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Mr. Bungle


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Mr. Bungle Mr. Bungle album cover
3.93 | 165 ratings | 23 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Quote Unquote (6:56)
2. Slowly Growing Deaf (6:59)
3. Squeeze Me Macaroni (5:38)
4. Carousel (5:13)
5. Egg (10:38)
6. Stubb (7:19)
7. My Ass Is on Fire (7:47)
8. The Girls of Porn (6:42)
9. Love Is a Fist (6:01)
10. Dead Goon (10:02)

Total Time: 73:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Patton "Vlac Drac" / vocals
- Trey Spruance "Scummy" / guitar
- Theobald Brooks Lengyel / alto & baritone saxes
- Clinton McKinnon "Br" / tenor sax
- Trevor Dunn / bass
- Danny Heifetz / drums

- Robert Bornum "Maximum Bob" / backing vocals
- Jennifer / backing vocals
- Kahli / backing vocals
- Kristin Yee "Yeesus Krist" / backing vocals
- John Zorn / alto saxophone (9), co-producer
- David Shea / turntables

Releases information

Artwork: Dan Sweetman

LP London Records ‎- 828 267-1 (1991, Europe)
LP Plain Recordings ‎- plain136 (2009, US)

CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- 9 26640-2 (1991, US)
CD London Records ‎- 828 267-2 (1994, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

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MR. BUNGLE Mr. Bungle ratings distribution

(165 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MR. BUNGLE Mr. Bungle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the few albums that kept me interested in prog during the 90's, MR. BUNGLE (the band or the album) was a Zappa-esque cacophany of talented alternative-rock offbeats getting weird and working out their musical chops. While DREAM THEATER was ruling the glossy metal end of the spectrum, the inexorable influence of punk and even funk began to filter into a generation of musical explorers. The sound is dominated by Mike Patton's unmistakable voice- most of these tracks would not sound too out of place next to FAITH NO MORE's "Angel Dust"-era recordings- but delve more deeply into wild and intricate flights of musical insurrection. If Zappa had utilized alternative-rock textures, it might have sounded like this; certainly the dark humor and cultural references bring Frank to mind, as do the odd meters and dissonant scales. However, this is progressive rock for a generation more familiar with (or at least more influenced by) the BUTTHOLE SURFERS and FISHBONE. I particularly enjoy "My ass is on fire" with its heavy guitar, twittering horns, and "Blue Velvet"- inspired mutterings. The album's dissonances and metric juggling does grate after a while, and this is definitely not a sound that prog purists will immediately take to, but it was an inspired attempt to merge a progressive rock sensibility with 90s alternative influences.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!!!!

Bungle's first album is crazy mix of many influences. You can be sure these guys listened to many different sort music and their influences are plainly clear from song to song. From Zappa to Red Hot Chilli peppers to some Henry Cow/Samla Manna Mamma or other RIO groups , these guys play it all. Mike Patton ( Faith No More) is the leader of this strange combo working part time (only three albums in some 15 years), and this can be seen as an offshoot from his main band , but Bungle cannot be resumed to him alone. All members are experts at their instruments raising the level of the band's collective virtuosity to an impressive level. However superb the musicianship might be , my problem with this album is the clear lack of direction of the album. Yes , the band is impressive with their working out almost every conceivable musical style, but this is exactly the problem: the music goes north east , west and south ,but really goes nowhere past the point of "wowing" you with their dexterity. Bungles still gets more than satisfactory grades from a first try and gives plenty of promises for future albums (little did we know the next album would come out four years later) , but in fact this album will remain my favourite of theirs.

If you love Zappa , RHCP, FNM, SMM, Miriodor, early Guapo and a bit of hardcore metal, this album will make love to your ear holes , lubrication not necessary . However repeated listening will causes general impotence.

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Mr. Bungle's debut is like a really crazy drive in and around a circus.

You can clearly see that the band has ambition and some very interesting yet strange ideas but still aren't well used. The album is actually a ska album but with avant-garde influences instead of what people say that is an avant-garde album with ska influences. The album starts with a bang! with "travolta" and pretty much stays hyper for the rest of the album. This album also showcases Mr. Bungle's most funniest moments in there career so you can expect finishing the album with some good laughs. The atmosphere of the album is like a carnival run by evil clowns trying to convert you into there crazy religion (I know, is that crazy). I have some minor problems with the album. The first one is that some songs tend to drag along in there last minutes. It's actually good for the first 2-3 listenings but then it gets pretty annoying at times. The other problem I have with the album is that at times the lyrics can become a little bit ... cruel and leaves a bad taste but problems aside, this is a very enjoyable and hilarious album that can be appreciated by almost anyone looking for a crazy drive into crazy town.

