Monthly Archives: March 2020

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Human Fly,” Zeus! (2020)

On Tuesday, we told you about a new release for the Mike Patton/Anthony Pateras collaboration tētēma, so let’s keep the new Patton music train rolling down the track (so maybe the Patton from 1991 (and his Bungle buddies) can try to hop it).

Plus, Mr. Bungle is re-recording its 1986 death metal demo “The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny,” and Tomahawk reportedly is back in the studio to create its first album in seven years.

It’s a Patton-copia of new music during these tough times! And that includes Patton’s guest starring appearance on Zeus!’ cover of “Human Fly,” originally recorded by the Cramps in 1983.

Considering I’ve never heard the Cramp’s version of this song, this is an interesting tune. On this newest version, there are bits where it sounds a little like Fantomas, a little like Mr. Bungle, and a little like Tomahawk. But more than anything it’s just a fairly standard rock song with Patton singing about being an insect (though the song itself actually sounds a little more interesting (and a little more punk) to me than the Cramps’ version from 37 years ago).

Here’s what the original sounds like.

Revolver said Patton’s version took “the already freakishly fun song to depraved new heights.” But for me, I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. It’s just fine.

In fact, I kind of like the way it was originally sung by Lux Interior and the way he buzzed. Which just goes to show that even though Patton is masterful in the vast majority of his covers, sometimes the original is hard to beat.

Previous Patton collaborations:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Soliloquy,” tētēma (2020)

About a month ago, I had never heard of tētēma. I didn’t know who was in tētēma (nor did I really care). I didn’t know what a tētēma was. And I didn’t know what kind of music I should expect from a band called tētēma.

Turns out it’s a Mike Patton collaboration with Anthony Pateras, an avant-garde musician from Australia, and according to Ipecac, Patton’s record label, it plays “modernist electro-acoustic rock.” Whatever that is. There are actually four people in the band, and its second album will be released in April (the fact Patton had a band I’d never heard of until recently that had already released an album, like, five years ago kind of disappoints me but also doesn’t surprise me).

As for what it sounds like, Ipecac’s press release states, “this record continues to employ the wayward orchestrations and arresting physicality of their 2014 debut Geocidal, yet is renewed by a melodic language which grounds its multi-colored twists and turns in hallucinatory lyricism.”

Okie doke.

Let’s give it a listen, then.

So, that was interesting. Or as Pateras said, “No other band would combine microtonal buchla with hyperactive drumming to serenade Paganini and Leonard Cohen passed out in a hot tub. This track is like pressing fast forward on both a [Giacinto] Sclesi and Yasunao Tone CD on different systems pointed at each other, except it’s performed live. Quite possibly the only track in the world to refer to Deleuze as ‘chichi.’”

I have no idea what any of that means.

But to me, the music sounds like electronica fused with Patton’s screaming and shouting (with maybe hints of a little bit of prog rock?). That’s something I’ve never heard from Patton before. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it. I also probably wouldn’t mind listening to it again.

Previous Patton collaborations:


To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Mescal Rite 2,” Tomahawk (2007)

Just because I’m a big fan of Mike Patton, that doesn’t mean I know everything about his music or his life or his motivations. Or even the song titles on the albums he helps create.

It wasn’t until last week when I was writing about “Mescal Rite 1” that I even realized that there was a “Mescal Rite 2” that appears on the same damn album. The album is Anonymous, and, as I document every time I write about one of its songs, it was motivated by guitarist Duane Denison when he went on a tour of Native American reservations with Hank Williams III.

It’s an album dedicated to Native American music with a twist of Patton sprinkled in the mix. But not all the reviewers of this album loved Patton’s contributions. For “Mescal Rite 2,” Pop Matters wrote “Denison might want to look into the release of an instrumental version of Anonymous; compelling as it is, it falls just short of doing his vision justice.”

Personally, I don’t like “Mescal Rite 2” nearly as much as “Mescal Rite 1.” I liked the fast tempo of the first song and Patton’s emotive chanting. “Mescal Rite 2” is dreamier and just kind of meanders through your speakers for nearly six minutes, and Pop Matter comments on Patton’s “decision to turn the extended middle section … into one of his now trademarked hip-hop moments.”


The section from 4:54 to 5:11 of the video could give you chills, but it’s only a short snippet in what seems like a bloated tune. Listen, the song is fine, but given the choice between “Mescal Rite 1” and “Mescal Rite 2,” I’ll go No. 1 all day.

Previously from Anonymous:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Mescal Rite 1,” Tomahawk (2007)

Mike Patton doesn’t need to sing actual lyrics to convey great emotion and artistry into a song. If you don’t believe me, let me introduce you to “Mescal Rite 1” off Tomahawk’s 2007 album Anonymous.

As we know now—and as I mention this every time I write about a song off this album—Anonymous was conceived by guitarist Duane Denison after he went on a tour of Native American reservations with Hank Williams III. The songs, thus, are inspired by what they found and by the Native American music most people never got to hear.

