"A lot of what came out of it was a fucking mess. But, within that, we found a common language."
Nevermen = Mike Patton + Adam 'Doseone' Drucker + Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio. It's less a 'supergroup', more a strange studio project born of a "mutual crush" that grew when Drucker guested on Patton's 2006 LP as Peeping Tom. A decade later, Nevermen's self-titled debut has finally materialised; the end-point of a long journey for three men with convoluted discographies.
"This was not a typical record at all," admits Patton, the legendary 47-year-old frontman of Faith No More, Tomahawk and Fantomas. "We never sat down and discussed what kind of a band we wanted to be, or what kind of record we wanted to make. We never wrote the songs, arranged them, rehearsed them. We never went into a studio together; it was all done in bits-and-pieces, over many years, in our own home studios. The pen-and-paper for us was just hitting record. A lot of what came out of it was a fucking mess. But, within that, we found a common language."
"We never went into a studio together; it was all done in bits-and-pieces, over many years, in our own home studios."
Initially, Nevermen was going to be a vocal-only project — "not like The Manhattan Transfer, just something where the music was made vocally" — but soon grew into a full-blown "fake band". "There was never a leader," Patton says. "We all were on equal footing in this thing. We pretty quickly all found our roles."
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While each played to their respective strengths — Drucker's lyrical abilities, Adebimpe's ear for melody, Patton's yen for arrangement and rhythm — Patton's surprised by how, over years of recording separately, the three vocalists melded together. "Our voices, together, can play tricks," says Patton. "I was recently breaking [the album] down for a live show, and there was a line where I was like: 'Wait, who is singing that? Is that Adam, or is that me?' I couldn't tell! And, to me, that made the whole endeavour a success."
Patton is in the middle of the "reverse surgery" of taking the album apart for the stage; a place that, over the past ten years, he never thought of with Nevermen. "It took so long to just get to the point of having the record out, you can only turn that page when it actually happens," he offers. "So, we'll try the live thing, and if it sucks, we'll just make another record."
Patton's focusing on Nevermen after 2015 was Faith No More-centric. The band first reformed in 2009 and last year released their seventh LP, Sol Invictus, 18 years after their last. "In life, you don't get many of those chances to get it right again, to correct mistakes, to heal old wounds," Patton says, of getting the band back together. "It was odd, in the beginning, because it felt like playing someone else's music. And that was a charge, for me, because it felt new again. There'd be times when we'd be rehearsing and I'd have no idea what line I was about to sing, but then it'd just come out of me. Like, this shit is still in me. Then there were other things you've completely forgotten. Like, 'Wait, I did that? What were we thinking? We were completely out of our minds!' And on the other side of that coin you go: 'Jesus! What a piece of shit that was. We're not playing that again!'"