Even at 16, Mike Patton & Co. knew how to troll audience expectations
February 20, 2014 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I questioned whether or not this was a "does anyone else give a shit" thing to post. But hell, between the Shout At The Devil, Macho Man, and Monkees Theme covers and Pattons "rap" 10 minutes in this is just too awesome. This is just an amazing document of Mr. Bungle and Mike Patton at an embryonic stage.
posted by mediocre at 2:51 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

At 3:30 the changeover is pure Bungle.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:17 PM on February 20, 2014

This is better than the Red Hot Chili Peppers' entire career.
posted by naju at 3:20 PM on February 20, 2014 [8 favorites]

Ah those were the days. Thanks for this.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:42 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

How on earth did they manage to play for 19 minutes in a school talent show? They were awesome, but I was expecting the Monty Python shepherd's crook to pull them offstage.
posted by arcticseal at 3:52 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

When there are approximately three acts, and these guys are the best of the lot, they can just keep going. Trust me.
posted by Madamina at 4:00 PM on February 20, 2014

Thanks for the post. Had never heard of this band, so I had the rare pleasure of experiencing 15 years of their development in 10 minutes.

I chose a live version of My Ass is on Fire, recorded at Bizarrefest 2000, you guys maybe know it.
posted by bird internet at 4:17 PM on February 20, 2014

Mike Patton is still is still awesome to this day.
posted by sourwookie at 4:24 PM on February 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

An excellent first choice, bird. Check out Stubb (a dub), a song about big old dog that used to wander around Arcata. If that leaves you only wanting more, watch the 1992 Warfield show. I was at that show;one of the most transcendent things I've ever witnessed in my life.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:27 PM on February 20, 2014

I maintain that California would be recognized (more widely) as a piece of genius if it had come from any other band. I feel like anyone who heard it had already decided how they feel about Mr. Bungle long before that (and was either in the "I love Mr. Bungle" crowd or the "my friend won't shut up about Mr. Bungle" crowd). I told Trey something to that effect at a Secret Chiefs show: California is a masterpiece.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:33 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

California was the first thing I ever heard by them. I picked it up at a used CD store for a couple bucks, having never heard of them, and was completely smitten. I think I listened to it for a year straight. It honestly might be my favorite album of the 90's, or second only to Loveless.
posted by naju at 4:49 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I saw them in Toronto on the California tour, in the middle of Vanity Fair, Patton put a cigarette in his mouth and looked down at the crowd expectantly. Immediately like 10 lighters were offered up at him. He surveyed, chose a zippo, lit, exhaled, pocketed the lighter, winked and went back to singing.

The man knows how to troll.
posted by mannequito at 5:00 PM on February 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Mike Patton also does the zombie noises in Left 4 Dead, which seems to be a logical progression...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:04 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

He was also the voice of the Anger Sphere in portal.
posted by St. Sorryass at 5:22 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Fantomas is where Mike Patton is finally doing what he was meant to be doing.
posted by Renoroc at 5:37 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

(also - "all I see are rainbows, now that the bandages are gone" is brilliant)
posted by neuromodulator at 6:08 PM on February 20, 2014

God, I love Mr. Bungle.
Fantômas is also very good.
posted by brevator at 6:11 PM on February 20, 2014

Hey Les, Les, it's your cousin Marvin...you know, Marvin Claypool? You know that new sound you're looking for?
posted by Random Person at 6:20 PM on February 20, 2014 [13 favorites]

yeah I know primus in no way = mr. Bungle but I couldn't think of anything even remotely close so I picked another stoner Northern California group of genius musical prodigies
posted by Random Person at 6:25 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Awesome... at Humboldt State in the 90s, Mr. bungle was a big deal... the two things I remember are all the girls who totally dated Mike Patton and the demo cassettes that were all warped sounding from being copied from crappy boombox to crappy boombox.
posted by Huck500 at 7:40 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I still remember when their CD showed up at the college radio station I worked at in 90/91. Loved it. Didn't understand it, but loved it. Mr. Bungle, Primus, Ween and Hill Of Beans probably were heaviest in my rotation (plus whatever random celebrity-voiced PSA cassettes showed up in the mail.)

