Mr. Bungle is an American experimental band from Northern California. Having gone through many incarnations throughout their career, the band is best known for their experimental rock period. During this time, they featured a highly eclectic style, cycling through several musical genres within the course of a single song, including heavy metal, avant-garde jazz, ska, disco, and funk. This period also saw the band utilizing unconventional song structures and samples; playing a wide array of instruments; dressing up in masks, jumpsuits, and other costumes; and performing a diverse selection of cover songs during live performances.
The band was founded in Eureka, California in 1985 as a death metal project while the members were still in high school. They were named after a character in the 1959 children’s educational film Beginning Responsibility: Lunchroom Manners, later featured in the 1981 HBO special The Pee-wee Herman Show. Mr. Bungle released four demo tapes in the mid-to-late 1980s. They signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1990 and released three full-length studio albums between 1991 and 1999, which featured the eclectic, experimental style they became known for. The band toured in 1999 and 2000 to support their third album before going on hiatus; ultimately revealing that they had dissolved. They reunited as a thrash metal band for a series of shows in February 2020 to perform their 1986 demo album The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. They subsequently returned to the studio to re-record the demo as a professional album and released it on October 30, 2020.
Although Mr. Bungle went through several line-up changes, the longest-serving members were vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, bassist Trevor Dunn, saxophonists Clinton “Bär” McKinnon and Theo Lengyel, and drummer Danny Heifetz, with Patton, Spruance, and Dunn performing in every version of band. Members were based in San Francisco during the band’s tenure with Warner Bros. During much of the band’s existence, they were involved in a public dispute with Red Hot Chili Peppers, particularly between lead vocalists Mike Patton and Anthony Kiedis, which was played upon by the press, including TV and media personalities. In later years, members of the bands have shown respect to each other.
1985 – This is a serious piece of history here. They called themselves Bister Mungle (no pun intended). Mr. Bungle playing at their high school talent show. Mike Patton is a young punk here, but already knows how to put on a good show!
1986 – Performing at Toppers, in Arcata, CA.
Setlist: 1. Intro 2.Unknown 3.For No Reason 4.Nicotina 5.Evil Satan 6.Jumping 7.Carousel 8.Fart In A Bag 9.Walking In Circles 10.Pfft You Were Gone 11.Hypocrites 12.No Strings Attached 13.You Can’t Make Me Mad 14.Incoherence 15.Cottage Cheese 16.Freight Train 17.( ) 18.Hi! 19.Unknown FCA 20.Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life 21.Yellow Brick Road
1988 – I’m not sure of the exact date of this show, but I would guess 1988 probably near Eureka, CA. Audio only.
1989 – Performing live @ the River Theatre, Guerneville, CA.
Setlist: 01. Squeeze Me Macaroni 02. Slowly Growing Deaf 03. Egg 04. Eureka High School Fight Song 05. Medley: MTV Theme / MTV News; Rhythm Nation; Free Fallin’; Living in Sin; We Didn’t Start the Fire; Love Shack; Heaven 06. Love is a Fist 07. Thunderball 08. Definition of Shapes / Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me 09. Dr. Feelgood 10. Superstitious / Rapture 11. Girls of Porn / Upside Down 12. Super Mario Bros. (Patton on Drums) 13. Mr. Nice Guy
Live @ the Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA.
1990 – Performing @ the Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA.
1991 – Year when the self-titled album, produced by John Zorn, was released on Warner Brothers.
1 Intro 2 Welcome Back 3 Bienvenidos 4 Travolta 5 Egg MTV medley 6 Slowly Growing Deaf 7 Squeeze Me Macaroni into Cantina Song 8 Stubb (A Dub) 9 Mr.Nice Guy 10 Platypus 11 My Ass Is On Fire 12 Girls Of Porn 13 Thunderball 14 Super Mario Bros. medley 15 Love Is A Fist 16 Existential Blues
Live @ the Cattle Club, Sacramento, CA.
Here’s my Mr. Bungle Cattle Club video. It was so packed at the club that night, and with the cold temperatures outside, the place was humid and steamy. The mirrors on the side of the club had water running down them because of the condensation. Filmed with the old Aiwa CV-80 and Sony ECM-909 mic.
1992 – Live @ The Warfield, San Francisco, CA).
