It’s no secret that Axl Rose isn’t the most well-liked person in music, and his band, Guns N Roses, earned themselves a reputation for being people that were difficult to deal with, especially when you’re on tour as Faith No More’s Mike Patton found out the hard way.
It wasn’t just Patton who Guns N Roses rubbed up the long way. They had a list of enemies as long as one of Slash’s grandiose solos. Their most famous nemesis was Nirvana, who despised everything the group stood for, especially how they carried themselves. Cobain decided to use Guns’ N’ Roses as the antithesis of his band’s ethos, especially considering the band’s sound, by commenting, “We’re not your typical Guns’ N’ Roses type of band that has absolutely nothing to say.”
Opening for Guns N Roses on their mammoth stadium tour with Metallica in 1992 was an opportunity that Faith No More couldn’t afford to turn down. Despite hearing the horror stories about Axl Rose — playing to a sea of people every night should have been all of their Christmases at once, yet it was a disaster.
“I hate the whole circus thing,” bassist Billy Gould complained to Select following the farcical tour. “Every band in the world might think they want to open for Guns N’ Roses, but let me tell you, it’s been a real ugly personal experience.
“I’m getting more and more confused about who’s who in Guns N Roses, and it’s blowing my mind,” keyboardist Roddy Bottum added. “There’s Dizzy and Iggy and Lizzy and Tizzy and Gilby and Giddy. Onstage there’s a horn section, two backup singers, two keyboard players, an airline pilot, a basketball coach, a couple of car mechanics.”
It was a golden opportunity for Faith No More to go on the road, but even though they were on the bottom of the bill, they weren’t prepared to be treated like dirt by the headliner. This behaviour wasn’t a one off, as Motley Crue know all too well from their time opening for the rock behemoths. However, Faith No More weren’t prepared to stand for it, and on this occasion, revenge was a dish served up warm.
“It was such a drag touring with [GNR], I hate to say it. They treated us like shit,” he told Anthrax’s Scott Ian. “They paid us really well, but we were really, just every day, looking for something fucked up to do. So one day, I just took it out, and I pissed all over his teleprompter.
“What I did is I took a chocolate cake. It was at a big table of catering. I took this cake, and I put some of my shit inside of it, [then] put it back there. And then we watched, because I was hoping like, ‘Oh, maybe Axl Rose will eat it.’ Instead, our crew guy fuckin’ picks it up. He’s about it eat it, and I’m like, ‘Don’t do it! Don’t do it!’ Like, at the last second.”
While this is brutal, and Patton overstepped the mark, it’s no coincidence that Axl Rose is a common denominator in some of the most heinous stories in rock. He was a loose cannon throughout this period and a nightmare to be around.
Even though the tour helped break Faith No More to a broader audience, it’s an experience they’d never wish to re-live.