Midweek Mic Drop | Visionaries, Mr. Bungle

Dream Of Bunglefornication

Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo (Ipecac Recordings)

I remember about four years ago, my mother’s middle brother had just passed away and that night, my best friend Frank and I had tickets to go see Faith No More with Napalm Death opening up at the, what used to be Verizon wireless amphitheater in Houston, Texas. Driving down from central Texas back to the homeland, one of my family members suggested I forfeit going to the rock and roll show, out of “respect” for my Uncle Jay. Thinking about this for no more than a microsecond, I quickly responded with an “I respect where you are coming from, but I must deny this selfish request,” for my Uncle Jay would have wanted me and us to continue in our lives as it were ESPECIALLY if it meant going to a rock show. He was in a band himself in the 50s, playing saxophone and twisting the night away, lighting the fire of countless youthful dreams in El Paso, Texas, in another lifetime, in another world.

Upon entering the amphitheater with my bestie, I was quickly reminded of the Faith No More fan demographic: just a tiny little bit different than the Pearl Jam/Slipknot/Disturbed individual demographic. Somewhat attuned to the rumblings of the earth, but still inclined to bring their unwilling girlfriends and wives to literally steer around the building the entirety of the performances. What they probably didn’t anticipate was the sonic guerrilla warfare of the boys from Birmingham in Napalm Death, as their Apex Predator – Easy Meat album had just been released. Some of the crowd was absolutely ready and rocking along to the spastic symphonic dream of punk rock-inspired grindcore. Others were wide-eyed and visibly offended. Laugh out loud from the bad hombre duo in attendance.

Faith No More had just reunited and put out a relatively wonderful comeback record, with songs like MOTHERFUCKER and SEPARATION ANXIETY. They spent the whole tour performing in all-white outfits, decorating the stage with flower bouquets, and their fans eagerly awaiting that one epic song. While Faith No More does tickle a fancy inside of me every now and again, a line from this new old new recording of a Mr. Bungle demo struck with me, if I did hear correct: Mike Patton screams with just the right amount of plausible deniability: “I hate people who like Faith No More.” It reminded me of the big first music video of Faith No More’s starring Mike Patton, wearing a Mr. Bungle shirt in between shots, forever promising that his first love will always be with him, to infinity and beyond.

Mr. Bungle, after spending a couple of decades away, give or take, come back crashing in, reborn with extra members Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Scott Ian (StormTroopers Of Death) with a “re-recording” of their debut demo The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny, just in time for Halloween. The record begins with something almost reminiscent of an Ennio Morricone spaghetti-western overture titled “Grizzly Adams,” evoking the dawning of what is about to follow and also slapping the face of that bearded magazine star that drove men and women crazy in the 70s. Immediately after, ANARCHY UP YOUR BUTT blasts the record open, with a voice-over that forced me to think of the beginning of Dead Kennedy’s Plastic Surgery Disasters: that female voice asking “Why are you such a stupid asshole? Would you really like to know? Well, remove your clothes and Yvette will show you how.” But this time, it’s a much colder sinister witch of a voice forwarding the horrorshow and question that lies ahead. “Why will you never return?” The question is almost forgotten as soon as the record rolls on. Personal favorite tracks of mine on this outing are METHEMATICS and BUNGLE GRIND, but my absolute favorite is the S.O.D. re-imagined cover of SPEAK SPANISH OR DIE.

Already, right on cue, of course: you look at the cesspool of internet comments, most of these dorks probably taking what Pitchfork has to say seriously and not with the grain of salt it deserves, panicking and lamenting that this new-old venture isn’t “The Real” Mr. Bungle. These idiots probably don’t even believe in Santa Claus because their fathers were too distant or their mothers didn’t really want to have children. All I can say is this is as much the real Mr. Bungle as the world is round. Now I haven’t been around since the dawning of existence to have enough spare time to ask my friend Frank to walk east while I walk west and if we meet up in the middle, then we’ll know, but I do know that I have Faith that the world is round, we are still neck-deep in a pandemic and there is no more real-er Mr. Bungle than this one right here, right now. Maybe some of these Red Hot Chili Pepper fans can find some peace in their Office or Game Of Thrones re-watches. Give it away, give it away, give it away now. Habla español or muere. Keep on Bungling in the free world and stay curious.

