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Mr. Bungle - California (Cover Artwork)

Mr. Bungle

Mr. Bungle: CaliforniaCalifornia (1999)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: formerly-blade-runnerformerly-blade-runne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Mike Patton Is God. At least, that's what some will have you believe. Apart from existing in one of the most influential bands of the past twenty years, Faith No More, he's also formed several side projects (Fantomas, Tomahawk, Lovage) as well as collaborated with a diverse range of artists and p.
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Mike Patton Is God.

At least, that's what some will have you believe. Apart from existing in one of the most influential bands of the past twenty years, Faith No More, he's also formed several side projects (Fantomas, Tomahawk, Lovage) as well as collaborated with a diverse range of artists and performers (the Dillinger Escape Plan, X-Ecutioners, Handsome Boy Modelling School). The man's a machine, a unique entity.

Perhaps his most obscure work, the project which has managed to fully embrace his original "style," is Mr. Bungle, a band that took its name from two short films which appeared in early episodes of the "The Pee Wee Herman Show," in which an ill-mannered, un-hygienic puppet clown demonstrated how good grade-school kids should not behave.

This 1999 release, California, is, in my opinion, their best work.

Mixing pop, rock, funk, lounge, world music and strange theatrics, California is widely considered the band's most consumer-friendly release. This may be so, but it would in no way ever be considered a commercial release. Six-minute songs consisting of abstract noise juxtaposed against Patton's poppy harmonies is certainly nothing you'll be likely to hear on a commercial radio station any time soon.

And that's precisely what makes this album so great. It is a unique masterpiece, and catchy as hell too. From the sweeping, streamlined sounds of "Sweet Charity" to the Middle Eastern choruses of "None of Them Knew They Were Robots" that induce images of a Broadway production of "Arabia: The Musical," to the speed metal of album concluder "Goodbye Sober Day," the album feels like a journey through the mind of a colourful genius.

If you're a fan of any of Patton's previous work, this album comes highly recommended. Others who may be interested include fans of wonderfully strange music and the criminally insane.

Mike Patton may not be God, but he is a powerful force in the world of music, a very diverse vocalist, and California exemplifies just what he is capable of when in top form.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 27, 2006)

fanfukintastic

sfbarker (December 20, 2005)

Mr. Bungle was a ska/punk/metal band way back in the day. It even shows up on songs on the Self-titled album...listen to the old Demos like Bowel of Chiley and it's very ska oriented...But on Goddammit I Love America, there are songs like Bungle Grind that are straight from a Slayer album...so they left nothing untouched...they did have a strong ska influence early on though...

If you get a chance, listen to OU818, it's a killer demo...The version of Carousel on there is epic.

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

A pretty good album but I enjoy "Disco Volante" more when associated with Mr. Bungle.

Ramo

Anonymous (December 20, 2005)

I was under the impression these guys were a ska band, only hearing a few songs like the "Tetris theme". But I take it i'm completly wrong?

-Not-To-Regret

Anonymous (December 19, 2005)

Faith No more = Mike Patton's best project

Seanathon

sfbarker (December 19, 2005)

I love Mike Patton, but don't forget Mr. Bungle is a band. Trey Sprunance and Trevor Dunn write a lot of the songs by themselves. As does Patton. Just a group of killer musicians who make music for the sake of making music. Love Bungle...

backupdork (December 19, 2005)

fantomas toured with Tool too.

Anonymous (December 19, 2005)

Possibly my all time favourite album.

AlmostPunkEnough (December 19, 2005)

wow, Will, i wouldn't have thougth you would like them at all.

anyway, i'm not hip-hop aficionado, so i don't think anyone should really go by waht i say, but i do enjoy a lot of those songs. i though the Patton ones were hardest to get into, but eventually were among the best.

Anonymous (December 19, 2005)

"Dante, the stuff with teh X-exutioners is pretty good, but only if you don't mind hip-hop. it's not gangsta by ay stretch. personally i reccomend it."

I disagree.

Anytime you reach a groove in those songs, it falls apart. And his song-songs on that album are kind of sucky. It could have been so much better, because Patton's voice goes with hip hop so well.

