Mr. Bungle

A little-known side project featuring the singer of legendary crowd-pleasers Faith No More. Perhaps you've heard about them in "underground" circles
*special introductory paragraph!
*Eureka High School Talent Show
*The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny
*Bowel of Chiley
*Goddammit, I Love America!
*Mr. Bungle
*Disco Volante

Mr. Bungle, a band of music from San Francisco, is one of the most ridiculously smart, talented and bizarre bands in the rock and roll-style genre. Seemingly led by former Faith No More singer Mike Patton, the band's nerve center appears to lie more with the musicians of the band, especially Trey Spruance, an abnormally gifted musician who can play all styles of guitaring, including those that don't involve guitars. The music itself is like a series of fast-paced cartoons jetting by you, with more challenging mid-song genre changes than I think I have ever heard by any other band. In a perfect world, Mr. Bungle would be a lot more successful than they are. But then, if it WAS a perfect world, how would we know? We'd have no bad to compare the good to, so even the slightly less-good-than-other-things would appear to be BAD and IMPERFECT!

That was my "High School Deep Philosophy Guy Moment" for the day.

Eureka High School Talent Show - Bootleg 1985
Rating = 4

Recorded at the band's high school shortly after they formed, this hideous youth performance makes three things tantamount:

a) Trey was already a very talented and speedy-fingered guitarist at age 16

b) Mike Patton worked very hard to develop his unique vocal style and range. Beginning around 1989.

c) I don't actually know what the word 'tantamount' means

Also, what the hell kind of high school garage band begins their career by learning a bunch of POLKAS!? Indeed, a full THREE of these scant 7 songs bounce along merrily to that classic oompah drumbeat so beloved by our Jewish Polish friends or whoever played polkas. I don't know though -- the melodies themselves are minor-key and kind of Middle Eastern-sounding, so maybe they're polka-Arab hybrids of some sort. Go talk to your ethnograph friends; maybe they know. Leave me the HELL out of it!

The remaining tracks are jokey covers of Run-D.M.C., Village Brothers and Monkees, along with a medley incorporating Hoagy Carmichael's "Heart & Soul," that band march from Animal House, some song I don't recognize and Motley Crue's "Shout At The Devil." It SUCKS.

The tape sounds like it was recorded inside an airplane hanger with a huge pillow on top of it, the vocals are cocky tuneless high school 'look at me' shouts, and the set list is the absolute pits. Why play all three of the polkas in a row, rendering them indistinguishable from each other? Why end your set with three amateurish cover tunes rather than mixing them colorfully throughout the set? Why let Mike Patton sing? I admit we all make mistakes at age 16 (for example, not kicking every teacher's fucking ASS IN, THE PRICKS), but if you're playing a talent show, play it GOOD! Play it as if GOD HIMSELF is in the audience!

But wait! I've boggled my OWN MIND here. How could God have been in the audience at the same time that he was on stage singing??? Also, have you fuckin' heard fuckin' Peeping Tom yet? Or how about that kickass solo CD where he makes fart noises into a Walkman for 45 minutes?

Also, one of the polkas is a Camper Van Beethoven song, I guess.

All bands must start somewhere. No band is infinite, lacking either beginning or end. Not even Kansas, and they've been around forever, rockin' us. So the next time some arrogant online critic jerkoff decides to trash and smear an early recording by what would soon become one of the greatest bands in the Universe, you can tell him this for me: FUCK OFF.

No no, I said 'the next time....'

Here are some knock-knock jokes related to the topic we've discussed here today:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle who?
Mr. 'Bungle In The Jungle' himself, Ian Anderson! (*plays flute solo*)

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Mike Patton
Mike Patton who?
Mike Patton ("pattin'") himself on the back for all the great records he's put out! Like the one where he screams "ACK! ACK! ACK!" over a bunch of shitty electronic noise for an hour!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Trevor Dunn
Trevor Dunn who?
Trevor "Crocodile" DunnDEE! Hey, black person -- that's not a knife: THIS is a knife! (*pulls out hilarious big knife*)

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Trey Spruance
Trey Spruance who?
No no, I said "Tres Truants." I was counting how many children didn't show up for my Spanish class today. I don't know the Spanish word for "truants" though. So that's what happened there.

Reader Comments
The Metal Polka tracks totally rock even though all three of them sound exactly the same. After Mike's horrid version of "Macho Man" and you were starting a new band, would you take him or the Cop (or the Indian for that matter) from the Village People as your lead singer? Or after "The Monkees" take him or whoever actually sang on the Monkees first album? That was Milli Villi, right?

However, we get to see the origin of Mike's "imbecilic stage patter" that would later shine brightly on FNM's "Live at the Brixton Academy" with the discourse on whether or not people like his shoes.

"inside an airplane hanger with a huge pillow on top of it" which is exactly the same technique they later did again with "Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead". Note: that song was true because Mike went kill them all after he realized that the people in the audience of the talent show were only saying they liked his shoes to suck up.

Add your thoughts?

The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny - Ladd-Firth Productions 1986
Rating = 8

First of all, you need to stop being so jealous of me. Yes, I am one of the few people in the world who can claim to be enjoying a 6-minute instrumental version of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Mr. Popeil" at this very moment, but that's no reason to get all envious and green. Secondly, and some might suggest more importantly, there's this whole matter of 'subjectivity' vs. 'objectivity.' 'Objectively' speaking, speed metal and funk metal are completely neutral forms of art. 'Subjectively,' however, speed metal kicks ass and funk metal is for frat boys who long to be rapists but can't get a boner unless they're looking at shirtless, sweaty males. This is why I choose to live my life subjectively -- to avoid listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

You see, before they became a godawful ska/funk-metal band, Mr. Bungle made a quick pit stop into the facepunchingest subgenre of them all: hard, fast, loud, vicious SPEED METAL!!! With hints of GRINDCORE and DEATH METAL!!! Also, now I'm listening to a 5 1/2-minute dance remix of "I Lost On Jeopardy."

With Mike Patton screaming in a Venom-meets-early C.O.C.-meets-The Accused victims' growl/howl, Mr. Bungle's first official demo found them sharing such family-friendly tales of wonder as "Raping Your Mind," "Anarchy Up Your Anus" and "Spreading The Thighs Of Death." While none of these tracks have the hit potential of the instrumental version of "Eat It" that I just enjoyed much to your covetousness, they KICK SO MUCH GODDAMNED ASS that you'd might as well remove your buttock right now and hide it in the attic because your - NO, NOT RIGHT ABOVE THE ATTIC FAN AUGGLGLLGGLG (*GRIND GRIND GRIND*)

Now That's What I Call Comedy! 16

Good Christ Our Dark Overlord is Trey Spruance a fast guitar player. He infuses nearly every track with speed-of-light Possessed/Blind Illusion-style up-n-down speed-picking (jigga jigga jigga jigga jigga), Van Haleny hammer-ons, high-pitched squealing solos, and creatively twisted chord changes. Galloping headbang sections, slower 'run around in a circle' riffs, and grindcore blastbeat mayhem also work their way into these tracks, most of which are about six minutes long with a gillion different parts. And yes, some of the riffs are a bit non-descript (or standard for the genre), but they're always quickly replaced by some incredible feat of manual finger dexterity and/or weird sicko chord change. It's the songs as a WHOLE that convince, not every individual segment.

