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BILLY GOULD On FAITH NO MORE Influencing Nü-Metal: "If That's What Happened, I'm Okay With That"

It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

faith no more 2019
Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

Faith No More bassist Billy Gould had a rather ambiguous answer when asked about his band's influence on the nu-metal bands of the late 90s and 2000s. In an interview with Brazil's Rock On Board, Gould had this to say on the topic: "If that's what happened, I'm okay with that. Sometimes I can listen to some things and I can say, 'Okay, I can see where they got this maybe for that — maybe.'" Gould continued by saying, "I just think of us like us. We are very unique. We have our own fingerprint, if that makes any sense. And it's really a combination of these people that come together and this is what we make."

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Over the years, many nü-metal bands, Korn in particular, have cited Faith No More as a major influence. Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch said in an interview with Guitar World shortly after the release of Korn's Life Is Peachy album that, "Faith No More moved me in a different way…. It totally changed my direction. It said to me that you didn't have to follow a certain path, that you could just create anything, go out and mess around with anything, that there were no rules." Guitarist James "Munky" Schafer and bassist Fieldy also expressed their love of FNM, most notably in the classic Korn home video, Who Then Now? Even recently, Papa Roach vocalist Jacoby Shaddix called Faith No More the "original nü-metal band."

But Gould, however, seems unwavered from his assertions. In the sane interview with Rock On Board, he added "I just don't see us compared to nü-metal. I mean, you can compare us to The Stranglers maybe; maybe you can compare us to Roxy Music, but not really — just in a very superficial way. And I think that we're just kind of our own thing, really."

It's probably worth mentioning that Faith No More's biggest hit—to date—and their unquestionable breakthrough single is a heavy metal song with a rap for lyrics. Sure, the Red Hot Chili Peppers did this, and so did Fishbone, 311, and a long list of other bands. But the point is, like it or not, "Epic," and the subsequent album The Real Thing, gave would-be rap and metal enthusiasts across the globe a big green light to basically do whatever the they liked.

Also, there's the minor detail of Faith No More taking a band from Jacksonville, Florida out on tour with them in 1998, a completely unknown group called—you guessed it—Limp Bizkit. Three Dollar BIll, Y'all wasn't even out yet. I saw two shows on that tour and I can assure you, the changing tides were evident, as was the influence, for better or worse. Mind you, this was back when Limp Bizkit had practically no material, even for an opening slot, and would do medleys of Korn, Rage Against the Machine, and—big shocker—Faith No More songs in their set.

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It's just interesting when bands distance themselves from scenes they don't like even though they clearly had an influence on it or, in some cases, influenced by it, even something as polarizing as nü-metal. (Did everyone forget Slayer's Diabolus in Musica?). And personally, I thought nü-metal would go the way of the dinosaur once we started calling Head and Munky by their real names anyway. Man, was I wrong about that. You can watch the whole interview with Gould below.

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