Musician, composer and producer Trey Spruance celebrates his 46th birthday today.
We have collected a few videos and articles as our tribute to the Secret Chiefs 3 guitarist.
Mr.Bungle interview from early 1991
By Kim Edwards
Here is the story: In the beginning, there were people and the people, they ate the apple and after the apple, the people, they took a dump and from the dump came Turd, and from Turd, Mr. Bungle.
A history of Mr. Bungle in fifty words or less, from the musings of guitar wild guy Trey Spruance: "It was 1985 when we started. We were in rival death metal bands. Jed and I were rivals with Mike and Trevor. Trevor and Mike got kicked out of their death metal band because they wanted to shave their heads and call it Turd. So we just sort of merged (okay, over fifty words) into this one band and we called it Mr. Bungle."
And then, says Mike Patton, the voice box, "Except they weren't really death metal and we were. Trevor and I wore more spikes and stuff. We still are a death metal band, that's very important to know. No one ever notes it."
Duly noted. Mr. Bungle is still a death metal band. Mike Patton continues, "We have roots deep in the death metal scene."
Deep. The name? Spruance: "We came really close to calling the band Summer Breeze." Patton: "Real close." Spruance: "And then we thought Mr. Bungle was a little better."
Mr. Bungle? Spruance: "As friends, we devised certain names for different people around school, and there was this one particular guy who was a total goober that we called Mr. Bungle. That name was inspired by the Pee Wee Herman special where they show footage of the little kid who was the amoral bastard, who didn't clean his belly button or whatever."
Yeah, so belly button lint, but what is this 'Turd' stuff? Then comes Trevor Dunn, the bass man, and he says: "Turd, I'm not even supposed to be talking to you about Turd." Hmmm... why not? Dunn: "Well, first of all, because you're a girl."
Be brave. Dunn: "Turd is just the hugest concept in the world. It's the biggest racist, chauvinist concept ever."
Turd -- Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and a Casio on a 120 minute Realistic cassette. Patton on guitar, Dunn on vocals.
Spruance, you know, Trey Spruance, the one who drives around his hometown, Eureka California, with girls and tries to get them to take their clothes off and then jacks off, that Spruance, he says: "We've gotten so much from Turd.
That's probably the biggest influence on Bungle, like 'Tractor in my Balls' and all that stuff is Turd. Just Trevor screaming random things into a microphone. Some of the images are really strong and it's easy to come along and put them into a neat format, because they come across so convincingly in Turd."
Hmmm. Spruance: "Yeah, you wouldn't believe it. It's pretty amazing stuff. It's on a Realistic tape. Can't be recorded on anything else. It's just that one Realistic tape. It's full now. They haven't made an album for like three years or whatever. I'm the one Turd fan and I've performed Turd surgery."
What? Spruance: "Every time they're done recording or listening to it (the Realistic cassette), they have to throw it up against the wall and wherever it lands is where it stays for the rest of the time until they listen to it again. And it broke one time and I had to fix it."
Because your'e the one Turd fan? Spruance: "Yeah, and they didn't have the know-how. Turd is like a really big union within our band. It sneaks out on stage as well. There's sort of a thing between Mike and Trevor that nobody in the world, including their best fan, understands."
The way they lick each other and stuff? Spruance: "Yeah. The things that happen are definitely Turd, even though the roles are reversed in Bungle -- Mike is singing instead of Trevor. Turd still exists. It's hiding in Bungle."
Bungle's id? Spruance: "It's a subliminal thing happening. Turd's big. It's a big thing with us. Actually, there's a new song that I'm making up called "The Road Going into the Trees," which is a Turd song. It's about this little road."
What is it about Turd that you love so much? Spruance: "Well, if you heard it, you might know." You don't have a tape, though. There's only one tape? Spruance: "There's only one." And that tape can never be reproduced. Spruance: "Exactly. You have to come to Trevor's house to hear it. There's something about it. It just has me rolling. It's really witty. Trevor can be pretty amazing sometimes."
So, Trevor Dunn can be pretty amazing sometimes, but will his mom allow a visit to hear the Turd tape, and even then, will his dad allow a foray into the Trevor room where the Turd tape resides, and the thing is, what about these guys' parents anyway? Do they listen to Mr. Bungle?
Dunn: "They asked to hear the tape (OU818, the last Mr. Bungle release) again not too long ago. But they wonder about the lyrics and say like, 'Do you have to use those words?'"
When asked about his parents, Patton says: "You have to understand, my parents are the type that own porno."
Yes boys and girls, Mr. Bungle can talk nasty. Your mom might not approve. They have words in their songs like 'butt bang' and 'dick' and 'ween' and 'wong' and 'dickweed'. There are also words like 'soliloquy' and 'incubus' and 'coprophagist' and even 'chivalry.' Yes, it's true. Mr. Bungle went to college.
They all go to college or went at one time. Spruance is sort of a music major with leanings toward physics. Dunn graduated with a music major. Theo Lengyel, the alto sax person, is a physics major. Bar McKinnon, the tenor sax guy, is a music major. Danny Heifetz, the drummer dude, has a degree in history. Patton was an English major but has sort of, you know, taken a leave of absence from university to pursue fame and fortune.
And how famous is Mike Patton? Well, he is so famous that Rolling Stone published a letter from his mom. He is so famous that when he goes to the mall in Eureka, he gets mobbed for his autograph. He is so famous that lots of people who didn't used to like him in high school like him now. And how did he get famous? Well, you know, he is that singer guy in Faith No More. So why is he in two bands? What else has he got to do? He likes it.
After Mr. Bungle initially formed, they made a tape and the tape was called THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY. A tape very close to their death metal roots, and sporting a photo of Mr. Bungle's namesake on the cover dressed up in bunny ears and the whole thing.
Spruance: "That whole thing (Mr. Bungle's music during the RAGING BUNNY era), it was something that became sort of common later, sort of having a sense of humor about death metal. But at the time we were the first."
"Then we decided that we wanted to change because we started getting way more into Fishbone and stuff. We all listened to all sorts of different stuff.
Mike worked at a record store and had all these wild tapes, so we decided to broaden our horizons. We kicked our drummer (Jed) out, who was a death metal head, we got the two horn players (Theo and Bar) and we got this guy named Hans on drums. He played like Fishbone (the first album), so we liked him.
And thus enter the BOWEL OF CHILEY (the second tape) era. That was our transition period, we're not too happy about that. That was when Mike sang just like Fishbone. We were just a Fishbone clone. It was bad."
