Mike Patton Talks MONDO CANE with Your Music Magazine – May 2010

Há menos de 50 dias para a apresentação dee Mike Patton´s Mondo Cane e Ennio Morricone em Santiago, Chile. Reservamos essa entrevista para que possa fazer a contagem regressiva para 24 de novembro.

There are less than 50 days for the Concert of Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane and Ennio Morricone in Santiago, Chile. We reserve this interview so you can make the countdown to November 24.

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When I was in High School, I would hear stories of a man who as legend had it once drank his own urine from a stinky boot during a show; A man who was known to recklessly climb shifty stage backdrops and riggings – all while belting out some of the most intoxicating and influential vocals in rock history. Thus is the legend of Mike Patton… or at least that’s the way I’ve known it. The voice behind legendary acts such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, as well as numerous side projects and odd-ball collaborations, Patton has once again surprised us all. Mondo Cane, which almost literally translates from Italian to “the world has gone to the dogs”, collects various selections from a short run of exclusive shows throughout Europe in which Patton performed covers of various 60s Italian pop songs backed by a massive orchestra and live band; At first listen, Mondo Cane confused me. It was definitely Mike Patton’s voice, but he wasn’t singing in English and I had no idea what was going on… Then the second track ‘Che Notte’ came on and my mood changed… The track was upbeat, almost jazzy. All of a sudden, I’m driving down a long country road somewhere in northern Italy; There’s a town up ahead. Rounding the sharp cobblestone turns in my speedy Alfa Spider, I drive straight towards the town’s piazza; Top down, scarf blowing in the wind, half-burned cigarette barely hanging from my bottom lip, I raise my hand politely to an old man on the corner with a gesture only an Italian could pull off: ‘Buon giorno, signore! Come stai?’ He flips me off. What the crap? Suddenly I’m back in the woods with my lovely girlfriend and my annoying cat… no Alfa Romeo, no fancy scarf, no air of brazen machismo… no rude old man. Just a beat up pick-up, an old band hoodie and a brand new shiny copy of Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane on the table. Man, I need a vacation.


What inspired Mondo Cane? What drove you to put together an album of 60’s Italian pop songs?

It was a part of my life. I lived in Italy for 6 or 7 years and while I was living there I fell in love with this music. I didn’t have to search too deep. It was present in everyday life. I got in really deep and started discovering who was writing this stuff and who was arranging it and learned more and more about it. The more I learned, the more fascinated and seduced I was. You know, at a certain point after listening and really loving this stuff, I realized…goddamn, someday I’d love to do my own version of this stuff. I’d love to recreate it in my own image. It’s a selfish point of view, but that’s the way I make a lot of my music. I hear things and then I think, “Well, what can I do with that?”

Were there plans for the album before the performances themselves? 

No, no. This was never destined to be a record or recording or even a project of mine. It was just a string of dates, a couple of concerts I was doing. Considering how much time and energy was going into the arrangements and finding the right musicians I realized that I should really document this, for better or for worse. I should put this down and see what happens. Once I did that, I sort of dug my own grave. Live concerts sound great, but are they perfect? No. So what I did was I created an illusion of a live record that sounds like a studio record. I cut out all the applause, corrected every wrong note or every mistake, myself included, and tried to make the best studio atmosphere that I could out of a live concert. There was a bit of magic in there.


What was it like working with a 40-piece orchestra? That’s a huge group of people to manage…

It’s a lot of people, yeah. Ultimately, yes, I am responsible, but there’s also a conductor that can keep them happy. The biggest challenge was making sure that the orchestra were not bothered by the sounds of the fifteen piece electric band behind them. There were definitely physical challenges but also some aesthetic ones. An orchestra playing with a rock band? They’ve done it before. They don’t care for the most part. They think of us as heathens. The way they collaborate with us is, you know, like Metallica with a fucking orchestra.


Yeah, I was going to mention Metallica…

So there you go. That’s what I’m dealing with and that’s what any musician that’s not classically trained is going to have to deal with. I managed to do it and I got through it, but there are a lot of prejudices there, and for good reason.


How were the shows originally received in Europe? Were there doubters?

The first shows we played were in Italy. Those were our first three shows and were the ones that I recorded and were the backbone of the record. I probably could have chosen the concerts a little better and maybe recorded the last three shows we played because we were much better, but hey, that’s the way it goes. But yeah, the concerts were received really well and from a mixture of people. I’m used to a sort of rock crowd; People who are fanatic about what they’re coming to see and make their opinions known. There were some of those people, but very little. We played theaters where people subscribe to a whole season of orchestral music. They just come every Thursday night or whatever. There were a lot of curious heads out there and I was very thankful.


