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Mr. Bungle biography
Founded in Eureka, California, USA in 1985 - Disbanded in 2000

The original line-up included: Mike PATTON (vocals), Trey Spruance (guitar), Trevor DUNN (bass), and Jed Watts (percussion). From 1986-1989 they released 4 demo's before being signed to a major label contract with Warner Bros. Records. During those years there were numerous line-up changes most notably the replacement of Danny Heifetz on percussion and Clinton "Bär" McKinnon on tenor sax.

When "Mr. Bungle" was released on August 13, 1991, it featured the sounds of funk, death metal, ska, video games, carnivals, the band jumping from a train, defecating, and much more. "Disco Volante" came out in October of 1995, 4 years after the release of their self-titled album because of the members' commitments to other projects. The album would contain the styles of lounge music, jazz, techno, surf rock, death metal, tango, and sounds never witnessed by the human ear, too difficult to discern or describe. "Disco Volante" is one of the most outrageously bizarre albums ever conceived, even surpassing that of the legendary Frank ZAPPA. July 13, 1999 would see the release of "California," which included the musical styles of jazz-swing, surf-rock, pop, klezmer-polka-metal, doo-wop, lounge music, and of course, you guessed it, even more. This album was to be accepted more than "Disco Volante" because it wasn't as challenging to the listener. It would also perhaps be their most melodious and pleasant album yet. Their is too much difficulty in trying to compare MR. BUNGLE with another group or artist because they're completely their own creation.

The entire MR. BUNGLE catalogue is excellent and varied. "Mr. Bungle" is recommended for listeners wanting to explore what a carnival on acid would sound like. Each song on the album is memorable and stays in your head; catchy songs. "Disco Volante" is for those adventurous listeners brave enough to ascend into a cacophony of mad scientist musicians. Not a commercial album! "California" is the easiest of the album's to digest, though some of the songs are very Volante-esque.

: : : Kurt Zander, USA : : :

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Warner Off Roster 1991
$4.93 (used)
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London Records
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MR. BUNGLE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

MR. BUNGLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 167 ratings
Mr. Bungle
3.99 | 205 ratings
Disco Volante
4.04 | 192 ratings

MR. BUNGLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MR. BUNGLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MR. BUNGLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MR. BUNGLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.76 | 12 ratings
The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny (demo)
2.69 | 14 ratings
Bowl Of Chiley (demo)
3.41 | 13 ratings
Goddammit I Love America! (demo)
3.34 | 13 ratings
OU818 (demo)

MR. BUNGLE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 OU818 (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.34 | 13 ratings

OU818 (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars MR BUNGLE released their fourth demo OU818 in 1989 after three previous demos that showed the band debut as a death metal band on 'The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny' and then took a complete stylistic shift on their second demo 'Bowel Of Chilly' as they completely dropped the style in favor of a Fishbone inspired fusion of ska and funk rock, however it took them a couple demos to warm up and finally scored a cohesive band sound on their third demo 'Goddammit I Love America!' On OU818 they continued to hone their sound into an undeniably addictive eclectic mix that at long last sounded like no one else on the music scene. Not only did Mike Patton get his vocal act together but compositionally speaking, the band began to fuse progressive rock into the jazz-fusion and funk metal mix.

The title OU818 was a play on the popular yet lame Van Halen album of the day titled 'OU812' which found the Van 'Hagar' sound rapidly failing and becoming stale. This is the point where both Danny Heifetz would replace Hans Wagner on drums and B'r McKinnon would take over Luke Miller's role on horns. The classic lineup was complete and the chemistry is magic at this point. The band had even taken it upon themselves to handle the production and it really does sound much better than the three demos that came before. While the debut demo was clearly rooted in the metal world, the band took a hiatus for the next two with only snippets of heaviness but the heavy riffing returned on OU818 with bombastic outbursts of funk metal riffing interspersed between the surreal soundscapes that sandwiched them.

OU818 is in effect a rough draft of the eponymous debut album that would appear on the Warner Brothers label in 1991. Of the six tracks aboard, four are almost nearly completed tracks from the first album which include: 'Squeeze Me Macaroni,' 'Slowly Growing Deaf,' 'The Girls Of Porn' and 'Love Is A Fist.' The remaining two tracks consist of the opening 'OHUE818' which is a snazzy little intro with Patton emulating a radio DJ talking [&*!#] about the new demo and dissing the Van Halen album that was current with electronic music sputtering on in the background. While the main staple is the ska infused funk rock and metal that they had been developing, MR B had diversified its sound manyfold finding not only more metallic riffs interspersed about but a clear John Zorn influence raging on in the horn section especially on 'Love Is A Fist.'

The final track only appears on this demo and despite a track name like 'Mr. Nice Guy' sounding like a possible alteration of an Alice Cooper classic, it is in fact a ska funk number with jazzy guitar riffs, a beefy bass line and an overall similar sound to the riffs heard on 'The Girls Of Porn.' MR B also has entered sound effect territory with the classic dialogue from the 50s school skit about how not to be a MR BUNGLE finding its way into their world as well as sudden genre shifts and time signature freak outs run amok. Overall this is an excellent demo and the best of the four as it sounds like a fully formed mature MR BUNGLE has emerged from the death metal and early Fishbone clone sounds of only a few short years before. So impressive is this demo that it caught the attention of Warner Bros who would release one of the weirdest albums of their label's history. While this is excellent as a demo, it still lacks all the perfecting touches that a major budget provides and since four out of six tracks are on the debut in a much better finished product, this remains excellent but not really essential. Very well worth the time to explore beyond just a hardcore fan curiosity though.

3.5 rounded down

 Goddammit I Love America! (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.41 | 13 ratings

Goddammit I Love America! (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars MR BUNGLE released their first demo "The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny" in 1986 primarily influenced by the emerging thrash and death metal scenes and created a lo-fi punk feeling noisefest but soon thereafter must have realized how much they sucked at it and started listening to the funk ska rock of Fishbone and early Red Hot Chili Peppers and the rest was history when they turned all funky ska rock on their second demo "Bowel Of Chiley." While the band completely changed their sound up, they weren't ready for prime time for sure as the whole affair came off as a little amateurish despite some interesting moments. On their third demo release GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! the band was more comfortably adapting to the more recognizable sound heard on their debut album of 1991. On this one Mike Patton and company had totally developed their swinging ska sound with the occasionally driving heavy funky metal.

The tracks are all crafted primarily with funky guitar riffs, a beefy funk bass and Mike Patton's vocal acrobatics have already gained the power to veer all over the place like a circus performer. Also heard in the mix is their quirky carnival music that blends so well with their amusement park stylistic approach. GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! is a huge step above the first two demo in terms of songwriting as well as production. This is the first demo that would find two of its tracks to be more refined and polished and released on the debut album. Both "Egg" and "Carousel" are essentially already presented here in their full glory although they are clearly in need of some fine-tuning mostly in Patton's vocal abilities as he hadn't quite found the proper dramatic flair to grace each passage. This is especially true of "Carousel." On "Egg" there are interesting differences that can lend a clue as to how the track evolved into the huge monstrosity that it would become.

The rest of the demo is filled with similar sounding songs in comparison with those two that would appear on the debut album but none quite having the strong attraction of the one's chosen. Tracks like "Bloody Mary" and "Waltz For Grandma's Sake" aren't that bad actually however they sound a lot more like the ska funk rock band Fishbone who were doing a similar style at the time. At this point the three big names Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance are all on board with their respective talents as well as some early bunglers on the horn section including Luke Miller (who replaced Scott Fritz) on various horns and Theobald Lengyel on sax which gives the band a healthy sultry swing that had improved significantly from "Bowel Of Chiley. Gone as well are the comparisons to a mariachi band as the band has taken on a proper band sound of its own.