That's the overriding sound and feel of the demo, but - this being Mr. "Diversity" Bungle - three of the eight tracks do deviate from the formula. Sorta like this Japanese-language version of "Eat It." "Grizzly Adams" begins the set with a simmering and strangely inept minor-key goth instrumental; "Hypocrites" is a surprisingly charming concoction of mosh, thrash, "La Cucaracha," ska, three-part vocal harmonies, funk-metal with corny guitar solo, and the Peter Gunn theme; and "Evil Satan" is, sadly, the first glimpse of the sub-RHCP whiteboy funk that would mar their next three demos and (to a lesser degree) their official debut CD. But these songs are the variations that prove the rule, or whatever proves the rule. You know the cliche. The absence that proves the rule. The genital that proves the rule. EXCEPTION! That's the word. These songs are the exception that proves the genital.

The sound is highly muffled, this being a 500th-generation copy of a mid-80s cassette tape, but the compositional smarts and technical ability shine through as clearly as the sun through a polluted tree. You can't stop the sun from shining through a polluted tree, and you can't stop this great, great thrash from blasting its lo-fi tepid growl at the receptacle of your earhole. And that 'subjective' view comes to you direct from me and this remix of "Christmas At Ground Zero" that is rocking my office cubical right now.

Oh sweet Christ. This Comic Relief rap duet between "Weird Al" Yankovic and Richard Belzer is - as impossible as it may sound - more vomitous than actual vomit. Why is Richard Belzer unable to find the beat? It's a simple 4/4 rap beat! If he can't find a "rap BEAT," how can we trust him to find a "rap SHEET" on that Murder & Sex Crimes RRI show he's on? See, TV casters never think about these things. If they'd hired ME, I'd do a little tapdance every episode, and ratings would shoot through the roof.


(*The Internet Explodes Under The Weight Of Everybody Coming To MarkPrindle.Com To See The Tap Dancing*)

A Republican: "Someone call Al Gore! Haw haw! After all, he INVENTED the Internet! Haw haw! Also, all the Ohio computerized voting machines are rigged so don't bother voting next time."

Reader Comments
Let me start by correcting your text. It should read "Subjectively, however, speed metal is for meth users who think by speeding up uninteresting music you make it interesting". This is only speed metal album I've ever enjoyed because even if you slowed it down, it would still rock. Too bad they threw in the other 3 sucky tracks.

Oh, and if I knew you were going to use the Weird Al material to pad your review word count just to satisfy your English teacher, I would have never given it to you. :-)
According to the Wikipedia article on Faith No More, Mike Patton got the call to be Faith No More's vocalist after Jim Martin heard a "demo of Mr. Bungle's long-over death metal days." That would apparently be this tape, then? Interesting. Faith No More is definitely not a death metal band.

I just got the first official Mr. Bungle album and haven't listened to it yet, so I'll probably comment on it when I give it a listen.

Add your thoughts?

Bowel Of Chiley - Cassette 1987
Rating = 4

There are actually two different versions of this floating around, each featuring three tracks that aren't on the other. The version I'm reviewing is a composite of the two that features every single track on both -- thank you, Billy "The Red" Barron! Ha ha ha! Hang on, I'll call SNOOPY over! Ha ha ha! And then The Royal Guardsmen can write a SONG about you! Ha ha ha! Ohhhhhhhhhh god I wish I had more than three readers.

(I'm lookin' at YOU, Steve Robey and David Dickson!!! Peac out!)

If you'd like to be my fourth reader, please fill out this simple resume form:

Name: ___
Age: ____________________
Address: _
Sex: ______________________________________________________________________________
Work Experience: .
Nationality: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Favorite Band: DRI
Favorite Thing (or Things) About Mark Prindle: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (if necessary use extra space on back of computer to complete your answer)

Congratulations! You're now a registered member of www.markprindle'!


Ha ha! Little 'url' humor for all you 'urls and boys out there. But now let's talk about this overlong piece of ska/funk horseshit by Mr. Bungle.

What would have driven the band to, in the space of a year, completely refashion themselves from tight speed metallers to white funk/ska/reggae goofballs? Obviously some asshole had lent the band a Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette. There's no other explanation for such a radical shift from unironic fist banging mania to QuIrKeEe KrAzEeE Funkadunkadoooooooo! Unfortunately, Bungle wasn't any better at it than the Chilis. You hear me? Mr. wasn't any better at it than the Red Hots. Mike Patton's vocals are grotesque and distasteful, relying mainly on adolescent squeaks, grunts and noises. The band's melodies and chord changes are equally repugnant and spiritless, although the addition of horn harmonies to the mix at least brings some horny light to their dreary material. To add insult to injustice, the only track to even hint at the band's speedcore past ("Cottage Cheese") is amateurish filler that sounds like a band that's never attempted extreme metal in their lives.

Still, even in this morass of stink, there are a few hints of the genre-blasting Bungle genius to come. "For No Reason" introduces the record with a collage of goofy voice noises, calming ska and a rousing round of 'It's A Small World After All'; "Incoherence" is a brief shot of Japanese-style hyperactive/insanity/fun/noise/rock; and "Jumping (Part Two)" progresses from a spot-on Reggae Toaster impression through a dopey 'Mr. Bungle!' chant into a killer grinding rock segment before spazzing out into a wanky jazz guitar solo. But aside from these three gender-benders and a terrific straightforward bass-driven darksong predating Sigur Ros with the title "( )," Bowel Of Chiley is an icky, teenagers-in-their-bedroom, suburban ska/funk experience.

And long? My GOD'S PUD is it long! But it has to be to pump out all that solar system sperm. You see, when God decided to 'Big Bang' this giant infinite hooker in the yea

And long? FUCK YOU is it long! My superlative version features 17 tracks and rolls on for like 70 interminable minutes! And I'm not talking 70 well-recorded, honestly oddball minutes like their official CD release -- this is a poorly recorded, lousily composed, facelessly performed, and moronically sung pile of irredeemable Dog Schlitz.

Brought to you by the Pabst Brewing Company.

'Oh, when your dog is upset
That his name isn't Amos,
Feed him the beer
That made Milwaukee famous!
He'll poop on your tie
And pee on the floor
But don't get upset
Just feed him some more!
Feed your dog beer, yeah, feed your dog beer.
What are you queer? Asshole, feed your dog beer!
I bet that you're queer - you're gayer than shit!
You probably FUCK that dog -- and suck on its tit!
You piece of shit! Fuck you, you dog-fucking pedophile!'

- Ad jingle for short-lived 'Dog Schlitz' product, 1953

Reader Comments
Dear Mr. Pringle,

We are suing you for slander by associating our character the Red Baron from Peanuts with this piss poor album. I mean a Bowel full of Chiley stinks less than this album.

Plus I'm telling Anthony Keidis about the fact that you have reviewed multiple Mike Patton related bands and not done the RHCP. I'm sure he is going to go nuclear with the fact you hint that early RHCP isn't an order of magnitude than this "Bowel of Chiley". I'm sure he'll call up your ISP and get your throw off the Internet much the same way he used to do it to Mr. Bungle for shows.

You are the potato chip Mr. Pringle and worth billions, right? I, one time, tried your Pringles with Olestra (May Cause Anal Leakage - TM) and I felt like I had a "Bowel of Chiley". It wasn't a pleasant feeling, but then neither was listening to this album.

Sincerely Yours,

The Ghost of Charles Schulz
Peac out back atcha mofo! Aiiiiieet!

