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Mr. Bungle


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Mr. Bungle Mr. Bungle album cover
4.06 | 217 ratings | 27 reviews | 38% 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
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MR. BUNGLE Mr. Bungle ratings distribution

(217 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MR. BUNGLE Mr. Bungle reviews

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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
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
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.

Review by Kempokid
5 stars The debut album of Mike Patton's greatest project is a deranged amalgamation of an incredible variety of genres including ska, funk, and metal. Nothing present here has even the slightest semblance of sanity, each song jumping around, being incoherent messes that all end up working well despite this, with demented, often disgusting lyrics ranging from masturbation, to death, to more out there concepts such as wanting to have sex with food. These obscene songs are further backed up by Mike Patton's one of a kind vocals, sounding cartoonish and clearly insane, almost reminding me of Spongebob Squarepants in places, yet having extreme versatility to go along with it which honestly just further sinks this album into utter madness. This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.

If you ignore the ridiculous outro of random noise, the album opener 'Quote Unquote' is one of the most coherent songs here, sure, sounding like a circus for the psychotic, but coherent nonetheless, only having a few riffs, and without any drastic changes within. Despite this, it's an awesome song with some seriously incredible groove. 'Slowly Growing Deaf' is probably the closest the album gets to a normal song, being a decent metal track that still has its fair share of weirdness to it, particularly the absurd screaming of Mike Patton, which will prove to be a common theme throughout the album. 'Squeeze Me Macaroni' sounds like a more hyperactive, metal focused 'Red Hot Chilli Peppers' song, incorporating a very strong funk element, complete with slap bass. The lyrics here are particularly absurd, using constant sexual innuendos relating to food, making for a disgusting, yet extremely fun and entertaining song. The various extended outros to the tracks in general prove to be ridiculous, yet very fitting for the album, being just as perverse and strange as the main portions of the songs. The ska track 'Carousel' is a definite highlight of the album, being the most fun song on the album, with wonderful saxophone and trumpet, along with an extremely catchy chorus, even if there are no actual lyrics in it. Just as with previous tracks, this one has a really dark tone to it despite the ridiculous music, having sections of pained screaming along with great deals of downtuning. The next highly notable song is 'Stubb - A Dub' a song that lacks guitar and has some of the more entertaining changes, switching between a really good melodic song, to circus-esque freakouts going far faster than the rest of the song, this all of course being before it goes completely mad near the end. 'My Ass Is On Fire' marks by far the heaviest song on the album, full of dissonant, noisy riffs, random screaming, even less coherence than the rest of the album, and a 2 minute outro that continuously devolves further and further, with Mike Patton constantly screaming "redundant", which becomes equal parts funny and cacophonous. The final three songs are somewhat less out there and memorable than the rest of the album, with 'The Girls of Porn' being a fairly straightforward funk metal track that greatly focuses on the lyrics, which are just as great as the are on the rest of the album. 'Love is a Fist' is the only song that I'd possibly consider a weak point on the album, although it still has its fair share of great moments, such as the high pitched saxophone solo and Mike Patton singing with even more ferocity than on the rest of the album. 'Dead Goon' is a track that I honestly would have considered average if not for 2 things that significantly pushed it to greatness, one of these being the incredible bass, easily what I'd consider to be the best on the album. The other factor is the extreme sense of discomfort felt during the final 5 minutes, as you continuously hear creaking as the rope the character of the song used to hang himself sways back and forth, with very eerie music to accompany it.

This is definitely some of the most deranged, obscene and disgusting music I've listened to at this point in time, and I absolutely love it. Basically anything that could have proven to be a downfall on the album instead works in its favour. The lack of coherence is balanced out by the overall sense of fun that the album has, never taking itself seriously enough to actually become annoying in how its handled. The constant burst of chaotic noise build the identity of this album, as things like the lyrics and vocals complement such an abrasive style. I can even enjoy the outros despite many of them being random noise, simply because they further strengthen the identity of the album, and are either ridiculous or amusing. All in all, while this is definitely far from easy listening, it represents some of my favourite avant garde music out there.