It was a wise choice for MR BUNGLE to walk away from the death metal that they displayed on their debut. Here they sound like they were made to create this interesting swinging, funk metal hybrid music that still incorporates some of that punk and metal freneticism from time to time. "Definition Of Shapes" is probably my favorite track on here that didn't graduate to the ranks of the debut album but possibly didn't cut the mustard because it has some of the same riffs as heard on "Egg" and also plays around and even briefly throws out some "Another One Bites The Dust" riffs by Queen with the end mixing funk rock with the track "Need You Tonight" by INXS. "Incoherence" is a nice little rocker turned into a beer hall polka mixed with punk angst. Overall this is a good demo well worth hearing once but just shy of essential and very much improved over the first two releases. This one was released only as a cassette and still hasn't made it onto a CD format.

 Bowl Of Chiley (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.69 | 14 ratings

Bowl Of Chiley (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars The second MR BUNGLE demo emerged only a year after the first and found the band shedding their death metal skin and began to take on a ska funk rock sound that was part of the alternative underground of the 80s most notably mastered by bands like Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers and 24/7 Spyz amongst others. Likewise with a sound shift came a new cast of characters. While Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn were riding the BUNGLE carousel for the long run, others like Jed Watts and Martin Fosnaugh jumped ship after only one demo. While Theo Lengyel wouldn't remain with the band till its demise, he nevertheless appeared on all the early demos. The is also the only appearance of Scott Fritz who played trumpet.

So different in style is the second demo BOWEL OF CHILEY compared to the previous "The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny" that it sounds like a completely different band with only Mike Patton's signature vocal style giving a clue as to who this band is. While the first demo was rather short in length, BOWEL OF CHILEY is a full album's length with different tracks taking on different identities ranging from ska and funk rock to (occasional) avant-garde metal and just plain weird rock. While the the next two demos showcased many of the primeval forms of tracks that would be reworked and released on the 1991 debut album, this one contains almost exclusively compositions that would never see the light of day on any album with the sole exception of "Carousel" which sounds very primitive compared to the masterpiece it would become. While the main melodic riff was already developed, Mike Patton's vocals weren't and the whole thing sounds like a drunken romp at a Mexican mariachi party.

Speaking of mariachi parties, "Evil Satan" probably sounds the most like a Mexican tequila march and fully in sync with the swing revival fad of the 90s with a dash of alternative rock guitar added to the recipe. Nice trumpet work though and this tracks sounds a lot like Fishbone only not nearly as good as their debut EP from 1985. "Jumping" has some great jazzy guitar work from Spruance although Patton doesn't quite pull off the Ethel Merman thing with his scatting. The track "( )" (no, Sigur Ros didn't come up with that!) is probably my favorite as Trevor Dunn displays his full bass playing fury as does Spruance churn out the most funkified guitar riffs that turn into heavy funk metal. Also Patton seems to have mastered his vocals and overall the track is just more interesting and varied. It sounds more professional and closer to the avant-garde funk metal prowess of the debut album. It's also a sneak preview into the world of progressive rock with some wickedly cool time signature deviations and compositional fortitude.

There are two versions of this demo. The first was released as a cassette and meant to be what it was released as: a demo. It contained twelve tracks from "For No Reason" to "Freight Train." The popularity of the band in the 90s found the demand for their demos to be re-issued so lo and behold a CD version emerged in 1997 with five extra unreleased tracks with cute names like "Far In A Bag" and "Snap, Crackle, Pop." Although an improvement and a welcome stylistic shift from their lackluster death metal days, BOWEL OF CHILEY is a long way from prime time and finds the band able to write a few catchy songs, most of the tracks come off as amateurish and mediocre. Add to that that they still haven't mastered the art of performing them. Patton's vocals are particularly awful and he hadn't quite learned the techniques he was grasping for. An interesting historical artifact for those who wish to dig deep but not really of interest for anyone else.

2.5 rounded down

 The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
1.76 | 12 ratings

The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny (demo)
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars Something must have been in the air in 1980s Eureka, CA as several high school students got together to record a few demos that drew on all types of different styles and sounds and somehow despite all odds got discovered, got signed and unleashed three of the most eclectic and gracefully bizarre albums ever to hit the world. I speak of MR BUNGLE of course which in the beginning hadn't quite gelled all their scattered ideas into the frolicsome and adamant masterpieces that would dot the 90s in the form of three completely original and unrelated album styles. Before those full length albums would emerge on a major record label nonetheless, Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn teamed up with early members Jed Watts, Martin Fosnaugh and Theobald Lengyel to create their very first demo (out of four) THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY.

Don't expect the glissando genre juggling performances that caught the world's attention on the three official albums. This demo displays a bunch of punk ass kids out to make noise with some serious attitude and that noise lies predominantly in the arena of 80s thrash / death metal with a particular nod to Slayer and early Death. While beginning with a beautiful classically oriented clean guitar arpeggiated sequence that serves as an intro it quickly changes into brutal crushing riffs on "Anarchy Up Your Anus" with lo-fi chugging riffs, an indistinguishable bass and Patton's anarchic semi-rapped vocals screaming out in Red Hot Chili Peppers style death bellows. However even at this stage despite trying to be a "normal" type of extreme metal band with crushing riffage and sizzling guitar solos (on tracks like "Spreading The Thighs Of Death") even before Morbid Angel gained prominence, these guys were clearly dreaming of another musical world in which they could promulgate outside the confines of established developing orthodoxies of the quickly gestating death metal world.

The first glimpse of things to come is on "Hypocrites" while churning out hardcore crust punk riffs, toys with counterintuitive melodies that jump into funk rock and add all kinds of instruments that fell outside the extreme punk and metal arenas such as kazoos, bongos and a trainwhistle. However while the ideas were aplenty, the marriage of these impulses hadn't quite coagulated into digestible forms as the entire demo sounds slightly overambitious and highly unfocused even within the extreme metal aspects alone which more than obliterates any attempt to weave in the sax, harmonica, jew's harp and Hawaiian nose humming that is almost impossible to discern. And i would be remiss not to mention the most underlying flaw of the entire project and that is indeed the famous production or should i say lack thereof that makes this sound fairly crude and amateurish. It should be remembered that these were just kids cranking out their visions in all youthful exuberance blissfully unaware of all the details that go into making a professional sounding recording with that underground attitude of FTW.

When all is said and done i would hardly recommend to anyone tracking this down and paying tons of money to find a physical copy. Although these types of things are usually reserved for the hardcore fans, i have to admit that despite being one of those hardcore enthusiasts of the cult of MR BUNGLE, i find little need to own this. This is indeed one of those worth hearing on YouTube just for the sake of historical context to trace the evolution of one of the most original bands of the 90s and how they would miraculously transmogrify into the musical circus clowns that they would become. On this substellar demo, they really offer very few clues as to point to their progressive quantum leap into the realms of "Disco Volante." This one was only released on cassette and has never been re-released on any other format and i'm sure there's a good reason for this as it is nothing more than a smattering of inchoate ideas in their primordial ooze swirling about in a petri dish.

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.94 | 167 ratings

Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by werbinox

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 energy, manic, delirious, and scary!