I recommend this album to people who have already heard the latter Mr. Bungle albums or anything that Mr. Patton has made. If you don't like it, don't be afraid because none of Mr. Bungle's works are the same in ANY way.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A masterpiece of the deranged. This album comes out as being demented, schizofrenic and completely twisted all the way through both musically and lyrically, dealing with everything from mastrubation to people hanging themselves in mommy's underwear, with fitting background music. Go figure. Definitely not for the faint of heart but rather for those who don't take life as seriously as others, I have to admit that lyrics are hilarious all the way through and Mike Patton's vocal acrobatics are just getting them better. Musically this album acquires pretty much everything that was popular in the early 90's and turned it inside-out together with a attachment for circus music. The songs rarely stays in one place for long jumping effortlessly from different genres, usually within few minutes sounding perfectly 'normal' one moment and completely off the hook another. At 73 minutes it's one of the few albums at this lenght that actually keeps a consitent quality over all the songs, all being perfectly excecuted and with impressive musicianship.

Interested? then you might have found your new favorite album, though Mr. Bungle would release their ultimate masterpiece a few years later this is still one of those albums you have to hear before you die. Im not going to spoil the rest of the fun, just get this rollercoaster now. This album also features a lot of sampling from various video tapes and nintendo games inbetween or in the tracks. Can you guess'em all?

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Maniacal, twisted, perverted, evil. These are words you could describe Mr. Bungle's debut with. Blending everything from lounge-jazz to death metal all within one song is no easy feat, and yet they seem to flow from the drastically different styles quite coherently. Listening to this album is no easy feat, as it (like the other two official studio releases from Mr. Bungle) is dense in structure and the sudden shifts can catch the listener off guard. There's some aura emitted from it that I just can't escape from. The group's brand of off-the-wall avant-funk-metal was a breath of fresh air in the early 90s and really set this group apart from everyone else.

What you can get out of this album musically is just about everything you could possibly imagine. Although this sort of experimentation is more prevalent on Disco Volante, this album shows those sentiments in an early, more raw form that, in my opinion comes off terribly well. When listening to this album you'll also know how perverted/childish the lyrics can be, especially in the free-form song Squeeze Me Macaroni and the infamous Girls of Porn. However, what I really like about these songs is the backing music, which is everything from funk to death metal, to raunchy sax music all within one song, a trademark Mr. Bungle acquired.

Mr. Bungle's debut may not be the easiest album to listen to (although Disco Volante is a much harder listen on first try), it's an interesting timepiece that shows a band expanding from their early days and planting the seeds to what their next album, their most recognized work Disco Volante, would become. If you want pure avant-garde insanity, go with Disco Volante. If you want accessible and catchy music, go with California. And if you want something that has elements of both, then go with this album, you probably won't be disappointed. Highly recommended.

Review by FruMp
5 stars This album single-handedly got me into both prog and metal.

My friend recommended me this album because I was into The Mars Volta at the time (for some odd reason he thought they were similar) so I put it on and laughed for literally 70 minutes, the entire duration of the album, MR. BUNGLE I loved everything about them, the nonsensical lyrics, the things they do to deliberately annoy the listener, the references to their record label hidden their lyrics, the utter sillyness of it all. MR. BUNGLE are a very unique band, they meld just about every genre under the sun from jazz to metal to bossa nova to carnival music usually in the space of one song and usually liberally sprinkled with crazy production and samples and their debut self titled album is the height of their song writing creativity and considering the above it's an amazing achievement that the band were able to create one self-contained cohesive song let alone 10.