BOWEL OF CHILEY? Spruance: "Trevor fucked up in Denny's. He wanted a bowl of chili, but he goes, 'I'll have a bowel of chiley.' We laughed for about an hour."
And named a tape after the occurence. Spruance: "Yeah, big stupid, dumb tape and then we hated it. Then we did GOD DAMMIT, I LOVE AMERICA (1988) because it was getting to be the funky days. And then we kicked Hans out, because he was a flaky mother. We had a trumpet back in those days, kicked the trumpet player out, because he was a flake too. Flakiness is the reason we kicked those guys out. Got a sax player who is Bar, who can also play keyboards and drums, and got this drummer named Danny who played in a local band who had a big influence on us too, Eggly Bagelface. He has a degree and his grandpa was Jascha Heifetz (the famous violinist)."
So, current lineup and then the most recent tape OU818. The tape with the stuff on it. The tape that has an entire song about masturbation -- 'Girls of Porn.'
Masturbation. Yes, Patton has talked about it in Spin, in Rock Scene, NME and Kerrang! Patton has talked about it just about everywhere, he always gets asked the masturbation question, so here is what Spruance has to say.
Spruance: "We're all really heavy masturbators. I'm the worst." How many times per day? Spruance: "Five. Trevor can masturbate twice a day, maximum. He's lucky if he does it three times in a week. Mike and I are similar, we talk about what feels good and stuff and we're pretty similar on that. Trevor's the real oddball."
Normal masturbation in males (that means you reader -- okay, we know girls do it too, but the stats vary, so we'll deal with boys here) runs the gamut from two to three times per month to six times per day. So nobody's too odd, hmm? Just being a dude.
So where did this OU818 come from? Are the Bungle babes obsessed with sex? What's the deal? Spruance: "The deal is this: If you listen to any of our other tapes, there isn't even one cuss word. I don't know what happened. We were just in a really good mood, but sort of a sexually frustrated mood. But then, when we get around each other, we're very comforted, because we have each other. And the band was maybe just a thing to make us a little more happy about our situations."
People grab onto the sex thing quick. Spruance: "Well, because it's such a dumb thing, you can put it on in the background. It's like a party mentality thing and people are really into that at shows. They're into like shaking their asses and having bands be the soundtrack to their courtships. That makes us accessible to the party thing. In a way, OU818 sort of is a misrepresentation, but in another way, it's really close to us because we go into phases like that. In a way, when people say it has sexual overtones to it, it's really more just masturbation overtones, and it adds increasing dimensions when, you know, here we are playing this music, then there's like girls everywhere and we're still not getting it."
And says Patton: "About the sex thing, well, you know ..."
Yeah, they are not obsessed with sex, they are obsessed with feces. And to see a real live Mr. Bungle show? Well known for their props. They wear clown and carrot costumes and S&M masks, old clown lady heads and a Frankenstein face or two. They have blow-up dolls, dance like retards, lick each other and cook and digest the occasional burrito onstage.
Spruance: "The music sounds like shit when we play it live. We're a tape band. When we're concentrating, we can sound good, but we never even try to sound good."
But the crowd loves it. Audience reaction? Spruance: "Overwhelmingly stupid positive. Like people go, 'yeah, party! Yeah Mr. Bungle!' Kissing our ass, kind of stuff."
Is going out to see a Bungle show better than sex? Spruance: "It totally depends on whether someone has had sex with the available person a billion times already or not." Is seeing Mr. Bungle safer than sex? Spruance: "Safer? No. Mike broke a girl's teeth out and broke her nose at one show. He dove on top of this girl. He was wearing a football hat. He breaks cameras all the time. So, I mean, I can't say it's safer than having sex."
A sold-out jaunt down the California coastline the first of January serves to show that people like this stuff. Even a photo and a mention in Rolling Stone's 'Random Notes' column. Imagine. From suburbia to the big city, Mr. Bungle packed them in and pleased the people with not only their own compositions but some very tasteful cover tunes.
Spruance: "We've done a lot (of cover tunes). In our stupid days, we were doing 'Earache My Eye', stuff like that. We started doing, halfway for real, but totally stupid, we did Van Halen's 'Dirty Movies'. We've done 'We Are the Champions', which we changed to 'B Are the Champions'. We do an MTV song probably at every show. Like everytime we go out, we try to make up a whole new MTV song that is sort of a mishmash of the top ten MTV hits at the time."
And what of MTV? Spruance: "I've got two people that I'm going to fucking kill if we ever go to MTV -- Ricki Rachtman and Julie Brown. Man, I'm going to stab that bitch. She's totally talking shit about us. They play the 'Falling to Pieces' video and she goes, 'That was the new one from Faith No More. Mike Patton, I think you should just rip that Mr. Bungle tape to pieces,' or whatever. Just like being a bitch. Because I guess Martha Quinn has it (the Bungle tape) and she likes it and Julie Brown hates it and she's just a ...."
Animosity from the media? Spruance: "Yeah, a little bit. Steffan Chirazi (a contributor to Kerrang!), you can go ahead and print this, I'm going to fucking kill that guy, too. He's just a big, stupid dork and hates us because he loves Faith No More. The guy can't smell anything. He's a total moron."
And this stuff, this proferred violence, pales in comparison to what Spruance says he and his band Scourge (yeah, he is in another band, too), who are total psychotic killer types, will do to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who have threatened Patton with bodily harm for stealing Anthony's moves -- yeah of course, because RHCP are the only guys who have ever seen a rap video). Scourge, being the psycho nut butts that they are, will inflict true damage if the opportunity ever presents itself. Anthony, you have been warned.
Nasty boy. And so, is Patton being bad by being in both bands? Spruance: "A lot of people totally think that he's just kind of waiting to quit that band (Faith No More). That he's just sort of waiting for it to die down so that he can use it as a stepping stone or something. That's just not true. People always ask me, 'Who do you think he likes more, you or FNM?' How am I supposed to answer that? FNM were both his and my favorite band for a long time, INTRODUCE YOURSELF and everything. We really loved that band."
Patton: "Trey liked them better than I did."
But do you get more groupies with Patton's face being plastered all over the glossy metal rags? Has the FNM association brought you greater sex lives? Spruance: "Well, I don't know about 'getting' groupies. I mean, we have them, but we never hang out with them. I hate them, because I remember being the guy in the audience and seeing my friends, girls -- who were probably pretty cool -- act so stupid when a band came to town and it would piss me off so bad. Things like that don't really change, just because I'm on the receiving end of it, or whatever, doesn't really change it and it makes me as sick now as it did then. Especially when somebody that everyone would think is a beautiful girl is just using that to get close to people. I can't handle that and I can't really bring myself to think that they're good people. Also, there's a lot of people who try to use me to get to Mike, too. A lot of that, you can imagine. That's really easy to spot."