The adventure actually begins with the CD artwork, the majority of which is taken from "A Cotton Candy Autopsy" by Dave Louapre, released in 1989 as the first edition of the comic series "Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children". Visually it is a tour de force of Coulrophobia, depicting scenes of a dead clown lying bloody by a dumpster, a troupe of clowns driving a car with the body strapped to the hood, a drunk and belligerent bottle-waving clown scaring a bunch of crying children at a birthday party. Crazy clown faces everywhere, welcome to the Fun, er?Horror house! The back of the disc shows a man in a chair holding a bloody knife in one hand and his own head in the other, presumably he sliced it off himself. A red devil of the classical variety sits by his feet, smiling in apparent approval. The band credits show Vlad Drac as Singer, Heifetz on Drums, Guitar by Scummy, Trevor Roy Dunn plays Bass, Tenor Sax ? Bar, Theobald Brooks Lengyel ? Alto & Bari Intonation.

I first heard this in a motel room in Nashville, when Geoff and I drove up to visit the Echolyn guys while they were recording "As the World", another great and iconic progressive rock album of the 90's. A bunch of us were sitting around taking turns playing different discs. I had just played some of Zappa's "Roxy& Elsewhere". Ray Weston got up and put on this, the first Mr. Bungle disc. I had never even heard of them. The sounds hit me like they did when I first heard King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", or when I first heard Zappa's "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast". I was dumbfounded. Wha? It was sonic chaos but with purpose, and I couldn't make any sense of it at first. It was like being assaulted. The vortex of strange and uniquely arranged sounds spun by my heard, and I didn't even know if it worked or not, if I even liked it. I understood why you would play this after Zappa, for the rhythms were challenging with lots of surprising changes, also blasts of heavy distorted guitar like Sabbath on steroids, zany horn passages sprinkled hither and yon, sudden interludes of pure noise, very RIO-ish craziness, overall a bizarre palette. And that voice, commanding in its range of styles, and over-the-top histrionics with cartoony babbles, lounge-jazz crooning, squeaks and squeals, the distorted screams that cut like a jagged razor. I thought the band was fronted by some technological Borg-demon! I had never heard a voice like it before. From screeching wails and shrieks to guttural growls and whispers, like a hundred voices in one throat, all of it was delivered with the palpable confidence of a natural, and a master of his craft. And what better way to discover the talents of Mike Patton than on this, the first masterpiece of his career? I do not think it a coincidence that he achieved this under the tutelage of John Zorn, who shared the Producer's hat for this project.

The first track "Quote Unquote" begins unconventionally, with over 30 seconds of barely audible snoring. If you don't turn your volume up enough you will think there is something wrong, where's the [%*!#]ing music? A glass shatters, probably knocked off the nightstand, and WAAAAA!!!!! Power chords towering high as the Himalaya roar out, with a Twilight Zone keyboard theme. Horror movie metal! A Gateway has opened. The Hosts of Hell ride out through walls of fire. You are at the entrance of an insane carnival, check your mind at the door! Mr. Bungle in evil clown face lies loutishly on a pedestal. No god or devil is he but both rolled into one, the ultimate no-count, the ultimate outcast, the ultimate Fuck Up, but of Ubermensch proportions! A shock-ska groove plays, warped for a new modern Schizophrenic Age, sci-fi keyboard notes pushing the upbeat as the bass and drums hammer it down. Patton comes in, voice swimming in a warbly effect.

"All behold the spectacle/ A fleshy limbless rectangle / Sitting on a pedestal / So nasal handicapable / Sniff and remember silver ball / Contortions that he can't recall / The torso on a trampoline / The happy melts into dream."

The music drops into the first of its many changes, a Jimmy Smith-type jazz swing, pattering rain cymbal smatter and Hammond Organ. Brutal dissonant keyboard chords quickly interrupt the dream and an ascending, classical sounding riff takes over, full of menace. Patton ups the ante with a clean, soaring tenor:

"To talk is an enunciated sneeze / to taste is some foul air to breathe."

The building tension is suddenly cheated as the music drops off again into a dreamy yet disconcerting jazz underworld, Patton's voice drifting in and out of the shadows. Just as suddenly it is fulfilled with a stomping metal riff turned alien prog-groove bathed in odd colored dissonant keyboards pulsing like sirens. Patton's hyper-macho basso commands attention with a bizarre declaration:

"One thought it lasts a day, and at that rate he'll most likely live forever!!!!!!!!! He's a bird in flight, a hermaphrodite, and he [%*!#]s himself as he [%*!#]s" (here the voice becomes an apocalyptic roar) "the world!!!!!"

WAAAAAA! The Himalayan power chords return with the horror theme, and the song cycles through another progression of sci-fi rock and jazz trade-offs before Patton hones in more upon the subject matter:

"He's got an itch, but nothing with which to scratch the itch, so wish it away! With his mouth sewn shut he still shakes his butt, cuz he's Hitler and Swayze and Trump and (said alone as a whisper) Travolta!"

Boom! The music drops back into jazz alley nightmare and lingers there as a backdrop for Patton to paint a beautifully subtle vocal collage of delay-effected micro screeches, inhaled squeals, and deep-throat gags and chokes before the keyboard wash almost fades out. Almost. There is no moment of real lasting silence on this album, for all songs segue into the next, always with sonic experiments that are interesting in their own right. Here a frenzy of sax squeaks and breathy duck calls (probably Zorn) sandwich a field recording of a horn- blowing passing train ? a foreshadowing ? that leads into the next song.

"Slowly Growing Deaf" blasts in with 5 seconds of funk rock before dropping suddenly and totally into ambient land, relaxing and drowsy. Patton croons a kind of mission statement with the line "To my ears the greatest sin feels a bit like Beethoven." Dakka-dakka-dak! The snare brings the rock back, chunky and driving like a Faith No More song, but it doesn't last long because the funk returns with the opening Trevor Dunn bass riff, alternating cleverly with hand-clapping surf-guitar sections that will be greatly expanded upon in the future on another Mr. Bungle album, yet here come and go before the mind can even register what it has heard on a first, or even second listen. Right when the music seems to reach a climax there's a pause, a few seconds of video game music, then Chunka-Chunka-Chunka! The FNM-type chunky riff returns without warning. If this looks chaotic and nonsensical in print, in sound it either works wonderfully for you, or IS chaotic and nonsensical depending on your taste. Mr. Bungle's music does not appeal to casual listeners. It is radical, and as such usually inspires love or hatred. A scream like a hole torn in a pressurized vacuum chamber inaugurates a particularly noisy section, with Patton multi-tracking his voice into a demonic mob chorus shouting "my ears, my ears, my ears are ringing my ears, my ears, my ears are ringing?." Over an intense speed-picked Trey Spruance classical metal riff Patton sings in his newly acquired confident sneering rock voice ? "Wax within my ears has grown just like the snot inside my nose / My interpretation of distorted" ? here he contorts the word into one of the most unhinged, ragged, vocal-cord flapping screams in rock history - "conversatioooooooon!"

