Mr. Bungle

Mr. Bungle

Warner Brothers, 1991

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


This is without a doubt one of the strangest records EVER released by a major label in the history of rock ‘n roll. Formed by future Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and several high school friends, Mr. Bungle was an outlet for all of their weird influences. After straightening up their lineup (which centered around Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Danny Heifetz, and horn section Theo Lengyel and Clinton McKinnon), the band signed with Warner Bros. in the wake of Patton and Faith No More’s massive success with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Real Thing and “Epic.” Recorded during a break in FNM’s schedule with the king of avant-garde noise John Zorn at the helm, the self-titled debut is as weird as it gets.

Songs like “The Girls Of Porn” and “Squeeze Me Macaroni” are completely sophomoric and filthy juvenilia basically, but the musicianship is way above par. Everyone is on top of their craft, and the fact they can veer from Beefheart or Zappa-type schizophrenia to hardcore death metal to quirky pop is really something to admire. The band was rooted in metal, and this record is where they got to show that off, though future records would show a more layered musical palette.

You have to admire the oddball musicality of songs like “Egg,” “Stubb (A Dub)” or “Travolta,” the latter song soon to be known as “Quote Unquote” due to the potential threat of a lawsuit from Travolta himself. The real favorites for me though were “Love Is A Fist,” a ripping, really heavy track that’s one of the more straightforward here, and “My Ass Is On Fire,” a horn-driven rager that’s another great example of the band’s humor. This is something that would get toned down in the future, but here is presented in full form.

For some people, a record like this would be a tough pill to swallow, but for those who really like their music a bit different and eccentric, then this is definitely a must have. While this ultimately is not the best of their catalogue, it’s quite an essential record for fans of schizophrenic alternative rock.

Rating: B

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