Mr. Bungle's sound and approach are a unique mix of the experimental, the abstract, and the absurd. Commencing in 1985 as a neck-snapping death metal outfit, the Northern Californians underwent a full sonic lobotomy in the '90s, operating under the influence of ska, heavy metal, disco, thrash, funk, and avant-garde jazz (often in the same song), and issuing a trio of acclaimed and idiosyncratic albums (Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante, and California) before ceasing operations in 1999. Mr. Bungle reconvened in 2020 for a series of shows and released a re-recording of their 1986 demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny.
It all began in 1985, in a small California town named Eureka. The group (bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Danny Heifetz, alto saxophonist Theo Lengyel, tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Clinton McKinnon, vocalist Mike Patton, and guitarist Trey Spruance) met while in high school and took their moniker from an extremely corny children's educational film regarding bad habits (it was featured in a Pee Wee Herman HBO special back in the early '80s). The band's first demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, was recorded around this time, and soon others followed: Bowl of Chiley, Goddammit I Love America!, and OU818. With each release, their sound became progressively more mutated, until musical boundaries began to melt (metal, funk, experimental, jazz, ska, techno, etc.).
It took Mr. Bungle four long years to follow up their debut with the superb Disco Volante (1995). A long and extensive world tour followed, with the group widening their fan base. Mr. Bungle quickly regrouped in early 1997 to record an album of their eclectic cover songs, which was eventually put on hold before completion as Patton began a tour with Faith No More and the others returned to various side projects. The group reconvened in 1999 for the release of California and split up after the following tour.
After decades spent working on myriad other projects, Mr. Bungle reunited in early 2020 to play a short series of shows, with Patton, Dunn, and Spruance joined by Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. This lineup returned to the studio to re-record songs from the band's demo tape. The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo was issued in October of 2020. ~ Greg Prato & James Christopher Monger