I don't know squat about this album, but it'd be remiss of me not to toss in a comment since you were so kind to mention me in your review. I got the first major label Bungle album back when it came out - and it blew me away. Apart from a couple of songs, though, it hasn't really aged well for me (I much prefer Disco Volante, which I consider a masterpiece), so I'm not itching to get any of the early stuff any time soon. Consider it all part of the gradual, subtle mellowing-out process that happens when you get older. Thank jeezus I still love the Misfits though.

Concerning your Pabst beer jingle, would that be just perfect for Adam Sandler to sing?

Also, I'll join in the fun and fill out your application.

Name: Batting ninth, the second baseman, utility man Jerry Royster!
Age: Beechwood
Address: Me, personally
Sex: Gender-specific
Wok Experience: Stir-fry 1x/month
Nationality: Born, Raised in a Uniform, Died in Toledo
Favorite Band: DRI (as if I have a choice)
Favorite Thing(s) about Mark Prindle: Consistency, Perseverance, Gumption, Rosemary and Thyme
Nam: Viet
Age: Schfifty Five
Address: The Peninsula of New Jersey
Sex: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmf
Work Experience: RolAIDS Research
Nationality: Pizzarian
Favorite Band: DRI LL Press and the Accidentally Chopped Off Fingers
Favorite Thing (or Things) About Mark Prindle: That (or Those) thing (or Things) you do (or Don't Do)!

I have never heard this album, but since I am actually starting to like the Chili Peppers' early stuff, I may like it. Who knows?
So this Marky Mark (who on the evidence above would shoot his Funky Bunch) sez: please fill out this simple resume form:

Name: The Public Image
Age: 20
Address: None a yer fuckin business, perv
Sex: Yes please, though not with Mark
Work Experience: Nine months on job = herniated testicle
Nationality: New Jerchigan
Favorite Band: (I have never listened to) DRI (so I'll have to say the Stones from '68-'72...or the Rubberpud Assphlegmatics)
Favorite Thing (or Things) About Mark Prindle: The dumbass humor/insightful critique/heartless slagging/occasional bursts of feeling/disgusting non sequitors/dissimilarity to that asspud Christgau

Mark sez: "What would have driven the band to, in the space of a year, completely refashion themselves from tight speed metallers to white funk/ska/reggae goofballs? Obviously some asshole had lent the band a Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette."

I sez: Obviously some asshole lent the band a Fishbone cassette. Trevor Dunn described this early stuff as "a Fishbone rip-off."

I noticed that Bungle Fever had all the early demos up for download from their site, so I got The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny and Bowel of Chiley tonite. I will probably buy Disco Volante tomorrow and maybe download more of the demos. I liked the first album quite a bit, even if it had problems...

Add your thoughts?

Goddammit, I Love America! - The Works 1988
Rating = 2

Goddammit, I hate this album!

That was a good one. This tape features seven long, horrible Red Hot Chili Peppers facsimiles with Mike Patton doing his Anthony Kiedis impression about 700,000,000 times louder than the (bad) music. His failed faux-funky rap-sing delivery is still brutally amateurish, and the harmony-horn-inflected funk and ska riffs are (look at a thesaurus under 'ugly' and 'awful' - my Internet's really slow right now). "Egg" and "Carousel" would later re-appear on Mr. Bungle, but the others remain thankfully lost to history. Actually, "Carousel" isn't awful. And it's funny how they break out into INXS's "What You Need" at the end of "Definitions Of Shapes." But otherwise, this 7-song 35-minute bag of genital warts can take a hike and leave it!

Look, I don't like Caucasian Funk, Caucasian Ska or Caucasian Reggae, so there's nothing for me here. If you're a fan of the above and also like purposely unpleasant chord changes, then you should be all over this tape like a man with a tiny penis over a girl's urethra.

For God's sake, what HAPPENED to this band!? "Incoherence" is a minute-long metal/polka hybrid and it still sucks! "Waltz For Grandma's Sake" isn't even a WALTZ! Granted, they would get really, really good again within a few years, but take the band's own advice and let this one die a forgotten grave. I don't like to throw metaphors around, but this is the aural equivalent of a smegma popsicle -- cold, white and cheesy.

Also 'stinky,' but the freezing process might minimize that problem.

In addition, the tape grows under your foreskin and you put it in the freezer.

"Mr. Bungle"? Yeah, more like "Mr. BUNGHOLE!," if you ask a fan of the Beavis & Butthead television series.

Say! Did you know that if you mix up the letters in "Mike Patton," you get "Tit-Man Poke"? So watch out, busty lasses -- he's got a pitchfork for your hay!!!!

Say! Did you know that if you mix up the letters in "Trey Spruance," you get "Cunt Raper - Yes"? So watch out, women with holes -- he's got a yen for your yang!!!!

Say! Did you know that if you mix up the letters in "Trevor Dunn," you get "Torn - Nude, RV"? So watch out, naked ladies -- he can't decide between you and that new Robin Williams movie!!!!

Say! Did you know that if you mix up the letters in my mailbox, it's a felony? That's fucked up!

Reader Comments
Goddammit, I hate the previous album. I think I told you that I'd give Bowel a 3 previously. On another listen, let me drop it to 2. This one is a vast improvement.

Anyway, on this album, is there any doubt that if Mikey went on that INXS reality show where they were looking for a new singer with his performance of their song that:

1) Randy Jackson would have called him "Dog" and then make some statement that didn't make any sense at all.

2) Paula would have talked about making the song "his own" and then attempted to make a pass at him but passed out due to being too drunk.

3) Simon Cowell would have said that Mike is a disgrace to the music industry and should go find a career where he had an ounce of talent.

4) Ryan would have put his hand on Mike's ass and whispered to him "if you come back to my dressing room, I'll rig the voting so you are here next week. How do you think W got elected?"

The truth is that Simon would have been right as Mike sounds like one of those talentless hacks on "American Idol" or that INXS show.

Add your thoughts?

OU818 - "B" Productions 1989
Rating = 6

The title of this demo is a parody of a Van Halen album title. See if you can guess which one!

Finally Mike Patton has a good voice. This one has much stronger production than the other cassettes (16-track recording!) and mostly consists of songs that would be re-recorded just a year or two later for the official debut: superfast rap funk "Squeeze Me Macaroni," Faith No Morey keyboard wash/metal chugger "Slowly Growing Deaf," godawful masturbation funker "The Girls Of Porn," and awesome genre-destroying cacophony "Love Is A Fist." The other two tracks are a funny "making fun of black people" intro (featuring the line "Yo wassup!?") and an epic ugly funk metal groove called "Mr. Nice Guy" that has a couple of interesting gestures within its unhealthy length but not enough to wash the taste of shitfunk out of the mouths of babes. You know that comic strip Funky Winkerbean? It's like that, but instead of "Winkerbean," the second word is "Music That's Terrible."

I can't help but notice that this cassette came out the same year as Mike Patton's debut album with Faith No Man, The Real Thing. Does anybody know the chronology here? I was going to say that this must be the demo that impressed FNM (what with it being Mike's first decent vocal performance on record), but not if it was recorded afterwards, a true possibility considering the obvious Faith No More keyboard wash/metal chug influences evident in some of this material. Only somebody who knows when each one was recorded knows the truth!

It's a dark rainy depressing day and I woke up with a hangover at 4:10 PM. As such, that will be the end of this review.

