Daily Arts November 21, 1995
Mr. Bungle, at St. Andrew's with Melt Banana, doors at 7:30, tix $12 plus sevice charge
by Ted Watts
Daily Arts Writer
Once upon a time on that earthquake-ridden strip of the entertainment and military industry known as California there was a band, and it was called Mr. Bungle. One day, its singer, a blushing young lad named Mike Patton, joined a group named Faith No More where he became famous. In a video that was played a large amount because Axl Rose said he liked Faith No More, Patton wore a shirt by the little band named Mr. Bungle. And then Mr. Bungle released an album nationally. Joy! Many Faith No More fans loved it, and many other people loved it because of its extreme themes and evil carnival rock. Now it's about four years down the line and they've released another album, "Disco Volante," and are touring for your amusement.
"Disco Volante" is a much different album than the first effort, with a much more experimental feel. Why the change? "I'm not really sure," responded Bungle saxist Br McKinnon. "I think it has more to do with the amount of time that had passed since (the first album.) Because since the last album, everyone was shifting around as to where they were living. The way this one came together was a lot different than the last one. With the last one we had old tunes that we were throwing back together and revamping, and this one was kind of snakes basically. We'd kind of throw things together over time. This isn't really coming out as articulate (laugh). Yeah, it's just a lot of time since we did the last thing and the way the ideas came together was a whole lot different. I'm not sure how to answer that."
The band members have used the time between recordings to their advantage, entering various side-groups. Most of the members have played at the very least with their non-Bungle friends. For instance, guitarist Trey Spruance played in Faith No More for a brief time, and has just returned from Japan playing with his band Faxed Head. Bungle members have also been involved with groups like Dieselhead and the Graham Connah Group. "I think (side projects) have enriched it more than anything, because they give us a sense of freedom. And just, like, more ideas to use, rather than there it is right here. Boom. That is a good question, though, because some ways you'd think it would almost take energy from it, but with people as oddly creative as these guys, it's been nothing but good for it."
McKinnon might feel that way about most of the side projects, but he admitted to a bit of an uncomfortable weight from the band's association with Faith No More. "Sometimes it seems like there's a weird kind of opposing energy about it and stuff, and we're pretty aware of it and having to deal with it. It's always been an interesting little dance that we'll do. That two timing son of a bitch! (Laugh.) I don't know how much of a weight it is, tho. Aw hell, who'm I trying to kid? No, seriously tho, it has everything to do with how long it's taken to get our shit out. We were supposed to get this album out before their album" You can just wonder how much of this is being orchestrated by people behind the scenes at Warner Brothers, saying "We'll put a little more emphasis on this. But it's all speculation on my part, on our part."
But their album is finally out, and since this interview they have embarked on their tour. McKinnon guessed at the preparation for the tour: "It'll be like three finals weeks happening all at onceI It'll be a crazy thing. But that's how we've worked. We'll be lined up and we'll all set in gear. There'll be this frenzy of activity. Hopefully we'll have our shit together by (the tour). You don't want to see the first Nevada City show (laugh). Or maybe you do. Maybe that'll be the best one." Well, Bungle certainly has a reputation as far as their live shows go. Their fans have come to expect them to be in crazy gear, from bondage wear to clown masks. Can you expect a repeat? "That has yet to be seen. That is still evolving into what that will be. I think whereas last time there was a little more solidarity as far as what was going to be happening, this time I think everyone will be more on their own than they were last timeI Last time (the costumes) were just really stinky, and you have to get used to that. Stuff wouldn't be washed for awhile, after awhile just throw it in the suitcase. Pull it back out, 'Oh. I wore this last night. I think I'll wear it again!' I think Danny was talking about a birdhouse or something to wear on top of his head. But we haven't really been collaborating on that. It'll be a little costume contest on stage. I'm as much in the dark on that as anybody."
But Bungle will be Bungle, no matter what. Having been known to play various interesting covers, from the theme to "Thunderball" to Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings" (but in a lounge act sorta way), the band has no plans to be any more conformist: "I think there's a possibility of doing a Loverboy coverI maybe a BTO cover." Everybody's working for the Bungle.
Thanks to Ted Watts.