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.

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