Some of the songs on Anonymous do have lyrics. But some feature Patton chanting only. In “Mescal Rite 1,” you can hear him expressing himself even though the words are indecipherable. As one YouTube commenter wrote, “Hearing this song is like having an adrenaline shot.” (I especially love the “wooo!” at the 1:40 mark.)

There have been a few reviews of this album that aren’t impressed with Patton’s work. Pop Matters, for instance, calls him “more of an overbearing afterthought.” But I think he’s great in this song. And the emotion seems so real that you might not have guessed Patton was nowhere near the band as it recorded this song in studio.

Not everybody loved his performance on this album. But I certainly do.

Previously from Anonymous:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Egg,” Mr. Bungle (1991)

Mr. Bungle, 29 years after the release of its first album, caused a stir on Twitter in the past few weeks when the official Twitter account released a few photos from a music studio. Immediately, that led all of us Mr. Bungle fans to wonder, “IS MR. BUNGLE GOING TO GIVE US NEW MUSIC?!?”

After the success of the band’s recent mini-tour, where it played its 1986 death metal EP “The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny,” it’d make sense. We haven’t gotten a Bungle album since California in 1999, and we know that Patton in the past decade has reunited with old bands and old friends.

But it’s doubtful we’d get tunes like “Egg,” because it’s simply from a different time and different place. It was recorded when Patton was in his early 20 years and it comes in the middle of an album that’s awfully sophomoric. Patton is in his 50s now, and he’s (mostly) left sophomoric behind. This song has plenty of ska-sounding horns, a sweet bass line and some of Patton’s nasally vocal style (he also breaks into a New York-accented spoken word briefly before going into a deeper metal voice. Honestly, his voice is all over the place here).

As Prog Archives wrote, the last few minutes of music in “Egg” is “one of the album’s ‘Great Moments,’ especially for the enjoyment of Patton’s insane vocal artistry. With each passing measure, alternating with Zorn-style bites of chaotic noise, Patton makes the line more demented, running through a panoply of different voice characters, from the cartoony to the demonic, ending it with an Edith Bunker screeching-whine-come-drunk-Tony Clifton- lounge-vocal. The music falls apart into ‘don’t believe I’d of done that’ territory.”

I dig this song, because I’ve always dug the weird (yet still listenable) Bungle songs that emerge from the first album. “Egg” also has at least one interesting point that I learned while writing this post.

At the end of the song, beginning at about 7:37, it devolves into what sounds like a couple of dudes on a train. And apparently that’s exactly what it is, because according to Bungle Fever and various other sites, that snippet was recorded when Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn documented themselves trying to jump on a train together.

I’m not sure if the attempt actually succeeded, because as Spruance said in a 1999 online chat, “We were trying to train hop. It was our post-train-hopping period, where we were paranoid of being caught, because Trevor had gotten caught. He had crossed the boundary, he was hopping them by himself.”

I don’t know why this snippet is on the song, and I don’t know what it adds to the music or the album. In reality, “Egg” would have been fine, maybe better, if Mr. Bungle had cut out the last half of the song, including the bit with the train. It’s something a post-teen Patton would throw on an album. It’s probably not what the Patton of today would do.

Previously from Mr. Bungle:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

365 Days of Mike Patton: “Night of the Hunter,” Fantomas (2001)

During Mr. Bungle’s recent run of live shows where Mike Patton’s side band played its little-known 1986 death metal EP Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, one little juicy side story was that famed actor Danny DeVito was in attendance at a show.

The truth is DeVito and Patton have been pals for a while. As noted by Faith No More Followers, they’ve been buddies since 2005 after DeVito took his kid to Coachella and they took in a Fantomas performance.

And hey, speaking of Fantomas, check out “Night of the Hunter” off its movie soundtrack covers album The Director’s Cut.

Here’s the original version of that song from the 1955 film of the same name, via Walter Schumann.

But anyway, back to DeVito! It appears that Fantomas didn’t play this song at Coachella that year, and according to, the band has only performed it a handful of times ever. Still, DeVito thought Fantomas was awesome.

“Fantomas blew me away. They are super out of this world beyond! Mike Patton is a genius. ….” DeVito told in 2006. “Fantomas are experimental and just crazy.”

And Patton repaid the compliment, telling, “I don’t really limit my influences. Everything in my life influences me, from my morning coffee to each meal. Really hard to nail down. Danny Devito influences me.”

There are plenty of YouTube videos of DeVito watching Patton live from the side of the stage, and here’s a fun few minutes of Patton and DeVito talking about each other (and about how MySpace is phenomenal) …

… And while watching it, I came to a stunning realization. DeVito is just like us in his love for Patton. He just happens to be better friends with Patton than most of us could ever conceive. Oh, and he’s also a pretty good actor.

Previously from The Director’s Cut:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.