MR. BUNGLE is something of an all-star lineup these days, all of the core musicians are amazingly prolific and all have/had many side-projects and different records most notably front man Mike Patton (FAITH NO MORE, FANTOMAS) who contributes some great schizophrenic vocals and hilarious lyrics along with some great synth work. Trey Spruance (SECRET CHIEFS 3, FAXED HEAD) contributes some of the best material here with his styles ranging from ska to metal to funk, his riffs are very interesting and very very original. Trevor Dunn (FANTOMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3) contributes some amazingly funky bass to the equation and coupled with understated yet super smooth jazzy drummer Danny Heifetz (SECRET CHIEFS 3, FAXED HEAD) coupled with 2 saxophonists the group is complete, their eclectic styles meshing to form a mentally deranged musical leviathan.

There are many many highlights on the album but my main gripe is that there are fairly long intros and outros to a lot of the songs but there is some funny stuff that goes on there a lot of the time (including a recording of Mike Pattons bout of gastric trouble).

Opening song Quote Unquote (originally called Travolta after actor John Travolta but changed to the name of his official biography to avoid legal troubles) is probably the most straight up song, a metallic song starting invoking the trademark Bungle carnival atmosphere.

Slowly Growing Deaf is a definate highlight, it's probably the most serious song on the album but it's amazing when it moves from upbeat ska to pseudo-thrashy metal and the quiet parts add a a great contrast.

Squeeze me Macaroni is absolutely off the hook with funky bass, frenetic ska guitar and fevered rantings about fornication in a kitchen in disgusting detail.

Carousel is another fantastic song, invoking images of a dilapidated fair ground with some great synth/organ work from Patton.

Egg is a hilarious song pondering the age old question of which came first the egg or the chicken? ending in frustrating fashion chanting There's no place like home 2 times before faltering on the third time (MR. BUNGLE never did make it back to Kansas unfortunately) followed by audio of the band when they went train surfing.

Stubb a Dub is a great little song (without guitar surprisingly, it's hard to notice it though) about a dog that thinks it's a person.

My Ass Is On Fire is another hilarious song about the aftermath of eating hot chili, the heaviest song on the album featuring a massive chorus with drums that sound like someone pounding on corrugated iron.

The Girls of Porn is one of the funniest songs on the album with some sleazy wah bass and lyrics about masturbation and pornography featuring samples from pornographic movies (including one where the male actor is called Mr Bungle) with a hilarious breakdown detailing all kinds of distasteful acts, it's very unsavoury but belly-achingly funny.

Love is a Fist is another great metallic song detailing how Patton feels strongly against violence.

The ending song Dead Goon is a bit lackluster to be honest but it features an amazing bass riff from Dunn and some great carnival moments but overall nothing much happens, it's a shame it would be good if such a fantastic album ended strongly.

Overall MR. BUNGLE is a riot, full of laughs, fully of zany antics and very out there compositions abound with great moments, highly recommended to anyone into funny music and avant-garde stuff, fans of ZAPPA and FANTOMAS would definitely enjoy.

Review by Slartibartfast
4 stars "It's not funny my ass is on fire" well actually, yes it is. The only question is did you get severely spanked, eat food that way too hot and spicy (red hot chili peppers perhaps? FRA?), or insert something somewhere where it shouldn't ought to go?

I have a lot of odd albums in my collection and this one is certainly one of them.

I'm almost certain I would not have gone for this kind of thing back in 1991, however Porcupine Tree, Primus, and others have warmed me up a bit more to metallic fragments in prog.

If you value coherence in music, for the love of God(s)(eses)(ests) avoid this at all cost, and if you don't, fasten yourself in. 'Tis a really weird and wacky ride.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Squeeze Me Macaroni....

1991, Faith No More are MTVs favorites thanks to Epic and then Falling to Pieces, the Real Thing is the hottest album of the land prior to truly meteoric destruction that was Nevermind. Mike Patton, who is a new addition to the established band, is outperforming Chris Cornell live, and then.....

You ain't seen nothing yet.

Words cannot describe what this album was for those of us who could actually understand it. The graphic lyrics, the wild juxtaposition of style, the complete disregard for commercial appeal, it was shock and a exhilirating breath of, well certainly not fresh air, but a funk we hand't smelled ever before.

The band I was in tried to attempt some of these songs and we simply weren't up to the task at the time. There was one other band on the scene that could pull them off and believe me those were some memorable parties. No one incorporated metal into music this complex at that time. No one incorporated circus music quite like this...well maybe ever. Patton gets to really begin showing his true breadth that he continued to expand to the point that he is...well we know where he stands among the art rock community now. That position was probably cemented by the sophomore, perhaps even more audatious and artistically adventurous Disco Volante. But that album would never had been allowed to be made without this album.