Setlist: 1. “The Thrill Is Gone” (Chet Baker) 2. “3rd Floor Dungeon” (Dr.Seuss movie called “5000 Fingers of Dr.T”) 3. “Territorial Pissings” (Nirvana) 4. Dead Goon 5. “The Thing Strikes” (Henry Mancini) 6. Travolta 7. Squeeze Me Macaroni 8. Slowly Growing Deaf 9. “The Stroke” (Billy Squier) 10. “Citta Violenta” (Ennio Morricone) 11. Stubb (a Dub) 12. “Parents Were Little Once Too” (Mr. Rogers) 13. “I Don’t Need Society” (D.R.I.) 14. My Ass is on Fire 15. “Time” (Alan Parson’s Project) 16. Carousel 17. Love Is A Fist 18. Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead 19. ( ).
1993 – No live footage found.
1994 – No live footage found.
1995 – Year in which Disco Volante, Mr. Bungle’s second album on Warner Brothers, was released. Live @ the Fillmore, San Francisco, CA. December 18, 1995
Setlist: 00:00 Love on the Event Horizon (The Bends) 02:42 Cold War (Siege Cover) 04:15 Chemical Marriage 07:37 Violenza Domestica (Extended Ver.) 17:28 24.000 Baci (Adriano Celentano Cover) 19:35 Panic in Blue (The Bends) 22:52 Phlegmatics 27:49 Love in Space 31:45 Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz 37:25 Aqua Swing (The Bends) 41:29 Desert Search For Techno Allah 50:09 Casanova ’70 (Armando Trovajoli Cover) 52:56 Carry Stress in the Jaw 1:03:40 Loss For Words (Corrosion Of Conformity Cover) 1:10:00 The Secret Song 1:14:53 La Lucertola (Ennio Morricone Cover) 1:21:00 Improv w/ Melt Banana 1:35:33 Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead
1996 – Live @ The Roxy, Brisbane, Australia. Lineage: Pioneer DVR-RT501 / Hauppauge USB Live-2 / HandBrake (SuperHQ576p25) / Adobe Premiere Pro
Setlist: 1. 0:53 Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz 2. 6:48 The Bends – Aqua Swing 3. 12:09 Violenza Domestica 4. 18:29 Platypus 5. 26:58 “Slow Satoh?” (Masaru Sato) 6. 31:18 Phlegmatics (part 1) 7. 31:48 “Tower Of Strength” (Frankie Vaughan) 34:19 Phlegmatics (continued) 8. 37:52 The Bends – Panic In Blue 9. 40:22 “Der Zinker” (Peter Thomas) 10. 42:16 “Love In Space” (Peter Thomas) (incomplete) 11. 43:47 After School Special 12. 47:04 “Casanova 70” (Armando Trovajoli) 13. 50:31 Desert Search for Techno Allah 14. 59:49 “The Breeze And I” (Ernesto Lecuona) 15. 1:02:56 Carry Stress In The Jaw Encore 16. 1:12:26 Chemical Marriage 17. 1:15:49 “Loss For Words” (Corrosion Of Conformity) Encore 2 18. 1:22:44 Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead (incomplete)
Live @ The Palace Complex, Melbourne, Australia.
Setlist: Fast Sato (Masaru Sato cover) Carry Stress in the Jaw Der Zinker (Peter Thomas cover) After School Special Desert Search for Techno Allah The Jet Rock (Mikis Theodorakis cover) Cold War (Siege cover) Violenza Domestica Tower of Strength (Frankie Vaughan cover) Phlegmatics The Breeze & I (Caterina Valente cover) Travolta The Secret Song Chemical Marriage Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz Aqua Swing 24.000 baci (Adriano Celentano cover).
1997 – No live footage found.
1998 – No live footage found.
1999 – Year when California, Mr. Bungle’s third album on Warner Brothers, was released.
Live @ The Blue Note, Columbia. “Mr. Bungle played The Blue Note in Columbia, MO on October 24th, 1999. There were two sets and we had permission to tape the first part. Documented with three SVHS cameras (with various recording issues) and edited in post. Audio was from the back balcony.” (LeppersTV)
00:35 Citta Violenta (Ennio Morricone cover) 03:10 The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 07:25 Chemical Marriage 10:05 None of Them Knew They Were Robots 16:45 I Feel For You (Jerry Reed cover) 20:20 Carry Stress in the Jaw 25:50 Taboo (Arthur Lyman cover) 28:45 Ars Moriendi
Live @ Bogart’s, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 30, 1999.
