can be hilarious and high energy. When done badly, it is still pretty funny too. More...

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Sunday Old School: Faith No More

Some bands are just so eclectic, it’s practically impossible to label them. Everyone likes these bands because their music is always guaranteed to be interesting, and none of these such bands are more intriguing than Faith No More. Faith No More began life thirty years ago when it was founded by bass player Billy Gould in 1981, along with drummer Mike Bordin, vocalist Michael Morris and keyboard player Wade Worthington. They did not adopt their current moniker until 1982 after Worthington had been replaced by Roddy Bottum and Morris had been fired, leading the band to through a series of vocalists, including future Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, before settling on Chuck Mosley in 1983, the same year they found guitarist Jim Martin.

They began recording their debut album independently, pooling their money together and recording it as and when they could. By the time five songs had been recorded, the group earned the attention of Mordam Records, who signed the band and gave them the money they needed to finish their album, which was released in 1985 under the title, "We Care A Lot." Faith No More then signed with Slash Records, and released "Introduce Yourself" in 1987, which, despite the release of "We Care A Lot" two years prior, is considered by many to be the bands debut album, owing to the limited availability of the previous record and the re-recording of its title track.

Not long after "Introduce Yourself," Mosley was fired from the group, due to erratic behaviour on and off the stage, including falling asleep during the "Introduce Yourself" release party. Taking his place was Mr. Bungle frontman, Mike Patton, who dropped out of Humboldt State University so he could sing for Faith No More. They released their first album with Patton, "The Real Thing" in 1989 and broke through into the public eye in the process, thanks largely to the records second single, "Epic" which became a top ten hit around the world. They performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards and Saturday Night Live, as well as touring all over the world. After releasing a live album, "Live at the Brixton Academy" in 1991 and contributing the song, "The Perfect Crime" to the soundtrack of the movie, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (in which guitarist Jim Martin made a cameo appearance,) the band got to work on their next album. The result, "Angel Dust," was released in the summer of 1992 and featured a much more experimental tone than previous releases, thanks predominantly to Mike Patton. Despite selling well over six hundred thousand copies in the United States, the album sold better overseas, going Gold in Australia and reaching the number 2 position on the album chart in the United Kingdom. More...

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