-Will

rkl (December 18, 2005)

peeping tom is excellent. if anyone wants the demos contact me, i think i still have them somewhere.

tomahawk toured with tool, which increased that band's name recognition a lot, and disco volante is better. not that this is a bad album at all. stars.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

I remember the first time i heard this album. My friends and I were stoned as fuck, and playing Super Mario World for SNES with the sound off. I was trippin' balls.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

We have this man to thank for the polka cover of Let's Lynch The Landlord.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

Dude, yeah he was the one with the glove in the video but who cares, it's FAITH NO MORE!!!! You shouold listen ti Angel dust and then talk shit.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

Am I the only one that thinks Mike Patton is just trying way too hard to make us forget he was the guy with the glove. dancing around in the FNM video?

AlmostPunkEnough (December 18, 2005)

Dante, the stuff with teh X-exutioners is pretty good, but only if you don't mind hip-hop. it's not gangsta by ay stretch. personally i reccomend it.

Jesse (December 18, 2005)

Has everyone forgotten about Medulla?

syr667 (December 18, 2005)

yeah, he's been talking about this "commercial"record for a few years... it's him and dan the automator again... not sure who else if anybody...

it's called peeping tom... they've had demos floating around for years... it could be great...

off_the_fucken_map (December 18, 2005)

look dude, music is music...OK!!!

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

i thought this was PUNKnews.org

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

mike patton is my inluence numer one, i saw fait ho more back in the 92 tour wit guns n roses, INCREDIBLE, is sad thats theres no more badns like this these days.. pure shit.. only strung out and hot water music.

Dante3000 (December 18, 2005)

This is a damn fine album...Mighty fine. Fine like a woman I'd like to have sex with and call her Mike.
Anyhow, I like a lot of the shit he has done and I don't know if I'd call one single project better than another. Certainly different but probably not better.
I think "Goodbye Sober Days" is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) Patton song.
Two Things:
1) Anyone know if his album with the X-Ecutioners was any good.
2) I heard he was talking about making a commerical album a while ago...Any truth or just rumors?
Good MuthaFuckin Choice MuthaFucka.
-Dante

beaarthur (December 18, 2005)

I just want to balance things out and say that Patton killed FNM.

Foaming_97 (December 18, 2005)

i really like their album with like the clowny guy on the front lol. I can remember what it's called though. I think it may be s/t

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

i was turned onto bungle before their first record came out (yes, i'm old) and when the first record came out it changed my life. i think i listened to that record more than any other in my whole life to this day...

that being said, as i sit here at 34 years old and look back, California is/was the best thing they ever did, FAR superior to the other two .

get this record.

gregs (December 18, 2005)

"If Mike Patton is known for two things, it's Faith No More and Mr. Bungle."

Agreed

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

lala..so boring brainful and half assed witted

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

This is good, but not as good as either of the Tomahawk albums.

-Bowling-Skinhead- (December 18, 2005)

I just found my copy of "Angel Dust" that I had thought disappeared monts ago. Great album, that.

- (Formerly) Blade Runner

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

I love Patton (post Faith No More Patton, at least) and would definately recommend either Tomahawk album or Fantomas (especially!) over Mr. Bungle. I would say "Mit Gas" or "Suspended Animation" kick this album's ass all over the place...

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

California is a fantastic record. Some have even called it a twisted sequel to the un-released Beach Boys almost-opus "SMiLE". It's a brilliant, twisted masterpiece of perfect pop. I'm listening to Autolux right now, but you've put me in a Bungle mood. Thank you, sir.

One thing I disagree with: Bungle is not the most obscure of Patton's projects. Stuff like Lovage, or the X-Ecutioners, or even Fantomas and Tomahawk are less well known than Mr. Bungle. If Mike Patton is known for two things, it's Faith No More and Mr. Bungle.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

wait? a major label produced this?

AlmostPunkEnough (December 18, 2005)

this album is so overrated. a huge step down from "Disco Volante", and nowhere near the brilliance of the self-titled album, which i think is the second best thing Patton has ever done, trailing only "Angel Dust".

that being said, there's a few great songs on here; 'Ars Moriendi' is some crazy shit, and a lot of the lyrics are fantasticly cheesy, and i mean that in the best possible way.

to anyone wanting to get into Mr. Bungle, do not start with this album.

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