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The Many Musical Projects of Roddy Bottum From Faith No More

As an early Faith No More fan, I have also enjoyed following the fine works and projects of the group's members throughout the years.

Roddy Bottom with Faith No More in 2009.

Roddy Bottom with Faith No More in 2009.

Roddy Bottum Bio

Roddy Bottum is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist best known for his work in Faith No More. The band helped define the alternative music movement in the early '90s, starting most notably with The Real Thing album, fusing rap and metal styles on the hit single ''Epic'' for a unique and new sound when people were craving something different. Roddy also studied classical piano from an early age.

Roddy joined Faith No More in one of its early inceptions, all the way back in 1981. Although Billy Gould (bass guitar) and Mike Bordin (drums) founded the group with other members, Roddy (keyboards, vocals) came along a short time later, and I like to refer to Mike Bordin, Billy Gould, and Roddy Bottum as the Faith No More ''big three'' originals.

With every genre of music from the different eras, you have virtuoso musicians. What Roddy did with Faith No More is to take an instrument (keyboards) and bring it to the forefront of a new genre and style of music. This was especially different for the heavy style of music the guys were playing. Roddy's unique sampling brought a whole different flavor and vibe to Faith No More, forging their sound.

Roddy Bottum with Faith No More in 2009.

Roddy Bottum with Faith No More in 2009.

And how about those awesome stage moves? When bands did have keyboard players, most often they would hide them in the dark shadows. This was not the case with Roddy, as he was showcased right there with the rest of the guys, ripping it up with his enthusiastic stage presence and style.

I always like listening to Roddy's interviews through the years too, as he and the other Faith No More guys have great insights on their own music and all things musical. You can tell Roddy is a really sweet guy, someone you would like to share a conversation with and talk music.

Besides Faith No More, Roddy has a plethora of other music happenings. Let's explore further the works of Roddy Bottum.

Imperial Teen

The best-known band outside of Faith No More Roddy is involved with is Imperial Teen, a poppy, alternative, indie band that was formed in 1996. Roddy plays guitar and vocals in the band with the other members switching around on various instruments. The group has had a productive run, releasing numerous albums since the 1996 inception and going strong today still.

The first full-length from Imperial Teen was Seasick in 1996, which brought nice attention to the group on the strength of the great songwriting contained within the album. Some have said it's one of the best dark horse indie pop records of that era, as an extension of the early part of the decade's sensibility, and carrying that torch in spirit throughout the last half of the nineties as well. In 1999, the group attained further exposure from the track ''Yoo Hoo'' on the Jawbreaker movie soundtrack.

There are absolutely no bad albums at all in the Imperial Teen catalog, in my humble opinion, as the band followed up Seasick with What Is Not To Love (1998). Next, we have On, (2002). 2002 also saw Imperial Teen release a live album, Live At Maxwell's.

Merge Records

Starting with 2002's On, Imperial Teen signed with Merge Records, an independent label run by members of Superchunk, and has been the band's home since. The second Merge release, The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band (2007) is highly recommended. The latest Imperial Teen album, Feel The Sound (2012) is also stellar. One track I am especially fond of on Feel The Sound is ''The Hibernates'', with its hypnotic vocal hooks that don't let go and stay memorable in the brain.

I like how Imperial Teen takes pop songs and gives them an intricate twist, whether embellishing with their tight, on point vocal harmonies between the members or adding sophisticated instrumentation to melodies. It's challenging pop music, so to speak. A feat not so easy to do and done very well.

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The ladies of the punk/grunge outfit L7 were bestowed upon with Roddy's talents at one point. He contributed keyboards on the song ''Riding With A Movie Star'' for the band's Hungry For Stink album, released in 1994. That same year, Roddy also guest appeared on the Suffersystem album by Monster Voodoo Machine.

Scoring Films

Roddy also likes to lend his talents to doing film score work, starting in 2005 with the movie Adam and Steve, starring Chris Kattan and Parker Posey. 2007 saw Roddy contribute music to the films Gigantic and Kabluey. Roddy also scored the film What Goes Up, released in 2009, starring Hillary Duff and Molly Shannon. In 2010, Roddy also scored the music for the documentary Hit So Hard, a film about drummer Patty Schemel's time with the band Hole.

Roddy also likes to keep it real with the kids, doing work for Nickelodeon. He did music for Fred: The Movie in 2010 and the first season of Fred: The Show.

Promo flyer for Sasquatch: The Opera

Promo flyer for Sasquatch: The Opera

Sasquatch: The Opera

Roddy is also a fan of opera and wrote and composed an opera of his own, titled Sasquatch: The Opera, and is promoted as a dark fabled love story. The opera premiered in New York City on April 2, 2015. In August 2017, for the entire month, Sasquatch: The Opera will be presented as a part of Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"RV" – Angel Dust Sessions

Roddy did a cool solo piano version of the track ''RV'' from Angel Dust, captured by MTV cameras during the making of the album. Much of the footage remained unaired for years, and included was behind the scenes action of the band working on songs, interviews with the guys, including the famous Mike Patton ''sandwich'' interview, where Mike was possibly more interested in his tasty sandwich than the questions being directed, which I can't say I blame him. It's really neat watching Roddy play the song on a big piano isolated and gives another perspective of the music, a definite highlight of the footage for me. Oh, and Billy had a meltdown too.

"This Guy's In Love With You'' – Faith No More

Faith No More is known for some smooth covers, and another one of my favorite Roddy happenings is when the band covers ''This Guy's In Love With You'' written by the one and only Burt Bacharach with Hal David. It was originally performed by Herb Albert in 1968. Roddy's keys make the song, with his great timing and on point delivery. This version was performed live on June 16th, 2015 at Maida Vale Studios for the BBC Radio Rock Show while promoting the new album, Sol Invictus.

The band also ran through precise versions of some other Sol Invictus tunes such as ''Superhero'' the catchy ''Sunny Side Up'', as well as a super locked-in version of ''Separation Anxiety'', which shows the guys flexing muscles in top form.

© 2017 The Write Life


Ben on July 01, 2017:

Blink and you'll miss it, but Roddy has a cameo as a club DJ in the film 'Ruby Sparks'. He had previously written a score for 'Little Miss Sunshine' (which wasn't used) and I guess must have become friends with the director or Paul Dano.

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