Fans in general. Lots of them. Lots of fan mail. Letters from girls talking nasty who get quick replies from T. Dunn, just to see how far they'll go. A tape or two of orgasmic rapture utilizing strategic Bungle member names at the height of ecstasy. Requests for tapes from all over the place, no doubt Patton's word of mouth process has gotten many a tape sold. And what to do with all these anxiously awaiting fans? Why, make them some music, of course! Mr. Bungle are doing studio time in January and February. They have John Zorn, the infante terrible of the hardcore weirdness jazz world, to help produce and/or mix the new material and some steadfast interest from Sire Records to put the noise to product and distribute the mother. Life keeps getting better. All they need to do is sit down and kick it.
Spruance: "When we do our album, we're going to sort of update all of the songs, because we're really sick of them, because they're really old. I like 'Egg'. I like the lyric, everything on that just worked out real well. I can't wait to do that in the studio. I like pretty much everything Trevor writes, actually. 'Slowly Growing Deaf' is really good, too."
And there are lots of new songs to come, "My Ass is on Fire," "Platypus," "Stubb A Dub." Spruance: "Even though I can't say that I'm so killer, I like 'Stubb A Dub' a lot, but I made it up, so it's not fair for me to say that. It's sort of a refreshing angle on the Bungle scene, it's not like what we've normally done."
And where does the new stuff come from? Spruance: "What we usually do is we write a whole bunch of songs at once. It just sort of happens in waves. We'll be playing a lot, and then we'll stop playing and then we won't even practice, and we'll just kind of make up songs whenever we feel like it, and then at the end of a dry spell, we have all these new songs. It's really strange.
"A capsule of what happens: On OU818, Mike wrote 'Squeeze Me Macaroni' and 'Girls of Porn', but a lot of those riffs are my riffs that he used in his songs and he wrote the lyrics, so it's his song kind of thing. Same thing with Trevor, he wrote all of 'Slowly Growing Deaf', I wrote some of 'Love is a Fist' but he wrote most of it. It's all a collaborative effort, but we sort of lean towards things. One is one person's song and one is the other's. We get inspiration from all sorts of stuff. It's just sort of a general outpouring of crap. It's usually a spontaneous or on-the-spot thing that happens."
But is it spontaneous with Patton in Australia or Europe and not within close proximity to dig on the Bungle vibe? Patton misses his band mates and the sit-down-together collaborative effort the band had grown accustomed to. So, he writes lyrics, etc. while on the road with FNM, but looks forward to productive time with his Bungle playmates.
Spruance: "Yeah, it really works when we sit down to do it together. I mean, like 'Girls of Porn', we just sat down and made that whole thing up in one night, just me, Mike, and Trevor. Sometimes those things work out really well, because you're not pressuring yourself to make up the best song in the world. We're just having fun, and that helps."
So, they're going to record and then they want a record company and what is it they want from a record company? Spruance: "Well, for one, we want to be able to do our songs untampered." This means leaving in all the nastiness and obscure references that anyone who is not a Bungle-man might never understand. Spruance: "I think money is kind of a big thing. Not for personal shit, but we want to do a good album. We want it to be well-produced, we just want to be able to have the luxury of doing what we want.
"I always think about how by now I'm supposed to be bored with the whole thing (Mr. Bungle, waiting for Patton, waiting to record, etc.). By now, I'm supposed to be, not excited about it. The band's been around five years, I'm supposed to say things like, 'Oh well, the world is this way and nothing's exciting to me and music is music,' and it just hasn't happened to any of us. We're still totally wide-eyed kids, even Mike. We're just wide-eyed idealistic people."
All the way from dudes who just hung out with each other -- Spruance: "At school, the group was me, Mike and Trevor. We would just hang out with each other and we never made any real friends. People knew us and socially accepted us because we were in a band, but that's kind of where it ended. Like Mike, everybody hated him. He was like a big dick, everybody totally hated him. He used to be real sarcastic, like really bad. He wasn't too well-liked, which is funny, because now I can go down and watch FNM and see a bunch of Humboldt county-ers with their eyes super wide open, just thinking about what a dream come true this all is for Eureka or whatever."
Patton: "It's like I did it for the town." -- to home town heroes. And this far, without even yet actually recording an album. What could be next? Disney World?
Only the globe and the heavens left to conquer. Mr. Bungle is on the way. From a town called Eureka, which is the state motto of California. Eureka, which from the original Greek means, 'I found it', and which is originally attributed to that wild man Archimedes, made famous for his invention of the upwards screw. They come bearing signs which they prominently display during concerts, 'Free Cock'. No one shows up after the gig to collect the offered delicacies, but those days may be behind them.
If you cannot wait for the newest recordings, go to your room, set up several phonographic devices, and play, all in conjunction, some Poulenc, some Slayer, some Sly & the Family Stone, a bit of Naked City, and any Dr. Demento you can get your hands on. Then take massive hits of Ex-Lax, and for good measure, try and get a Fellini film, but don't read the subtitles playing in the background. Too much? Just order a tape. END
Trey Spruance is the insanely talented and far too learned guitarist and leader of Secret Chiefs 3, as well as a key component in the artistic success of Mr. Bungle, Faxed Head, Three Doctors and that one Faith No More album. I was astonished as a tree when he agreed to an email interview in early 2007. But agree he did! My questions are in bold; his answers are in thin.
1. As I mentioned in my Secret Chiefs 3 reviews, I'm not very familiar with traditional Middle Eastern music. Do you view yourself as doing new things within the confines of Middle Eastern musical tropes? Or are you just bringing standard ME music into a western venue? (i.e., aside from the production tricks, would an Arab view your music as anything unusual?)
There's a great way to answer this question by conducting a scientifically rigorous experiment on your own, in four easy steps:
First: take a Secret Chiefs 3 album that has a lot of said seemingly Middle Eastern music on it - say Book M - down to a market in town run by a person of Arabic descent. Second: play the music for this Arabic person and ask him what kind of "Middle Eastern" music it is. Next: observe reaction. Last: jot down the reaction on your clipboard and move on to the next survey target.