However, I don't want you feeling cheated out of hilarious comedy jokes so I will include here an excerpt from Hanoi Rocks reviewer Seb Hunter's hilarious new book Rock Me Amadeus, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Handel. It details his mission (as a former metalhead and current alt-rock fan) to learn as much about classical music as possible - in chronological order of its development - to see if he can become a fan of it. This includes reading tons of books, buying tons of CDs, conducting interviews, and travelling to several different countries to visit where the composers were born, grew up, etc. This excerpt is about his trip to Salzburg (one of Mozart's homes) -- most of the book is actually about the actual music, but I love his asides like this one:

"Everyone in Salzburg was unpleasant - nobody was friendly the whole time I was there (four hours), except the lady who served me coffee in the station as I waited to get the hell out of there. Check it out:

- Mozart's birth-house custodian - rude and shouty
- Two women and one man in Mozart's Wohnhaus - really rude (twice at the cash desk, once in the cinema bit, because I was 'taking too long')
- Guy in t-shirt shop - incompetent as well as gormless
- Guy in other t-shirt shop - plain rude, even though I bought a 'SALZBURG - The Sound of Music - Alps & Fun' t-shirt.
- Hot-dog stand woman - I asked for a Mexicanwurst, but they'd run out, and she couldn't have given a shit
- Hot-dog stand punters - unhelpful with napkin etiquette and starey
- Tourists who blocked the door to the hat shop for two minutes without saying sorry - thoughtless bastards
- Hat-shop woman who let the door slam in my face - bitch
- Hat-shop sales assistant - thought I was a shoplifter; hey, I tried
- Station toilet attendant who charged me fifty cents to have a piss - wanker
- People standing at the bus stop watching me behave oddly on the river footbridge when I didn't realize anyone was looking - cruel

(These notes were made on the train back to Vienna with pen clenched tightly in fist.)

You know, I reckon this is what travel writing should be like - forget all those pretty adjectives and stupid descriptions of 'stunning vistas' and shit - tell it how it is: these people are evil. Jesus, I couldn't wait to leave. Don't go to Salzburg. DON'T GO TO SALZBURG UNLESS YOU'RE A PENSIONER WHO DOESN'T NOTICE, OR CARE ABOUT THESE THINGS."

and then the next chapter sub-heading is "Mozart Hated Salzburg Too." Hee! Buy the book, buy it now. It's only available in England, but buy it like a cow.

Reader Comments
I doubt FNM picked up Mike based on any demo. Both bands were playing the SF scene so I'm sure they knew Mike from his live performances. According to Wikipedia (which we know is 100% accurate *rolls eyes*), The Real Thing was released June 20th and OU818 wasn't recorded till June 26-28.

As far as OU818 goes, I find the versions on here vastly superior to the ones that appear on "Mr. Bungle". In fact, the only reason I ever listen to "Mr. Bungle" is "Quote Unquote". The OU818 version of "Slowly Growing Deaf" is an insanely great song. However, now that you mention it, if you dropped it on a Patton era FNM album, nobody would be the wiser. I'd also claim the same thing about "Retrovertigo" from "California".
What makes you in the mood to review crappy old mr bungle demos everyone would rather pretend never happend?
I really enjoyed Seb Hunter's last book. Thanks for mentioning that he has a new one out.
Thanks for actually acknowledging that there are other people in Mr. Bungle besides Mike Patton, even if it is only Trey Spruance you seem to praise. I do get a sense of increasing Patton-related hostility in some of your more recent reviews, but maybe that's just me. I can understand where you'd be coming from, in any case. And yes, Book Of Horizons is so worth a ten.

I heard/read/tried to forget that FNM first heard about Mike Patton through the Bunny Wrath of the Easter Rage tape. Apparently (so the story goes), FNM drummer Mike Bordin put on the demo tape in the tour van, played it for a few seconds and then ejected it, flinging it at Jim Martin (who apparently he hated) saying "here you go Jim, you look like this speed metal s**t!".

Add your thoughts?

Mr. Bungle - Warner Bros. 1991
Rating = 7

In 1991, The Year That a Punk Broke my windowpane and had to pay $10 to replace it, Mr. Bungle's debutt LP seemed like a funky ska metal cartoon designed to alienate fans of Faith No More's popular hit single "Epic." The music on the surface had an at least slightly Faith No More feel to it, with the metal guitars mixing with the funky bass and the omnipresent washes of dramatic keyboards. But this stuff was a lot more "kooky" and "circusy" with galloping keyboards, blowy horn brass, more abrupt rhythm changes in each song and MUCH more offensive, juvenile lyrics. For example, the Chili Pepper-style funk tune "Squeeze Me Macaroni" features SEVEN STUPID VERSES of "Food Innuendo Guy" rapping - "Cookin' like a beginner and I'm goin' up in her/I had Fritos for lunch I'm havin' bush for dinner"?! And "The Girls Of Porn" is even WORSE (better) with female orgasm samples and gruesome lyrics like "It's time to win a chance to butt-bang your daughter's light virgin cherry ass to caller #666!" As a concerned citizen of America, I have campaigned for more than a decade to have this CD and all nudity banned from the country, as well as the replacement of breasts, penises and vaginas with a smooth layer of flesh-colored plastic at birth but so far, my ideas have been ignored by a society bent on unleashing Satan's fury in our time.

Speaking of "in," there are horns in this music. Saxophones, to be exact - played in harmony like a ska or Dixieland jazz band might do. Gives the music even MORE of a cartoony feel than it already had. In shorps, it's just the start of what they were capable of which, but if you're a big fan of funk and ska, and have a good sense of humor, you'll dig their crazy take on what was once a popular genre. Me, I'm just glad they DUMPED that influence by the time they got around to recording their second album! They're clearly talented as all hell at several different genres, but ska and funk metal are two forms of music that literally make my skin crawl. Totally off of my body, where it slithers down the steps, hops in a taxi and goes to hit on chicks at Coney Island while I have to walk around with my veins and intestines and crap all Scotch Taped to my bones like some kind of asshole.


Reader Comments


See, with Faith No More pretty much hidden in 1991, rumors leaked that Mike Patton had a side project about to release an album. Naturally, a lot of people bought it expecting some white guys playing some funky music. Boy, were they pissed.

Produced by avant-jazz maestro John Zorn, we get more than 70 minutes of stark raving insanity. Out of 10 tracks, 6 appear on most of their early demos. Which leaves us with 4 spankin' in a sadomasochistic way songs. First track, 'Travolta', had to have its name changed to 'Quote Unquote' because of fears of retaliation by Mr. Barbarino himself. Me neither. 'Stubb (A Dub)', about Trey Spruance's dog, has practically no guitars and its structure is all over, which doesn't really say anything because the whole record shits on conventionalisms. There I go again talking jack shit. Anyway the song has to be heard to be believed. 'My Ass is on Fire' is just plain disturbing, COPS samples and all! You can't help but think that its 3 minute ending with Patton yelling REDUNDANT over and over is the mos unnerving music you've heard, really! I've played that part to grindcore freaks and black metal church-burners, and they all had the same reaction: turn it off! It's noise, I can't stand it! Come on! The final song is 'Dead Goon'. At the risk of being redundant (see I did it again), it's awesome, boasting an impressive line which was actually written by Danny Heifetz, the bald drummer and a simple yet fully effective production trick: see, the song is about a retarded kid who hangs himself with his mom's pantyhose, whilst jacking off (No, they didn't make that up. I've read the kid was actually Patton's friend). Anyway, near the end the instrumental tracks start going from left speaker to right speaker and on, and the vocal tracks go the opposite way. There's also the sound of a rope somewhere, so you actually feel like you're hung and choking and jacking off. Really.

