Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin in Faith. No Man rehersal studio.
Photo © Worthington.

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Mike Bordin (born November 27, 1962 in San Francisco is the co-founder and drummer of Faith No More. As a left-handed drummer, he notably plays with a right-handed kit with his ride cymbal on the left. He is noted for his distinctive long dreadlocks and for playing in shorts while shirtless at concerts.

 

"Bordin ended up being perfect for the job even though at first, he seemed to think it odd to play beats without using his hi-hat, instead using his toms. I wanted that low, bass-y, tribal beat and he could play it precisly and not tire out, as many drummers would have". M Morris 2012

 

Mike Bordin, you pioneered an innovative style that emphasized full-kit, tom-driven grooves over tight kick-and-snare patterns. This became like a Bordin / Faith No More trademark. Did it all start back with Morris and Faith. No Man?

 

I don't particularly want to contradict Morris, but the fact is that there were several things working together at that time to break me out of the "normal" style of drumming. Seeing the Sex Pistols' last show at Winterland really changed everything for me. I knew there was more out there musically, because I had seen it with my own eyes. The guy that introduced me to Morris and consequently the others, Rick Clare, I was in a bad new wave band with that I didn't fit in at all. He knew I was coming from a metal background and consequently into harder stuff like Killing Joke, Pil, etc. and suggested I look into Morris, who he said was also into stuff like that.

 

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin in Wade's kitchen, pre-rehearsal.
Photo © Worthington



Listening to that style (maybe they called it Post Punk?) was hugely influential in breaking out of tradition. Pete De Frietas (Echo and the Bunnymen R.I.P.) Martin Atkins, and Big Paul Ferguson were all both much more musical and rhythmically aggressive in their approaches and very inspiring. Maybe most importantly, I was in a class at school with a Ghanian Drum Master, C.K. Ladzepko, who taught Ghanian style ensemble percussion. This was drum (tom) patterns as rhythmic frameworks exclusively. There was a huge group of bands in the Bay Area called Worldbeat who studied in this class, The Looters, Big City, Mapenzi, to name a few. Being left handed really helped here, because I hadn't been crossing my hands anyway, and I could get around the drums with ease. Playing like this and listening to the first couple Killing Joke albums, among others, it all really made a lot of sense, and at that time, I was absolutely ready (and looking) to do something different, as were many people.

 

What I would say is that Morris was influential in the music he listened to, and also because he encouraged me to approach playing in this band in an "opened up" style which takes up a huge amount of space in the music normally taken up by vocals, melody, other instruments, etc. hard to isolate one thing specifically when things tend to work together in the larger sense, but no doubt he was involved. Ultimately, I would have to say that the quote is certainly part true, but also very oversimplified too.

 

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin, Tool & Die SF, CA.
Photo © Worthington.

 

There is a lot to this story, it was such a transitional time. Musically, it was wide open, and there were tons of characters in and around the thing. Morris did have specific and precise patterns in mind when he was writing songs, which also began to drive other members crazy after not too long. Bill Gould and I became friends (I remember him being surprised I loved Roxy Music), and that kind of started a connection on the side that wasn't subject to being dominated by a central leader type. We knew we wanted to explore.

 

Most people who were out on the edge, actively looking to do something different than what everyone else was doing were. San Francisco was perfect for that then. there was a hardcore scene (not us), a metal scene (not us), a college radio scene (not us), a pop and dance club scene (also not us) you get the idea, and most of us were coming from different backgrounds ourselves as well.

 

Mike Bordin (by FNM4EVER)