After ten or so such samples, you will likely have established by the scientific method that the music of Secret Chiefs 3 sounds even more "foreign" to an Arabic person than it does to your mother or father. This should come as little surprise, actually, since no one in SC3 knows anything at all about Arabic music --- for sure I've studied Persian systems in relation to Pythagorean theory and metaphysics, and a certain interpretation of this metaphysic is what governs the creation of SC3 music on every level (not just intonation/tuning and rhythm, but in the creation of 'bands' ruled by spheres, motifs arranged & distributed according to a musically temporalized 'neoplatonic' theory of emanation, etc). Our dim understanding of some of the theoretical elements behind Persian dastgah leads us never towards any ill-fated attempt at 'radif', or any other Traditional musics of the world for that matter, since that would only be embarrassing for us. Same as we would be completely remiss in trying to literally 'reconstruct' some idealized "Greek" music according to the Pythagorean schemata, and confine ourselves thereto merely out of some futile sense of cultural preservationism; or worse, just because an attempt to resurrect some lost Graeco-Roman music (a doomed enterprise) would be wrongly perceived by liberal kulture vultures to be a less 'culturally remote' undertaking for a white American than learning modern Iranian classical would be. Not that we'd ever be so audacious as to undertake to do either...
It may in fact be natural for a vulture to trade something Living for something Dead. But I for one believe that Culture is Derived from Cosmology. Accordingly, SC3 focus on the the latter, not the former. In discussing the elements relevant to our understanding of the neo-Pythagorean Cosmology and its relation to music, let us just say flatly that we find 12th Century Suhrawardi to be more eloquent and on-target than most modern scholars of 'Harmony of the Spheres'. This is saying nothing against Bamford. Critchlow, Godwin, Lawlor, Gorman, Macaulay, of course, who are living expositors of the doctrine, all utterly brilliant in their own right. If SC3 try to apply Suhrawardi's understanding of the Imaginal directly, we hope we will be forgiven for not engaging in the mortifications/resurrections that seem to be required by the rest of academia in general, which seems to be demonically afflicted with this whole dementia borne of putting the Cultural cart before the Cosmological horse. I mean, according to a certain logic, since the story goes that Pythagoras was from a small island off the coast of Asia Minor called Samos, we should call all music based on Pythagoras' fundamental discovery of nature "Samosian music". Of course, since so many are still in the habit of calling everyone "Greek", including native Estrangelo/Aramaic-speaking Syrians (Iamblichus = "Ia-milik"), and countless other Phonecians and Egyptians, I hope I will be forgiven for turning my nose up to all the culturally precious debates on this account, and concentrate on the content instead.
Suhrawardi is caught in yet another maelstrom, that of historical invisibility in a certain 'Middle Age' whitewash. He himself being martryed at the request of the victorious Salaheddin, conqueror of the invading crusaders, for fear that his doctrines might be too "Sabian" for comfort, too magian/hellenistic for a defensive Islamicate to tolerate under pressure of hordes of invading Catholic psychopaths. Suhrawardi's ideas come into the West first historically under the promptings of the Maimonedes family clan, to be absorbed in a fundamental way behind the closed doors of Hasidism --- that's another story --- but are his ideas any less perennial for this?? The kulturvultur who would dare restrict the Philosophy of Illumination (which is rooted equally into the Hellenic and Magian worlds, and is itself steeped in Philosophical orientation towards an Imaginal "East") to a mere cultural ejaculation is really asking to recieve an ideological scimitar blow to the neck. And I confess I am prepared to give it --- make no mistake, we are "believers" in the most basic sense of the word. It's true that the transcendent nature of the Pythagorean Ur-Tree from which so much Sacred fruit falls means it is in no need of 'defense' from the likes of us --- but where certain of these fruits become attributes, aspects that can be applied *technically* to the creation of music, and hopefully music that is at least one vector removed from the pit of quicksand that modern music has fallen into, we will defend TO THE DEATH our right to side-step any such fucktfully mundane catechism that would substitute culture for cosmology. I'm grandstanding now... sorry.
Related question: what does *contemporary* Middle Eastern music sound like? Is it Westernized?
Depends. Sometimes sure. But music all around the world can be just as pathetic as anything here; and we may even be behind the times in some ways. The utter horror of cheap-technologized music is not at all confined to the phenomenon of 'Westoxification' --- but even so, I don't think there should be any controversy at all in siding with the Mullahs in the total banning of music (I am not against this at all). Sometimes in other cultures the Western elements are incorporated really gracefully and well, imo. The most obvious case is the guilty pleasure derived by both native and outside tastes for the 'lowbrow' elements of, say, Indian music. I wear my love for R.D. Burman and Ananda Shankar on my sleeve. Can it be said that this is for how "Indian" they are? This isn't Drupad --- it's not Ram Naryan, its ROCK! We can admit that very often the musical content of these recordings is wanting, and would be boring if not for the inclusion of Western elements, like electric guitar and drumset. And there was a magic in the way these instruments were viewed, being 'exotic' the way a sitar once seemed exotic to us in the West. I feel that all instruments are inherently 'exotic' in the sense that they can be epiphianized, made-new, re-linked to the imaginal, and baptized by the cleansed perception of the musician sage. Same goes for any recording gear, hi-fi, or crappy. Working on limited gear I've learned more from the production techniques on some of those A. Shankar and R.D. Burman records than I have from anything else. When I think of Omar Souleyman's use of distorted casio keyboards and karaoke boxes to scream and yell about Jihad, I'm temporarily tickled to think of the endless debates that could ensue over this question that you raise; all the the ironic erudite books that could and will be written... let's not get too entranced watching the dry bones being picked over by the kulturvultures long after the spirit has departed. It's uninteresting.
2. Is it more important that the music you write be intellectually stimulating to you, or emotionally stimulating?
There are low aspects of the emotion, and low aspects of the intellect. I guess I try to concentrate on the higher aspects of both.
3. What does the symbology inherent in the SC3's artwork mean to you? I've always gotten the sense that it means more than a simple visual correlation to the mystical/esoteric music you create, but being unversed in Persian philosophy, I have no clue what any of it means. Could you speak a bit about some of your beliefs and ways of viewing life? I realize that's vague, but hey!
Yeah, the visuals are of course intimately related to the process. I actually try to just establish the core system on the visual symbolic level to have it there as a kind of shorthand. People versed in the Philosophy who may suspect certain things from the music itself can essentially find confirmation there in the artwork. I'm absolutely incapable of "teaching" any of the intricacies of this stuff to anyone, and I don't expect anyone to 'decipher' it or any of that. It's really, like I said, a shorthand -- not unlike a grimoire, I suppose. In a very real way, the music is there to 'universalize' what some would see as extremely rarefied and particularized trajectories. But some people really get this stuff, believe it or not. I'm really lucky to have made a few good friends, a few advanced and very serious students of the Mysteries, people who don't see me as a freakish alien life-form or madman or whatever. Anyway, yes, the artwork is part of the same hermeneutic as the music. Unfortunately, barring a 500 page tome, I'm unable to really go into that in detail here. Sorry to be such a dick.
