When Mr. Bungle’s Debut Polarized Faith No More Fans
Following the breakthrough success of 1989's The Real Thing, Faith No More singer Mike Patton was able to get a deal for Mr. Bungle, the Northern California band he founded four years earlier. They released their self-titled debut on Aug. 13, 1991.
Those who were hoping to get more of the driving, heavy rock Faith No More delivered in spades would be sorely disappointed. Mr. Bungle was in fact nothing like Patton’s main band. It's not even close.
Truthfully, Mr. Bungle is a very, very hard record to appreciate and get into. “Experimental” was the typical descriptive given by the critics at the time who were probably just as puzzled with the circus-like atmosphere it unapologetically presented. There was zero middle ground; fans and critics either loved or hated it.
“Travolta,” later retitled “Quote, Unquote” after supposed legal issues, opens the album, crashing in before it evolved – or devolves, depending on how you look at it – into an organ grinding mish-mash that you would expect to find completely at home under the big top played by a bunch of miscreants in greasepaint scaring the kids.
Funk, metal, jazz fusion, Patton's quirky lyrics and vocals – it’s all over Mr. Bungle in bountiful amounts. Sometimes there’s leaning toward Primus at their most out-there or a bit of slap bass from an Infectious Grooves’ cut on repeat, run through a blender and played backward. Take a listen to songs like the hilariously titled “Squeeze Me Macaroni” or “My Ass Is on Fire” to get a better idea.
By the time the opus “Dead Goon” turns into a jazz horror show to close the 70-something minute record, the listener is left exhausted, though depending on how open they were going into it in the first place, it was either a fantastic rollercoaster ride or a road-trip filled with feelings of car sickness. Either way, the avant-garde sound of Mr. Bungle would go on to influence the next Faith No More release, 1992’s Angel Dust, pushing the musical boundaries as far as they could go for a mainstream act.
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