A split-second of silence, and the soft ambient returns, complete with lounge-jazz cymbal speed-ups and slow-downs. An utterly jarring explosion of rude, distorted yelling over a maximum volume bass and drums riff interrupts everything for a few seconds before the ambient returns and fades out?almost. Patton: "I'm gonna get a cup of coffee". Whump! Silence?then footsteps running away to open a distant door. A toilet lid opens and a man grunts with obvious pain, squeezing a turd out Plop! into the water. Col. Sanders' voice comes in, trying to do that commercial for extra crispy ("what kinda damn chicken?") we have all by now heard from those Al Kooper tapes with all the celebrity [%*!#] ups, and by now the listener has been served notice that this recording is, amongst many other things, a tour de force of pop culture references and gross humor. The man on the toilet keeps grunting painfully and the turds keep plopping in the water over the Colonels' sad, probably drunken attempts to advertise his own chicken: "Some folks call it chicka-maligna! Some folks call it call it, some folks call it, no wait?" The turds have turned liquid, pouring a steady runny stream into the bowl. The Colonel say's "I'm not getting anywhere with this damn thing!" A producer's voice say's "Ok, fine." A last gas surge blows out the anus. Patton sings solo: "I wanna - "

"Squeeze me Macaroni" charges in with not only one of Trevor Dunn's most infectious and incredible slap-funk bass grooves, but also Mike Patton's greatest rap rock performance. And the lyrics are all silly sick perverse food porn:

"lock Betty Crocker in the kitchen and knock her upper during supper / Clutter up her butter gutter / Hostess Ding-Dong wrapped an egg around my wong while Dolly Madison proceeded to ping my pong/ Your Milky Way is M-n-M in your britches and I'll tell you Baby Ruth, it looks mighty delicious / Keep blowin' my gum, cuz here I come, I'm gonna get you all sticky with my Bubble yum yeah!"

Trevor Dunn: Boom-be-doomp! Bibba-doomp be-boomp! "Knick Knack Paddywack! Give your dog a boner baby!"

The groove relents to a mysterioso keyboard wash. Patton sings through a CB radio-type distortion:

"Take a dump baby, squirt some gravy on me?" An over-driven, distorted roar: "Make it brown and runny!"

A metal micro- riff trades with percussive horns behind a stream of voices differentiated by rapidly changing vocal effects: "Give it a little Flavor Flav, back from the grave / Gonna burn some toast, pump some humpin' rump roast!"

The music becomes nearly unbearable rap-noise-rock for a couple measures before resolving into a super chunky metal riff with Pattons' "Oooh Oooh Aaiiiihhhhhs" ascending upwards into electronic whines and then ? dreamy psychedelic Motown Jazz-rock porno, played at a gentle volume. Patton croons in a sweet falsetto: "Squeeze me macaroni / slap your face with my baloney" for four strangely beautiful measures before the band blasts full throttle into one of the highlights of the album, an aggressive Trevor Dunn funk bass line mimicked and augmented by Patton's high-pitched staccato notes: "Dada dada doah di-di da-doah / dada dada dada doah di-di da-doah!"

The band burns through a ridiculously intense prog-funk-metal passage into rapid fire stop- start unison quadruplets, all of it delivered in 10 ? 15 seconds of statistical density at break- neck speed, leading dramatically back into the main groove:

"You gotta siphon the spinach, you gotta cream the corn / Sperm scrambles the eggs and a meal is born / Cookin' like a beginner but I'm goin' up in her / I had fritos for lunch I'm havin' bush for dinner / Chef Boyardee and the Three Musketeers shove Charleston Chews in their rears like queers / 'Holy Moly Guacamole!' said my Chips Ahoy/ I'm gonna pinch a ravioli in the Pillsbury dough! Boooooooy!" (ending with the Tall Man's final roaring word from the mirror on the first Phantasm movie) Catchy choruses of "We came to party!" fade out with the rest of the music as a crazed noise collage takes over, Patton hoarsely screaming "party!" like a drunken frat-boy through a miasma of conversational babblings and random horn blasts, Dennis Hopper weaving in and out with complaints about "warm [%*!#]ing beer's gonna make me puke!" Slowed down and sped up percussion effects reminiscent of Zappa roll us out into a deliriously horned-up Hopper reverie about "Tight [%*!#]in cheeks, O god, O yeah, man!"

Trey's clean guitar and a carnival barker shouting "Hurry! Hurry!" start the horn-driven ska tune "Carousel", a frequent number on demos, this time more produced and Circus-y than ever before. On an album infamous for having lyrics about perversion, madness, masturbation, murder, and suicide, the lyrics here can be taken as representative of the ethos and atmosphere of the entire effort. Patton paints the surface of it, alternating seamlessly between his nasally FNM voice and the macho basso that almost defines his approach on this album:

"A carnival for the human race / Cotton candy, happy face / A child talking with his mouth full / Girlfriend gets stuffed animal / A festive world is all around / Another world is what we've found / Step right let's make a deal / Let's ride on the Ferris wheel."

Now the Underside:

"You know there's something lurking underneath the shape with a mask over his head and makeup on his face / Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee / Take a look in the mirror and see the clown in yourself / If you want to know what's behind the show you ride my carousel, enter life's jail cell / Love and blood begin to meld, you've lost the self that you once held / Merry go round your head ? awake, asleep, alive, or dead!"

The meditation on clowns takes a surprising turn when they are revealed to be not merely villains or symbols of fun and / or evil, but anti-heroes!

"The clown that painted a smile on you / is now the one unmasking you!" The lyrical portion concludes with words for all to ponder:

"A roller coaster ride into the rivers of your mind / The currents merge, your feelings surge, your life's a pantomime / Beauty is the spiral going round and round the beast / Without the vampire effect the carnival is deceased."

Metal chords trade with a James Bond Spy / beach riff before descending full into the dream - "Welcome to my house!" ? Carousels spinning, prize winning ringing bells, and distressed cat meows. Stepping off the ride, Patton yells "I think I'm gonna be sick!" and emits heavily distorted Borg vomit. "Blah! Bluh! Blah! Bluh!" and the song trails off into a small orchestra of toy instruments playing the circus theme, an incredible ride through a sonic funhouse.

-Snippett of video game music, then-

Bum Bum! Power chords alternate with porno guitar. "Egg" roars in to take no prisoners. If you thought the rest was intense, hold on cuz the band is now warmed-up and ready to kick ass. A couple measures of funk rock underpins Patton's Alchemical proclamation (most probably written by Trey, whose interest in magic is well known) "Rotting from the inside over ? incubated by the heat of fear and love / the self's coagulated!"

"Egg!" the chorus sings, and it's off into a fast, irresistible ska groove with warbly-cartoony "Lla-la, Lla-la-la-la-la's!" Then a warning from Patton:

"Boiling hard in euphemism / Slowly becoming part of the water / Like a frog who never knows the jacuzzi's getting hotter! Lla-la, Lla-la-la-la-la!"

Here one of the great abrupt changes of the album occurs as the ska riff drops diagonally into psychedelic prog-jazz, with noisy techno-guitar screeching over a hypnotic, monster- stalking-prey bass and drum rhythm. Patton pulls out a gangster: "How'd you know I was lookin' at you if you weren't lookin' at me?" The section crescendos into a reprise of the opening guitar riff, but the opening is not repeated. The song goes into a knew riff, driving and insistent, with extremely violent sounding distorted vocals right up in the listeners' face, and it doesn't even matter what they are saying at this point, it's the effect that counts. The band launches into a drum pounding blast-beat, racing through a rhythmic contortion back into the ska groove with a transition that makes the head spin. And the "Lla-la-la's" are back, too, but not for long! In the kind of change that inspires many listeners to classify this music as RIO, the music drops off a cliff into silence punctuated by pure randomness: wavering horns, sticks falling, Patton going "Hey! Hey!" like a drunken man. Then Wham! The driving riff with the violent distorted vocals is back. Patton's voice goes from Hardcore yelling to hyper-roboto to death growling in the space of seconds. You still can't make out what is being said but it is, for some, worth knowing:

"The cracks finally appear / Release cholesterol tears / The flooded cyst drains itself of puss / The lonely stomach chills unless it's drunk / So as she drives she'll close her eyes / Feel it warming up inside!" Another high speed blast-beat, the music goes briefly backwards, some studio gimmickry fun, before returning to the main ska riff. Patton sings the eternal mystery:

"Oh an egg comes out of a chicken / O a chick comes out of an egg! / O an egg comes out of a chicken / O a chick comes out of an egg!"