Do you think it will be a challenge to market this album here in the US?

I don’t know and I don’t care. Well, I guess maybe “I don’t care” is not an accurate statement because I wouldn’t be talking to guys like you. I’m not disparaging you, I’m just saying I wouldn’t be doing fucking interviews. There’s a certain amount of humility you have to accept in doing things like this and it’s not my forté. I’m not great about talking about myself. I make music and I’m not that great talking about it. Do I think that it will succeed with an American audience? I don’t know. I have no fucking idea. I do think that if you listen to a record like this it pretty much doesn’t matter where you’re from or what point of view you’re coming from. I think that it will put a smile on your face. That’s my opinion. That’s the best sales pitch I can offer.


Are there plans to press this on vinyl? ‘cause that’d be great…

Vinyl? Yeah, I’m working on that. There’re a couple of options. I’ll decide on one of them because the artwork is – I just got the promos the other day and I was over the moon, man, so happy with it.


Yeah, the cover looks great. I’m definitely interested in seeing the rest of it.

Oh, it’s really cool, but wait until you see it. Wait until you hold it, man. I’m telling you. It’s one thing on the computer screen, but trust me, there are surprises for you when you hold it.

Are you planning to take Mondo Cane on the road here in the States?

I am, yeah. I’m doing a month-long tour of Europe in July and then I’m working on the States. Unfortunately, a project like this is very difficult to do in the States and I’m realizing that. There’s plenty of great musicians and plenty of people that are curious about it and plenty of people that would come to the shows, but it’s just different over here. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s expensive. A whole orchestra and a fifteen piece band? It’s not something that I can just do on my vacation. For whatever reason due to state funding and sponsorships and blah blah blah, in Europe it’s much easier to realize a concert like this. In the States… so far it’s been a bit of a struggle. If I just do two or three shows in the States I’ll be happy. What can I say? There are definitely more opportunities in Europe. That being said, there’s nothing as satisfying as making your own music and not being a state-funded whore. A lot of European composers – I mean, hate to talk shit, but hey, if you’re getting funded by Obama or Berlusconi, who are you working for? Who are you making art for? I definitely have that sort of resentment towards European policy and European artists, but it’s tough love.


So what kind of music do you listen to, then?

Where do you want to start? I mean, I’ve been doing this a long time. You can’t ask me, like, my favorite artist, okay? Jesus Christ. Help me out here! Do you want recently? How about that?


Yeah, how about recently? What have you been listening to?

Okay… I’ll tell you about a group that I really like called Pivixki: P-I-V-I-X-K-I. Australian piano and drum duet that plays grindcore. Really amazing. The piano sounds like a guitar… It’s fantastic. It’s really incredible if you like that kind of stuff – completely up your alley. That’s just the first thing I saw on my desktop here, so…


So I was told I have one Faith No More question.

So that’s the way they do it, huh? Funny. Well, good. One is too many for me. No, I’m kidding, man, I’m kidding.


I’m bummed because I missed both Coachella and the three Warfield shows…

Oh, no shit? You should have come to the Warfield, man, it would have been easier to do this there.


Yeah, I’m bummed. It’s been years since I’ve seen Faith No More.

You’re too busy living in the mountains up there! It’s okay. We only played three shows, you know, it’s no big deal. Whatever.

Maybe next time around…

There won’t be no next time, my friend.


Damn, really? So what was it like playing on stage again with FNM?

It was great! What we did was construct three different evenings with different bands playing with us; not even bands at some point, acts playing with us. We constructed a bit of a freak show every night that we were really proud of. It’s kind of the first time that we’ve been able to really take control of an evening and sort of sculpt who sees what and what they hear. In the past I think we’ve cared a lot less about that.


Why do you think it was different now?

Because we’ve got nothing else to worry about. There’s no record. There’s no press. It’s very easy to just focus on musical concerns. And for the first time in two decades I think we were able to construct a series of shows that we were super proud of and that we controlled every single aspect of; The way it looked, the way it sounded, who was playing with us… Yeah, it was pretty satisfying.

Source: http://www.yourmusicmagazine.com/index.php/by-section/18-ymmblog/398.html

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