Mr. Bungle contemplate nuclear annihilation in ’80s-themed Sudden Death video

Mr Bungle
(Image credit: Buzz Osborne)

The resurrection of Mr. Bungle in 2020 has been a joy to behold. Mike Patton and his old pals Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance appear to be having a ball with newly installed ‘bunglers’ Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer), and the quintet’s The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, the band’s first music in 21 years, has received rave notions. 

Keeping up their momentum then, the Calfornian group, have just released a video for Sudden Death, the album’s third single, billed as an “epic thrash monster” on this site just three weeks.

Cianfrance and Patton came to know one another after working together on the 2013 film, The Place Beyond The Pines. Once he shot the film, the director told Pitchfork, he new the only person who should compose its score was Patton. Cianfrance has also incorporated music from Patton’s discography into his current project, HBO’s I Know This Much Is True.

“When we first worked together, he told me he was a fan, and I didn’t believe him,” said Patton. “Years later, he told me he gravitated to the most difficult tunes on Bungle records (Dead Goon, Merry Go Bye Bye, Goodbye Sober Day) so him choosing Sudden Death for this iteration of Bungle actually made perfect sense. The least commercial and longest song? That’s where his ears and eyes go.”

"If you lived in Lakewood, Colorado, during the early 1990s, there’s a slim chance you would have seen and heard a 16 -year-old boy driving slowly around town in a white, 1974 Mustang II, with his windows rolled down, disrupting the neighbourhood by blaring the music of Mr. Bungle,” says Cianfrance. “That 16-year-old kid was me, and that music that I listened to, over and over and over again, set the bar for my life as an artist. So, 30 years later, when I got a call from Mike Patton asking me to direct a music video for one of the songs on their new album, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, I questioned whether my life was really a dream...”

“I informed Mike that I had never directed a music video before, but he wasn’t dissuaded. I listened to the album and asked if I could work with the song Sudden Death. It reminded me of the feelings of angst I carried throughout my youth while growing up in the shadow of a looming, forbidding thermonuclear war. I decided I could make a short film (well, not so short - the song is almost 8 min!) about these fears that haunted me. I was also interested in meditating on the theme of desensitization in modern society, where citizens are gradually and systemically numbed to the possibility of cataclysmic consequences. Since the song was written in the mid-‘80s, I determined that the video should feel like it was made during that time and imagined it as some sort of rediscovered relic. Shooting during a global pandemic proved a fitting backdrop to the malaise of the song.”

In the new issue of Metal Hammer magazine, Mike Patton expresses his surprise and delight that his dream line-up for Mr. Bungle 2020 actually came to pass. 

“We’re all Slayer fans,” says Patton, “and, frankly, if you’re not a Slayer fan then I don’t trust you! That’s it, that’s the beginning and the end of that with Dave Lombardo, what can you say about the guy? He’s amazing.”

“Scott’s been amazing as well, such a cool guy. All of us are in our 50s and it is just so much fun and so energising to be doing what we are doing right now. Basically, in terms of Dave and Scott, it was like ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s go to the source. Who inspired us back then? Who were we listening to?’ and Slayer and Anthrax were two of the biggest ones. The most amazing thing was that they were into the idea. We were really flattered, really amazed that they would do something as crazy as we are doing. We were so honoured to play with those guys, because if it weren’t for them then this music would never have been made in the first place.”

Read more about Mr. Bungle’s comeback in Metal Hammer magazine, which is out now. The issue features a tribute to the genius of the late Eddie Van Halen, Ghost, Killer Be Killed, Oceans Of Slumber and much, much more.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.