hi, I'm Dom DeLouise!
posted by davejay at 9:19 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The rest of the band have done plenty of special things too.
posted by methinks at 9:52 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Of course there are kids on skateboards on stage.
posted by cellphone at 9:54 PM on February 20, 2014

primus in no way = mr. Bungle but I couldn't think of anything even remotely close

posted by ShutterBun at 9:57 PM on February 20, 2014

Dang I loves me some Mr. Bungle related stuff. It's how I became a Melvins Obsessive.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 1:56 AM on February 21, 2014

No mention of Lovage?
The slightly more recent Peeping Tom?
...Mondo Cane?
posted by whorl at 3:55 AM on February 21, 2014

At 13, I was really into Faith No More's Angel Dust. The covers of Easy and the theme from Midnight Cowboy really sealed the deal for me, because The Commodores were an early-childhood favorite, and somehow I had seen bits of Midnight Cowboy (thanks, weird dad), and I was into heavy sounds due to a hyperactive older brother who listened to a lot of metal. So FNM scratched a very specific musical itch for me.

Being aware of FNM, I heard tell of Mr. Bungle, mostly just rumors. People said they were really messed up, so naturally I searched for Mr. Bungle records everywhere, but as a 13-year old girl "everywhere" meant "the cassette section of Fred Meyer" and the occasional trip to Tower Records at the mall when my mom was willing to drive me. No dice. I was actually really sad and disappointed about it, but I made do with Ween and King Missile and Kramer and other novelty acts. I eventually forgot entirely as 90s music turned to shoegaze and Britpop and then I got old and married and had a job.

But a few years ago I was bored of all my music and suddenly I remembered that I'd never had any luck tracking down Mr. Bungle. Of course as a grown-ass adult in the 21st century, I can buy music anytime, anywhere.

Listening to the self-titled Mr. Bungle record was the weirdest experience. I had never heard it before, not a single song, but it was immediately familiar. It was like the aural concentrate of Creepshow. It was repellant and ugly but little nuggets of songs would imbed themselves and I'd have to hear them again, and pretty soon I was adapted to the time changes and the mix of styles, and what had seemed like total chaos at first just made sense. It invoked this terrifying pre-adolescent mysticism I'd forgotten about, and a kind of ominous nostalgia that reminded me not of how warm and safe a remembered childhood is, but more how threatening and inexplicable it is while you're actually living it. I think Mr. Bungle as a record is basically the truth about childhood: vomiting on carnival rides, your dog dying, fast food, porn, Grease on TV once a year.

Then I moved to the beach and listened to a lot of California, which is essentially perfect. Watching a storm roll in fast and out again while listening to The Holy Filament is quite a thing. I didn't realize when I was a kid that Mr. Bungle were from northern CA, which is where I spent a lot of my childhood. I don't know if that means anything, but I get visions of redwoods and truck stops when I listen to them. This is the first music I can remember laughing at with delight because the little musical jokes it played (like the change from pseudo-Quranic recitation to guitar thrashing and back to cartoonish güiro-scratching in the latter half of Goodbye Sober Day.) Just really does it for me.
posted by Ouisch at 1:53 PM on February 21, 2014 [7 favorites]

(ween is not a novelty act, Ouisch)
posted by lkc at 11:58 PM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a teenager, I classified them in my own head in the little folder marked "Novelty." Sorry if that's wrong somehow.
posted by Ouisch at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2014

No, no. That all makes sense. I think a lot of peoples experience with them begins with "pushin the daisies" and ends with "mister, would you please help my pony". They were a long-time touring group that played impressive (and long) shows for 25 years. You should check out some of their more recent stuff, "Quebec" or "La Cucaracha". Serious musicians with some stupid songs and a sense of humor, but they're no more a novelty act than Zappa was, or any one of a number of Pattons projects.

I blame MTV!
(obviously the funny stuff got them a lot of exposure and fans, though. Its not all bad.)
posted by lkc at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2014

Yeah, I would agree that Ween isn't a novelty band, even though a lot of their music is funny and/or strange. Rather, I'd suggest they are what a band looks like when making music purely to indulge and entertain themselves, without any filters or 3rd party agenda. So you'll get everything from El Camino to Piss Up A Rope and think "hoo hah wacky boys are wacky" but their work runs the gamut from brilliant and sublime to awkward and unlistenable (occasionally all of these at once) and I personally find that incredibly authentic.
posted by davejay at 12:44 AM on February 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

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