In 1985, roughly when a young band called Mr. Bungle was forming elsewhere in California, the legendary Faith No More released their debut album. Original pressings and reissues have the band name written as “Faith. No More.” It was a version of their name that they’d soon drop. The lineup of Chuck Mosely, Jim Martin, Roddy Bottum, Billy Gould and Mike Bordin put together a low-budget debut that garnered them enough attention for their next album to be distruibuted by Warner. A viable career as a rock band followed. As a result of this fruitful career, in 2016 We Care a Lot was officially reissued with a load of bonus tracks and full participation from producer Matt Wallace. As the liner notes say, “We’re putting this out because we can.”
This reissue includes four demos, and interestingly they reveal that there was an instrumental “Intro” for this album that was apparently dropped. This sci-fi, keyboard-led intro would have been an interesting way to kick off the album with some atmosphere and foreboding. (For a custom listening experience, try playing the album with the instrumental first.) The disc instead commences directly with “We Care A Lot”, the first version mind you, not the hit single you know. The sound is a tad more primitive and the lyrics were different in several places. The “NASA Shuttle” hadn’t fallen into the sea yet in 1985, so it is Los Angeles that Chuck cares a lot about it. Instead of the Transformers, he gives a shout-out to Mr. T.
“Jungle” is a disorienteing series of head-punches with reverse-echo. A jagged Jim Martin riff and staggering Mike Bordin drum pattern makes it a relentless slam. Chuck Mosely sounds frantic, unstable and urgent. The same relentless approach pounds your head on “Mark Bowen”, slower but no less imposing. Though Chuck is all over the map with his scattershot vocals, the band is solidly ominous behind him.
An absolutely beautiful acoustic interlude called “Jim” reveals a previously unknown part of Martin’s talents. Though less articulate, this kind of composition sounds like the ones Randy Rhodes would include on an Ozzy record. And just like with Ozzy, next it’s something heavy to slam. That something is “Why Do You Bother”, the original side one closer. Tense and rhythmic, it’s a tornado of fun.
Side two boasts several standout tracks. Certainly “As the Worm Turns” has earned its place in Faith No More history, since Mike Patton re-recorded it in the studio and performed it live numerous times. Its cascading keyboard melody contrasts with the heavy riff. This version is rougher, but no less perfect. “Greed”, which opens the side, is also notable. It reads like a rejection letter from record labels. “They say that when I’m supposed to be singin’, all I’m really doin’ is yelling!” Though one doesn’t think Chuck would have been sensitive to such criticism, he does seem stung that “they say that I can’t sing, that I don’t say a thing, that I make everything up.” But he defiantly strikes back with a heartfelt melody delivered at maximum intensity.
For thunder, check out “Pills for Breakfast”, another instrumental anchored by a Jim Martin riff that could move mountains. Martin’s guitar gives “Arabian Disco” a solid spine, and Mosely shoves in as much melody as he’s got to give. Only here at the tail end of the album does the quality of the songs dip at all. “New Beginnings” is too laid back compared to the rest of the disc, bordering on dull.
Faith No More have been blessed with a number of (arguably) 5/5 star albums in a row: Introduce Yourself (1987), The Real Thing (1989), Angel Dust (1991) and King For a Day (1995). We Care A Lot isn’t quite at that lofty point yet, but it wouldn’t take long. Chuck Mosely’s unique approach of “yelling when he’s supposed to be singing” isn’t for everything and wasn’t fully harnessed in the studio until the next album. But all the ingredients are here, on the first record, ready to explode in every direction. Fortunately for you, this CD edition goes on for another nine bonus tracks!
Some 2016 remixes by Matt Wallace add more punch to the originals: “We Care A Lot”, “Pills For Breakfast”, and “As The Worm Turns” are given the remix treatment. Less echo; louder and punchier guitars. No structural changes. Three of the best tracks were selected, and sound great if played on a shuffle with later Faith No More classics. The next batch of bonus tracks are four demos (including the aforementioned “Intro”). Dig into early version of “Greed”, “Mark Bowen” and “Arabian Disco”. The arrangements are all more or less intact, and the recording is so good that they could have been released long before.
Finally there are two live tracks from San Francisco in 1986. “Jungle” (with a segue into “Shout” by Tears For Fears) and “New Beginnings” are bootleg quality, but look what they have done in terms of track selection. There are no songs repeated among the bonus tracks. Between the demos, remixes and live versions, eight of the album’s ten are present in alternate versions. That’s value for the consumer.
Snag We Care A Lot if you see one in the wild, but absolutely aim for the 2016 Deluxe Band Edition.