“Hey, it’s me! The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Half Life Feature! I’m back!”. Welcome back man, the readers have been waiting. If you guys missed the first two, let me catch you up. This feature gives us the chance to celebrate a selection of work from a particular artist’s discography. These acts are still alive and kicking, continuing to provide us with more material to write about and more music to spend our time gushing over. First up was Clutch, with Opeth following shortly after. Now, as is the case whenever I get my grubby hands on something, I’m gonna give this a shake up and fuck with it a little bit.
Today, it will not be a specific band I’ll be discussing with you, no, it will be the one man avant garde music machine, Mike Patton. Frontman of more bands and assorted acts than Devin Townsend himself, Patton has dipped a toe into pretty much every avenue of music that one can imagine. His vocal talents are not the only thing which makes him a must have in any dream super group though, he is a multi instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire also. This is the reason why I am choosing not to include any of his work with Faith No More, Mr Bungle or The Dillinger Escape Plan. These works have already been given the kudos they rightfully deserve, ten times over; I want to look at some of his less prominent releases, the ones skirting the edge of recognition. Feel free to call me out on this in the comments below!
OK, so Patton is the recognized frontman of Tomahawk as well as FNM, etc. I couldn’t go without sticking Mit Gas in here though. It’s the sum of more parts than just Patton, as the rest of the musicians involved in creating this alternative rock creep show make this a true supergroup. Alternative metal has never seen anything quite like this album since. Heavy, heartfelt, experimental and energetic, there’s a bit of every aspect of Patton’s personality on display throughout this record. “Birdsong” and “Captain Midnight” are two of my favorite Patton performances out of thousands.
An art project like no other, the month of April was given the Patton treatment in Suspended Animation. Alongside his Fantômas cohorts, the most whacked out bursts of death metal, cutesycore Japanese soundbites and general electronic bedlam smash together into a total clusterfuck of music that barely holds itself together. This is Patton at his most creative and confused. I love this for several reasons, one of which being my memories of showing unsuspecting “music fans” this a decade ago. The looks on their gormless faces would make an interesting enough art exhibit on their own.
Much like his work as General Patton, Peeping Tom had Patton thriving in the world of hip and trip-hop. The smoothest of grooves and Patton’s snarky take on radio rap-rock in the modern age is so addictive and cathartic. “I know that assholes grow on trees but I’m here to trim the leaves”, you’re not gonna find a more sickly sweet and sarcastic line anywhere else from this decade. Peeping Tom, as a musical project, has Patton working with just as extensive a group of musicians, producers and vocalists as ever. His ability to draw and inspire performances from such an eclectic line up of characters is real testament to just how versatile this man is.
I love this movie. Even more so when I discovered that the zany, adrenaline injected score was arranged by none other than Mr Patton. It’s blend of Western, sci-fi and grindcore is the only fit for a movie so jacked up on style that it is a tour de force of modern editing techniques. The giant Power Rangers showdown in this movie couldn’t work without Patton’s bombastic, deafening work. Plus, the casual breaking of the fourth wall with Statham whistling Patton’s signature Crank tune gets me hard. Watch the movie again and really pay attention to the music. You’ll quickly realize that is just as big a part of making the movie so engaging and kinetic as Statham or the direction.
Now, I’ve missed out a lot. These are just some of my favorite Patton releases. No Patton fan is going to agree exactly on where his best performances lie but that’s okay. It’s a good thing people. Please do comment below with your favorite Mike Patton moments. Maybe you took acid and went to see Crank? Or you got laid for the first time with Peeping Tom playing through the wall in your older, cooler brothers room? We’ve all got one. Spill your guts.