Best Songs: Carousel, Stubb - A Dub, My Ass Is On Fire

Weakest Songs: Love Is A Fist

Verdict: Absolutely demented, insane avant garde music that will definitely not be for everyone. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to listen to something weird, but will strongly advise against people who love beautiful and coherent music to listen to this twisted masterpiece.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Very few albums have had life changing impacts on me, hitting me at a pivotal point in my life and actually succeeded in blowing my mind upon first listen, but Eureka, CA produced one of the craziest, most bizarre and schizoid bands ever to exist. MR BUNGLE has gained a cult status since this self-titled debut sprang itself onto an unsuspecting public back in 1991 but at the time, there was absolutely NOTHING that existed that was this spastic and bonkers and spun the circle of musical genres like Vanna spinning letters on Wheel of Fortune.

While the band had its origins all the way back in the 80s and started out as a death metal band, somewhere along the line they adopted a funk metal approach as the canvas to paint their surrealistic visions upon. Infused with a DIY punk ethos, MR BUNGLE sprang from nowhere and pummeled the music world with the craziest mix of punk, funk, heavy metal, jazz, ska and even circus music all shaken n' stirred in a big steaming cauldron of avant-garde. I, personally as well as the rest of the world at large for that matter, would never be the same.

For those only familiar with Mike Patton in Faith No More, it must've come as a real shock upon hearing the debut MR BUNGLE album. For anyone expecting a similarly styled mix of melodic keyboard infused alternative metal, expectations were quickly shot down by Patton's true restless and creative nature. Ironically it was Patton's huge success with Faith No More that allowed the BUNGLE project to evolve out of the obscure underground stage to the big budget extravaganza that appeared on a huge record label like Warner Bros.

The BUNGLERS were a sextet which at this stage consisted of Mike Patton "Vlac Drac" (vocals), Trey Spruance "Scummy" (guitar), Theobald Brooks Lengyel (alto & baritone saxes), Clinton McKinnon "Bär" (tenor sax), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Danny Heifetz (drums). In addition to the main team was David Shea who provided renegade turntables, several backing vocalists and even a cameo with Patton's idol John Zorn who provided an sizzling psychotic sax solo on "Love Is A Fist." The album was a frenetic free for all yet crafted some of the catchiest melodies to reel you in before it took you on a wild roller coaster ride.

The album pulls no punches. The very first track "Quote Unquote" (originally titled "Travolta" but changed for legal reasons) smacks you in the face with a demented keyboard leading the way as Patton provides the role as the carnival barker with his twisted surreal lyrics about whatever came to mind. The groove ties it all together as the track shape shifts into psychedelia, heavy metal bombast and back to the original psycho-circus music that begins it. "Slowly Growing Deaf" gets even more wild and crazy and displays the band's love of hairpin musical twists that allow frenetic Fishbone styled funk metal to immediately turn into molasses slow space rock and then bombastic alternative metal heft. The part where the song falls into a deep space rock trance and is punctuated by a few seconds of heavy metal bombast is startling and hilarious!

"Squeeze Me Macaroni" not only wins for the most twisted nursery rhyme funk metal tune of all time but also displays Patton's ability to rap and roll on steroids like no one else in the rock world. The lyrics are goofy and as ridiculous as one could possibly imagine all backed up an incredible rhythm section and tons of sound effects to provide the proper cartoon effect. "Carousel" is the best example of circus metal i've ever heard with a hopping circus groove and a sizzling swing jazz section that adds some metal guitar heft and a demented clown feel and the track that most adequately represents the album cover by Dan Sweetman which is a character published in a DC Comics story called "A Cotton Candy Autopsy." Oh i forgot to mention the random bouts of surf rock!

"Egg" is a bass driven funk metal phenomena that tackles the eternal question of which came first: the chicken or the egg? Fortified with lots of funky grooves, a series of la-la-la's and horse truths of life decorated in humor, the funk sections are periodically interrupted by strange progressive outbursts of psychedelic rock, avant-garde angularities and ends with a lengthy mishmash of references to the Wizard of Oz with Patton shouting "There's No Place Like Home" which alternates with a number of avant-garde silliness. The perfect example of an album where juvenile potty mouth snot-nosed brat antics fuse perfectly with top-notch professional progressive rock technical musicianship. If one thing is clear at the half point of the album is that if you're not laughing your ass off, then you clearly lack the proper mental tools to appreciate this whacked out masterpiece!

