The rock-metal blog-o-sphere is head-banging with joy today thanks to the announcement that Mr. Bungle, the experimental rock group formed by Eureka High misfits in 1985, plans to reunite for a three-city tour, performing their 1986 demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny.
Frontman Mike Patton, who achieved stardom as the lead singer of Faith No More and is renowned for having the largest vocal range in pop music (six octaves!), will be joined by original members Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance plus Anthrax’s Scott Ian and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo.
See you in 2020. No joke. pic.twitter.com/G14IfLnO34— MrBungle (@MrBungle) August 13, 2019
Reactions on Twitter ranged from “Holy fuck” to “Am I dreaming?” and “I can’t feel my legs.”
Unfortunately, the band won’t be returning to their hometown on this mini-tour. San Francisco is as close as they’ll get. (Pre-sale tickets for the San Francisco show go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday.)
But in a press release, the original band members reminisced (not so fondly) about the role Eureka played in their creative process.
Here’s guitarist Trey Spruance:
Ever since [bassist] Trevor [Dunn] hatched The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny v.2 idea a few years back, Patton, Lombardo, [Dunn] and I had each been incubating some idea of that egg.
Lombardo called me one day and asked me to make some guitar demos so he could learn the songs. He had this generous idea to surprise the other guys with being totally ready to go with the tunes.
It just so happened that I was in Eureka at the time. So, I found myself re-visiting all of those riffs in the same goddamned town and in the same goddamned house where I recorded all the original guitars on that demo 33 years earlier.
There was something about actually physically working out the mania of those riffs again at DAVE LOMBARDO’S request, in that environment — it just split my head open. It wasn’t long before the train of destiny had picked up too much speed for any of us to jump off.
And here’s Dunn:
When we recorded that demo, we were 16 and 17 years old and we were absolutely serious about the music. At the time, we were living the deluge of ‘80s metal and absorbing every riff and every drum fill from every known band from Denmark to San Francisco.
The recording and playing were amateurish (save for Trey’s video-game-solos) but the schooled composition and spirit were solid. I always felt like this music held its own and deserved to be presented in a clearer and more defined package even if it meant being 33 years later.
Patton, whose Eureka High yearbook photo is below, weighs in with this anecdote:
I remember writing riffs for this cassette in my parent’s garage, with no heat, so I recorded in a sleeping bag for analog warmth, playing a one-stringed acoustic guitar that was piped into a ghetto blaster. Thank god I had Trevor and Trey to help decipher my rotten riffs into something intelligible!
Mr. Bungle’s founding members were huge fans of both Anthrax and Slayer, and now Ian is returning the fandom:
When Mike hit me up about this my brain thought he was asking me if I wanted to come to a show, him knowing I am a HUGE Bungle fan. When I realized he actually meant for me to play guitar with them it broke my brain, I was a giggly drooling mess. Somehow I pecked out Y E S on my keyboard and holy crap I’m playing in Mr. Bungle. Seriously, it’s an honor and a privilege to get to play with my favorite “Mr.” band of all time.
Lombardo. meanwhile, speculates that our municipal infrastructure may have played a biochemical role in birthing Mr. Bungle:
I don’t know what was in the water in Eureka, California, but it certainly wasn’t clean. This is going to be a ridiculously insane band to play with and I am honored to have been asked to join the wrath.
In interviews, the original band members have said that their motivation wasn’t borne of Eureka’s tap water so much as the bullying and isolation they felt growing up in the “redneck town” that was 1980s Eureka.
In the 2011 video below, for example, Spruance talks about how Eureka High experiences like getting shoved in a trashcan inspired him to become a musician, though he also considered careers in serial killing and environmental terrorism.
With the cruelty of adolescence now in the distant past, Spruance can look back at those local memories with a little more fondness, and he’s marveling at getting the opportunity to play with his old heroes:
At our very first show, at the Bayside Grange Hall, Nov. 30, 1985, we played Slayer’s ‘Chemical Warfare’ and a S.O.D. cover. I mean, are you kidding?? We WORSHIPPED those guys! And now they’re gonna PLAY in our band?
It has been more than two decades since Mr. Bungle performed live, and more than 30 years since they played anything from The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Iive. The tour is scheduled for February.
We’ll leave you with this aged recording of Mr. Bungle performing at Eureka High’s 1985 school talent show: