The Northern California avant-metal giants celebrated Halloween 🎃 in an empty room for an, um, epic new live set
Lotta weird and wild stuff went down over the course of this past COVID year. Lotta horrible stuff, too, insurrection notwithstanding. Thank Jah, then, for the return of Mr. Bungle.
In fact, 2020 actually had kicked off to a promising start when this distinctive incarnation of the experimental metal band from Humboldt County, CA, hit the road in January to promote their re-recording of their unofficial debut The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, released 35 years ago this year.
When you are a serious collector, there are moments in your music buying history that haunt you for the rest of your little life. That moment, for me, came during my senior year of high school, when I was perusing the indie cassette section of the Carle Place Tower Records and saw the original version of Raging Wrath on cassette in the top row. And I didn’t buy it. Here i sit 30 years later all brokenhearted over that decision. I’m crazy, right?
So when the core members of Mr. Bungle–vocalist Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance and bass player Trevor Dunn–reconvened with a new lineup featuring Scott Ian of Anthrax on second guitar and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo for a crisper but no less brutal reimagining to the caustic precursor to their proper studio debut, which would be released via Warner Brothers Records on August 13, 1991, they literally transformed this raw cassette music into some of the most vibrant and creative death metal in recent memory. It was the band’s first release since 1999’s California, and undoubtedly the heaviest Bungle album out there, especially buoyed by that twin axe dream team of Scummy and Scott Not bringing the noise.
The band did manage one more gig in 2020, however, on Halloween night, in a location whose parts were unknown, for a livestream event entitled The Night They Came Home.
And not only released album, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage, surprise cameos and a few surprise covers, including wild versions of S.O.D.’s “Speak English or Die” (righteously corrected to demand tu hablas Español), “World Up My Ass” by The Circle Jerks, a Bungle-ized Mashup of Slayer’s “Hell Awaits” and the Seals & Croft hit “Summer Breeze” and a near note-perfect take on the theme song to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. They even pay tribute to Eddie Van Halen by choosing a super deep VH classic to tackle–“Loss of Control” from 1980’s Women and Children First.
The Night They Came Home, which was directed by Jack Bennett, is available as a CD + Blu-Ray, CD + DVD, VHS, and digitally. The CD portion features remastered audio, while the film features Bungle’s performance, Neil Hamburger’s opening set, three official music videos (“Raping Your Mind,” “Eracist,” and “Sudden Death”), as well as extended behind-the-scenes footage. The VHS release, limited to 1000 collectible copies, is an edited, performance-only portion of the film.
“The Night They Came Home” track list:
Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Fred Rogers cover)
Anarchy Up Your Anus
Raping Your Mind
Hell Awaits/Summer Breeze (Slayer/Seals & Croft medley/cover)
World Up My Ass (Circle Jerks cover)
Glutton For Punishment
Hypocrites/Habla Español O Muere (S.O.D. cover)
Spreading The Thighs of Death
Loss for Words
Loss of Control (Van Halen cover)