4. How did you get roped into The Three Doctors Band? Do you look back fondly on that experience?
Definitely. Like most of the hipster scum of San Francisco in the early-nineties, I was a big fan of Zip Code Rapists. After Gregg had finally split with that horrible, violent axeman man The Rapist John, some of us big name musicians with waning careers felt fit to buddy-up to this great and noble musician who was hot at the time, but estranged from his vehicle to success --- kind of like the David Lee Roth vs. Eddie Van Halen situation. Rumour had it that in the wake of the ZCR legacy The Rapist John was putting together some band full of famous professional hack musicians to play the ZCR catalog (the "Zip Code Revue", blech). So we decided to form another group of famous hack musicians and make a phalanx around the more "soulful" element of ZCR, and in doing so we declared an open war on the mediocrity and hateful revisionism of the Zip Code Revue. We took this war to Santa Rosa, California for two gigs. It was a defining time in music, because Santa Rosa was the locus of something very special (for one thing, a total disengagement from the memory of ZCR). A place for new beginnings. A cauldron for the New Weird America movement, but back in '96 before the Wire had pubic hair --- I remember some hippies who'd go on to form Sunburned Hand Of The Man were even in attendance. They can tell you themselves! "Sweet Caroline" never sounded as good as it did on those hot summer nights in Santa Rosa.
5. I know this is a tired old topic, but my readers would kill me if I didn't ask about it – why have you and Mike Patton not spoken in years? Did your friendship die out because of Mr. Bungle or Faith No More, or did you just go separate ways, or something else entirely?
As time wears on you find out who your friends are, and who they aren't. Mike and I always had the best working relationship imaginable. Really, very very good and fruitful. There are other things in life we see differently. I don't think those things are irreconcilable at all. But when you get used to having things your own way, and certain people around you resist the "natural order" of becoming subordinate to you, you may start nursing resentments. Even lashing out at them and calling them egomaniacs etc. for not assuming the position. I think in my case it was too painful for Patton to realize that where there are no subordinates there is no insubordination. Like most of us, Mike tends to begin the process of deciding whether or not he can afford to discard a person's point of view altogether, rather than facing certain difficult facts of life. So to answer your question, there was never any big mess between he and I specifically. The general dysfunction coming from being expected to silently endure more and more of this emerging top-down/top-dog order-barking thing he'd taken to just ended up getting really tiresome for everyone involved. In a band, strong personalities need to know where to draw the line on this kind of stuff. Anyway, since it wasn't going to happen, I was the idiot who started to draw that line. I admit I had more emotional involvement in the process than would be neccesary for a non-robot, having poured comparatively ridiculously copious doses of my blood into the project. Patton's subsequent resentment towards me is a fairly predictable outcome. You don't stand up to him and stay off the shit-list. A bummer, yeah, but its essentially a self-protecting reflex action - something I don't really feel a need to hold against him too much. He has his way. It won't change. And after all why should it? This method works well for him overall -- who am I to question it? I dare say it's even part of his charm. (we are a nation of pathological narcissists after all!). Whatever. Really, I feel fondly about the time we spent making music together, and feel we did some great things. And, while I am diametrically opposed to it on a human level, over time I do appreciate the clarity of his cut and dry approach: how black and white it makes things. You're either in the club, or out of the club. Unfortunately, I have to say I do prefer life as an excommunicate from that kind of 'friendship'. I know he prefers it that way too. I'm sure both of us would agree it was a good run, though.
6. Some have claimed that you are secretly a member of Faxed Head. Is there any truth to this rumor?
No truth. Only secrets and lies.
7. What projects are you working on right now? You're recording CDs with a bunch of those "bands" from the past SC3 album, aren't you? AREN'T YOU!?
You caught me. 7" singles first, actually.
8. Even though some of your projects have been humorous, you seem to take music very, very seriously. What is the importance of music in life? What makes it more than simple recreation or entertainment for you?
I've come to appreciate music as contemplative expression more and more. I think music, done right, lives somewhere between Philosophy and Meditation, and is an aid to both. I like it when it entertains too, but it has to engage in a kind of total picture for me to get excited about it. It's so easy to make 'just' music -- I can't find any motivation to do that. For the life of me I don't know how most music is even made... I'd get so sick of doing it if all there was to it was just something aimed at people's ears. Or 'just' their ass. Or 'just' their brains. It has to be more whole, and definitely has to be connected, above all, to the cavern of the heart, the seat of true contemplation.
9. Even in the very earliest Mr. Bungle demos, your guitarwork is unbelievably fast, tight and impressive. At what age did you start playing and how much did you have to practice to become such a gifted player? At this point, can you name any guitarists who are better than you? Is there anybody that you wish you could play like?
It's weird. I lost interest in guitar when I was about 20, which was in 1990. It really just became a means to an end for me, and still is. I like what I can do with it compositionally and all that. I leave the mastery of the instrument to others who are infinitely more qualified. All I do is wield it so as to have a part in the performance of compositions... I think this attitude has freed me up a lot over the years. I can kind of play the thing with transparent feeling and nuance now, and not just be the anal-retentive fuck I would be if I actually gave a shit about it. Playing saz and an assortment of other stringed instruments helps me bring different ideas to the guitar now, probably. My problem these days is that I own only one guitar, and it's a piece of shit Strat made in Mexico --- I never ever play it unless I have to record. Truly a piece of junk. I've been like this forever though, actually. I remember borrowing my roommate's piece of junk Les Paul copy (a $100 "Seville") for the Faith No More sessions, because at that time I literally had nothing resembling a functional guitar. Just a pile of synths and a broken G & L. Luckily Billy Gould had a decent hollow-body for some of the clean parts. This problem of mine is way worse now... I just don't care at ALL. But I really like playing other people's guitars that are well-taken-care-of. Someday I'll get a respectable guitar with normal fretting. I need that for the surf stuff I do --- all these modified instruments with proprietary tunings and various electrified baglamas etc. aren't so good for that.
10. Were you given any artistic freedom during your brief time with Faith No More? Or were you basically told to play like Jim Martin?