Building to yet another climax the music abruptly goes to Hell with a chorus of ragged, piercing screams over dark descending power chords, squealing sax and horns conjuring the flames. This trails off into a slow bass and drum plod colored by clean ringing guitar chords and synth washes that could be construed as relaxing if not for the persistent minor key foreboding of the music, and Patton's building-to-a-climax meditation on the line "There's no place like home / There's no place like home." If some have made it this far into the album, this may be the place where they can't take it anymore. For fans it is one of the Great Moments, especially for the enjoyment of Patton's insane vocal artistry. With each passing measure, alternating with Zorn-style bites of chaotic noise, Patton makes the line more demented, running through a panoply of different voice characters, from the cartoony to the demonic, ending it with an Edith Bunker screeching-whine-come-drunk-Tony Clifton- lounge-vocal. The music falls apart into "don't believe I'd of done that" territory. "NO PLACE LIKE Ha-ha-ha!" screams in your face one more time, degenerating into laughter (cuz hey, this band may be bad-ass evil but they got a sense of humor and are cracking themselves up) then ? the Intermission.

Yes, an Intermission. At first you may not know that. Rather you will think 'what the hell happened?' It's a much talked about section amongst Bungle fans, a field-recording, supposedly captured by a 4-track strapped to a band members' back (Patton?) as they hop a moving box car. The foreshadowing of the train in the transition from "Travolta" (I mean Quote Unquote!) to "Slowly Growing Deaf" is now fulfilled. Here it lasts a few minutes, a long time for those not used to such a thing. It seems incongruous, out of nowhere, mostly just loud wind and clanking metal and a smattering of voices. In retrospect it is a logical and much welcome Intermission from all the mayhem. The ears need a moment to relax, to be wiped clean with silence before the second half of the assault comes. And it is coming! You will know you've reached it when you hear Patton ask "what's his problem?"

A mélange of sound effects brings us into the slow circus waltz of "Stubb (A Dub)". Patton sings in a dreamy falsetto:

"Do you remember we called you puppy? Now you're one of us, we call you family." The waltz builds in dissonance and tension. "Family" is repeated with mounting sarcastic vocal affectation. This can't be good, then ? Loony Tunes! A high speed blast beat of carnival music sweeps all from its path. Many listeners who have reached this point have never heard music do this before, and probably didn't know that it could. Trumpet notes emphasize the downbeat whilst keys and percussion augment the up, and the bass plays all of it! The combined effect is extreme cartoon thrash.

After a couple dense and precise measures it stops. Patton's voice floats warbly and indescribable amongst dissonant keyboard notes:

"Treading under foot and stinking ass / Hold the door aside and let her pass." A locked-brake tire screams burning rubber on asphalt before a collision. A demonic-thug chorus roars "Glaucoma!" The band is in trademark Bungle territory, a heavy bass and drum groove with stabbing, counterpoint synth notes. Patton sings in a heavily effected sneering Martian voice:

"Reflections of a bloated lie / A life stored in your cloudy eye / Now it's time to say goodbye / Stubb A Dub will never die!" More Carnival blasts beats.

"Chase a tail that isn't there / It's time to wipe your butt ? sliding down butt hill!"

A fast piano, bass, and drum excursion take us into yet another head spinning change with rapid fire alternating sax and snare-bass quadruplets, landing odd time in a piano-led mid- tempo ska groove. Patton sings in a clean, soaring, nasally tenor:

"Dahg Rastubfari -do you know? / That you're a [%*!#]ing dog? / And if you can hear me, then throw up / Give me a sign and I'll throw a stick bring it back roll over and die / You taught me a lesson ? thanks Mom!"

Ballroom piano plays brightly over a hyper delineated funk groove, almost disco. Patton raps the lyrics quickly and melodically:

"Do you understand me do you think about me when you're peeing? Do you really think your gonna grow into a human being?"

Grand orchestral circus jazz flows majestically over a sizzling drum patter. The music mounts in rhythmic piano-drum stabs.

"You're gonna die! How does it feel? Stubb!"

The song structure cycles back to the carnival blast beats, though each time something new is added to them. When the "do you know that you're a [%*!#]in' dog?" section returns, Patton adds a speaking track, reciting the words as sarcastic poetry along with the singing tracks. With a rolling snare flourish the song returns to the slow waltz used at the song's very beginning. Patton sings in his dreamy falsetto:

"Do you remember we called you family? / Now you're underground / We call you memory! Memory. Memory. Ahh memory?" trailing off in a cast of voices. A low bass note rumbles. Rolling cymbals mount tension. Someone is weeping and can't stop. It's Kyle McLachlan fresh from the closet-he-had-been-hiding-in scene from "Blue Velvet". Isabella Rossellini whispers "I want you to hurt me."

Percussive guitar chords chop the air. Trevor Dunn weaves bass notes around it. Patton bellows something indecipherable, a punk yell double-tracked with a death roar. A Trey Spruance triplet-based monster metal riff dances contrapuntal odd-time with sci-fi staccato keyboard stabs, creating a sound unlike any other. "My Ass is on Fire" is the 'heaviest' tune on the album, and remains a fan favorite, something Bungle recognized, and even sympathized with (a rare thing for them!) for they chose to keep playing it live up until the end of their career together, albeit in modified form. Descending metal chords give way to a low key, tension building porno groove, trumpets dancing light and airy above. Patton sneers: "Impotent / Boomerang / I'll stab you (in a gravelly purr ? I'll stab you)" The metal chords return in an aggressive staccato march alternating in halting stop-starts with dual sax lines. The tension is building. Something horrible is coming.

"Clumps of hair / In the sink / Who's hiding things from me?"

The music surges forward in a driving groove. Patton yells maniacally through a harsh, abrasive distortion:

"You knew all along - Goddamnit! But you wouldn't tell me, well look at you NAAAAOOOOOOOWW!"

The distorted yell becomes a claws-down-the-back chainsaw scream, one of the greatest in all of Rock, a real room clearer (an old girlfriend of mine actually DID leave the room with this scream, saying "it sounds like someone's being murdered!") A wall of distortion reverberates, ringing out to the edges of space. The chorus rides in on the backs of the Four Horsemen. Patton sings in his high nasally tenor:

"It's not funny my ass is on fire!"

Trey unleashes a fast, alternate-picked sci-fi surf guitar like Dick Dale on steroids over Trevor Dunn's propulsive, hurtling locomotive bass, leading the band into a lurching rhythmic contortion of slowed and sped-up triplets.

"Paraplegic inhuman liar!"

A tight, heavy Rush-like rave-up has Patton on the CB radio muttering something indecipherable. A rapid turntable 'wicka-wicka-wicka' brings the porno groove back, punched up, loud, and un-subtle.

"Carve a smile / On your face / Everything's great / Suffocate!"