"Stubb (A Dub)" is no less frenetic but is a much more serious affair displaying the bipolar nature of the album. It laments the loss of Patton's childhood pet while also showcasing some bizarre virtuosic Frank Zappa inspired avant-prog workouts. "My Ass Is On Fire" is an angular jittery punk infused metal track that alternates with a TV theme song type of funk groove. "The Girls Of Porn" jumps into the world of smut and begins with a snippet of a 1950s puppet show about MR BUNGLE, from which the band adopted its name. It's starts as a pure funk track but later adds elements of metal and of course plenty of samples from porno flicks! "Love Is A Fist" is the heaviest metal piece on board with frenetic guitar driven fury but never loses the funk connection with the rest of the tracks as it also has slower spaced out echoey parts. John Zorn joins in for a spectacular mind-blowing sax workout that is scary enough to exorcise demons!

Perhaps the strangest track on the whole album (and THAT's saying a lot!) is the finale "Dead Goon." This track is like hearing music from another dimension. It's absolutely so outside the box that there is really nothing to compare to. Not only on this album but anywhere really. It starts off in a noisy haze but then adopts a carnivalesque groove that offers strange twisted counterpoints to the bass groove. Patton's delivers weird gnarled vocals and the build ups drift off into avant-garde jazz turf with a soulful vocal performance. It's not that it's not wonderful catchy as hell but extremely unorthodox in how the parts are put together. Somehow despite all odds it works. And that's pretty much the same for the entire album really and as the album ends and then floats around through different disparate soundscapes, it leaves you wondering what the hell you just heard.

This album still blows me away as much as it did the first time. It's the kind of album that totally catches you off guard while it seduces you and then if you haven't run away scared to mommy, it continues to deliver different aspects of its true nature. The questions immediately arise. Were these guys aliens? Possessed by demons? On some really weird drugs? Who knows but one thing is clear. The guys in MR BUNGLE succeeded in creating a ridiculously technical progressive rock and metal masterpiece that was guaranteed to offend everyone's sensibilities as its goal was to deconstruct all the orthodoxies and programming and shatter all preconceptions. It certainly worked for my young impressionable mind and now decades after it's release, it still blows me away especially on an artistic level. Quite possibly the weirdest album in existence and the fact that MR BUNGLE pulled it off so amazingly well is simply a miracle. The true 21st century schizoid men have stood up!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An album cover that is so perfect for preparing the listener for what they're about to hear--but in no way preparatory for the incredible virtuosity of the musicians and composers contained within.

1. "Quote Unquote" (6:56) opens with recording of a dude snoring! Then, after 30 seconds, we are blasted into wakedness by a wave of rock instrumentations. The song settles into a cabaret noir/carnival-esque motif over which singer Mike Patton sings in a crazed, pitch-bending voice halfway between Joe Jackson and Andy Partridge. Genius! The addition of background vocalist Robert Bornum's deep baritone is perfect--leading to a punch-in-the-face chorus--is perfect! Quite the complement! Several other motifs--each very disparate from the carnivalesque one--enter and exit, quickly, giving this an even more feel as if I'm walking through a horror-fun house. What a journey! Like the Cardiacs with a sense of humor! I love it! In the end, the dreamer, I think, is finally awakened. (15/15) 2. "Slowly Growing Deaf" (6:59) slow floating synth wash chords over which singer is singing in a crooner GINO VANELLI-type voice--for the first minute. Then the band breaks into another rock cabaret-like motif and the voice changes theatrically to match. Talk about Multiple personalities--and personality! I don't think I've encountered this kind of adventurous spirit since discovering LES NEGRESSES VERTES (in 1989) and HUMBLE GRUMBLE (2011). Round and round the band and singer take us on a merry-go-round of moods and emotions. Wow! Punctuated by a finish in which a man runs to a sink and proceeds to throw up for over 30 seconds while a radio voice eggs him on! (14/15)

3. "Squeeze Me Macaroni" (5:38) bass, percussion, fast rhythm guitar support this PRIMUS-like fast-spewed hyper-theatric vocal performance. (Now I can see where black midi's Greep gets some of his vocal stylings.) Making the mundanities of life seem so ludicrous and celebrating it full force! What a performer! What a band! Not quite sure what the song is about, though it feels as if I'm witness to an unchaperoned high school or college party. (9.5/10)

4. "Carousel" (5:13) Trey Spruance's Django-like rhythm guitar opens the song play a few rounds through a fast moving chord sequence before the rest of the band bursts in to launch into a loosely tense pyschedelic thriller. Again, HUMBLE GRUMBLE comes to mind--though later heavy and surf-music riffs again make this music so challenging to--and the psychedelia side of things reminds me of several of the KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD albums. (8.75/10)

