The weird Halloween that 2020 brought us did have a few silver linings, including the thrash metal livestream extravaganza from Mr. Bungle entitled ‘The Night They Came Home!’ that went down that evening. We came into it expecting a raging virtual show, ultimately getting that and more with all the comedy, cameos, and personality they injected. The show celebrated the release of their new studio album, The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo – a rerecording of the 1986 demo they self-released as high-schoolers – the day prior, and appeared to take place in the main branch of the Eureka Public Library in California.
The vigorous skills of Mike Patton (Faith No More), Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, Scott Ian (Anthrax), and Dave Lombardo (Slayer) collided in a heavy and exciting performance that didn’t even feel like it was lacking a crowd. They were visibly fueled by each other’s energy, and maybe the espresso they were slamming mid-show too. The stream started out with behind-the-scenes footage of Mike Patton chatting with his hairstylist about how to make his braids as vertical as possible. It was a swell look with the Mr. Rogers costume that Patton wore and has rocked before – to match, of course, their badass opening cover of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. Quotes from the guys added to the pre-show intrigue, including an intentionally muffled one (à la Charlie Brown’s teacher) from a prudently-masked Lombardo.
Trevor Dunn shared some details on the album’s origins. “After meeting Dave, me and Trey and Mike had talked about this demo for years, and it’s always been kind of close to our hearts. And I thought, ‘Man, this is the guy we were thinking about when we were writing this music. And now that we know him, what if we…?’ I mean, we were like fifteen/sixteen/seventeen years old when we recorded [that tape] and it’s not super accurate. It was Trey’s first time recording anything on a four-track machine. And you know, of course, it’s on tape, so it’s just not great quality. So we decided to present it in a good quality package. That was kind of the point, in a way. We felt like there was good shit in there, but you couldn’t really hear it, you know? There were mistakes. There were parts on that tape where the drummer made a mistake, and we just had Mike scream over top of it to cover it up.”
Scott Ian then described his first impression of Mr. Bungle. “I used to tape trade a lot back then. So a guy that I traded with around the Bay Area sent me like a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of that [Raging Wrath] tape. So that was the first time I heard Mr. Bungle. It was brutal and it was funny and I immediately liked it – besides the name of the band, which, of course, made me think, ‘Well, these guys obviously don’t take themselves very seriously, but at the same time they do.’ Because the noise they were making, they take that very seriously. It’s like they say: you have to be really smart to be a great comedian, or you have to be a really great actor to play dumb. And that’s kind of like how I felt when I heard that. I was like, ‘These guys must be super, super smart if they’re making this much noise,’” Ian laughed.
Bad humor can be funny in an unsettling way, and the anti-comedian who delivered it before the show was (FNM/Bungle friend) Neil Hamburger – with awkwardly-paced music-themed jokes that ripped on everyone from Foo Fighters to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Aerosmith. Mr. Bungle’s performance was also peppered with celebrity appearances: Henry Rollins, Buzz Osborne, David Yow, Brian Posehn, Eric Andre, Josh Homme, and Glenn Howerton included. Cleverly filmed separately, each pretended they were a one-man audience and provided silly, often sarcastic reactions between songs. The band grinned and banged their heads as they served up their high-speed riffs and explosive sound (setlist below). Their contributions snapped into place like cogs in a machine powered by Lombardo’s distinctive drumming.
The quality multi-cam footage gave us optimal views of Patton getting right up in the camera to unleash his killer vocals – plus close-ups of Spruance’s insanely swift and nimble guitar work. In addition to the Raging Wrath material, Mr. Bungle stuck to their tradition of busting out cool covers and tore up their takes on Slayer, Seals & Crofts, Circle Jerks, S.O.D., and Corrosion of Conformity. In a memorable Van Halen tribute for their encore, Ian was rocking a replica of Eddie Van Halen’s signature shark guitar as they cooked up “Tora! Tora!” and “Loss of Control.” Of course, we’re eagerly awaiting the safe return of live music so that we can catch Mr. Bungle in person, but until then, we’re impressed by how they made this livestreamed gig such a blast.
Mr. Bungle Halloween 2020 Livestream Setlist
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Mr. Rogers cover)
“Anarchy Up Your Anus”
“Raping Your Mind”
“Methematics/”Hell Awaits” (Slayer Cover)/”Summer Breeze” (Seals & Crofts cover)
“World Up My Ass” (Circle Jerks cover)
“Glutton For Punishment”
“Hypocrites/Habla Español O Muere” (S.O.D. cover)
“Spreading The Thighs of Death/Loss For Words” (Corrosion of Conformity cover)
“Tora! Tora!”/”Loss of Control” (Van Halen covers)
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Stills: Jack Bennett