Formed in San Francisco in the mid-1980s, Faith No More created a mix of metal, rap and R&B that came to define ‘90s rock ‘n’ roll. After a flurry of lead singer changes, the band teamed up with powerhouse singer Mike Patton in 1989 for its breakthrough album, “The Real Thing,” which featured its top 10 worldwide hit song (and video) “Epic.”
Solid albums followed, including “Angel Dust,” “King for a Day” and “Album of the Year,” leaving Faith No More positioned for a long career. But in 1998, the band called it a day.
Just as unexpectedly, the band reunited in 2009 for a series of sold-out tours. “Sol Invictus,” Faith No More’s first album in 18 years, was released this year.
In advance of the band’s Sunday gig at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Roddy Bottum spoke about the breakup, the return and the time Courtney Love was a member of Faith No More.
Question: Why did Faith No More break up in 1998?
Answer: I think the era back then [was] so intense as far as a touring band went. We did that sort of game so intensely for so long that we just ended up at the end of our rope. It took a toll on everybody individually.
Everybody had some sort of side project going on. I think that squelched the desire to continue creatively. We all just wanted to try different things.
Q: Did you guys stay in touch over the years?
A: Not so much. What we went through, and the point the band’s career took us to, was super-intense — a lot for five people to go through. By the time we got to the end of the road, we all needed a break from — and didn’t want to deal with — each other. We were polite to each other but didn’t hang out together for a really long time.
I got married in 2007, and most of the band came to the wedding. It was the first time in a long time we were all in the same geographical space. That sort of opened the doors to playing again.
Q: Was that the catalyst for the reunion tour in 2009?
A: Yeah. The start of it after that was really just an offer to do a show. Show offers kept coming in. Nostalgic fans hoping to see us again. Or kids who had never seen us. The offers kept coming in, and we always said, “No, no, no.” Then, at some point, an exciting show offer came in, and we said, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
Q: Why did it take six years to record a new album?
A: At first, all of us being in the same room together playing old songs was a big deal. We did that tour, and more offers came in. Then we played Australia and New Zealand. Then another tour. South America.
[We enjoyed] each other’s company [and] playing the old songs. At some point, that became a little bit stale. We decided we were not going to do any more shows unless we had something new to offer. It was too easy to slog around the old songs. So we hunkered down and made a new album.
Q: How has the creative relationship among you guys evolved?
A: It is a little more respectful these days. Back when we were making records, it was whoever screamed the loudest got his way. We are now at this mutual respect place with each other. We now sit back and let each other have a place. Everyone brings in ideas, and we collaborate on the ideas. We also are better at making decisions together: what we do, where we play, our stage show. The decisions are made together and pretty clear-cut.
Q: How much of “Sol Invictus” are you playing live?
A: It kind of varies, but maybe five or six songs. I think we have a really interesting fan base. The nature of being a band with history is fans want to hear the old songs. But to our fans’ credit, I think they really come to champion us and watch us pushing boundaries.
Q: Is it true that Courtney Love was the lead singer of Faith No More in the early days?
A: That’s right.
Q: For how long?
A: I would have to say maybe something like six months.
Q: And you dated her before you came out?
A: Correct. Yeah. We just had a very intense relationship. She is still my best friend.
Q: Can you imagine what would have happened had that lineup stayed intact?
A: I don’t know. I think our musical voice is way more sort of male-driven. We’re way more of a dude band. Courtney is awesome and she’s powerful, but I think having a male singer was the route we needed to go.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Faith No More with Refused
WHERE: Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Maryland, 21044
WHEN: Sunday, doors at 6:30, show at 8 p.m.
INFO: Tickets $40 to $55 by calling 877/435.9849 or visiting MerriweatherMusic.com