MR. BUNGLE's debut album was released 27 years ago!
On August 13th 1991 Mr. Bungle released their debut self titled album.
'The entire album crackles with a weird electricity and the air of a rock and roll circus gone insane. Which is possibly the closest anyone will ever come to describe Mr Bungle' - Kerrang!
'The puerile rantings or wretched mutations of American youth, or one of the most original forms of noise to be committed to vinyl this year? Take your pick, Mr.Bungle are at once chaotic, cataclysmic, powerful, deranged and uncomfortable listening.' - Hot Metal
After recording several demos with his childhood friends Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, Trey Spruance, Clinton McKinnon, Danny Heitetz and Theo Lengyel landed a record deal with Warner Brothers due to Patton's success with Faith No More. They secured John Zorn as their producer and fitted in recording around FNM's schedule.
"It wasn't the best fit. But at that point I'd been in Faith No More for a while and, to be honest, there was a lot of concern about me playing in another band. You gotta understand, not a lot of other people at the time—at least not peers of mine—had more than one band. That was pretty much frowned upon. Not necessarily by the people I was playing with, but by record companies and management and so forth. So, I had to really look in the mirror and ask myself if I wanted to do it, because I was stirring the pot. I'm glad I did." - Patton 2013
In 2016 we spoke to members of the band in celebration of the 25th anniversary of this stunning and insane album.
TREVOR DUNN | Mr. Bungle 25th Anniversary Interview
"I would say that Trey and Mike and I, considering our ages and penchants, where destined to find each other. We disliked everyone/thing else and we gravitated toward each other in a very small, impoverished, and isolated area. I would say that every song reflects, in some way, our collective introspection, confusion, disdain and resultant social commentary and self-reflection that developed as teenagers in the ‘80s. While many of our peers were turning to drugs and alcohol, we found comfort in music."
DANNY HEIFETZ | Mr. Bungle 25th Anniversary Interview
"Perhaps the creepy artwork and kooky lyrics were enough to make a 13-year-old boy feel different than if it were a Human Nature record. I have met quite a few people (boys/men - what a surprise!) that had been about that age and told me what an effect it had on them. What I find most incredible is that several of them are now school teachers and, as if that weren't enough, some among them are award-winning teachers at that! I guess that's high regard coming to fruition, so I'm happy with those results."
BÄR MCKINNON | Mr. Bungle 25th Anniversary Interview
"There wasn't an overt intention to educate kids on how clever we could be, no. As ever, it was just us amusing ourselves and trying to make the coolest music we could with what we had."
TREY SPRUANCE | Halloween Interview
"A further thought looking back, to be real, it really says a lot about the state of things that there were so many people who responded so favorably to the sociopathic and ultraviolent aspect of early Mr. Bungle. We famously had those people in our faces throughout the band’s existence (although the Disco Volante era helped re-orient the fervor somewhat). But I find it super interesting that in that early era, Mr. Bungle's influence struck such an intensely and clearly mentally disturbed chord almost exclusively out among the 'masses' serviced mainly by media like Warner Brothers. Those were times when GG Allin and the Dwarves and that type of thing were still happening, and I went to their shows. I couldn't help but notice that elements of the Mr. Bungle audience, minor rural/suburban phenomenon that it was, with no crossover in any hardcore underground scenes at all, did have a somewhat similar fanboy variation of the Stockholm Syndrome thing happening out there. It was pretty out..."
Warner Records Stays Faithful to Mike Patton's Bungle
February 03, 1991 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
Under normal circumstances, you'd have to describe Mr. Bungle's chances of landing a major label deal as . . . a long shot.
The obscure band from Northern California opens its shows with the theme to "Welcome Back, Kotter" (they do it twice--first in English, then in Spanish), has a horn player dressed as a carrot and performs oddball music one critic has described as "Bugs Bunny-type jazz."
But Mr. Bungle has a secret weapon. The band's lead singer is Mike Patton.
Yes, the same Mike Patton who's the lead singer of Faith No More, perhaps rock's hottest young group. Their recent Warner/Slash album has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
Now Patton has a double shot at success. With Mr. Bungle about to sign a deal with Warner/Reprise Records, he has the rare distinction of being the lead singer of two completely separate bands--which both plan to make albums and tour with him as their front man.
"When I first heard about all this, I thought, 'Geez, this is really crazy,' " says Bob Biggs, head of Slash Records, a Warner subsidiary label. "I mean, Mike is going to be one really tired guy. But the two bands are very different, so I think it could be a healthy outlet for him in the long run."
As it turns out, Patton has played alongside members of Mr. Bungle since his high school days near Eureka. Even when he joined Faith No More nearly two years ago, replacing the band's original singer, he had an understanding with the group that he would continue his association with Mr. Bungle, which fuses funk, parodies and performance art.
"We felt--why stifle his passion for that band, because if you try to stifle things, they just explode," explains Warren Entner, who manages Faith No More and serves as a consultant for Mr. Bungle. "It is an unusual situation--and Mike is biting off a lot by doing two separate projects at the same time. But he's totally committed to Faith No More."
Still, you have to wonder how his Faith No More bandmates feel about their lead singer moonlighting with a second group. "Some of the guys--and myself--wonder how Mike could do it all," Entner says. "But Mike has agreed to work with Mr. Bungle around the holes in Faith No More's schedule."
As you can imagine, Warner Bros. and Slash Records are justifiably concerned. Would Patton's involvement with Mr. Bungle expend time and energy otherwise devoted to Faith No More? Would a Mr. Bungle album confuse Faith No More fans--or siphon sales away from the band's next album at a time when the budding superstars are just getting mainstream recognition?
Early reports stated that Slash was so displeased with Patton's moonlighting that a lawsuit was pending. Not so, says Slash's Biggs. "No one ever told Mike not to do this. We only tried to slow down the process until we got over the hump with the Faith No More album."
While there was considerable interest in Mr. Bungle by rival record companies (a ton of A&R execs were on hand for the band's recent Club Lingerie date), Biggs insists that the group could not have signed with a label outside the Warners family. At least, not with Patton on board. "Mike's deal (as a member of Faith No More) is very clear," says Biggs. "He couldn't make a record elsewhere without our permission."
Still, Warners and Slash will have their hands full coordinating the two groups' schedules. They call for a Mr. Bungle album release in April or May, with Faith No More entering the studio in mid-April to record an album which could be out early this fall. Mr. Bungle may plan dates this summer scheduled between Faith No More recording sessions.
"I think everyone wanted Mike to realize that this is an unusual juncture in a band's career--just when Faith No More is establishing its overall identity--for the lead singer to commit himself to another group," Entner says. "But if Mr. Bungle can establish its identity while Mike stays committed to Faith No More, we're hopeful it will all work out."
"Thanks for not supporting us, not coming to our shows and not buying our t-shirts. Oh, and whoever's spreading those rumours about us, keep doing it -- they're beautifully erotic." - Mike Patton 1991