Every superhero has an arch-nemesis: Superman’s got Lex Luthor, Spicoli has Mr. Hand, Maggie Simpson has her monobrowed baby—and though most of these sworn enemies hate each other for representing the extreme opposite of what they themselves stand for, other antagonistic relationships aren’t so easy to define. There are also those nemeses who start out as friends—who get along famously, in fact, with the exception of one crucial issue upon which they vehemently disagree. Eventually, the difference of opinion between the two friends will lead to arguments, a bout of fisticuffs and possibly even a final cancellation of relations—wasted time not refunded.
How do these friendships start? Well, while it’s actually quite difficult to respect and befriend someone you violently disagree with on a matter you care passionately about, sometimes you just have to overlook that person’s ridiculous and completely unfounded belief because, in the long run, he or she truly is pretty motherfucking kick-ass.
Enter Mike Patton, now Vaporella’s own arch-nemesis. For those of you poor, unfortunate virgin souls who have yet to be awed, disgusted, shocked and amazed by him, I’d be proud to break your hymen: He’s the guy from Faith No More (yes, the band with the video that has that fish flopping all over the place. Get over it). Or you may have heard of his band Mr. Bungle, a wacked-out, screaming funk-punk collective producing everything from Mexican wrestling masks to shit in a shoe. Perhaps the name FantÃ´mas rings a bell? Or Tomahawk? Maybe you’ve even danced to Loveage once or twice? All of these are Mike Patton’s bands. A soloist, actor, performer and artistic collaborator extraordinaire, Patton is a musical genius and expert composer of the finest, wildest, most eclectic, vivacious and just-plain-fucking-loud stoner music known to man. There’s only one problem: Mike is not a stoner. Hence my problem—and now yours.
Mr. Patton would seem to be a candidate for the perfect pothead. He’s got all the stony prerequisites covered: He has long hair (once upon a time), hails from Northern California and has been known to slip into a funkadelic groove—especially on past Bungle albums. He dislikes cops and is eerily smart, pants-splittingly funny and completely out of his head. He’s one part Albert Einstein and one part Hunter S. Thompson, but he never touches anything other than alcohol. As a huge fan, I went through most of my life imagining Patton smoking grass out of a wind turbine he built out of old Chevys in his spare time between albums. So imagine my surprise when I—Vaporella, Queen of the Potheads—found out, after all my smoky sessions headbanging to “Surprise! You’re Dead!”, that the song was written by a non-toker. Blasphemy, I tell you! I decided to get to the bottom of his anti-smoke stance.
Mike just finished his latest album, General Patton vs. the X-ecutioners, so I set up a phone interview. After discussing the record briefly, I decided to get right to the heart of the matter: “What’re your thoughts about pot?”
He answers me quick: “Can I tell you all the reasons I hate it?”
And that’s the bell, folks. Round one.
Vaporella dances around the ring, She throws the first punch: “Now, what exactly is your issue with marijuana?” Patton blocks her with his right: “I grew up in Northern California, man. I had pot up to my fucking ears.” Vaporella counters to the head: “And this is a problem how?”
Patton’s suddenly against the ropes: This could be over in a minute, folks. “I hate it. If I’m gonna take drugs, I want to be productive, for chrissakes. I wanna do something, I wanna accomplish something, I wanna scrape the paint off the walls, build a house. I wanna—”
Vaporella’s not backing down. She unleashes a right hook: “Marijuana makes you do all of that!”
Patton ducks nimbly and returns fire with a left jab. “Weed just does not compute with me. I wish I could get away with it, because I love the idea of being able to instantly relax, but I can’t do it!”