The opposite. They didn't want a Jim Martin clone. I thought his approach serviced that band really well, and that was what I was intending to do. I was very surprised to find that they wanted actual guitar playing and all that. This coincided with some different members wanting to write 'actual' songs instead of doing the "collective rhythm-section jam-session that turns into something over time" approach that had served them so well up to that point. So I think it was hard for them to figure out what the HELL they wanted from the guitar at all. In retrospect, even though I was not the right guy for that band, and promptly quit after the recording, I think I was actually the right guy for them on the CD. Since I never have any ego attachment to my precious "parts", and work always from a compositional and production point of view, they could build and tear down etc. and I'd be happy to accommodate the changes... that would've been murder for them with some 'guitar dick'. Man, their democracy was going through what seemed to me a difficult test at the time; it couldn't be said that people were in agreement as to how things should sound very often. And there was a pall of multi-faceted jaded-ness going on, despite the efforts of the great producer Andy Wallace and his assistant Cliff (both of whom taught me a great deal). So my job was to find the 'right' approach that could stand up to multiple angles of scrutiny. It was a great, healthy challenge. It wasn't easy since the band's sense of confidence about their direction was wavering both collectively and individually. So to answer your question, the "freedom" I had was to find the solution to all that from the guitarist's perspective. I think that turned out ok. You might have guessed that I don't like much of the music on that record at all. I do love Billy Gould's "Just a Man", and have always tended to like his musical ideas overall. But something happened to the balance of forces in FNM on KFAD, something not very good. Having been a fan since 1985, I knew no one was inspired in the way I knew they had been once before. The reasons for that are depressing, considering the talent in the band. Anyway, my proudest personal moment in making that CD is probably speed-scoring the string parts on it; no one had realized that the hired string players would need to have written parts until they were in the studio staring at the band members... ha!
11. What do you find so offensive about Mr. Bungle's management? Can you say anything about it without getting sued?
Not sued yet, but I can't say anything without him going into a hissyfit. Last time I did it ended in a smear campaign that ended up making it all the way to Rolling Stone. As flattering as such infamy can be, the game bores me. I think Greg's just sensitive because he's been at the site of more than one band break-up right after a popular lead singer has formed a record label with him. He's afraid people might start making a connection. Meh, who cares? Things destined to succumb to treachery will succumb to it eventually. Greg's no different than several million other people out there doing things the same way. I don't single him out as being any worse than any of them. And there's just too much dirty laundry to go through anyway. The way I see it, if the infection is there, all it needs is a catalyst. Greg was just a match of opportunity thrown onto the pool of black gold waiting there in Mr. Bungle's notorious LaBrea tar pit of dysfunction. We can't expect such fires to burn mercifully.
12. We have a mutual acquaintance who told me he got sick of San Francisco at least partly because of the overwhelming number of negative Nihilist Nietzsche-reading Church of Satan smug arrogant Feral House-reading (etc etc) scenesters. Did this subculture play in any role in your tiring of SF? Or was it something else entirely?
That definitely was a major factor. It's so weird how those people still today kow-tow to some of the major forces that set what they consider "cool" into motion, whether we speak here of Caroliner Rainbow, Sun City Girls, Neil Hamburger, Flipper, Culturcide or Three Day Stubble or whatever. I'll never EVER understand how such sublime acts have failed to inspire subsequent legions of angry drunken Disinformation-reading, Boyd-Rice-licking, tattoo-covered modern-primitives (and their emo/mod Grux-poser noise-geek little brothers and sisters) to something greater than the drug addiction and third-rate neo-humanist philosophy that saturates the "scene". When you consider the wit, loving-kindness, or dark and ferocious humor and deeply enigmatic character of the people behind the above expressions, it's simply not possible to reconcile the gap between them and the fart wafting through the audience of the 'subculture'. So if you are me, you say FUCK IT and GET THE HELL OUT & go live on a mountain in a log cabin & compose music no one understands, but some seem to like, thank the lucky stars.
13. Would you go insane if you lost your hearing?
Probably go sane.
Definitely I'd stop fucking around with these cochlear mirages & be forced into direct perception of the Music of the Spheres.
14. Aside from music, what are your chief interests at this very moment?
Right now the doctrine of the Secret Adam among the Nasoreans; and to cancel that interest out, I have the inescapable depths of St. Ephraim the Syrian to keep me cold at night. I like to fantasize about him and Artaud locked in conflict. It's like what happens after eating jalapeno peppers for too long. Too much Lautreamont and Hedayat, and eventually you are forced to graduate to habanero peppers. If the ulcers they give you aren't the desired result, then the superfluous delights they offer are just another form of machismo. I try to take these things as a curative, or immunity boost. To "taste the knife" as it were.
15. What do you like most about American culture? See? I'm forcing you to THINK!!!
I really like the mail system. It's definitely the best in the world. And the plumbing. We've got everyone beat there. Our toilets rule. Compare them with Japan's or Eastern Europe's... the Arabs and Persians are definitely cleaner because they actually wash down there every time. But their plumbing is nowhere near as good as ours. America wins! (on toilets and postal system).
16. George W. Bush is calling for an additional 800,000 soldiers to fight in Iraq. Thoughts?
He should send 800,000 plumbers, the prick. Not even HE capitalizes on or exports what's best about our society. Only the pathetic embarrassing things. "Freedom", murder, McMusic, McFood, McAgriculture, McReligion, McEducation - it's really not a very complimentary picture of "us". We'd definitely win at least a few people over if we gave them the U.S. Postal Service and good plumbing. If the campaign to win "hearts and minds" went astray it's because we couldn't make people stupid, fat and unhealthy fast enough. Bush's is just too cynical a view of humanity to implement effectively. You need a hundred years to take people from being full of blood, vigor and honor to being morally depleted sacks of consumerist shit. That happened here in 60 or so years, but I don't think it can happen faster than that somewhere else. Probably another approach is called for, anyway... um, when scary bastards like Zbigniew Brzezinski are trumpeting to that end, you know we're in big trouble. Even so, most Americans have realized at this point that stuffing our own country ever fuller with fatter, stupider, more morally degenerate fuckheads does not paint a particularly rosy picture for the future. One would hope that when even Kissinger and Brzezinski realize that it doesn't serve the national interest to try and convert the whole world to the statistical pseudo-religion of the 'market', with vassals all prostrate before a model of slobbish, slavish materialism. Even here in Work Camp A we see plenty of clear signs that the National Security isn't served too well by a counter-ideologal mantra like "eat, fuck, work, buy, drink, fuck, work, buy".
