Easter Bunny Cometh: Inside Mr. Bungle's Raging Wrathful Return (Feb/2020)

Mr. Bungle Performs Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny w/ Scott Ian & Dave Lombardo - February 5th-7th - Fonda Theater - Hollywood, CA

Let's unpack this a bit first: Mr. Bungle announced last year that they’d be playing their first shows in 20 years this winter. Adding to the excitement is that the lineup of three core Mr. Bungle members - Mike Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance & bassist Trevor Dunn, would be rounded out by thrash legends Dave Lombardo (Slayer) & Scott Ian (Anthrax) on second guitar. 

 

 

The experimental band led by Faith No More singer Mike Patton developed a devoted following with a series of demos in the ’80s and three major-label studio albums in the ’90s. The reason for the additions of Dave & Scott was, that they weren't going to be playing any of the actual Mr. Bungle songs that  you know but rather an early demo The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny along with two thrash titans that inspired them during that time.

For the guys in Mr. Bungle this wasn't about reforming & doing something predictable as this band has made a legacy on being anything but that. This was about unfinished business - getting back to who they were before major label deals & tours & having two of the dudes they were listening to at the time now in their band is endlessly exciting for it's members & audience alike.

But wait a minute, most people have never heard that demo as it was sorta circulated around the Bay Area like 35 years ago and kinda lives on YouTube as an almost unlistenable 4 track recording, would people still show up? Of course they would, it's Mr. Bungle, they could fart into a microphone & tell you that in advance and this would still sell out, when you give people quality, they stay loyal. For me personally not going was never an option, I had biz in LA so I scheduled it around the first 3 shows which all sold out in seconds.

 

Night 1 (Opening Night)

This was what it was all about - Pre-Internet you could just wait till the band came to your town (though they were only doing 7 shows in 3 cities) and what have you, but now if your not there on Opening Night, your already gonna know what it looks & sounds like, what they played etc. I do my best to stay away from "spoilers" of any kind. What was this gonna be? The demo is only like 20 mins long, we have these other guys in the band, Mr Bungle were notorious for their crazy covers & irreverance. After being greeted by some not so friendly security coming in and super overpriced drinks (a domestic beer was $15) & themed drink specials like the My Ass Is on Fire Stella & Fireball combo (for like $30) I easily made my way to nearly the front. Admittedly I didn't see any of the openers till Night 3 but I couldn't believe how easy it was to walk this close to the front. Curtain opens to reveal a backdrop with the Evil Easter Bunny theme, Patton in a black Kobe Bryant jersey in tribute, while appearing to be cosplaying as Coolio & starting with a thrash infused cover of Fred Rogers' Wont You Be My Neighbor? It was already unhinged goodness from the first note:

 

 

Cover songs actually made up alot of the set, with the first one being a rendition of Corrosion of Conformity’s Loss for Words fittingly to honor late drummer Reed Mullin, who passed away recently. Throughout the night, they also covered Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, The Exploited & more.
For me the real surprises came when Scott Ian’s old crossover thrash band Stormtroopers of Death were represented with
Speak English or Die in which Patton changed the lyrics to a more woke Speak Spanish or Die +  the intro of Slayer’s Hell Awaits served as a nod to Dave Lombardo’s old band.

They did get to the demo almost immediately however with after the opener here comes 2 blisters Anarchy Up Your Anus & Spreading the Thighs of Death.
This gig wasn’t about the funk, the experimental rock, and the avant-garde that Bungle explored throughout their career. It was an in-your-face hardcore thrash show.

Besides the fun covers for me the highlight was three “new” songs that were written during the era of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny demo but never were released. Of those tracks, Eracist was a total standout & I'm still singing it right now.

For the most part, it was pure hardcore screaming for Patton throughout the night, save for the opening number and an amazing version of Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft with some super bawdy lyrics from Patton who wasn’t there to showcase his famous six-octave vocal range, much to the chagrin of a good portion of the audience. While the band certainly received a warm reception, it was obvious that there were fans there who were thinking at any minute they will eventually dip into their ’90s catalog who likely didn’t read the fine print.

