SPINonline December 5 1995
Tuesday, December 5, 1995
San Francisco's Mr. Bungle is basking in the success of its new album as the band tours across the US playing sold out clubs that many MTV darlings would be hard-pressed to fill.
It's an interesting feat for a band that was told by its record company that it wasn't going to get to do a video because there weren't any "potential hits" on its new LP, "Disco Volante"
"That's the kind of support you can only get from a fungus-ridden jock strap," drummer Danny Heifetz said referring to his record company. According to Mr. Bungle's record label Warner Brothers, a video was not made because it didn't seem likely that MTV would give it air play.
"The video Mr. Bungle did for their last album "Quote Unquote" was fantastic--dark, disturbing--but it got zero play anywhere," a Warner Bros. spokesperson said. "MTV's not real progressive lately, so they won't pick up on a band that's so out there."
And "out there" they are. While Mr. Bungle's music is completely unmarketable, they have a fiercely loyal fan base, including an Internet discussion group and a Bungle-based religion (NOT officially sanctioned by the band) that patiently awaits any and everything the band has to offer. "Disco Volante" didn't surface for four years after their eponymous debut.
Recently, before Mr. Bungle's sold-out show in Chicago, Heifetz and guitarist Trey Spruance discussed one of the nightmares they went through to bring "Disco" to the masses.
"There was a piece that we wanted to use in the CD booklet by Czech artist Jiri Trnka," said Heifetz. Although Trnka's people gave Bungle permission to use the image for free, they were unwilling to sign away ownership rights to Warner Brothers.
"Once Warner Bros. distributes something with a certain image, they own that image to the ends of the known universe," Spruance said. Bungle's solution was to leave big blank spots in the booklet and distribute the art themselves. For $2 fans can mail away for the missing art and paste it into the booklet.
Mr. Bungle's current tour with Tokyo's Melt-Banana wraps up December 18th in San Francisco, California.