There was a brilliant Bedouin distillation at the front of the invading column during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Remember? The guy was so happy our boys were there that when asked by an embedded hack what he liked so much about America, he replied "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy". This is what the seedier elements from Iraq's own society once had in mind with a hoped-for "freedom" (a benevolent promise offered by invading troops, later understood to be an effect enjoyed only by relocation to Work Camp A), and it's an idea that has probably actually persisted somewhat. Because the strategists at the Brookings Institute and other think tanks seem happy to advertise these three things - Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy - as being the best of what we have to offer the world. Its certainly what the Iranians are being offered on LA-based Persian satellite networks --- this whole "look at how free and fun it is in the land of freedom, tits and drunkenness! Look what you're missing!!" My question is: are they wrong?? Since we are deliberately making an appeal to the basest, most scumbag-like elements of world society, does this not mean that the end result for our own country lies in that direction? If so, I believe "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" is what should be flying up there on our flag now. I say this out of deepest respect for the America of ingenuity, strong work, and good wholesome character. If these are just legendary archaisms, we should let Old Glory retire with some dignity, as a positive beacon of what once was and now isn't, and should not drag it through the mud of today. If "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" is more current with the times, let's change it to that. As a slogan on a flag it would have the merit of being honest. Unfortunately, I don't think our servicemen would be all that excited about fighting and dying for "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy". Much to their credit.
17. Do you ever run across music critics who actually *get* what you're trying to do? Or is your vision so personal that it's an impossible feat?
Though I do complain of the lack of a latter-day Adorno, since the last CD I've been pleasantly surprised. I like it when people at least try to go into it, and don't just leave it at "like a soundtrack to A Thousand And One Nights scored by Ennio Morricone on twelve hits of LSD" or whatever shit. There are a few *very* sharp scalpels out there, maybe not in musical terms, but in say "sociological" ones. Overall, I like the honesty of the local newspaper or daily writer. We've gotten some really thoughtful excavations from these types of commentators. Its a sharp contrast to the hipster writers with reputations to protect; they tend to be the worst because they always try and show how familiar they are with our references, which tend to be less obscure than many think. If we wanted to be "obscurantists", my God the storm we could unleash.... anyway, writers like this will often hang themselves when trying to contextualize our inclusion of a song like, say, "Exodus" in terms of whatever fad is happening, like the Morricone one a few years back. By thinking I'd give a flying turd about anyone's up-to-the-minute coolness meter, or worse, that Morricone has ANYTHING to do with Ernest Gold who actually wrote the tune, such people really only do a disservice to themselves and to posterity, to say nothing of the music. I think it's always best to deal with writers who have a cleaner slate. But whatever. I'm always glad to hear what anyone has to say about this musical fiasco... even if it's the standard "like a chance meeting between (X) and (Y) with a bunch of mystical Jihadist philosophy on top", it's always good to know how well or badly the job of interfacing with the world of fellow humans is going.
18. Being so well-read and knowledgeable about various world philosophies, musics and histories, does it infuriate you that so many people (including me!) are so unworldly? Or can you understand why other people might not be as curious about these issues as you are? I ask this out of shame for being so ignorant about the topics that interest you most.
Don't feel that way. The living people I respect most on this earth have no idea what I'm on about. It's only a neccesity as a curative for what ails me. Maybe you are ailed differently.
19. Are there any rock bands or artists that you find intellectually stimulating?
Definitely. Laibach takes the cake there. I guess the question is more what's "philosophically" stimulating, since I can't stand even one of the proggy smarty-pants "intellectual" bands out there --- all that mathy stuff that just sounds musically dead to me. Having said that, the automaton-mimesis of Devo was my first love --- and I still marvel at the sheer amount of sublime detail in their overall musical vision, and their humanity. It's good to remember that both Laibach and Devo were sprung from art/theater/film collectives, and neither started just as "bands". Psychoanalyzing myself, maybe I just appreciate the fact that the Idea is what all the music is derived from. I also must confess my joy at the total eclipse and transcendence of mere ideas going on in the work of Sun City Girls and Caroliner Rainbow, both of whom I have had the good fortune to admire at close range for many years. The poetics of Alvarius B and Uncle Jim have really lit up an otherwise dim world of musical poetics of late. And awhile back I was surprised by a black metal band called Deathspell Omega for what was done on their album Kénôse. These examples keep me from having to think of myself as the nostalgic and %100 aristocratic snob who spits on everything the modern world offers up as vulgar, stupid and spiritually impotent; especially since I enjoy a lot of that garbage as much as anyone else...
20. Running your own record label: Is it worth the headaches to be able to release any music you want?
Definitely NOT WORTH IT. But definitely WORTH IT for releasing the music of the narrow few bands who understand that they will not get rich and famous automatically through the inexhaustable resources and manpower now available to them through a record company with exactly one person doing all the tasks involved. In other words, bands accustomed to DIY have thrived on our label, and our 50/50 policy has made them very happy. Bands with dreams of fame and fortune placed before the grit and value of their music don't survive - on our label, or in the world.
BONUS QUESTION: Don't you miss playing funk-metal?
Of course. Do you think when retro gets to the early-nineties that it will come back? Fuckin' revisionists probably won't think its cool enough... they'll go straight for the flannels and heroin. Man, I really hope they set aside some space for neon body glove outfits, funny cat-in-the-hat hats, nipple rings and dreadlocks. I'll feel discriminated against otherwise.
Trey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3 on Slayer, Stravinsky, and the Possibility of Reuniting Mr. Bungle
By Dave Pehling
Of course. Do you think when retro gets to the early-nineties that it will come back? Fuckin' revisionists probably won't think its cool enough... they'll go straight for the flannels and heroin. Man, I really hope they set aside some space for neon body glove outfits, funny cat-in-the-hat hats, nipple rings and dreadlocks. I'll feel discriminated against otherwise.
As a driving force behind not one but two of the most challenging experimental rock bands to ever emerge from the Bay Area, guitarist Trey Spruance has been blurring and shredding the boundaries between musical genres for approaching three decades. Teaming with fellow future mavericks Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn while still attending high school in Eureka to form Mr. Bungle, Spruance helped shape the anarchic, menacing mix of death metal, avant-garde jazz, ska, and funk eventually heard on the band's brilliant John Zorn-produced debut in 1991. The band ventured into even stranger territory with the complex songs heard on 1995's Disco Volante, ping-ponging wildly across styles in a style that echoed Zorn's chaotic Naked City ensemble.
By the time Mr. Bungle released the fractured avant-pop of final album California at the turn of the millennium (the band split in 2004), Spruance had already been exploring a heady collision of Middle Eastern tonalities, twanging surf-rock, and lush cinematic orchestrations as the leader of Secret Chiefs 3. Over the course of eight albums and numerous singles issued since founding the group in the mid-1990s, the guitarist has developed an intricate cosmology of seven "sub bands" playing in a variety of styles under the Secret Chiefs 3 rubric.
