Former FAITH NO MORE Guitarist Explains His Departure

July 7, 2003

Former FAITH NO MORE guitarist Trey Spruance, who played on the band's "King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime" CD (1995),recently spoke to Perfect Pitch Online about the countless rumors that have been circulating regarding the reasons for his departure from the group. "My favorite is the one that came from FAITH NO MORE themselves — they said that I was an heir to the DuPont fortune. Did you hear that one?" he asked. "That was printed in NME. I have 'connections' to the Rothschilds and Rockefellers, so I'm basically this spoiled rich kid that can't be relied upon in any way. So of course, with my quirky background and all that, why would I be bothered with touring? I'm just a spoiled fucking brat!

"At that point, those guys' heads were kind of screwed on backwards. It was unfortunate, because I thought that FAITH NO MORE was a really good band. I liked them when they came up to Eureka in 1986. I went nuts over them, and Mike [Patton] — he wasn't really into them. [laughs] I was a FAITH NO MORE fan in the early days. They were fucking amazing, Jesus Christ. Then when that whole situation with [former FAITH NO MORE guitarist] Jim Martin was falling apart and they needed a guitar player, I threw my name in the hat. I don't even think Mike wanted me in the band, but the other guys liked the demo that I made for them. We did the whole thing on a handshake, and basically as time went on, I recorded with them and we didn't have any formal agreement over what the situation was going to be. And I really felt that they were taking advantage of that situation, which was really disheartening. They were going through so many different issues as a band. And then to walk into a situation where you're just essentially a roadie and getting jerked around, it really ended up being this thing where, if I'm going to commit to a year of touring with no agreement and they're reneging on all of these things that we talked about — it's like, we've got you, so you're going to tour with us for a year and then we'll talk about you becoming a part of the band.

"Essentially what was going on was there was a salary agreement, and then that salary was going to extend indefinitely. And all I wanted was, in writing — I'll agree to a year of touring on this salary business, but after a year, we'll renegotiate something. We don't have to say what it is, but we'll come to a renegotiation. And by the time we finished the record, the only person who was finally straight with me was the manager, who said, 'No, we're not even going to renegotiate. That's it.' So I just told them to fuck off. I'm not playing hardball, and if this is the way you guys play, forget it. A band is a band, and I'm into doing gentlemen's agreements — we'll be gentlemen and we'll do it. You play fucking hardball with me, you can fuck off. I walked — simple as that. It wasn't a hard decision. But I learned a lot from it and I don't hold resentment. Billy [Gould], at the time, was in a screwed up mindset. Patton — he can exert a lot of influence over people, and those guys had their balls in a vice. They were in a tough fucking spot. It basically became clear to me why Patton didn't want me to be in the band after a while. He was incredibly hard to get along with in that band environment, and I'd honestly never seen that side of him in MR. BUNGLE. We'd never dealt with that. Patton and I have butted heads over the years, but just as friends. It's nothing that I saw in a band context. But man, that's not a side of him that I want to deal with.

"I was also really worried about that FAITH NO MORE situation threatening MR. BUNGLE, because we'd just finished recording 'Disco Volante'. I knew that if I stayed in FAITH NO MORE, my relationship with Mike would've deteriorated very rapidly. So that was a concern. That and not wanting to be shit upon. I remember when I made the decision, it was right after I hung up with their manager. It was like, 'Alright, I've got all this other music.' And that was when [my current project] SECRET CHIEFS 3 was born.

"But like I said, I've got no hard feelings. I learned how this industry works, I learned how people get, I learned how gross everything is. I have to tell you this — right after all of this stuff happened, I was served fucking papers after quitting. They tried to charge me for equipment that I didn't buy, thousands and thousands of dollars. I recorded that whole record with my roommate's $100 Les Paul imitation because I didn't have a fucking guitar that would work. I bought a power amp on their account, and after I quit I get this bill for $10,000! That's just one — believe me, there were a million fucking things. It all worked out man, whatever — I don't really care, to me that stuff is comical. But the part that was so surreal was when my friend told me, 'Trey, you've got to see this interview in NME. The guys are saying all this stuff about you.' So I get on my bike and ride down Divisadero to Tower Records, and at that point I didn't have any fucking money at all, so I was looking under books and laundry and all this shit, scraping for change. At the end of the month I always got to the point where I was scraping for burrito money. So I got $2.75 to buy a burrito after looking at [the NME interview]. I don't even have enough money to buy the fucking magazine, and I'm standing there in Tower Records reading about how I'm the heir to the DuPont fortune. [laughs] That was a surreal experience, having the bicycle, barely scraping by, and having the entire fans' perception being this completely other thing. I can't tell you how fruitful of an experience that was. Most of the philosophies that I'm interested in have to do with the engineered appearance of the world that we live in versus the esoteric or hidden reality behind it. I feel very privileged to be in a world where I can deal with some press coverage like that. [laughs] Where you just get that driven home to you, so explicit, like a hammer into your fucking skull. It's really quite a healthy thing, and I wish everybody could experience it." Read more.

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