Mike Patton: Inside the Mind of Peeping Tom

"I'm not in the business of serving people music on a silver platter. I'm here to put questions in front of people and hopefully make them think - give them something to fucking think about." - Mike Patton

Feature by Dave Kerr | 15 Jun 2006

Mike Patton (ex-Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, Lovage… shall I go on?) will not allow himself to rest. Functioning under numerous guises and gaining notoriety for his chameleon-like adaptation to almost any given musical discipline, he represents the high level of productivity that we so vainly often crave from our rock n' roll idols.

A relentlessly unflinching desire to create and a seamless ability to change pitch from silky smooth impassioned soul crooner to a sinister blood curdling growl has provided Patton with the carte blanche required to transcend the norms and barriers of musical genres which would otherwise inhibit a musician's playing field.

From the delirious, sinister schizophrenia of soundtrack re-interpreters Fantômas to the noxious dirge of the sorely underrated alternative 'supergroup' Tomahawk, Patton outs a new offering from his bizarre avant garde realm on a refreshingly regular basis. In contemplating the first Fantômas release out loud he inadvertently provides an encapsulation of his career's uneasy aesthetic: "I would say listen to it, you might like it and you might hate it, it's just the way it goes. I'm not in the business of serving people music on a silver platter. I'm here to put questions in front of people and hopefully make them think; give them something to fucking think about." Patton is arguably that rare specimen who fully understands how to leave his followers with the chimes of some form of sonic repletion in their ears.

Patton has apparently been hatching his most recent incarnation for some time, as 2000's essay 'Why We Eat Our Young', published in Zorn's 'Arcana: Musicians on Music' conveys; "Young and old players should be seeking each other out and using each other. They should develop a healthy exchange of smut--and learn to wear each other's masks."

This latest endeavour, the much anticipated release of Peeping Tom, a pop-driven alter-ego, is finally set for release this month. The shape shifting collaborations are intimidating, featuring veterans and rookies alike; from buddies Dan the Automator and Rahzel to Anticon's Jel and DoseOne, as well as one Robert Del Naja, Kool Keith and the whispering of what you thought were unspeakables from the mouth of Nora Jones.

This is real through-the-keyhole material, as tapes were swapped without any guests actually meeting Patton in the studio to record. The resultant bastardisation of pop sensibilities provided as much of a surprise to him as anyone else, as he recently confessed; "In a way, this is an exercise for me: taking all these things I've learned over the years and putting them into a pop format. I've worked with many people who have said to me, 'Oh you have a pop record in you, eventually you'll find it,' and I always laughed at them. I guess I owe them an apology."


Peeping Tom is released through Ipecac on June 5.