We drop into the Underworld. Dark growth of menace. Tribal drums building in volume and insistence. Something horrible is coming again! Smattering of voices babbling. Words begin to take shape. "Fuck", and "Don't you [%*!#]ing look at me!" Hoarse and whispering turns gravelly then confrontational: "Don't you [%*!#]ing look at me!"As the music coalesces into another forward thrust, Patton goes for maximum abrasion, wailing a distorted Johnny Rotten on-the-verge-of-vomit voice.

"It's beyond my control / it's beyond my control / it's beyond my control ? I'm comiiiiiiiiiing!"

A micro-flourish of sax announces a new section of full out prog metal. Epic Trey Spruance power chords punctuate a martial, end-of-the-world riff over a swirling, circular, odd-time Trevor Dunn bass and Heifetz drum pattern (The band knows this is an awesome section. They played it unchanged in the otherwise altered version of the song during their "California" shows. The appreciative audience, well-schooled in the ways of Bungle by this time, always got their mosh on during it!) A speed romp under 'Emergency' sirens brings us to a reprise of the chorus. Patton reminds us his "Ass is on Fire!" But there's more in store. A slow building death growl takes us into sludge, a stumbling rhythm for zombies, monotonous and irritating. Patton builds the vocal collage from Hell out of his best impish, snotty punk voice:

"Redundant / Redundant / Redun ? Redundant! / Redundant / Redun -!"

As the sludge oozes forth and the zombie march drones on, Patton's vocals multiply into sheer cacophony. Grinding destruction of all things in one Unholy Din! Here the band gives the listener yet ANOTHER chance to bail. It's a test. Can you be a masochist for your sadistic favorite band? They will demand it of you. Mr. Bungle actually enjoys the chance to annoy and even horrify their audience, and relishes the opportunity to maybe drive you away! Many can't take it, and either skip to the next tune or take it off. Those who endure are rewarded with the brief but humorous segue into the next song. The chaos ends all at once. A lone voice say's "Excuse me, I am lost. Please help me." The Chinese / Vietnamese or I- don't-know-what interpretation follows. "Te bouche. Wo me la lu. Chimme pow pow" (or something to that effect. That's phonetic. I don't know Chinese so gimme a break!) Voices are talking. A woman is telling Mr. Bungle that 'Villem' is [%*!#]ing up his campaign by creating ads that are being laughed at, and that she could do a better job than "that turkey". Mr. Bungle, who is running for SOMETHING, responds that he never cared for Villem now that she mentions it, and that what she is saying is interesting. "In fact" he says "you are interesting."

Her: "Oh Mr. Bungle, I didn't know you were interested. And you will give me your account for my new agency?"

Mr. Bungle: "Later. We'll talk business later. First I want to make love to your beautiful, beautiful body!"

With an erotic sigh and the ensuing sounds of [%*!#]ing, "The Girls of Porn" comes in with obligatory 'Shaft'-style wah guitar. Patton in announcer mode say's:

"Ok all you puss sucking mother[%*!#]ers out there, it's time to win a chance to butt-bang your daughters' tight virgin cherry ass to caller 666!"

A metal riff becomes a smooth bass and sax porn groove. Patton brings us into his auto- erotic world:

"The urge is too much to take / All I can think about is playing with myself / It's time to masturbate / I got my Hustler and I don't need nothin' else."

The Chorus says it all:

"My hand gets tired and my dick gets sore! / But the girls of porn want more / So I flip through the pages one more time / And I just let the jism fly."

In a hyper macho roar comes "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" and the metal riff returns. As one can guess, this tune has indeed often been singled out for criticism, i.e. that it is juvenile and ridiculous and gross, etc. But if you've made it this far into the album the only danger you will face with this song is possibly being bored by it, for compared to the rest of the material it is rather un-adventurous. It IS slick, sonically speaking, and amusing to those who can appreciate the 70's porn references to Ginger Lynn, The Devil and Mrs. Jones, Aja &John Holmes. And there's more!

"We got gushing gonads, tingling tushes / Hairy balls and hairy bushes / S&M and whips and chains / Pregnant ladies with menstrual pains." In a deep double-tracked voice reminiscent of some of the vocals in Zappa's work, Patton continues to list the cornucopia of delicious perversions:

"We got girls who'll eat your pee and poo / guys who'd love to [%*!#] your shoe / There's she- males, lezbos, and shaved beav / And D-cup mamas with so much cleave / Senior citizens who love to watch / And sniff those skid marks from your crotch ? YEEAAAAAAH!"

-A snippet of a chick getting her brains [%*!#]ed out, saying "Oh Mr. Bungle!" - and "Yeah!

Yeah! Yeah!" the metal riff returns. "I'd buy that for a dollar!" a voice say's, referencing 'Robocop'. Patton mimics a squealing sax and the song ends with a bang. But wait. We are in an alley somewhere. It sounds like more of the 4-track recording used in the intermission. Where have we ended up? The sounds of conflict can be heard, some old man yelling: "Put me down boy!" It feels voyeuristic. "I'll kill ya!" the old man yells. "I'll kill ya boy!"

"Love is a Fist" breaks through with the chunkiest, most brutal metal riff on the album, yet it doesn't last, sliding into a propulsive, odd meter bass and drum pattern, laced percussively with sax. Patton sings in a deeply resonant basso.

"Clenched emotion / Round my ween / feel my heart beat - off and your head in!" Out of a dreamy yet disconcerting reverie the message is delivered, and it is a simple one. "I feel" Patton croons, "strongly ? about violence!" which becomes an utterly distorted, deep- in-the-throat, sneering punk yell. Zorn takes an uncredited yet obvious solo here, strangling his sax in that squeaky-screechy way that only he can. Propelled by a merciless metal riff the demonic-thug chorus crushes your skull beneath steel-toed boots:

"Love is a fist! Live is a fist! Love is a fist!"

A chorused sax section takes us to another verse:

"There's no effort / To what's in / Open faced - knuckle sandwich!"

Another dreamy section sets in and extends itself, cresting (or bottoming?) with an oblique Ike & Tina Turner reference ("what's love got to do with it?") The violence returns, yelling belligerent voices, and "DOOOSH!" The thug chorus returns, trailing off into slowing, staggering chords and more squealing saxophone murder.

"Is a / Fist Love / Is a / Fist Love / Is a"

Grainy-sounding 'educational' film music comes in through a black and white portal from a 1950's classroom. A slightly muffled yet friendly projector voice say's "Just before lunch one day a puppet show was held at school. It was fun to watch." It is, in fact, the Lunchroom Manners film the band took its name from. "Mr. Bungle goes to the Boy's room. His hands are dirty and his hair is messy, but he doesn't stop to wash his hands or comb his hair, he goes right to lunch." The Children laugh. Mr. Bungle doesn't wait in line, he goes right to the front. The announcer must set things right for us:

"Even though the children laughed, no one thought that was a fair thing to do. In the lunchroom, Mr. Bungle was so clumsy and impolite he knocked over everything, and no one wanted to sit next to him. And when he knocked over his own tray, that was the end of the puppet show. Phillip knew that even though Mr. Bungle was funny to watch, he wouldn't be much fun to eat with. He knew Mr. Bungle wouldn't have many friends. He wouldn't want to be like Mr. Bungle."