Add the unforgettable inbetween songs samples of train-hopping, kid-smacking-skinheads and diarrhea and you get a record which makes you feel both happy and dirty. BTW, the band members go under pseudonyms here, apparently because Mike Patton didn't want this to sell because he was famous back then. (Lachlan Watt)
Just thought I'd add some thoughts on this band, having seen them live last night and all... I bought this album half price when I was about fifteen, mainly to impress all my friends, who were big fans of that other band Mr. Patton was in. It used to scare the shit out of me, but now I'm not too sure - there's songs on this album, whereas Disco Volante is just noisy, and not even intimidating noise at that. I can't bring myself to buy California, given what the current Mr. Bungle fanbase is like around here. I don't want to be one of those people!

BTW, Mike really seems to hate the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - some choice pieces of stage banter were:

"So, you guys like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do you? No? Well then what do you play at your keg parties? Killing Heidi? Australia deserves a hand for that. Thanks a lot Australia for giving us Killing Heidi."

"This song is dedicated to River Pheonix - Flea killed him."

"No, we don't play the girls of porn anymore. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers bought the rights to it. Actually, they saw that we wrote a perfectly good funk metal song and they STOLE it."

And my personal favourite:

"So, all you guys here in Canberra do heroin right? That would explain why you're all big Red Hot Chilli Peppers fans."

I wonder what that's all about? (Paul)
I bought this about two years ago at a used c.d store, just for the hell of it. Boy, was that a smart move! Great album, filled with tons of genre hopping, weird samples, and they somehow pull it off convincingly. They were a little more scary then, going under pseudonyms and wearing masks live, but anyway, a great album.
Probably their best album. It's not as accessible as California, yet not as inaccessible as Disco Volante. Ska, funk, metal, jazz, circus music... lots of demented fun.
I play "squeeze me macaroni" for my wife and she does'nt think it's funny. What's wrong with a little humor?
Man, it took me a long time to get into this one. When I was about 12 or so, I remember walking down the aisles in the CD store and looking at the cover of the CD wondering what the hell it was. Well, last year, I found a used copy of the CD and decided to give it a try. Jesus, this thing was too weird, even for me (and love Trout Mask Replica). After several months, I gave the CD another try, and guess what? I love it! Slowly Going Deaf, Stubb (A Dub), My Ass Is On Fire, and Carousel are really cool and even kind of catchy in a strange way. Man, I never though I would be able to get into this one, but now I can't get the "Dahg Rastubfari" part of Stubb (A Dub) out of my head. The Girls Of Porn has some pretty dumb lyrics, but the actual song is pretty cool. (Jeremy Callahan)
This is the scariest thing ever recorded. (Andrew McQuillan)
Redundant, redundant, redundant. Ah, but seriously, great shit this album is, even though I haven't heard it in a while, considering I borrowed it from my friend and gave it back since he wanted it back. Next time I see it and have money, I'll get it though.

1991, The Year That a Punk Broke my Window Pane and had to pay $10 to replace it
You should make a shirt that says that. What a hilarious line.
Yeah, hell, this is the most scary thing ever made.

I'd call the style "experimental circus porn horror ska funk metal". I wonder how many records there are in that genre, eh?

I listened to Egg alone in a dark room. Don't try it. Patton screaming NO PLACE LIKE HOME! NO PLACE LIKE HOME! THERE'S NO! PLACE! LIIIIIKE... is as scary as it gets, especially when it gets all quiet, finally... all quiet... the song must be over now... Yeah, I'll go to sleep now... Yeah, the song must be ov... NO PLACE...hahahaha! That's scary, man!

It's damn good, damn catchy, damn intelligent, damn rockin', damn hilarious, damn crazy, and all that. But mostly scary. (Steve)
Yes, this album is a production masterpiece.And they pull this music off live.When I first heard it,it was a little strange to hear a horn section incorporated with metal music,although its not all metal.I knew this was something,different,original unlike any other band around.Was completely sucked in and wore out the tape,The other 2 albums are great as well,But This is the psycho metal,Ska,demented clown,smooth jazz,cartoon music album.A complete music masterpiece 10 out of 10. (Ashley Moore)
This took me a little while to warm to, but after a couple of listens all of sudden I found my self singing "Slowley Growing Deaf " to myself, the next thing it became my favourite album of my late teens and early twenties I still listen to it to this day and enjoy it from start to finish ( except maybe Dead Goon). I think Bungle are just one of thoses bands you have to give a listen to a couple of time before you like them Disco Volente and california are just as brilliant when given the chance 10 out of 10 for all three.
best album ever made in the history of rock n roll till now,

dont ya get it!!!

Add your thoughts?

* Disco Volante - Warner Bros. 1995 *
Rating = 10

Fatigue and bloatedness prevent me from giving this album its absolute due at the moment, but a sense of responsibility and obsession is forcing me to jot some words down anyway, so let me quickly try to paint you a picture of a house.

This oldtimey keyboard seems to have been built without a "house picture" key. Would you be s

That was going nowhere. There is no ska or funk on here. Instead, it is influenced by jazz, world music, cartoon music death metal and creepy Haunted House music like in The Ghost And Mr. Chicken featuring the late Don Knotts, who isn't dead but is certainly late for Buffy, the fuck. What am I, running a hotel where people can come a

I'm tired. The songs are all very hard to follow, because they jerk back and forth all over the place like a dangerous roller coaster ride that leaps off the tracks and smashes into a Vegas lounge, but the end result is amazing. I can't even BEGIN to imagine how a band would go about writing, let alone performing, songs this complicated and insane. They're like the best of Zappa and the Sun City Girls, but a million times more interesting. All kinds of instruments are thrown in and out of the mix - old-timey spooky haunted house organs, sharpening knife sound effects, saxophones, an old person's voice like Grandpa Simpson - every song just blasts in and out of sensemakitude with the obtuse humor in full presentness. Take, as just one example - "Platypus." Here are my written notes for "Platypus" - "metal! Like Voivod! Into more crazy cuts. Funny voice, groovy bass, harmony sax pretty, odd, mike singing like Zappa again. All over place again, insane time signature, faster, slower. Tons of changes. Crazy vocals - can't tell he's saying words! Great use of stereo! More changes." Or how about "Merry Go Bye-Bye," which begins as a cheery parody of old bubblegum music then abruptly turns into pounding, slashing speed metal before the band falls apart and goofs off for 6 minutes to no clear effect.

Let me make one thing clear - if just any old little river band tried something like this, they would fail. Because it takes an enormous amount of talent to play songs this complicated - and YES, I understand that there are probably several thousand edits and overdubs in each song, but even each individual SEGMENT of every track is dizzily complicated and fast-moving, yet executed flawlessly. Hardcore cartoon music perhaps? EH?

The one track that I personally don't think works like they intended is "The Bends," which is supposed to aurally recreate the feelings of a person falling into the ocean and getting the bends, OK computer? Kid Aaaaah, what I'm trying to say is that certain sections of the number sound neat, but the only part that is absolutely BRILLIANT is the ending, which will just scare the HELL out of you the first time you hear it.

Although probably not now, since I just ruined it for you. God damn me all to Screw.

What am I, some kind of amnesiac? Pablo Honey! Come over here so I can apply a fresh coat of homemade paint to your precious Puerto Rican gayfer balls!

