Mike Patton is one of music’s great provocateurs. Whether he’s unleashing albums of wilfully unlistenable art-jazz noise terrorism or pissing in a shoe and drinking it onstage, the sometime Faith No More frontman takes a gleeful delight in seeing how far he can push things.
That urge to push buttons was in place early, if vintage footage of Patton’s original band Mr Bungle playing a high school talent show in 1985 is anything to go by. The 19-minute set sees the band – billed as “Bister Mungle” and fronted by a guitar-toting Patton – kicking off with a less-than-respectful version of Mötley Crüe’s Shout At The Devil, before treating the crowd to a four-track medley of ska-heavy songs by indie rockers Camper Van Beethoven, Kings Of Rock by hip hop titans Run DMC, The Village People’s Macho Man (complete with cowboy-hatted backing dancers) and even a verse from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1984 album track Baby Appeal (additional entertainment comes courtesy of various skateboarding stage invaders, adding to the madness).
The year puts Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn between 16 and 18, but it’s amazing how much of the Mr Bungle the world knows is already in place – not least Spruance’s next-level guitar playing and the general air of genre-switching anarchy.
The following year, Mr Bungle recorded their semi-legendary demo The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny. By the end of the decade, Patton’s path had taken to him to San Francisco, and Faith No More - though he continued to balance both bands until FNM’s split in 1998. A re-recorded version of The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny is due out in November, featuring Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn plus Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and former Slayer drummer/longtime Patton collaborator Dave Lombardo. Whether it features guest appearances from any random skateboarders remains to be seen.