5. "Egg" (10:38) sounds like a band taking David Byrne's early Talking Heads sound several steps further--using virtuoso musicians and composers to do so--plus, let me not forget to extoll the incredible production here: amazing clarity to all/every instrument. There are even Adrian Belew- and Worrell-like flourishes here and there--as well as the LES NEGRESSE VERTES-like craziness. Amazing stuff! Amazing theater and entertainment! And to think that six-plus guys are all on board with this, able to stay on the same page with each other. Astonishing! Even the tech metal/prog metal worlds have little to offer to compare/compete with this! Even with the three minutes of train ride banter among the band members at the end, this is so well produced and performed that I find it hard to find fault with any of this! Were it not for the existence of Seal's "Crazy" (and all of its many versions), this would be my favorite song from 1991. So much fun! (20/20)

6. "Stubb" (7:19) more carnival music to open this, even moving into a gentle waltz with gentle choral vocals before deteriorating into a "family" gypsy fest. This is just inexplicably crazy music! How does one even envision this kind of music (except by having been exposed to a lot of Jewish, Eastern European, or traditional celebration music or klezmer, Some of the bands from my limited experience that come to mind when hearing this stuff include FARMERS MARKET, HUMBLE GRUMBLE, ESTRADASPHERE, MAJOR PARKINSON, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys, and the Cardiacs. I feel as if I'm listening to a peak into the terrifying moments of being a boy lost in Coney Island. A little unsettling! (14/15)

7. "My Ass Is on Fire" (7:47) opens with what feels and sounds like a funked up excursion by some heavy metal dudes. But then, at the one-minute mark, the vocalist enters amid a fairly quiet, empty space, to sing in a fairly "normal," pleasant manner. But, Fake! It's all a diversionary ruse as the music turns quickly back to some very eclectically integrated and synthesized heavy music. The self-talk in the fourth minute is hilarious--a parody take on Robert DeNiro's Travis talk in the mirror during Taxi Driver. I'm still not sure what caused the singer's ass to catch fire--or even if it's a digestive track reaction to super-spicey food (I don't think so)--but I have to admit it's far more interesting and entertaining--and far less infantile-feeling than most of Frank Zappa's potty humor (though that seventh minute of cacophony is a bit over the top). And then the Mr. Bungle political compaign add at the end! Will this band's sophisticated imagination and ballsy courage never stop? (13.25/15)

8. "The Girls of Porn" (6:42) a song about exactly what the title says--and the accompanying exercises in self-gratification that often go along with such exposure. Very graphic and confessional. Great funked up music. Incredibly entertaining if one can get past the self-conscious embarrassment of the explicit details. (9/10)

9. "Love Is a Fist" (6:01) opens with a metallic KING CRIMSON sound and feel but then quickly turns klezmer and classic heavy metal and avant garde (those sax solos!) Crazy craziness over fairly "tame" metal foundation and chords (though it all feels contrived to be very much a lampoon of the "real" stuff). (8.75/10)

10. "Dead Goon" (10:02) Despite some amazing bass and rhythm guitar play, the first two minutes of this HUMBLE GRUMBLE-like song offer very little to engage or excite me. The Swedish Chef mumble-jumble words serve to express the title's protagonist very well, but then the lyrics become clear, English--is this a dialogue? More gypsy/klezmer like rhythms over the awesome fretless bass play of the awesome Trevor Dunn (Of late from JOHN ZORN and SECRET CHIEFS 3). The more sedate, cemetery-like seventh and eighth minutes lose me a little--though it could be great fodder for a B-Movie horror flick. (17/20)

Total Time: 73:15

Excuse me if words fail me: I have just had my macaroni squeezed!

A/five stars; a minor masterpiece of truly progressive (though also eclectic) rock music--an album that should be in the possession of every self-proclaimed lover of progressive rock music.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #154! Hands-down masterpiece! An eclectic mix of anything from death metal to ska to prog. Surprisingly enough, I prefer the ska influence on this album to anything else. Songs like 'Egg' and 'Stubb (A-Dub)' really sell the pure genius of this record. Avant, wacky, and everything i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2977488) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Wednesday, December 27, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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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