Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


RIO/Avant-Prog • United States

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Bungle picture
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 : : :

MR. BUNGLE forum topics / tours, shows & news

MR. BUNGLE forum topics Create a topic now
MR. BUNGLE tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "mr. bungle"
Post an entries now

MR. BUNGLE Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Show all MR. BUNGLE videos (3) | Search and add more videos to MR. BUNGLE

Buy MR. BUNGLE Music

More places to buy MR. BUNGLE music online Buy MR. BUNGLE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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)

4.02 | 179 ratings
Mr. Bungle
4.01 | 214 ratings
Disco Volante
4.11 | 204 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 | 13 ratings
The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny (demo)
2.69 | 14 ratings
Bowl Of Chiley (demo)
3.43 | 14 ratings
Goddammit I Love America! (demo)
3.33 | 14 ratings
OU818 (demo)

MR. BUNGLE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.11 | 204 ratings

Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

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

5 stars Although they only released a mere three albums in a span of nine years, MR BUNGLE never repeated what came before and strived to make each album completely different than the last and in the process created three of the most daring experimental albums that the entire 90s had to offer. After four demos that saw the band grow from a bunch of deranged teenagers in Eureka, CA cranking out substandard death metal which led to the funk metal Zappa-infused potty-mouth prog of the self-titled debut, MR BUNGLE caught a complacent world of glam metal and early grunge off guard with its 1991 slap-in-the-face whack job that mixed funk, metal, jazz and even circus music with the avant-garde laced with progressive rock sensibilities. The band continued four years later with its second no limits avant-garde extravaganza "Disco Volante" which threw out all the rules and totally allowed the creative frenzy to explode into a million directions.

The first two albums gleefully flipped the middle finger to the music establishment despite appearing on the Warner Bros. label. The goal was to create unruly difficult listening music that excelled at merging the juvenile unrefined with the technical and progressively infused compositions that adopted as many music genres as possible and made them perform unthinkable acts together in broad daylight. However, with Mike Patton getting his avant-garde noise rock itch scratched not only in Mr. Bungle and Faith No More but he also released solo albums and crafted other projects such as Fantômas which meant that when it was time to record the third MR BUNGLE album, he'd let off a lot of steam and there seemed to be nothing more to prove. In fact all the band members had matured a bit. Trey Spruance had started his spinoff band Secret Chiefs 3 inspired by the track "Desert Search For Techno Allah" and had learned the art of crafting sophisticated melodies and intricate rhythms by fusing Middle Eastern and Indian folk traditions with electronica, heavy metal, surf rock and soundtrack music. Both Trevor Dunn and Bär McKinnon went along for the ride and in the process tamed down a bit.

For the band's third album CALIFORNIA, the band minus Theo Lengyel who left after "Disco Volante" due to creative differences, decided to forge a new path and in the process created the most accessible album of the MR BUNGLE trilogy. Instead of focusing on the goal of creating a cacophonous uproar for the sake of evoking sonic terror with mind-blowing qualities, the band instead shifted gears into the world of progressive pop which crafted intricate melodies and accentuated them rather than taking them to the slaughterhouse. Keeping in line with the band's earlier albums, CALIFORNIA carried on the by-then tradition of genre hopping and extreme fusion but this time everything was polished like the smoothest gem stone and the aim was to make irresistible pop hooks that instantly caught your attention and only then allowed the weirdness to develop organically. Gone were the excessive time signature changes and avant-garde jazz-metal gone wild with references to sexual innuendoes and potty mouth vulgarities. In were lush orchestrated sing-along compositions that included Hawaiian traditional folk, Middle Eastern music, electro-funk, doo-wop, surf rock, circus music, psychobilly, kecak, thrash metal, lounge exotica, space age pop, jazz rock, piano rock and spaghetti westerns.

CALIFORNIA focused mainly on the sounds of 60s with the vocal surf pop of the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean providing the greatest inspiration however this was more like some psychotic alternative timeline gone wrong for 60s pop music and this was MR BUNGLE of course so the brilliant madness had to find more adaptable ways to weave itself around the pop hooks and soulful vocal led lyrics. Once again, MR BUNGLE caught a loyal fanbase completely off guard and in the process alienated the hardcore crowd that didn't appreciate this sugary sell-out music but in the process found a whole new audience who found the first two albums to be nothing but abrasive and vituperative noise. And then there are those like me who find all three MR BUNGLE albums to be beautifully designed masterpieces which when taken in their own context will impregnate the listener with musical ecstasy.