What fans ultimately witnessed was three founding members of Mr. Bungle, now in their fifties, reliving songs they wrote, recorded, and listened to as teenagers and enjoying every minute of it onstage. Add to the fact that one of those guys has since gone on to be one of rock’s most beloved singers, and that they were joined by two thrash-metal icons, it made for one memorable show.

Setlist:

This is not in order as I found it to be more palatable & comprehensive in this presentation. Enjoy.

Raging Wrath Songs: 

Anarchy Up Your Anus  
Spreading the Thighs of Death 
Raping Your Mind  
Bungle Grind 
Hypocrites (w/ La Cucaracha snippet
Sudden Death  

Reworked songs written during Raging Wrath era but never recorded: 

Glutton for Punishment  
Methamatics  
Eracist  

Covers: 

Won't You Be My Neighbor (Fred Rogers) w/ March of the S.O.D.outro) - Opener 
Loss for Words (Corrosion of Conformity) 
Malfunction (Cro‐Mags) 
Just Sit There (Crumbsuckers) 
Hell Awaits (Slayer, instrumental intro only) 
Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts) 
Cold War (Siege) 
Speak English or Die (S.O.D. changed to Speak Spanish or Die) 
World Up My Ass (Circle Jerks) 
You Lose (7 Seconds w/ Faith No More's The Real Thing Intro) 
Fuck the USA (The Exploited) - Encore

 

After the show I ran into comedian Brian Posehn who we just had on our TrickyKid Radio Podcast (which you can check out here) so it was fun to chat with him for a bit, also saw Metallica's Robert Trujillo briefly backstage.

 

Night 2

The setlist was the same but this time Mike Patton upped the Fred Rogers thing a bit by walking out in a red sweater, white shirt, and black tie & serenaded the audience once again with Won’t You Be My Neighbor while adding some heaviness to the children’s song toward the end. From there, it was back to nonstop hardcore and thrash.

 

 

Mike Patton getting ready with Danny Devito

 

Night 3

This time I made DAMN sure I was there for the opener as the incomparable & heaviest band on earth & one of my all-time faves The Melvins crushed as usual with a brief but extremely effective set.

One of my fave episodes we have ever done on TrickyKid Radio was with The Melvins a few years ago (pics you can see on our homepage are from that session) & you can listen to it in it's entirity here.

Setlist:

Sesame Street Meat
At a Crawl
Anaconda
I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles cover)
Charlie (Redd Kross cover)
Magic Pig Detective
Halo of Flies (Alice Cooper cover)
Evil New War God
AMAZON

 

Now I was ready for the third & final show of this LA opening run. Once again the setlist remained the same (sans it appeared they attempted but abandoned Faith No More's The Real Thing intro that had previously began the 7 Seconds cover of You Lose.) Special for the evening was Adult Swim's Eric Andre introduced them as to what I believe was supposed to be the original show before the two dates before it were added as this show was sold out to the gills with the most enthusiastic crowd of the three.

 


 

 

Patton holding a dog



 

Special Old School Flyers were made (& sold) for each show -

 


After the show I went backstage for a bit & saw a who's who that gave me that "Who let me in here?" moment. I talked to Dale Crover (The Melvins) for a bit. We always chat about baseball when I see him. Spoke briefly to Trey & Mike - They had this setup  backstage where even though I had a backstage pass, you were in a communal area backstage & were not welcomed to where the bands were in the back dressing rooms without a laminate or an escort. I had neither so I stayed in the common area talking to Dale a bit more before feeling like a loser that was lingering like a fanboy so I split. Saw Danny Elfman on my way out.

Hope this is a sing of things to come, I know people that really enjoyed these shows (myself included) & others that were horribly dissapointed they didn't play any of their LP material (to nobody's fault but their own). But hopefully this ignites a spark of more to come. With Patton's already stacked schedule with Faith No More & Tomahawk this year it might still be awhile. This was great fun & glad it happened.

 

Photos -

Roy Turner
Fonda Theater Staff

 

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