00:00 24.000 Baci (Adriano Celentano Cover) 01:28 Ars Moriendi 06:15 Violenza Domestica 16:50 None of Them Knew They Were Robots 23:34 Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter Cover) 28:17 The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 32:36 Desert Search For Techno Allah 40:44 Citta Violenta (Ennio Morricone Cover) 43:28 Sweet Charity 48:46 State Oppression (Raw Power Cover) 50:36 Quote Unquote w/* 56:57 *Ei Raat Tomar Amar (Hemanta Mukherjee cover) 59:20 *Doo-Wop (That Thing) [Lauryn Hill] 1:00:22 My Ass Is On Fire 1:05:01 Retrovertigo 1:10:24 Chemical Marriage 1:13:15 Tower of Strength (Gene McDaniels Cover) 1:16:21 Merry Go Bye Bye 1:27:10 Vanity Fair 1:31:03 Drug Me (Dead Kennedys Cover)
Live @ Clutch Cargo’s, Pontiac (MI), USA. The infamous Chili Peppers mockery. And yes, it was called for.
Live @ The Galleria, San Francisco – New Years Eve (1999 – 2000)
00:00 Intro “New Year Countdown…” 01:39 What The World Needs Now Is Love (Burt Bacharach cover) 04:45 None Of Them Knew They Were Robots 10:42 Violenza Domestica 16:30 Ars Moriendi 21:34 Metti Una Sera A Cena (Ennio Morricone Cover) 25:18 The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 30:03 Sweet Charity 35:06 Drug Me (Dead Kennedys Cover) 39:06 I Feel For You (Jerry Reed Cover) 43:48 Desert Search For Techno Allah 52:24 24.000 Baci (Adriano Celentano Cover) 54:37 Goodbye Sober Day 58:29 Quote Unquote w/* 1:04:31 Ei Raat Tomar Amar (Hemanta Mukherjee Cover) 1:06:54 Doo Wop (That Thing) [Lauryn Hill cover] 1:07:52 My Ass Is On Fire 1:11:50 Chemical Marriage 1:15:09 Retrovertigo 1:21:12 Begin The Beguine [Cole Porter Cover] 1:26:06 Vanity Fair 1:30:28 Merry Go Bye Bye.
2000 – Live @ the Bizarre Festival, Germany. “This is one of the most classic Mr Bungle performances. I think this is the only one that was ever pro shot, unless there is one Im missing. The rest were amateur recordings. This to me is an important piece of history.” (BrainPhreak)
Live @ the Astoria, London, September 8th, 2000.
SETLIST: 00:00 What the World Needs Now Is Love (Burt Bacharach cover) 04:08 None of Them Knew They Were Robots 10:26 The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 14:49 Carry Stress in the Jaw 20:11 Ars Moriendi 25:44 I Feel for You (Jerry Reed cover) 29:43 Travolta 34:44 Ei raat tomar amar (Hemanta Mukherjee cover) w/ Say My Name (Destiny’s Child cover) outro @ 38:32 39:25 My Ass Is on Fire 44:10 Retrovertigo 49:28 Goodbye Sober Day 53:32 Tower of Strength (Frankie Vaughan cover) 57:15 Desert Search for Techno Allah Encore: 1:07:43 Metti una sera a cena (Ennio Morricone cover) 1:11:48 Merry Go Bye Bye
2001-2020 – Activities interrupted. Parallel bands and projects.
2020 – Live @ the Warfield, San Francisco, CA. Recorded by Shayne Stacy. Equipment used: Panasonic Lumix ZS200 w/stock mic.
Live @ The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, 2/5/2020.
00:00 Won’t You Be My Neighbor? / Anarchy Up Your Anus 04:15 Spreading The Thighs Of Death 10:15 Loss For Words 15:39 Glutton For Punishment 20:30 Malfunction 24:04 Raping Your Mind 30:23 Just Sit There 32:28 Bungle Grind 39:16 Methematics / Hell Awaits / Summer Breeze 52:29 Eracist 56:39 Cold War 58:28 Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere 1:02:40 World Up My Ass 1:04:27 The Real Thing / You Lose 1:05:26 Sudden Death 1:14:43 Fuck The U.S.A.