Right from the getgo MR BUNGLE startles the listener who is expecting a throwback to "Squeeze Me Macaroni" or even some spastic jazz, metal or hybrid of the two. Instead it's the sound of seagulls, the ocean and what sounds like the easy listening music of 1960s Burt Bacharach with lush symphonic orchestration and sweet sugary melodies. OMG! What happened? one may ask! Hold on, be patient. Around the two minute mark the melodies start to morph with bizarre key changes and pitch manipulation. Doo-wop backing vocals offer infectious counterpoints and the track while perhaps the tamest on the entire album is quite beautifully designed. An odd opener for sure but perhaps it serves as an inoculation to the stylistic shift so that the rest of the album sounds more dynamic. Things pick up with the second track "None Of Them Knew They Were Robots" which picks up the tempo immediately with what sounds like rampaging zombies trying to break down the door but then morphs into country western swing music with exotica along with some surf rock and psychedelic rock organ runs. The horn section cranks out some cool big band swing while Hawaiian slack key guitar and organ runs finish the job.

"Retrovertigo" is the ballad of the album with the slowest tempo and the track that is the least affected by the avant-garde regalia that only grow in intensity beginning with the fourth track "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" which also starts out as a ballad but after a soulful performance by Mike Patton ramps up the speed and sounds like a battle between 60s Beach Boys vocal surf, the space pop of Joe Meek along with some occasional metal guitar heft and percussive drumming outbursts. The track ratchets up the morphing of various genres sharing the stage. "Ars Moriendi" begins with guitar heft and then finds a violin cranking out a Middle Eastern riff. The album is fortified with 14 session musicians who add English horn, cello, violin, viola, accordion, trumpet, harmonica, pedal steel guitar, French horn, cymbalom, piano, timpani, tam tam and bass drum. The album is extraordinarily rich in various timbres that add the extremities that make up for the lack of the excesses of the past. Back to "Ars Moriendi," the track goes through several stages with a Mediterranean cafe styled accordion mixing with the violin, a heavy rock guitar as well as surf rock and cartoon music. A true MR BUNGLE classic if there ever was one.

"Pink Cigarette" tackles the 60s spaghetti western sound obviously inspired the soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone at first but then becomes a tender ballad sort of track with odd little sounds inserted here and there except that the subject matter tackles the morbidity of suicide which finds a horn replicating one of those machines at the hospital that show the heartbeat and ends in that "they're dead!" sound. "Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy" is the weirdest track on CALIFORNIA. It begins like a futurist A.I. robot ballet version of the Nutcracker with a windup music box sound and then proceeds into electro-funk with robot vocals and interesting bouncy grooves alongside freaky musical scales creating utterly bizarre soundscapes. It's just all so friggin cool how they juxtapose sounds to create a larger sum of the parts! "The Holy Filament" is more reflective with piano arpeggios ushering in heavenly vocals except that the musical scales are dark and ominous. "Vanity Fair" is more jocular with a bouncy old time rock and roll feel with doo-wop backing vocals and a rather gospel-like vocal performance by Mr. Patton.

One of my favorite tracks is the closing "Goodbye Sober Day" which starts out with a rock and roll style like a late 50s prom along with heavy percussion from those serrated sticks you rub. The track morphs several times, first into a slow contemplative keyboard driven kind of lounge exotica and then eventually drifts into a mass Gregorian chant that itself cedes to a thrash metal guitar accompanied by a performance of Indonesian monkey chants and then makes full circle back to the opening style before ending the album and leaving the listener wondering once again what just happened! While the first two MR BUNGLE albums were chaotic and unpredictable and often random, CALIFORNIA is cohesive with every single element existing in a logical location and cyclical loops with recurring themes and a melodic connection are what gives CALIFORNIA its magic mojo. Ironically the album was scheduled to be released on the same day as the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their album "Californication" and thus was delayed a week because of the long time feud between Mike Patton and RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedes.