On the group's latest album, Book of Souls: Folio A, Spruance has produced some of his most beguiling recordings yet, including a version of Scott Walker's "La Chanson de Jacky" (itself an English take on a Jacques Brel tune) that reunites the musician with vocalist Patton. Ahead of Secret Chiefs headlining show at the Chapel this Saturday, Feb. 15, Spruance spoke with All Shook Down about his early influences, discovering horror soundtracks, and the possibility of Mr. Bungle getting back together.
Mr. Bungle was exploring pretty radical territory even when you and the other principles in the band were still teenagers. Your musical appetites must have branched off from the standard classic rock, punk, and metal at a fairly young age. What were your early inspirations that were outside of mainstream music?
We started as a death metal band. It was pretty much straight-up thrash/death metal in 1985. But even then, one of the tunes on our first demo was a ska song. Some of the earliest stuff that we did together as a band was playing a bunch of Camper Van Beethoven covers, barely knowing what the hell we were doing. So back then, we were not really a death metal band. I don't know if a death metal band would play these goofy ska songs.
I guess there are two answers to the question. When my dad would get really pissed off, he would storm into the living room and put on Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. I've always associated that with these fits of anger. There are parts of that piece that are like a storm of terror. It made a huge impression on me. So it was sort of like Slayer and Stravinsky came to occupy two different extremes I suppose in my young brain. Maybe it was the possibility of dissonance and chords from the classical tradition. Of course, it's completely different with Slayer, where it's really just barre chords played really fast.
There was some appeal the atonality had; something in common between the two things. I think it's the very intuitive atonality of raw, primitive death metal and the very well worked-out polytonality of Stravinsky. You started to realize there must be a way to combine these two things to create something even more terrifying [laughs].
I think in the early days, it was about creating something completely horrifying. But at the same time, we were also really kind of jokers. It wasn't like we were slitting our wrists doing this stuff. We were really just entertaining ourselves out of extreme alienation and boredom from where we lived. We pretty much just hung out with each other and spent all of our time writing songs and listening to new stuff.
Mike Patton worked at the local record store, so he had access. At the time, it was well before the Internet. He would take records home and open them and tape them onto cassettes and we would copy his cassette tapes of all these different kinds of music. After a while it was just pouring in and our musical horizons were expanding together. I think from a very early stage, we were listening to a lot of different stuff and kind of shoving it into our music in weird, awkward ways until we finally got a little bit better at that.
Did an interest in atonality that elicited that kind of emotional response lead you directly to soundtrack composers and people making music for horror films?
It's weird. It was a little more roundabout. I think that interest came well after I moved to San Francisco. As a young guy, I listened to John Carpenter soundtracks and that kind of stuff. But I wasn't into the Giallo horror [stylized Italian thrillers like those made by director Dario Argento] until much later. I followed more the modern classical stuff. I was studying [composer Gyorgy] Ligeti. I shouldn't say this, but I stole Ligeti score from the Humboldt State library. There's a lot going on in these scores and it takes a long time to understand what the hell is happening with a piece like Ligeti's Requiem.
Both Trevor and I were studying at the University [Humboldt State] up there. I was able to sort of write my own major, which was really nice because it gave me a lot of time to be in the library deconstructing scores. The soundtrack thing kind of came after all that.
Some of the shorter songs on the new album not credited to specific sub bands like "Nova IHVH" and "Post-Identity Hour (AMS World Newscorp)" have a cut-up quality. It's almost like a radio tuning across the sub bands, where you hear familiar notes from songs on the album amid a jumble of tones...
I think you put your finger on it pretty well with the radio dial analogy, because they are intended as radio spots with these themes. They are broadcast themes, so it could be television. There's a three or four note sequence that refers to whether it's ABC or WKRV. Those are kind of implicit in there.
With the seven-band thing, the function that was played on Book of Horizons by the Electromagnetic Azoth, one of the bands, was to receive motif material in seed form and then distribute it to the other bands. Sort of the way a crystal does when it refracts light into certain hues. The different hues would be the different bands, but the same motif is being refracted to in the special mode assigned to that band and the special sort of sensibility of that band.
So what's happening on this record is that, during these radio spots, those transmissions are coming into the bands, but there's interference between the Electromagnetic Azoth aspect and the Holy Vehm aspect. The light and shadow aspects are in a bit of a transmission combat. So the seed motifs are being shot out into the air a little bit more randomly than they were on Book of Horizons.
Last year, I asked Trevor Dunn about the possibility of Mr. Bungle playing again and he likened the idea to making out with an ex-girlfriend. I'm surprised no deep-pocketed festival has managed to entice you into a reunion yet, but was wondering about your thoughts on either getting the band back together or working with your former bandmates in a new, more long-term project?
We have gotten offers. It's funny, because there is this idea that the thing that would make it happen would be a really good offer. Nobody in the band is against getting money to do music [laughs], but the real question is - I think - one of pedigree. We made those records in a state of exultation. Everybody had their own separate ideas that we were bringing together. There was very much a general excitement about all of it. We were able to cultivate these collaborative pieces and everyone was working on shaping the thing together.
I wouldn't want to speak for Mike on this, but I think he looks at it in kind of a similar way. Unless we had that momentum pushing us - the artistic drive that was motivating us - unless that was there, we wouldn't want to do it. It would be a bad idea. You don't want to put a shitty gloss on something that stands so well against the shittiness of time.
What's hard about it is I am of the belief that we could do that again; much more so. There are plenty of skills that have been developed in the last 14 years. There are a lot of musical ideas and a lot of fluency with each band member now that's better than it was before. But, as you see, people in the band all look at it differently. You have to be synchronized if you're going to do something like that. The synchronization just hasn't quite happened yet.
Secret Chiefs 3 | Trey Spruance Interview | Krasnoyarsk Rehearsal
Entrevista Trey Spruance / Chile 2011 (Séptimo Vicio)
Faith No More - Just a Man @ Maquinaria Festival 2011 [Pro Shot HD]
Les Frères du Son Rencontrent : Secret Chiefs 3
Secret Chiefs 3 - "Spiritus Intelligentiae: Jophiel" (Fast) Live at the Great American Music Hall
None of Them Knew They Were Robots | Mr. Bungle | Bizarre Festival 2000
Mr. Nice Guy | Mr. Bungle | Club Lingerie 1991