"Alleyowup!" Patton yells, or something to that effect. "Dead Goon" begins with synth and cymbal washes, noisily plucked strings, and strange backwards sound effects. The circus theme is played out to the end with an oompa oompa walking bass and guitar-on-the- upbeat ska groove. Patton comes in with pitch-tuned vocals, a demonic cartoon character:

"Nobler than Oedipus / Clairvoyant and toothless / Foreplay with no friends / Premature until the end."

The carnival noise builds and, with a snare drums announcement ? dakka da da-dak! ? the grooviest Trevor Dunn fusion bass rolls in, weaving around and beneath Trey's funk guitar and Heifetz' multi-tracked drums and timbales. The effect is light and airy like Latin American Jazz. Patton sings in a high, pretty falsetto:

"I've got a secret / Babbling senseless / No one will ever know / Kids can be so cruel / Smash the feeling / Suckle the sugar breast."

With a drum and key "da-da da da-da Woooooosh!" the music returns to circus mode. Patton croons in his hyper-macho basso, clowning it up with exaggerated inflections:

"Too happy ? A jerk beyond a smile / An asphyxiophile / I'm the Humper / Stop hitting me / Walking the plank, swallowing dirt / Johnny is just skin and juice and hair, a hero unaware / Tied in a knot beneath giggling / My own two hands tickling me."

What is it all about? The key is the word "asphyxiophile", meaning one who loves the sensation of asphyxiating, auto-erotic style.

And like so many stories we have heard about people who do this, this one doesn't turn out well (though even that is a matter of perspective!) Patton returns with the deep pitch-tuned vocals:

"Playing Solitaire / A rope and mommy's underwear / Hanging on, letting go / Dangling to and fro!" A desperate, full-throated "NNNOOOOOOOO!" sets the carousel of music spinning. An insistent siren-like rhythm emerges, guitar and synth notes playing the downbeat in unison. Trevor Dunn and Heifetz play a halting start-stop bass and drum counterpoint against it and through it, building in complexity to a jaw-dropping, stumbling-up-the- staircase fusion run that is simply indescribable in words. Patton shrieks from the top of his register and slides slowly to the bottom, letting it echo into the vast distance, resolving into an 'Exorcist'-type demon vocal:

"It can't happen! It can't happen!" Slowing down and dropping even further in pitch, descending: "It?can't?happen! It?.can't??.happen?.."

A rope creaks, swaying with the weight of the dangling body it holds. Ooooops! Keyboard notes reminiscent of Kerry Minnear of Gentle Giant play sparse, Martian-like rhythmic patterns. Strange sounds and snippets of other melodies float by, drifting away. So relaxing after all that! Patton's voice echoes in and out: "Floating away / tingling / Fluid seeping / Family weeping / It feels so good / So bad / But please?don't tease me." A rumble grows, a rising vortex of sound. The cacophony crescendos to a peak then whisks away in silence.


Haunting elevator music wafts in, the ghost of a lost era: 1940's hotels on Sunset Strip; Victorian galas on a doomed ship. An accordion plays nostalgic schmaltz, beautiful and ghastly. This last minute, end-of-the-disc hallucinatory collage reveals itself, on repeated listenings, to be a brilliant exercise in transitions between disparate pieces of music. A string section reeking of mothballs becomes a shimmering shower of bells, twinkling. And it's over.

Over?with a blessed 30+ seconds at the beginning before the towering Himalayan power chords return to start the whole ride over again!

 Disco Volante by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.99 | 205 ratings

Disco Volante
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

3 stars Volatile, aggressive, flighty, energetic, eclectic; like an instrumental Battle Royale in too crowded a studio. Or one of the zanier Canterbury bands joining the dark side on some very, very hard drugs?

A hard-hitting streak of thrashy, harsh and dirty metal might be as close to a common theme you can come on Disco Volante. But why even bother about finding that? So many different bits and pieces of sounds from all over are deconstructed, mangled, turned inside out, regurgitated and haphazardly pieced together that things tend to get a bit blurry after a while. And everything is fused at such a breakneck pace, with a furiously capricious kind of composition. A whirlwind of a vast array of different instruments makes it a fairly colourful and vibrant mess for much of the ride, which only further enhance the brooding menace and underlying dark energy that's always lurking beneath the surface.

While at times commanding, intent and direct in individual bits, the structure is more like a room of countless doors that have their own particular sounds and identity behind them and slam open and shut at irregular intervals. Anarcho-jazz breaks and wild flights of fancy meet diabolic funfair stuff. Sidetracks into warped whimsicality and quirky little melodies abound and a rich array of the most surprising effects and samples is simply everywhere, occasionally breaking down completely in a descent into noise. The genre and ethnic mash-up is further propelled by demented pastiches on as disparate things as lounge/elevator music, "twangy" 50s instrumental rock, old school suspense music it tango? From the utterly goofy to the deeply disturbing, the moods shift quickly and dramatically throughout the album. But there's a sheen of irreverence and dark humour on top of it all, perhaps excluding the more sombre and cerebral musique concrète excursions.

In agreement with other reviewers, to me there are three compositions that stand out as something extra special:

A darkly melodramatic and visceral soundtrack to a twisted avant soap-opera of horror and violence, with the sampled destruction of a home as a cheery backdrop. Truly sinister and called Violenza Domestica (there's a clue as to why it sounds nothing like a happy show tune).

The erratic and fractured minimalism of the semi-ambient The Bends, where twitching and flickering sound bits shine their subdued and ghostly light in a murky underwater soundscape. But that still leaves enough room for some understated jazz noodling along the way. Just for good measure.

And finally the rollercoaster industro-Krautronica with strong Middle Eastern vibes that is Desert Search For Allah, with perhaps the densest atmosphere on the album, with a mysteriously compelling, mirage-like vibe.

And throughout all of this, the vocals twist and turn in an absurd number of characterful and limitless ways - snarls, hisses, whispers, gargles, howls, "doodling" and a bit of actual singing now and then. Processed, distorted or just unfiltered, straight out of Patton, it's hardly ever what you'd expect a vocalist to do. On top of that, they're often wordless or sung in perfectly fluent gibberish. At times intense and intimate, like they are whispered right into your ears or disturbing voices inside your head, they are nevertheless quite a treat, especially for these ears, which have gotten used to Demetrio Stratos vocal acrobatics and contortionism.

But is it really enjoyable? To be honest, I'm a bit uncertain about how I feel about Disco Volante. It's fascinating, downright enthralling, and a hell of a ride. For all of that, it remains a curiosity. One to cherish from time to time, but hardly the stuff that makes a personal favourite.

But as a jolt of fresh energy into dulled-down and blasé senses, this is the medicine. And oddly charming at that.

3 stars.


 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.94 | 167 ratings

Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

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: Varèse, 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.

 Disco Volante by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.99 | 205 ratings

Disco Volante
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Where's the Kitchen Sink?

When Mr. Bungle's debut album came out in 1991, it was a coup of sorts. Thanks to Mike Patton's success in Faith No More, suddenly an avant-garde rock band from the John Zorn school of Blink-and-You'll-Miss-It, released an album on Warner Brothers, about as "major" as labels get. Faith No More were fairly weird for a popular band, but nothing prepared people for this. The debut album wowed me to no end for a year or so, but after a while, the over-the-top carnival atmosphere and pornographic funk metal tracks lost their novelty for me and I put the group away.

When "Disco Volante" came out, I didn't even consider buying it at first, figuring I'd heard all I needed to from the band already. But when I read a review assuring me it was "100% Uncompromising" (I remember that quote), from a prog rock publication no less, I was intrigued and picked up a copy at the next opportunity.