As far as i'm concerned, MR BUNGLE hit a home run three times in a row. The band is a legend and one of my favorite artists of all time. They made the impossible seem effortless as they crafted three distinct albums that all stood on their own two feet and didn't even have to blow away the competition because there wasn't any! MR BUNGLE existed outside of known time and space and therefore exudes an otherworldly demeanor that would make this stuff weird anytime and anywhere. The genius of these guys is that they utilized the sensual sensibilities to appeal to your emotional state while bedazzling you with artistic wizardry and unthinkable juxtaposition of styles and sounds hitherto unheard. This would be the end of the line for MR BUNGLE as they wisely chose to retire the brand name and focus on their retrospective solo careers. Trey Spruance was already finding success with the Secret Chiefs 3 and Mike Patton continued his restless pursuit of the next avant-garde sounds in dozens of other projects. CALIFORNIA is yet another masterpiece by the crazed kids from Eureka. Nobody saw that coming.

 Disco Volante by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.01 | 214 ratings

Disco Volante
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

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

5 stars MR BUNGLE started out simply as the whacky project of a bunch of crazy high school students in Eureka, CA but against all odds managed to find its way into scoring a three album deal with Warner Bros mostly due to lead singer Mike Patton's involvement with Faith No More which scored big with a single that hit the top ten with "Epic." As the 80s ceded into the 90s, suddenly everything alternative was en vogue and MR BUNGLE emerged from nowhere to shocking the world with its avant-garde weirdness laced with ample doses of goofy absurdity. While once only associated with artists such as Frank Zappa, however he and his projects which were in tune with current trends and often reinvented his style to co-exist, MR BUNGLE unapologetically ignored contemporary the popular musical scene and in the contrary crafted some of the most unorthodox musical hybrids ever recorded.

The self-titled debut emerged in 1991 and immediately shocked the Faith No More fanbase since the album showcased Patton's true restless and creative nature that went well outside the commercial paradigms of alternative rock. The debut was eclectic but still used the BUNGLERS' eclectic mix of funk metal as the canvas to create upon. Inspired by funk and rock bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Camper Van Beethoven, Oingo Boingo and Bad Manners, the sextet decorated the funk metal paradigm the with added elements of jazzy brass sounds and ska rhythms. Astonishingly the band was allowed complete freedom to explore any avenue of desire, a trait so very rare in the music business of the era. And as extremely bizarre and unorthodox as the debut was, it was simply a warm up session for what came next.

As Faith No More continued its success throughout the early 90s, MR BUNGLE was cleverly crafting its sophomore extravaganza. DISCO VOLANTE (Italian for 'flying saucer'), a title that refers to the James Bond yacht in the film "Thunderball" emerged three years later in 1995 and took things into the stratosphere of experimental rock laced with the band's already established genre hopping eccentricities but this time the band exploited every possible sound, style and genre they could muster up and in the process, gone was the stabilizing factor of the funk ska rock infused with jazz and metal. DISCO VOLANTE was an avant-garde free-for-all and to this day remains one of the craziest albums ever to appear on a major record label. How these guys got away with all this freedom is the biggest mystery of all. Perhaps Warner Bros saw the potential of these albums catching on over time but for most who had warmed up to the debut album were left in a state of stupor as DISCO VOLANTE seemed like an entirely new mutant strain that infected this band from some far away planet.

While the genre hopping nerd factor had already been turned up to steaming on the debut album, DISCO VOLANTE was like a volcanic eruption of everything but the kitchen sink. The band basically brought to the table all the different sounds that the six members of Mike Patton (vocals, tape, ocarina, organ), Trey Spruance (guitar, organ, keyboards, electronics, biwa), Theobald Brooks Lengyel (woodwinds), Clinton McKinnon "Bär" (tenor sax, clarinet, drums, keyboards), Trevor Dunn (bass, viol) and Danny Heifetz (drums and percussion) were influenced by. Spruance for example was into lounge exotica, electro-acoustic, noise and Middle Eastern techno while Patton was fascinated by Italian folk, the space pop of Joe Meek, theatrical music and tangos. Dunn on the other hand was fascinated in deconstructing music and sewing it back together like a sonic Frankenstein. Due to the change of musical direction the horn section had been significantly reduced and therefore band member Theobald Brooks felt like his services were no longer needed and left the band shortly thereafter. Clinton McKinnon on the other hand simply adapted to the new expanding dramatic shifts.