Though these lyrics include some of the worst pottymouth in the history of recorded music, there is some real humor here. Squeeze Me Macoroni with it's descriptions of previous undescribable acts with Betty Crocker is a personal fave, and there are many other gems.

The ease with which this band makes it's transitions is phenomenal, and as I go back now a listen to this after experiencing Unexpect and the many Bungle offspring such as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, the changes here seem natural and perfect. I have to get my mind into a certain set before being able to listen to this, but when I'm there, wow.

Like many masterpieces, others have imitated this and perhaps improved on the ideas. Fans who were there rate ITCOTCK as a masterpiece and I, who wasn't, hear a good but not really that impressive album. I read reviews of this album ranging from too much to too pasted together to simply saying that their later work is more artistically important.

But in the context of those who were immersed in music in 1991, this is a masterpiece. And it remains so when I listen to it now.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Debut album of Mr.Bungle is a crazy mix. Formed around Mike Patton, still Faith No More vocalist at that time, band just use all possible musical styles in most unusual combinations. Just imagine The Mars Volta playing avant-metal mixed by John Zorn, using his file cards music method ( yes, John Zorn produced this album, and you will feel it). Or Red Hot Chilly Peppers, playing ska. Add circus atmosphere, free jazz structures and samples from well known movies soundtracks (like Lynch's Blue Velvet) and TV commercials.

Yes, even by ingredients you can feel the John Zorn's hand on this mix, but the music is grown from different ground: whole atmosphere is pure heavy metal, not avant jazz. All this funky chaos isn't easy listening, even if build from accessible parts. Very different, very energetic and never boring, this album could become a pleasant surprise for open eared metal fan, and really are one of rare quality real avant - metal example.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Having refined their sound with a range of rare cassette-only releases, Mr Bungle's debut album sees them establish themselves as the most terrifying force in avant-garde alternative metal. Unlike, say, Slipknot or Insane Clown Posse, Bungle never let their mask/clown fixation cross the line into the cartoonish, ensuring that they remained a sinister and enigmatic presence at their live gigs of the time.

This is carried through into the sound of the album, in which Mike Patton truly steals the show with his incredible vocal gymnastics. The musical backing doesn't quite hit the bizarre territory it would reach on the following album, but it's still very enjoyable, with Quote Unquote (AKA Travolta) being one of the best opening songs of an album I've ever heard. No Mike Patton fan should be without one.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is a bizarre and enjoyable album. From the start, you know you are in for a good time. The music is a mixture of Funkadelic/Fishbone style funk, a hefty helping of punk , and a strong dose of prog and experimentalism. At the best of times, the album sounds quite a bit like Oingo Boingo gone wild. At the worst of times, the experimentalism devolves into a mush of noise and screaming. The latter I can do without.

The rush of high energy and the anything goes atmosphere makes this album sound like a precursor to the modern prog of The Mars Volta. I would feel safe advising TMV fans to check out this album.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars If you study these Archives, you'll notice that six of the top-rated seven albums for 1991 are catalogued here as either Progressive Metal or Extreme Prog Metal, which ought to put the appeal of Mr. Bungle's debut effort into better perspective (it was the #10 rated album that year). Lean times indeed for traditional forms of Progressive Rock, but the more hardcore bands were apparently doing very well, even one as irreverent and erratic as Mr. B.

The young group was a second-generation avant-pop ensemble sired by FRANK ZAPPA, but I get the impression they weren't listening to the same music that influenced Uncle Frank: Varse, Stockhausen, et al. I'm also not entirely convinced their first studio album adds up to a cohesive musical statement, but the level of energy and invention is never less than astonishing. Each of the ten indexed tracks here was built from a dozen or more seemingly random musical phrases and snippets, ranging from chunky metallic guitar riffs to atonal saxophone freakouts to the occasional genuine melody, usually very brief, and surfacing in the mix as if by accident.

The whole thing is wildly (and deliberately) inconsistent, balanced somewhere between a heavy metal klezmer rave and some kind of demented circus soundtrack, minus only the calliopes. The level of musicianship deserves serious kudos, but the band itself doesn't insist on being taken seriously, not with song titles like "Squeeze Me Macaroni" and "My Ass is on Fire". The locker-room humor might be juvenile (don't miss the too-convincing diarrhea sound effect near the end of "Slowly Growing Deaf"), but it makes the album more fun than a barrel of junior high school monkeys.

And yet after a while the unpredictability gets a little too predictable. Were all the speed-freak detours and cut-ups an attempt to organize a surplus of ideas, or a ploy to camouflage the lack of such? It's as if the band was either too impatient to manage an ongoing groove for longer than a single bar, or too hopped up on amphetamines to pause for even a breath.

Maybe it's worth pointing out that the most coherent, least fragmented song here is their ode to onanism ("The Girls of Porn"), complete with pirated movie dialogue. And was it only a coincidence that the immediate next track is titled "Love is a Fist"?

Either way, here's an ideal album for anyone who thinks Les Claypool is too solemn and dignified. Better fans can judge whether or not Mr. Bungle ever matured on later albums. But this rookie effort certainly doesn't hide their potential.

Latest members reviews

5 stars What can I say about this album? Where do I begin? Just seeing it sit on the table, with that iconic [%*!#]ed up clown face, I feel it is radioactive, or a type of kryptonite, infusing me with energy rather than draining me, but a demented, perverse, megalomaniacal Court-Jester- on-acid kind of ... (read more)

Report this review (#1184807) | Posted by werbinox | Wednesday, June 4, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favorite album of all time. This started my whole appreciation for Mike Patton and his other works. Of course, we shouldn't forget about the other members of this band, for they have also given us a lot to offer from their own arsenals. Now, back to this band. This band is definitely: Weird. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#550641) | Posted by Brollyhero93 | Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars So I heard a lot of talking about Mike Patton, and how great he is... well, he is great! He has a fantastic voice, incredibly powerful but also very beautiful when needed, and he is incredibly creative and has that amount of insanity any good singer must have. So where to start with Mike Patton' ... (read more)

Report this review (#228347) | Posted by JTP88 | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As Frank Zappa himself once said, Does comedy belong in music. Well, he didn't say it in as many words, but basically Zaphead asked the age-old question the Avant-Garde fringe has been asking the elite of Fine Art: must you incessantly take yourselves 'so' seriously? That's the question this No ... (read more)

Report this review (#186328) | Posted by hasheten | Sunday, October 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Out of the three albums this magical avant-garde band released, this is sometimes the most overlooked. Sadly, too, because it is equally as strong as the other two, and often I find myself enjoying it more. It is just as experimental as Disco Volante, though not quite as liquid or explicitly so. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#133695) | Posted by Shakespeare | Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Talk about an excelent album. I stumbled on to Mr. Bungle on accident by reading a magazine that had an article about them. I thought it would be interesting because the caption under Mr. Bungle was "for aquired tastes only!" Since i had a somewhat of a backround of Avant Garde with Franck Zappa ... (read more)

Report this review (#127512) | Posted by fungusucantkill | Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I hate this band. They are ridiculously overrated. According to the countless gushing reviews of this album, you're supposed to be breathless and blown away by the band's overpowering talent. When I finished listening to this, I had grown so unspeakably tired of their smug "look at us!" genre ... (read more)

Report this review (#97513) | Posted by Third_Uncle | Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars BINGO! This album is quite a masterpiece. Every track offers something next and you never know what is going to happen in the next measure of any song at any time. It will completely blow you away. Tracks 3-8 are the real highlights. This for the most part is when Mike Patton really takes ... (read more)

Report this review (#93652) | Posted by proghairfunk | Saturday, October 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is by far the most experimental and at the same time most succesful album of the whole 90s. It is vastly influential in underground circles and it introduced us to the madman Mike Patton. All i can or need to say about Patton, is that he is best singer i have ever heard and most adventurous ... (read more)

Report this review (#50161) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album does not sound like a prog album. It sounds like a bunch of albums strategically peiced together with little bits in each song. I had a time figuring out whether to give it five stars or not only because I wouldn't say it is prog. But this album is so great that there is no way it c ... (read more)

Report this review (#31089) | Posted by Spanky | Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars the BIBLE when introducing Mike Patton and simply Genius. Mr. Bungle itself would never repeat this album. If you are an adventurous listener and have listened to the most extremes of band, even THEN should you be prepared. goed luck listening! ... (read more)

Report this review (#31088) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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