Trey Spruance is having a weird day when Revolver calls him at his new pad in Arizona. Mr. Bungle's founding guitarist recently sold his longtime home in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, but it may not be standing much longer as massive wildfires threaten the area. "It's very likely it'll burn," he sighs. "It's fucking gnarly, man. I spent the last three years renovating it myself for the new owners. Then we closed the sale and 18 days later there's a fucking huge fire. So it's a fucked up feeling because you're like, 'Holy shit—we got out!' but then we left this guy holding the bag. Plus, all of our neighbors. I was there for 20 years, so seeing the whole place on fire is disturbing."
Meanwhile, his adopted home state of Arizona is a COVID hotspot with soaring temperatures. "Out of the frying pan, into the fire!" Spruance says with a laugh. "It's, like, 119 degrees right now, but I'll take it over the house burning down."
At least he has Mr. Bungle's new release to look forward to. Spruance and his bandmates Trevor Dunn and Mike Patton (the latter of whom appears on one of the collectible covers of Revolver's Fall 2020 Issue) recently re-recorded their 1986 demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny with Big 4 assistance from Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Ahead of the album's October 30th release and the group's Halloween livestream concert, Spruance shared some details and took us back to Bungle's high school origins.
OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT THE NEW VERSION OF THE RAGING WRATH DEMO IS A MUCH BETTER RECORDING THAN THE ORIGINAL, WHAT DO YOU LIKE BETTER ABOUT IT?
TREY SPRUANCE I like that it has Dave Lombardo and Scott Ian on it. [Laughs] That took it up a notch or two.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND RHEA PERLMAN'S NARRATION ON THE RE-RECORDING OF "ANARCHY UP YOUR ANUS"?
On the original demo tape, the voice that's doing the narration is from a Disney haunted house record. We were pretty sure that Disney wasn't gonna be happy about us using that, so it was like, "What the fuck are we gonna do?" It's an important beginning to the record. So we had to get someone to narrate it, and when Rhea Perlman's name came up, it was unanimous. She's perfect.
HOW DID YOU GET HER TO DO IT?
I think Patton asked her to do it. He has a very long-lasting friendship with Danny DeVito, who was married to Rhea Perlman. So it was kind of an easy thing to bring up, but I don't think anyone could've thought of a better person to do it because her voice was exactly what we needed for that.
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK GROWING UP IN EUREKA, CALIFORNIA — AND THE HIGH BOREDOM FACTOR THAT I ASSUME WENT ALONG WITH THAT — PLAYED INTO THE ORIGINS OF MR. BUNGLE?
It had everything to do with it. It was small-town boredom, yeah—but there was also, especially for me, this feeling of being a misfit. Like there was no way I'd fit in. I was getting my ass kicked in junior high school because I was too much of a geek and I didn't fit in with what we called heshers, the people into AC/DC and stuff who were just beating my ass because I was a computer geek. So by the time I was 14 or 15 and we started forming Mr. Bungle, it was almost a defense mechanism to avoid getting my ass kicked—to be good at something those assholes would appreciate. Like, "That guy plays guitar—don't kick his ass." Frankly, that was part of my motivation for picking up the guitar when I was 13.
We all had our different reasons for banding together and forming our own world, and that's what we did. It's not like there were a lot of like-minded people, other than a few guys who were into death metal and some skate-punks who were our friends. It was a tiny little isolated subculture.
YOU AND TREVOR WERE IN THE HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND TOGETHER. IS THAT HOW YOU MET?
If you can believe this, Eureka High School was pretty fucking cool, because they had a music theory class—and I think that's where I met Trevor. Then he and I were in the wind ensemble and the school jazz band.
THERE AREN'T MANY PEOPLE WHO STARTED A BAND IN HIGH SCHOOL IN 1985 WHO ARE STILL PLAYING IN THAT BAND. YOU GUYS OBVIOUSLY TOOK A LENGTHY BREAK IN THE 2000S, BUT STILL …
It makes me spit my drink out laughing when people say, "Mr. Bungle should play their real music!" [Laughs] Like, what the fuck are you talking about? This is the bond that forged everything that came afterward. Our friendships have been forged in fire, too, but this demo is absolutely the root of all of it.
THE LAST TIME WE TALKED, YOU MENTIONED THE FACT THAT HOW FANS SEE MR. BUNGLE AND HOW YOU GUYS SEE MR. BUNGLE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THAT?
For us, everything we ever did was metal in a way. We came at Mr. Bungle as a kind of absurd metal-band-that-was-not-really-a-metal-band from the very beginning — from the very first demo tape. It's not really what other metal bands were doing. We thought it was, but it wasn't. So that weird hybrid didn't really change — we kinda switched into a ska band and did some funk for a while, but when we found our rhythm again, it kind of turned back into a metal band but with all these other weird attachments on it. We were hybridizing all these other elements into it. Of course, most fans were introduced to us through that, so they didn't know about the earlier metal element of it. I can understand people thinking that this is some weird novelty that we're doing, but for us it's the center of the universe.
WHEN WE SPOKE JUST BEFORE THE PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN, YOU SAID THAT YOU DIDN'T SEE AN ALBUM OF NEW MR. BUNGLE MATERIAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE. HAS THAT CHANGED IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT NO ONE CAN TOUR RIGHT NOW?
Not really, because we'd have to be working on music before we started talking about that, and that hasn't really happened. [Laughs] So we're kinda waiting for this cycle to play out before we even think about that kind of thing. That's what's good about this re-recording — it gets the juices flowing. Then, if we were to take the next step, it's not this lame reunion thing. Because we already did the lame reunion thing, and it was awesome.