The Truth About The Fish In Faith No More's 'Epic' Video

The image of a fish flopping around at the end of the music video for the 1989 Faith No More's song "Epic"  is indelibly marked in the memory of the MTV generation. Almost as much as Nirvana's grunge rock cheerleaders in the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" would become just a few years later. The appearance of the fish in the Faith No More video did create some controversy at the time, and it would even pick up a following of its own, complete with a Facebook page, according to MovieWeb. It's even said that the original owner of the fish, commonly called a goldfish, was another pop singer from around that same era.

The controversy related to the Faith No More fish was whether or not the band had actually let a fish suffocate out of water while filming their video. It was also said that the fish — a goldfish — had come to Faith No More via the eccentric Icelandic pop singer Björk. In 2010, the director of the music video, Ralph Ziman, talked with MovieWeb, clarifying where the fish came from, whether it survived the filming and even the kind of fish that it was, per Dangerous Minds.

It wasn't a goldfish

Ralph Ziman, the video director, said the idea for a fish flopping around on dry land at the end of the video was his, and that the fish in question was most certainly not a goldfish, although he can't quite remember what kind of fish it was. He does recall that it was freshwater, (via MovieWeb.) "The animal handler had brought them in because they were so feisty," he said. Following that, Ziman went on to add that much of the rest of the story about the Faith No More fish was untrue, beginning with who originally owned it.

Although Ziman doesn't clarify exactly where the fish came from, he does confirm that it wasn't Björk's fish — a rumor he had never heard, even though the singer herself reportedly supported the story, possibly in jest. "This is the first time that I've ever heard someone say that was Björk's goldfish," he said. According to an unofficial Faith No More fan site called Faith No More Followers, the fish simply came from the pet store. 

As far as the animal suffering in the shoot, Ziman put that controversy to rest as well in his MovieWeb interview, clarifying there was in fact more than one fish used in the production, and that none were left out of the water for very long. After the shoot was all over, the fish were let go in the river. The fish did not respond to a request for comment.