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It’s Not Your Presents, It’s Your Presence

The Visionaries – V

As I was stepping through my regular walk through this brutally wonder bread neighborhood, here in central Texas, I couldn’t help but take note of all of the regular things I notice, rain or shine: occasional smiles cut with occasional blank or dirty looks, beautiful dogs being walked by hunted bi-pedal naked more pathetic dogs, clothed with their preference of slave labored chic garments or sportswear, homicidal maniacs driving way too fast in their two-thousand-pound tanks, fueled by explosions.

It suddenly struck me I had work to do. Asking my acquaintance in the cloud to send me the latest and greatest in hip hop, The Visionaries‘ new album V came swooping into my inbox. Produced by 2Mex, this collective product from a cooperative of unique voices coming together to forge a sword of rhythm and blues with based beats is introduced by a forward by Henry Allen. Suddenly the beats and the melodies immediately remind me of that time I heard Deltron 3030, for the first time in my life, riding north on South Congress with my best friends at the time, feeling that the weight of the world will never go away but somehow it will always be okay.
This balance requires constant calibration of the equilibrium and those that have lost this insight stroll around life in the fog that has been sold, if not beaten into them.

On my walk, I pass by a shack with a FOR SALE sign, and a well to do looking real estate agent with a little too much makeup on, escorting a well to do couple will a little too much make up on, out of the driveway and they point their dagger eyes towards me. I do what any good soldier in the battlefield of bullshit does: I crack such a sardonic smile that it appears to
become genuine again and flick a warm wave their way. My presence somehow broke the rhythm of the real estate agent and her fake smile turns to a look of guarded skepticism. “Is this brown man walking around in a skeleton print outfit psychotic or just too poor to go from point A to point B in a vehicle, like the rest of us?” is what I imagine her thinking. Now, this could be purely projection, as my feelings are not necessarily reflective of the objective reality. One cannot really ever know another’s thoughts, but the body language tends not to lie. The couple with too much make up on (being an apparently cis couple, the woman being blond with blinding red lip color and the man looking like he was just manifested by a witch from a Just For Men box she saw at the supermarket) wave back in what feels just shy of being a cold default reaction. I continue my steps as “The Memories Last” snares into “Right Palm.”

“Palm on my face, left hand on my nuts,” I start bopping my head again, reminding myself that though there’s much to loathe about people, particularly people that are going all in to the abyss of the 3D printed void, there’s so much to love. Artists like 2Mex and The Visionaries push through the grind to bring us forever fresh gospels of walking through this hellish world while still having the muscle and spiritual strength to keep one’s head up and fighting through the legions of demonic simps. Simpin for the status quo. Simping for the almighty dollar. Simping for the lies that dominate our communities, all while looking down on those that occasionally tell their loved one’s they look pretty.

Growing up and being trained in the trade of heavymetalpunkrockandroll, I quickly realized the ghosts of scorn and mediocrity are not exclusive to the standard historically oppressive institutions. One thing I cannot stand to this goddamn day is listening to some punk rock, heavy metal, or rock and roll “expert,” usually with the tackiest dyed blonde Rod Stewart haircut, going on some hot-aired rant about how electronic music or hip hop isn’t “real” music.

My answer is usually one of “fuck you, pay me,” or “I can’t imagine being both so goddamn wrong about something and being so obvious about projecting feckless failure onto something perceived as more successful.” This mentality deserves death, though remains immortal through the generations. The next moment, no bother though. It looks like wonderfully artistic musicians like THE VISIONARIES will always be there to remind you that it’s not your presents, it’s your presence in the essence. Keep on reading in the free world and stay curious.

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