Reader Comments


Wow. You thought the debut was weird?? In between all of its madness, it's defiant song structures were just that: you could hum them at the end of the day. And 'Girls of Porn' wasn't that mad. Which leads us to their 1995 offering: Disco Volante. Taking its name from a Bond Movie, we get 12 tracks which are really 14: Track 3 has 'Spy' on it, which is curiously the only normal song around here, and there's a hidden track, nothing more than a really bad noise improv.o The first track, 'Everyone I Went to High School With is Dead' starts things chaotically: a death metal song with some Japanoise influences. From there on, there's no return: 'Carry Stress in the Jaw' mixes thrash metal and rhumba efficiently. 'Violenza Domestica' is an Italian Mafia tango ditty with no structure whatsoever and works beautifully. 'Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz': cartoon music with barked vocals, it's a prelude to one of Patton's new projects, Fantomas (with Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, King Buzzo from the Melvins and drum god Dave Lombardo) 'The Bends' is a GREAT ambient jazz number which succeeds on recreating said phenomenon, and 'Desert Search for Techno Allah' (wouldn't you give this a 10 just for its titles anyway?) has a rather distinctive Arabian techno-rave flow. But again, the best song is the last: 'Merry Go Bye Bye', penned by the band's guitar wiz, Trey Spruance. I'll just spoil it for ya: the song starts sounding like something Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys would be proud of. Suddenly, a death metal riff appears destroying all of the fun by making it even funnier. After 2 minutes of pure electronic chaos, another buzzsaw guitar bordering on Norwegian Black Metal riffola starts what seems a rather chaotic way of ending the album. Then a lovely keyboard comes in, Patton stops growling to get in full crooner mode, and the start gets played again, only slower. I guess you need to hear it to understand what you've been hit by. This CD is not for everybody. It is most likely to be downright annoying to anyone previously unaware of the band's existence. But as soon as you get into it, there's no escape. (Adam Bruneau)
I'd been enjoying Mr. Prindle's review site for quite a while, and seeing as how there's now a whole section on the fabulous records of Mr. Bungle, I felt obligated to add a little raving paragraph. To begin with, this guy is nuts...picture a heavy metal version of Frank Zappa, playing around in the studio with some extremely talented buddies and demolishing every musical style he can lay their hands on. Disco Volante is a terrific record, and it jumps from heavy metal (of course) to techno to improv jazz and even lounge music in a matter of mere seconds. For anyone with an interest in experimental (yet in a way oddly catchy) music, Mr. Bungle is a must-have, and any of his albums will do. This is probably the best one for those interested in metal, however... (Daniel Streb)
This album sucks, the worst album of the nineties, I give it a one-and-a-half (because only The Pros and Cons of Hitch-Hiking can get a one and that's in a league all by itself, except for maybe the Attila album.), these songs are really boring to listen to, it sounds like it was produced in a trash can, and Mike Patton likes to eat his own shit. Really. (Rorschach)
the first two should both be 10's in my humble opinion, but disco is a little bit better for its sheer range of diversity on the songs. the every track segues together effect is on full bloom here, whereas the debut did have some actual song structure. it's also notable that new music express called this the worst album in world...ever. have you ever noticed that british critics seem to show extreme favoritism towards british bands? the queen is dead always shows up on their top ten lists and all that oasis shit, etc. also, check out some other great bungle side projects: fantomas, secret chiefs 3, and the mike patton solo albums. crazy shit (Daniel Streb)
You suck. The Queen Is Dead rock, and "How Soon Is Now?" is better. Morrissey could kick Mike Patton's ass any day of the week. Please don't buy this awful attempt at art. No it's not the worst album ever made, but it's pretty damn close. Like in the top ten along with drivel like A Date With Elvis and Psychocandy or something. (Caleb Smith)
I agree that this album is great, although I would probably give it a 9 rather than a 10. Anyway... the thing that befuddles me about people's reaction to this album is them regarding it as "noise" or saying it "has no melody". I'm not just talking about the reviews here, but other reviews I've read over the internet. That is completely untrue damnit! DISCO VOLANTE is full of hummable and often catchy rhythms and songs. Sure, often these catchy melodies will be interrupted and quickly change into something else(sometimes something more sinister, but sometimes equally as catchy as well). Take for example "Backstrokin", the whole song is very pleasing to the ear and easy to listen to. I can even find myself humming to the clunky, noisy opener "Everyone I Know From High School Is Dead". Anyway, this album is quite a trip, a trip that even though it's constantly surreal, bizarre, and chaotic.. is still quite musical. I gotta say though, it's probably not music for every occasion, and can SOMETIMES be annoying.
Without question, this is their best effort thus far. Even if you've never heard Mr. Bungle, buy this album. You'll think you wasted your hard earned cash when you first pop it in but it will make sense after a while, I promise. This one has it all, from Slayer like thrash to polka -type shit. All this brilliant integration of music types produces an end result that reminds me of cartoon music from another planet. Mike Patton is a genius, he can transform any sound vomit that someone throws at him into something really amazing. Just ask King Buzzo! Do yourself a favor.....go down to Eckerd's and buy a bottle of Robotussin and put on this record. (Paul)
You either loved or hated this album. I found that it took a while to get used to (shocker!), unlike the self titled, which I liked immediately. There is very much so a Zorn influence on the songs and their structure, especially platypus, although Zorn didn't actually have anything to do with this record.
i agree with disco %100 you have no right to bag out mike like that that clone crack is bullshit man if you could pull your head from your anal canal for 5 seconds and actully listened to the music you would see that mike patton is a inspiration to all musicians is completly his own style i bet your one of these muso wanna be types who is jealous of anybody with real talent! (The Chameleon)
Very hard to get into but when you do it's worth it you gave it a chance. Mr.Bungle is like nothing I've ever heard. It doesn't take your hand and lead you along into some versus, a chorus, a solo and then the chorus again. It's completely mixed up and is definitely a hard taste to aquire. But after a few listens it all starts to make sense. It's not just noise or nonsense. Everything that happens seems to fit in and make sense after a while. And gawd, what a bass player!! Trevor Dunn is amazing. An 8 from me. (Jezza)
I was listening to the noise part of Merry Go Bye Bye when my dad comes in and goes, "what's that? The big bang played backwards?". Enough said. This is a greatalbum, just requires the listener to put in some effort! Especially enjoy Platypus.
All the best songs Frank Zappa never wrote. This is genius,I think.
The odd thing about this one is that while I had a lot of trouble getting into the debut, I really liked parts of this one the first time I heard it. The surf parts are catchy as hell. After School Special is a great demented children's song. Oh, and Merry Go Bye Bye is cool too. The problem I have with the album is the excruciatingly long The Bends. Uh, maybe I just don't "get" this one yet, but to me it just sounds like a bunch of really ugly noise. This is still a neat album to have though. (Nick Sergakis)
This is by far the best Mr Bungle album. I compltely love the damn thing to pieces, this band is definently genius. There should be a genre named after them. My favorite song off the album is "Desert Searc For Techno Allah." I also started listening to the first one again, and slowly listening to California. So all I can say about this band is why the fuck did they break up?
After a first listen, I put this one away for a while, thinking that it probably would grow on me eventually but that it wasn't as good as Mr. Bungle or California.

I was wrong.

I mean, it grew on me, and it did that damn fast. And it wasn't as good as the other bungle releases, but better. Except for the opener, "Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead" (which is a bit wierd but deserves its place on the record due to exactly that, and also since it has the best song name ever) every song is a complete masterpiece (even the wierd The Bends). It's just as scary as Mr. Bungle, but more diverse and soooo intelligent (if "fartin', pissin' 'n strokin' my fuckin' dick" can be called intelligent) it makes my jaw drop to the floor, jump out the window into a crop field, create a community which becomes a scientificly advanced civilization and creates a computer complex enough to say "I'm thinking, therefore I exist" and become a bungle fan because that's the only way to live.

