Q&A with Mike Bordin
Sheila Rene': It was so wonderful seeing you at OzzFest. What a trip. "I never felt better now..." to coin a phrase from "Naked In Front Of The Computer."
Mike Bordin: (laughing) That's great. It's my favorite on the album too.
SR: How could we be thinking so close? Maybe it's all those years of rockin' together in the S.F. bay area.
MB: I didn't like it at first but now it's my favorite. Are you still In Austin?
SR: Yep. What, besides the drums, was your biggest contribution on this album?
MB: My biggest contribution I would say is that I pulled my weight. I was out on the road a lot with Ozzy but was able to help write too.
SR: Was it scary when you purged the first writing session?
MB: No, it wasn't scary. It was frustrating but a lot of times the way this thing has worked is that we write a bunch of songs (and we've heard this from other bands and we just laughed) then your manager or record company says 'these are really good, write some more.' You generally hear that when they want a whole bunch of choices. It worked out like that but it didn't come from any business person. It came from our singer, Mike Patton. He wanted more of a choice.
SR: The drums sound really good here.
MB: My ears are toast. (laughing) I can't tell.
SR: I hear it best on "Paths To Glory" and "Strip Search."
MB: "Strip Search" and "Collision" were written by our new guitarist, Jon.
SR: You knew him from his first band, Systems Collapse.
MB: We knew the keyboardist in that band for a long, long time. Roddy, Billy and I met him right when we started out in '82. The thing that's really good about this is that we've found another writer from the perspective of a guitarist. This band is not about one person. We needed that balance. The songs Jon wrote are really great.
SR: Congrats on finally being able to handle the production and in your own studio. I'm a big fan of Roli Mosiman's work.
MB: We needed it. It has been a long time coming. Roli did a great job for us. But, believe it or not, we recorded the whole record without him. That's what happened and why I like it so much. It's like..don't believe what you hear. When we were making this record the record company must have believed all the rumors about our breaking up. We were left alone to do this album. It was recorded for the most part between breaks every six to eight weeks. I'd get ten days to come home and contribute to the project. Maybe the label thought we were doing demos. We got great, great, great tracking at Brilliant Studios. It gave Jon a window to ease into this whole thing. He's not new anymore since he has now been with us a year already.
SR: You recorded in parts this time.
MB: Actually, we have done it this way before. It was the only way we could do it this time. It was flexible for us. There was a lot going on and we made it work. Jon had time to work with Billy doing some fine tuning.
SR: Any chance you'll go back next time to doing it at home.
MB: Yeah, I would think so. From what I hear it's selling pretty decently so we must have done something right.
SR: I don't think you've done as well on the charts as maybe the first one, The Real Thing which sold million.
MB: I don't have time to keep up with that part of the biz.
SR: I loved Angel Dust because of all the fun things you threw in that weren't what they seemed to be. You've continued here with the whistle on "Helpless" and the organ is not an organ.
MB: I think that's the thing about FNM. People have described it to me like this. When they get a new album from us, it's like getting on a rollercoaster. They don't know where it's going but they figure they'll end up in a surprising and interesting place. I think that's cool. That doesn't always work really well with a commercial way of doing things. It's the way we do and the only way we'll do it.
SR: "Naked In Front Of The Computer" makes me laugh. A lot has happened since we last talked. You have some great sites out there that are run by your fans.
MB: It's crazy. I don't surf. I'm not sure if Mike does or not. Everyone else in the band is into it. I just never have time. (laughing)I'm sure I will some day. It has been a couple of years where I've just been too busy. I will have been on the road for 21 months by Christmas time. That's enough.
SR: Do you plan to tour a long time on this one?
MB: I doubt it. There are all kinds of factors that put pressure on you and really irritates things more than they need to be. We've done this several times on a few records. It's too strenuous. The way we tour is six days on and a day off. It's just too much. We started in July and we'll go to Christmas. We're talking ten to 12 months. Right now for us it's not appropriate to do more.
SR: We have to talk about your Ozzy daze. The show I saw in San Antonio was perfect in every way. The sound, the ease of moving around and every band was on time. I thought Bill was back.
MB: It was fabulous. The OzzFest was the number one show of the summer, beating out all the others. I had a great time and I liked the new bands I heard.
SR: I really liked Drain and now they're without a label. I'm now a fan of Vision Of Disorder. I working toward interviewing them both.
MB: Oh, really. Well, I think Drain will be playing on a show with us. I can pass along your number. We're doing all these radio shows along the way and I'm sure I'll run into them.
SR: Do you see yet how this website is going to finally put musicians in complete control of their careers, thereby cutting out the labels?
MB: Sure. (laughing) It's very strange. I really think that's only one way of changing to be done. We've just spent the summer in Europe as we've done in the last 10 years. Things are different over there. I think the biz will change a lot and that's a good thing. A lot of things people have taken for granted won't be there. In a way it may shake people up and scare them. A lot of bands/musicians or parts of the biz today may not be there the way we know them now. It's a long term evolution and it's good.
SR: What did you notice in Europe?
MB: From what I've seen recently is that people aren't that excited about live music right now. They would rather see a DJ spin the records. They just want to look at each other and jump up and down and dance. The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy are big.
SR: I thought we had done this rave thing to death a couple of years back.
MB: I don't think so. Now, they're taking R&B and rock and mixing them together instead of electric/techno. It's not my cup of tea, but I think people are starting to really get into it. Eventually, the other things will come back whether it's live rock music or live punk. I think there will always be dance. You know as well as I do how many bands there are out there.
SR: Today we have a bunch of '70s and '80s bands who're back recording and touring. I say if you liked them then get out and support them now.
MB: (laughing) Yeah, go and see them. I don't know.
SR: Puffy. Who calls you that?
MB: That is an old nickname I had early on. It was the hair that was puffy.
SR: Would you go out with Ozzy again?
MB: Do you know something I don't know?
SR: Rumors always abound with this band.
MB: I heard they were going to do it with Bill Ward. That shit is so hard to play. It's brutally hard to play. It's totally different from anything else. People think it's easy and sloppy but it's very precise and slow in tempo. Every motion has to be right. If you're running fast you have some space to screw up but when the stuff is slow and it's very precise. I just have to wonder if the guy who invented it can do it after 30 years physically like it needs to be done.
SR: I felt for Ozzy doing two sets in a row. A 40 minute and a 75 minute set.
MB: That Sabbath thing is tough. About half way through the Sabbath set was killing him, and you saw an early show. It's a hard thing for me and I'm just 34. (laughing)
SR: Hey, when I can't navigate on my own, I'm gonna get me a moving cart and put a big horn on it. I'll just be laying on that horn on my way to the front of the stage. I'm close.
MB: (laughing) I can see it now.
SR: Speaking of age, I can't read the little lettering on your album. I have to use a magnifying glass.
MB: That's because it's about music. We don't put lyrics on our albums.
SR: Who's the guy on the cover. Looks like Col. Sanders' brother.
MB: (laughing) He was the President of an Eastern Block country 30 years ago. There are scenes from his life and death in the booklet. Elegant looking guy. It's funny the people over here thinks it's someone from America.
SR: Finger lickin' good. That's what this new album is for me.
MB: Good to know.
SR: I really appreciate your calling young man.
MB: I'll pass your number on to Drain. Take care.