Mike Patton talks Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Sampa The Great & more in new interviewAmanda HatfieldPublished: April 6, 2021photo by Ben Stas
Mike Patton recently released his first album with Tomahawk in eight years, Tonic Immobility, and to mark the occasion he sat down for an interview with Forbes. Among the topics of discussion were artists he loves, which include Tom Waits. Forbes asked about Tonic Immobility's opening tracking, saying, "When I was listening to the opening track, 'SHHH!,' if felt like Tom Waits’ 'What’s He Building' to me. I’m going to guess that you’re a fan. Are you a fan?"
"Absolutely," Patton answered. 100 percent yeah, yeah, yeah. Of course. I channel him a lot. Even though I can’t really be him, there are moments in every band that I’m in where we reference people, like, 'Hey man, more Tom Araya or more Tom Waits or more, fuckking, Nancy Sinatra.' These things are said in the studio. And it helps me because I’m not a learned, trained musician. I don’t read notes, I don’t speak that language. So when I’m working, and I purposefully work with people who are better than me. All of them, every guy in every band that I’ve played in is better than me. They know more and they teach me. A lot of times in Faith No More, what we would do is reference movies like, 'Hey, make it more like Paris, Texas. Not Paris. But Paris, Texas.' And I knew exactly what that meant. Make it more western. Make it more fucked up and funky. It’s all about communication and how a unit becomes a thing. And it’s tough to do for a band. Different people, different ideas. You know all that kind of stuff. But one day, it will come together. And there are so many examples. But it’s really about, for me, being open minded enough to listen. And listening is one of the hardest things for a musician to do. ‘Cause once you’ve achieved some things, you think you know it all. But you don’t know shit. So keeping your ears open and your mind open is the most important thing. Listen to others and then you’ll get better."
"For you, who are those artists you look to for the way that they’ve been able to constantly invent themselves?", Forbes asked next.
"I don’t even know if you have to reinvent yourself," Patton answered. "If you’re happy with something that you’re on. If you’re riding a wave that’s constantly moving, then stay on it. However, I will say Tom Waits for sure has been one of those guys that jumps off always. And he catches another one. Nick Cave, another guy. I mean the guy can barely even sing. But he’s making amazing music and really, it’s compelling . And it’s orchestrated in a great way. I should say Bjork, too. Bjork really did that. I saw her grow up as a kid and then become whatever the hell she is now. And I think that she really did that as well."
Later in the interview, Forbes asked Patton, "Given the opportunity, what’s the one song or artist you would rather talk about?"
"Oh, okay. That’s a good question. Caught me off guard there. Sampa The Great is the artist and the song is called 'Final Form,'" Patton answered. "It’s a little off the map. And it’s hip-hop, but I don’t know why, I can’t get that fucking song out of my head. Play it. You’re gonna fucking die. It's so good. By the way, it’s poison. You’re not going to get it out of your fucking ears for ten days. So I just gave you a curse."
Read the interview in full on Forbes.
To brush you up on Pattons' numerous projects, Invisible Oranges recently posted a complete primer.
We also have lots of Patton-related vinyl in our shop, including the new Tomahawk and albums from Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Dead Cross, Nevermen, and more.