A complete and utter surprise. This is music wherein the band seemingly wrote down every twisted musical idea that came into their head, and all of it somehow worked its way into this unbelievably dense album. Metal music, while present, is no longer the focus of the band's sound; rather, the pieces seem to fall into two groups - a) songs that present whiplash-inducing changes of style, tempo, and volume several times during the song, and b) songs that explore a single style, but executed in a way designed to sound completely different from what you've heard before.

In the former category, a big thumbs up to "Carry Stress in the Jaw" (note: the original LP version had a hidden track within the grooves of this song; for the CD version, this secret song is just tacked on to the end, and comprises the last 3 minutes or so of the track), "Merry Go Bye Bye", and "Platypus", all of which use (death?) metal as a contrasting element to surf rock, jazz, and lounge. In the latter category, we have the utterly incredible "Desert Search for Techno Allah", a previously unheard-of marriage of electro-techno and Middle Eastern music - this concept was later turned into the basis for an entirely new band, Secret Chiefs 3, by Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance (also highly recommended), Equally memorable is the cinematic "Violenza Domestica", which comes across like a radio drama (in Italian) complete with suspense music and breaking glass.

The album's not perfect, though. At the end of the album, there's about 6 minutes of random percussion noises with occasional tuneless noises that are kind of a waste of time (another "hidden track" tacked onto the end of "Merry Go Bye Bye"). "The Bends" is another track that fans seem divided on. While I think the idea of a 10 minute scary ambient track in the middle of all this madness is an inspired one, and its purpose as an audio depiction of someone getting the "bends" is clear (decompression syndrome, often experienced by deep sea divers), it ultimately fails to produce much effect, and just doesn't have that much going on to justify the length.

A solid 4 stars - and one of the strangest albums Warner Brothers has ever released.

 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.04 | 192 ratings

Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by rustytheginge

5 stars After listening to this album for 5 years, I can safely say that it most definitely a masterpiece of experimental/progressive rock. It took me a year to fully appreciate as when I first listened to this, I was a huge metalhead. But something about Mr Bungle clicked with me, and I definitely feel it changed my life. Lets go down the cliched route of a track-by-track review. It's easy to follow so why the hell not...

Sweet Charity.

Before hearing this, I had already become acclimatized with songs like Platypus and Squeeze Me Macaroni, so when this kicked off I thought 'hang on, it's a bit soft!'. I felt kinda disappointed and bored so i skipped to the next track, None Of Them Knew They Were Robots. Naturally I fell in love with this song instantly as it is more like your typical Bungle craziness. Feeling slightly guilty for dismissing Sweet Charity so quickly, I thought, why not give it another go, this time with an open mind. Oooh... why doesn't this sound pretty! There's seagulls, whistling and pretty slide-guitars oh and some lovely violins, how nice! Then the chorus kicks in... SWEET CHARUH-TAYYYY bom ba da HAAAH etc... YESSS I'm hooked instantly. I find myself in a world of sun, sand and cocktails until..........

None of Them Knew They Were Robots.

........POOF. Sunshine and sambuca no more. Instead, a jagged landscape of evil clowns, haunted merry-go-rounds and those weird mirror things. A real cracker melting such styles as swing, rockabilly and jazz, NOTKTWR really crams everything possible inside 6 schizophrenic minutes. You have saxophones and horns in between odd surf guitar licks, demented swing drums and Patton crrooning, yelping and screaming all in the blink of an eye. You'll find yourself wearing a murderous grin 2 minutes in and if you're like me, imitating Patton's crazy HAR-HIP HAR-HIP J-J-J-JOE while slapping your thighs maniacally. A song that fans of old Bungle will appreciate.


What's this? A normal sounding Mr Bungle song? Never! No weird cartoon noises or funky slap-bass? Yet instead we're given a straight-laced pop ballad. I say this as if it's a bad thing. It really isn't.... Retrovertigo contains possibly Mike Patton's most gorgeous vocal performance ever. Just listen to that chorus, you will realise that the guy can really sing! And sing to the heavens too! It gets real crunchy at the end when the guitars and drums kick in for the last chorus finale. If you have a heart in there, this will take your breath away. Well done Trevor Dunn for writing such a brilliant pop song, why it didn't make number 1 I will never know.....

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

This is the first song I ever heard by Mr Bungle, and still is a favourite of mine. How can anyone not love this song??? It has everything you could possibly want to hear in just under 4 minutes. A steaming cauldron of surf rock, metal, doo-wop and bats testicles... it makes you wonder, how can anyone write music like this? Oh, and if you think it sounds awesome on CD, wait til you hear it live. Yes. It's even better. Don't be surprised if you have BA BA BA BA stuck in your head for days. Bungle can sure compose the catchiest tunes since Barbie Girl. Go on. Give it a try!

Ars Moriendi.

What happened when Slayer got into a fight with a Hungarian klezmer band? Thats right. This did. Again, another song that displays Mr Bungle's trademark genre-blending. We have accordions, speed metal guitars, polka drums, and some odd middle-eastern instrumentation with a sprinkling of techno. How can this be possible.. you ask yourself as you read this.. well just you wait and see. Whats great is that Bungle can blend such unassuming and opposing styles without ever sounding contrived or cliched. Another classic dose of insanity.

Pink Cigarette.

There is not one other song on this earth which I hold so dear to my heart. I dare not even justify it by describing it. You need to listen with an open mind and hopefully fall in love the way I did. Again, Mr Bungle have crafted a perfect pop song, as memorable as your first kiss, and just as precious. If your heart doesn't melt by time Patton utters the words ' cigarette...' then I'm afraid you don't have a heart. Pure and simple.

Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy.

Back to the Bungle everyone knows. Brimming with bleeps and bloops, disco beats, robotic vocal effects and evil glockenspiels, it's impossible not to enjoy yourself as you go through the songs many twists and turns. Ending with a spooky, distant piano melody, Golem II is the true meaning of odd. I love it!

The Holy Filament.

Its hard for me to believe now, but it took me almost a year to appreciate this song. I would always skip straight to Vanity Fair and not really give it the time of day. I finally gave it a chance, and just like Sweet Charity did, it wormed its way under my skin and stayed there. Mike Patton's harmonies are truly astounding on this one. I would have to describe it as a sort of psychedelic/ambient style. Their are lovely violins, piano melodies and strange noises. The only way to fully understand is simply to listen to it and make your own judgement. In a word: beautiful.

Vanity Fair.

Easily the most uplifting track on California. Featuring a doo-wop style, some sexual saxophones and a FLAWLESS performance by King Patton himself, it's an instant winner. Along with Retrovertigo, this is Patton's best vocals by a country mile. Vanity Fair features lyricss about self-castration, but considering other Bungle songs are themed on food-porn, eggs and child-abuse, it's not surprising that they chose song an odd topic to write about. But hey, after all, this is Mr Bungle, so onto the finale..............

Goodbye Sober Day.

What a way to end a perfect album! A tour-de-force of jazz trumpets, crunching metal guitar, futuristic synths before Mike Patton rips your head off with CHAKCHAKCHAKCHAKACHAKA. By the very last seconds of cacophony that end California, you will most likely be left completely astounded and wonder what the hell you've been doing for the past hour.

Once the bug bites it will never let go. An essential album for EVERY music fans collection. Well worth any amount of money you happen to spend after reading this. Oh, you WILL buy it. Don't think you won't. I will come find you otherwise.....

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.94 | 167 ratings

Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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