Today, August 13th, Mr. Bungle broke the metal internet with the unexpected news that they would be re-forming to play their first shows in nearly two decades and, at said shows, performing their 1986 demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, in its entirety. The reconstituted Bungle lineup will include original members Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance joined by Scott Ian (Anthrax, S.O.D.) and Dave Lombardo (Dead Cross, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies).
Self-produced and self-released, the primitive eight-track offering was not only Mr. Bungle's very first recording, but it was also the cassette that then-18-year-old singer Mike Patton handed to guitarist Mike Bordin at a 1986 Faith No More show, paving the way for the vocalist to ultimately join that pioneering alt-metal group. That said, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny was a far cry from the polished and virtuosic music that Patton would later make with both Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, though it did showcase much of the anarchic, genre-crossing spirit that would define both those groups.
"It started out as a metal band," Bungle's Trevor Dunn told Decibel of the band in 2013. "The first time we jammed, we played classic hits of the Big 4, you know — Megadeth and Metallica songs. Then we started writing our own. Our first demo was total death metal, basically. But at the same time, we were all interested in different kinds of music. Trey and I were checking out jazz and classical. Patton was into all kinds of different stuff, too, and eventually we got burnt out on metal and started doing other weird stuff."
"It was 1985 when we started. We were in rival death-metal bands," Mr. Bungle's Trey Spruance said in 1987. "Jed and I were rivals with Mike and Trevor. Trevor and Mike got kicked out of their death-metal band because they wanted to shave their heads and call it Turd. So we just sort of merged ... into this one band and we called it Mr. Bungle.
"That whole thing [Mr. Bungle's music during the Raging Bunny era], it was something that became sort of common later, sort of having a sense of humor about death metal. But at the time we were the first."
"When we recorded that demo, we were 16 and 17 years old and we were absolutely serious about the music," Dunn recalls today. "At the time, we were living the deluge of Eighties 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 adds, "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!" Listen above.