DISCO VOLANTE is like being bombarded with a tornado of sounds, styles and schizophrenic freedom. The tracks are literally all over the music map ranging from sludge and death metal, psycho-jazz-metal, surf rock, Middle Eastern techno, mystique concrète, tango, exotica lounge, freeform jazz, sound collages and psychedelia. The album exemplifies the ultimate expression of DIY musical freedom except that it's all dressed up with high budget production, engineering and mixing which makes DISCO VOLANTE perhaps the most professionally recorded example of renegade rock since Frank Zappa's unique stamp on the 70s. The album is rich with different instruments as well. Guest musicians provide the extra touches of piano, bandoneon, cymbals, bongos, jew's harp, tabla, kanjira, sistrums, xylophone and glockenspiel. In addition to the influences aforementioned, there are many styles of ethnic music adding extra colorful textures ranging from African rhythms, Slavic folk as well as the more obvious Middle Eastern touches.

Everything about the album exudes a sort of retro feel from the 60s but in a demented alternative universe. Of all the sounds on board, only the death metal on "Merry Go Bye Bye" and the sludge metal of the introductory "Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead" borrow from the contemporary musical world. Tracks like "Chemical Marriage" seem like the result of am acid trip gone wrong where lounge exotica music and psychedelic rock of the 60s fuse whereas "Carry Stress in the Jaw" and "Platypus" engage in knotty over-the-top feats that tackle the most extreme examples of jazz-metal distorted into overly complex constructs simply for the sake of doing so. The lyrics retain the goofiness of the debut however the contrast of the lyrics and music adds to the more surreal nature of DISCO VOLANTE. "Violenza Domestica" is like a tango soundtrack to the alternative version of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" whereas the cleverly crafted electronic of "Desert Search For Techno Allah" provided the blueprint for the entire world of Spruance's future project Secret Chiefs 3.

Out of this amazing roller coaster ride through the demented sonic universe of MR BUNGLE, some of the tracks have proven a hard pill to swallow for even the most stalwart followers. "The Bends" is a sound collage that entertains 10 distinct sections, all completely unique and all exhibiting the most impenetrable displays of the avant-garde. Based on the the theme of the decompression sickness that describes the condition of ascending to the surface too quickly after diving underwater, the short snippets that last from one to two minutes exude the scariest sounds on the album yet retain a humorous twist with titles like " Duet For Guitar and Oxygen Tank" and "Love on the Event Horizon." By far the weirdest of the weird but an effective non-melodic respite from the otherwise melodic constructs that mostly keep the album from spiraling into a world where no mere mortal can comprehend what is going on. "Platypus" is a favorite as it the most jaggedly angular example of jazz and metal dancing side by side that i've ever heard and displays the most technical workouts of the album. It comes off a modern form of the Canterbury Scene with its whimsy and technical wizardry all fused together or even some sort of jazz-metal-in-opposition.

The biggest mind f.u.c.k. is saved for the ending. "Merry Go Bye Bye / Nothing" starts out as a catchy even kitsch example of exotica lounge music about existential universal quandaries but abruptly morphs into death metal with noisy electronics which revives the death metal antics that the band hadn't performed since its first demo along with the chaotic electronica that Spruance fortified his Faxed Head project with. The chaotic mix goes off like a nuclear bomb designed to disturb and perplex any adventurous soul still going for the DISCO VOLANTE journey. Once the album ends it doesn't really end at all. After a period of silence, it finishes things off with practice session snippets that erupt into an explosive pyroclastic flow of unhinged energy and potty mouthed profanities that link it to the debut. After a cacophonous roar of dissonant horns, the album leaves you in shock and you'll never be the same.

Everything about DISCO VOLANTE is designed to contrast expectations. It feels both retro and futuristic and seemingly unrelated genres play side by side like lions and lambs at a warehouse rave. The album exists in a paradigm stubbornly outside of the commercial music world of 1995 and the album exudes an alienating effect that is somewhat like a musical VPN that disguises its era, location of creation and true genius of the members who crafted it. This album is basically just plain nuts yet it enthralls the soul with captivating technical workouts and innocent childlike melodies that evoke the most primeval attractions to music while contorting it to create mind-numbing expansions of consciousness. Despite al the odds, this album exists and the six guys involved took full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to create some of the least commercial music on the planet that strangely found an audience. Even more brilliant than the debut, DISCO VOLANTE showed quite clearly that MR BUNGLE was no one trick pony and had a seemingly bottomless wellspring of ideas and influences to mine. Disturbing and beautiful, this album is exquisitely unique and mind blowing. Easily one of my favorite albums of all time.

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.02 | 179 ratings

Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

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

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!

 California by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.11 | 204 ratings

Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars What can you not say about Mr. Bungle? The band only put out 3 official studio albums (not counting demos and etc.), yet in their time together, they covered more musical ground than most bands do with 3 times that many albums. They put their mark on just about every style possible, and where they didn't put their mark as Mr. Bungle, the individual musicians did later in their careers, and still continue to do so.

Of course, there is Mike Patton on vocals and keyboards, who, as most know, has been called the most versatile singer on the planet. His name became famous as the lead singer for "Faith No More", but he has also sang for "Tomahawk", "Fantomas", on several John Zorn projects, his own solo projects (ranging from random noises to Italian standards), and so many others. There is Trey Spruance on guitar, who is the main man behind the amazing "Secret Chiefs 3" and their many incarnations and styles, Trevor Dunn on bass who also worked with "Secret Chiefs 3" and "Tomahawk", "The Melvins" John Zorn and many others, Danny Heifetz on percussion and drums and Clinton "Bar" McKinnon on sax, keyboards and French horn.

Mr. Bungle's fans always knew to expect the unexpected, and that is what they always tried to deliver. But the music was always so well done no matter what style they were playing. On this album "California" all of the members have input and credits on different songs and their differences were celebrated through the music and the variety of styles.

"Sweet Charity" starts with a Hawaiian or tropical vibe with a theatrical bent. The chorus is so cool with their cool cinematic spy theme. Patton can make his voice fit for any style, and he can be flamboyant as he is in this one but also sings so fully that you almost think he was an opera star. "None of Them Were Robots" has a progressive and rockabilly and swing style and you can even hear a slide guitar is you listen closely. Yes, that is correct. Of course, Patton switches his voice around without missing a beat. The music is all over the place and it is really amazing to hear. What is amazing is how they make so many styles sound so cohesive.

"Retrovertigo" begins with strummed guitar and electric keyboards playing in a mellow fashion before Patton sings a tricky melody as instruments follow right along with him. The style is a lounge style but with that complex melody. The instrumental background sounds a lot like a more recent ELO track, that is until things get more intense in the middle with more guitar along with the orchestral feel. Patton's voice also becomes more emotional. "The Air-conditioned Nightmare" has a definite psychedelic feel to it along with a Rhumba and be-bop style plus the usual complexity of progressive themes blended together. There is also among all this, an amazing use of harmonics.

"Ars Moriendi" has the middle-eastern and European influences mixed with other things, including bits of heavy metal, polka, Jewish dance and calliope music. "Pink Cigarette" has a nice r&b beat with sultry vocals and background vocal hi-jinx and some Indian riffs thrown in for good measure. By the time you get to the end of this one, the whole thing is just barely hanging on to sanity before the alarm goes off to signal the next funky and crazy track called "Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy" which takes a circus style music box and sends it through an insane transformation of insanity with a variety of vocal stylings and kooky effects. Love it!

"The Holy Filament" sounds almost like a TV sci-fi theme song with sometimes odd and sometimes beautiful vocal harmonies, and plenty of atmosphere, beauty and dissonance. You could call this track Psycho-cinematic. "Vanity Fair" sounds like a boy band on acid. R&B with finger snaps, 50s style background, and the feeling you are teetering on the edge. All the while, Patton is singing literal vocal impossibilities with complete aplomb. "Goodbye Sober Day" is probably the quirkiest track on here, and that is saying a lot. It's like everything you have just heard and thrown together and made to sound like a song, in a good way.

This is nothing short of amazing. With all the styles and everything mixed, it all comes out sounding like one of the most entertaining things you've every heard. It is too bad that this was their last album as it is a masterpiece, but if you are sad about this, you shouldn't be, because there are always the Mike Patton solo albums if you like his crazy voice, or there are the Secret Chiefs 3 albums that are mostly instrumental, but carry all of the styles and quirkiness of the Mr. Bungle albums. This album is definitely essential avant-prog at its best.

 Mr. Bungle by MR. BUNGLE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.02 | 179 ratings

Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 OU818 (demo) by MR. BUNGLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.33 | 14 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
3.43 | 14 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 | 13 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
4.02 | 179 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!

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives