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the Biography

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MIKE PATTON | TREVOR DUNN | BäR MCKINNON
DANNY HEIFETZ | THEO LENGYEL | TREY SPRUANCE

Mr. Bungle began in Eureka, California during 1984. The members, Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, Trey Spruance, and Theo Lengyel had met at high school. With Jed Watts on drums and Scott Fritz on trumpet, the group recording its demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny during Easter of 1986. The 'high school demos' were more Slayer death metal influnced with "a sense of humor." Line-up changes meant adding Hans Wagner on drums (Jed Watts booted) and Luke Miller on horns, leading to the demo Bowel of Chiley, which came out in 1987. Goddammit, I Love America! was a much better produced demo than the first two, creating a new marriage of sound and production to the band. In 1988, after the demo came out, Luke Miller and Hans Wagner were out, and Bär McKinnon and Danny Heifetz were in. The following demo in 1989, was the lineup which would continue on for almost ten years...

Mr. Bungle got in touch with John Zorn, who would later agree to produce their self-titled album in 1991. After lots of touring during 1991 and 1992, the members would work on various other projects which had already been started. Patton with Faith No More, Naked City (as a touring guest vocalist); Dunn with various SF bay jazz outfits; Heifetz with Dieselhed and other local bands; McKinnon worked at a loading dock part time; Lengyel who knows?; and Spruance with Faxed Head, Scourge and other bands; while all members were active in local improv shows...

Four years would pass, and in 1995 Disco Volante was the effort which would hail Mr. Bungle as an elite group in terms of producing collages of sound and orchestrating them into durable pieces, which are listenable. While some prefer the more chaotic approach off their self-titled, Disco Volante established a new level of composing and producing pieces. The members supported this record with tours through the States, Europe, and Australia during '95 and '96. During this period too, Mike Patton would go on to record a couple of solo records, while working with FNM, and tons of other improv shows; Spruance working with FNM, Secret Chiefs 3, with Heifetz and Dunn (a Mr. Bungle session turned into long-running project of his), Faxed Head; Dunn working in SC3 and alongside many other jazzers live/studio; Heifetz with SC3, Dieselhed, and other local bands, like Barefoot Hockey Goalie; McKinnon playing with SC3 as a guest, but available for full tours; and Lengyel doing who knows??

Another 4 grand years pass, and Theo Lengyel retires as Bungle's original sax player and keyboardist. The new compositions do not impress him, as Bungle's approach to production hasn't changed, but the composition has with a less chaotic sounding pieces. The remaining band members remain intact to produce a semi-nostalgic pop-esque recording, with far more refreshing sounds too complex to understand in terms of playing. California came out in 1999, and the band did 5 tours to support this record. For the most part, perhaps with exception to the Sno-Core 2000 tour, the band did have success gathering an audience (perhaps not with making money, unfortunately). During this time, Mike Patton fresh off FNM's break-up created a powerful project called Fantômas, with Dunn, Buzz Osborne, and Dave Lombardo, while also playing many solo/improv shows; Spruance working on more SC3, new projects in the works FORMS and The Holy Vehm, and producing other projects; Heifetz worked for a while with Dieselhed again, which would break up; McKinnon with SC3 as a session player; and Dunn as a session player for many Zorn projects and other improv and jazz outfits, and his own trio-convulsant project.

Right now Patton is working between Fantômas and Tomahawk, with other projects with the X-Ecutioners, Merzbow, and Dillenger Escape Plan, to name a few in the works. Also in there are many other improv or solo shows to look out for. He's releasing most of his work through his own label, Ipecac Recordings. Dunn is working on another trio-convulsant record, while playing with Zorn a ton and other in the NYC area (currently lives in Brooklyn). McKinnon has two kids and lives in Melbourne. Right now he's written some music and is touring to support it (no word on a release). Heifetz also has a kid, and he too is living Melbourne, playing in Virgil Shaw's band (former Dieselhed member) and giving lessons to amateur drummers through Billy Hyde music. Spruance is running his Mimicry Recordings, while working on the next SC3 records, the debut FORMS (unless it's canned) and Holy Vehm (ditto) records. He's also a producer/engineer, which makes his schedule pretty hectic too. He's living in Santa Cruz, and has established a studio in his basement.