I've heard statements that this record might be musically challenging but not catchy enough. That's a load of bs, cause every one of these songs have several great hooks, to my ears at least, enoughin fact, to impress mr. McCartney himself (the cheesy bastard).

Get this mother, and love it, or I'll hunt you down, kill you, eat you and shit you out, not necessarily in that order. (Robin Kempson)
too good an album for warner brothers...dont tell em i said that....uuuurgh...warner bro's are gonna put a hit out on me. horrible shits. mike patton is some what of a genious no? and...uh...secret chiefs 3....greg turkington??!?!?!?.....oh nevermind.
Hey You, Some important points need reappraising, as important as ~I deem them on this sorrowful evening. I have never seen a Bond movie called Disco Volante. How soon is now is good. Sounding like a castrated elk, lost in a forest of alphabety-spagetti, whilst simultaneously whittling a cross bow to disable it quarry, Lionel the tree fish, is to be rejoiced. So stop discuss Rothko and have some loose pulses instead.

Maybe not the style of the last, but an upswing in the popularity vote. Pray that never happens to your daughter.

Untold to the baptist, i was called out to writing as I have listened to this album for a very long time. At first I thought it was shit. Messy, unfocussed shit. I could only listen to one song without getting angry. As time has been purged I have altered my priorities, like a wasp, and now deem this record worthy of being liked by me.

Lies & betrayals, fruit covered nails.

Until I kick my fruity jazz habit, this album will be played aloud and I will rejoice in the annoyance it causes all those around me whom hum the sinning songs. (Ferris Buhler)
It's taken me about two hundred listens to dawn on me, and it is done so perfectly that it goes without saying that it's damn near unnoticeable. But apart from their inherent sheer genius in each of their albums, Bungle prove their mastery of music forms and concept in each moment of their playing, studio or live. It's like the big bang backwards comment stated earlier. Here it is: the final 6 seconds of "Merry Go Bye-Bye" foreshadow the ENTIRE next album concept of California, a softer, subtler Hawaii-5-0 feel, with as much mind-numbing insane perfectness as ever. In fact, it's a single guitar chord in those 6 seconds that do it. Amazing. (How could anyone put an entire album in the future with a single guitar strum?)
To start this off I didn't think much of disco volante until I realized there unbelievably talented artistic vibe to the album.

All the songs may seem like a very tight and well improvised series of weird jazz, but if you listen to them they tell very in-depth and intense stories, every person may interpreter the stories in there own ways, but they actually relate to the unusual and creepy pictures inside the booklet.

I cannot say what these stories are because they are secrets even Mr. bungle dont intend on being exposed, they think they are joking with us but a small few people actually get what there saying.

THEY ARE GENIOUS!!!!!! anon!
Fucking awesome album, but I did want to comment on what *A* said: about Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz.

"'Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz': cartoon music with barked vocals, it's a prelude to one of Patton's new projects"

That makes no sense since it was written by Trey Spruance and he has had nothing to do with Fantomas. There, I said it and I feel better.

Da Pissa
This album definitely shows off just how frighteningly talented and versatile these guys are. That being said, as good as it is, its self-indulgent tendencies are what keep me from agreeing that this is their magnum opus. A few songs (though still great) have pretty silly, needless passages in them, and go to show that, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I mean, I know it must take a degree of talent to be able to play all those different passages and memorize the order in which they must be played, but does that make every part of "Platypus" necessary?

They would learn to cut the fat on the both strange and melodic California album, which I consider to be their best work. I normally don't consider a band's more streamlined album to be their magnum opus, but that album is just so melodic and cohesive, yet still well-thought-out and strange enough to be recognized as Mr. Bungle.

But I can't really gripe about Disco Volante. It's strange, unpredictable, flamboyant, fun, powerful, and overall a fine effort with no bad songs on it. It's still a step up from their debut, which was mired a bit too much in silly (though admittedly fun and enjoyable) ska and macho funk. Then again, I'm not too big on those genres, so maybe that's just me.

Add your thoughts?

California - Warner Bros. 1999
Rating = 9

So I'm just coolin' out, relaxin', you know, just takin' it easy, fondling a stewardess, col' chillin', you know just layin' back with a 40-ounce bottle of battery acid that I keep throwing at people, and I turns to my homey Jon Anderson (of the Yes posse) and I say "hey beeyitch - whasshu thank of the Mr. Bungles? Because your band used to be really complicated and sheeit (anybody heard "Sound Chaser" lately? No.) and now you'se some punkass pop band." And he turns to me and in his elfin, magical way, melts my heart of stone with these touching and appropriate words from "Long Distance Runaroundabout" --

"Mark," he says to me, dearly, yearningly. "TEAKBOIS!!!" Then he started dancin around to this fuckin Caribbean shit music like a fuckin fuck so I punched the fuck in his fuckeye and was reminded of the main reason that I like Mr. Bungle so much - unlike certain other "progressive" bands, they never cop out and take the easy pop route. They are here to challenge not just the listener, but themselves as well. At least, so far anyway. Now watch their next album sound like Smashmouth and me sitting over here looking like a pup tent with no dog in it. California isn't quite as busy or violently herky-jerky as Disco Volante, and even includes some songs that normal music fans might call "not really annoying." But by no means have they gotten stupid or lazy. This is still an irregularly assorted grab bag of musical styles where you reach in and never know what the hell they're gonna play at you at any given moment - will it be lazy cowboy music? Folky acoustic strumming? Groovy swing music? Bachelor pad E-Z listening? Steel lap guitar? Rockabilly? Electric piano? `20s-style Flapper music for F. Scott Fitzgerald and his pissant friends? Italian accordion boogaloo? Death metal? Tom and Jerry-style Looney Tunes? (Ha! I'm working to dilute their brand!) Moody violin Tom Waitsy piano? Disco? Reverbed chanting? Peter Pan-style fantasy stardust music? Robot funk? 50'sish Elvis style balladry? Arabic music? Surfy beachtones?

Nope! Just Phil Collins-style adult contemporary.

With an EDGE!

Reader Comments


What, 2 10's in a row??? Indeed. Have you noticed the huge gaps between albums?? It's not like these guys go and smoke PCP until they're dragged out of their crack ghettos by WB honchos, no. Side projects, that's why. We all know how Mr. Patton's involvement with Faith No More kept him busy (and well-fed), but the other guys are no slouches either: Trey Spruance has his Secret Chiefs 3 (best of the bunch if you ask me), his paraplegic death metal combo Faxed Head, and other album-less groups; drummer Danny Heifetz plays on Dieselhed, who toured with Cake (?) over Europe last summer; and Trevor Dunn plays in about 3 zillion jazz ensembles, along with Mike Patton's Fantomas project.

Which explains the gap. Now I'll dissect the record. California is a much more accesible recording. 10 songs that barely make it to 45 minutes are what's inside. Upbeat melodies abound. So there you have it, Mr. Bungle sold out. That's what you would think if you happen to be a 10th grader who thinks Korn is high art. On this record Bungle manages to incorporate their trademark elements into the average song format. Mellower songs abound, like the ultra-orchestrated 'Sweet4 Charity' or the 50s esque 'Pink Cigarette', but some songs will destroy and mangle your soul (this last line is meant to be said by Tom Araya, not me. I'm 19 but look 13, and am about as evil as Tinky Winky. I tried, though). 'Ars Moriendi' sounds like the debut's 'Stubb (A Dub) mixed with Romanian gypsy music. 'Goodbye Sober Day' has a Balinese Kecak ritual vocal line morphed into mosh-metal, and 'The Air-Conditioned Nightmare' is just pure Beach-Boysy Satanic fun.

Which leads us to the Q: why the 10?? Can you say emotion??? These songs make you feel things other than amusement or amazement. 'The Holy Filament' is so beautiful it makes me want to cry, and 'Golem II' makes me wanna boogie!.The record's production is just stellar, and it must have been really tough to achieve the perfectly balanced final mix. Ultimately, 'California', stands as a perfect album if you're in the mood of having sex. I mean, it's worked for me so far. There you go, another unfounded statement.
Very cool. It's somewhat easier to listen to than the other two, yet still pretty wacky at times. "Goodbye Sober Day" fucking rules. (Ivana Karan)
i would personally rate all mr. bungle albums a big fat 10, but i am extremely subjective when it comes to mike patton. but yes, i think california is really my favourite one. i mean, it is unbelievably perfect. how can they do such a great album?! for me it is a fucking parallel universe i wanna get lost in and go there when i'm dead. a 10? a fuckin 11 000 as far as i am concerned. godly.
I'm going to be 37 in June... I've been listening to Mike Patton in one form or another since I was 26. I once told my wife that if I had to do a guy, I mean really have gay sex with a man, it would have to be Mike. I'm not sure if this upset her, because I was really drunk and not paying much attention to her, other than to tell her to listen closely, 'cause Mike's about to do something weird on this song...

My son, who turned 9 in October, is a huge Bungle fan. He never got to listen to the first CD (I don't think I need to explain why... he's not even ten, after all), and only got to hear pieces of Disco Volante (his fav? The 'Grampa Simpson' song, as he calls it). But with California, not only do I get a brand new Bungle CD, I get Bungle that my kids can hear... and that's important, for two very good reasons:

1) My kids need to be on the cutting edge of music in order to be 'cool', yet understand that the coolest music sometimes makes you an outcast... his schoolmates aren't listening to Bungle, no more than my schoolmates were listening to Devo when I was a 7th grader... they all listened to Kiss... I hated Kiss... so I was 'cool' in my own right... I recognized what shit Kiss was, and how cool Devo was.... sometimes it takes years to understand this

2) My kids are both A students... for them to be exposed to such groundbreaking music will only strengthen their interest in the best things being offered in the music world, which, admittedly, is not a whole lot. Bungle breaks ground, where no one even knew ground existed.

California is Bungle at their zenith... the curve has been kind to them, though not for lack of hard work and loads of talent. I pray they can squeeze one more CD before they disband (which is inevitable, at the rate they're going). (Spawn of Patton)
Definately the Album of the Year, with one of the most brilliant minds in music today. He (Mike Patton) can do it all. They deserve more credit then they get. Long live Bungle. Fuck yeah. (Phil Runkel)
Haha, the thing that gets me, is that they know EXACTLY what they're doing. No matter how chaotic, or how almost annoying it sounds, they're so tight. They're probably some of the best musicians around. Haha, it drives me crazy. (Andrew McQuillan)
Immaculate. Definitely the best of '99.
Yeah, this has to be one top five albums of the 90s. When I first heard it, I was a little disappointed, but man, did this album grow on me fast. This is the best lounge music I have ever heard. The music is so beautiful, it's almost kind of disturbing in a weird way. Pink Cigarette gives me chills every time I hear it. I can't think of a single song on here that I don't like. Sure, some of the weirder ones are a bit weaker than the others, but it's all good stuff. Oh, and if you want proof that Mike Patton has the best voice on this planet, pick this album up. (Roland Fratzl)
I was blown away when I heard this and had to get it immediately. One of the most bizarre albums you could ever hear, with each song consisting of schizophrenic genre hopping that is so smoothly executed and brilliantly played that being unimpressed is not an option. (Jonny Nightingale)
california is definitly my favourite album at the moment n has been for ages.Patton shits on them all (not literally) ...he probally would actually!
With the exception of Bungles piss take of the Chillis! (This angers me deeply) I stilbelieve this is the best work bungle has done! Isnt Jonny Nightingale some bass legend playing in Flightcrank?(see othercomments) (Joshua)
This is the best album I've ever heard. Or... Well... Er, there might be other albums just as good, it's just that... this one here is probably better. At least.

It's not that scary, and it's sometimes even nice. But who could think them Bungle crapheads could write beautiful music?! Listen to Retrovertigo. It's the best rock ballad I've heard. ROCK BALLAD!!! Distorted guitars in the end, but them guitars play "lame" power chords like some Scorpions shit! And it's GREAT! EEEEHWY? BECAUSE OF THEM POWER CHORDS THEY PLAY ARE THE BEST GODDAMN POWER CHORDS EVER PLAYED, THAT'S WHY!!! Where Scorpions would have played C5 - G5 - F5, Bungle play C5 - F#5 - E5 ! ! ! AS IF YOU CARE!!!

And that intelligence keeps on-a-runnin through the entire album. There are wierd, more classic Bungle songs as well, like the great None Of Them Knew That They Were Robots. There's not much Disco Volante extremities, but it's as far from a sell-out as a car accident in Norway.

So I was playing this at work whilst rendering and a staffer walked in and asked what "this shit is?" Then a 'director', (sorry Andy please try harder), implied I was mentally ill for listening to this music. Of course being the pro I am I refrained from ramming a DigiBeta up his arse I mentally project penial warts on to the fool, (again, sorry sir.)

After the imagined incident I have been forced to listen to Bartok and I must ask you to give the lad a chance?

Back in time I was researching some mad stuff and I saw a tape from the 30's of a ritual from Bali. In this, the folks got smashed on drugs and acted a mass 'play', which had been repeated since who knows? Via the drugs, certain folks are occupied by the spirits of certain Gods (a witch and a dragon were a couple I recall) then the outcome of a three day ceremony ascertains the luck of the following year. During this piece the witch creature is held back by an army of men possessed by the spirits of the tree monkeys. The men fight of the beast by the ritual of plunging 6" blades into their chests. If they are fully under the spell and are in the hands of the Gods then the blades will bend like rubber, if not it becomes quite gruesome. Later one participant was so monged she was unable to escape the hold of the God possessing her. Mad Mad Mad. Now where this ties in is during Good Bye Sober Day. When you hear the "shack-shack-shakka" refrain, this is a noise uttered by the Monkey men. Mental.

Really this ritual is true, I urge you to look it up. I'm not on drugs, nor am I mentally ill.
yer bungle rule...
Jesus H fucking Christ!!! These guys were way to talented to ever become famous…Patton was easily the most creative artist the 90s produced and albums like this, Angel Dust, Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante (I personally thinks its overrated but then I know fuck all about music) and any of his insane side projects which I personally cant be fucked listening to but judging by your reviews are worth hearing. California is perhaps the greatest single piece of music released in the 90s.The only other albums I think come close to this level of genius are “Angel Dust” or “The Holy Bible” by the manic street preachers. I’m surprised you gave this a 9, “Disco” a 10 and “Bungle” 7. This is the easiest 10 you could ever give!!!! And Disco is 6 and Bungle a motherfookin 10.

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