Editors’ NotesTap More to read our track-by-track guide with Trevor Dunn.
It’s almost impossible to quantify the volume of music that’s come from Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton, and Trey Spruance since they founded Mr. Bungle in 1985 as high school metalheads in Eureka, California. It laid the foundation for the bands, collaborations, performances, and compositions across every imaginable corner of music that came after. And though they were known as experimental, avant-garde Frankensteins in their approach to metal, punk, ska, surf, jazz fusion, pop, and much, much more, it all comes back to The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, their insane thrash metal demo that for years has mostly been available as a shoddy YouTube stream. “For whatever reason, that demo was always close to our hearts,” bassist Trevor Dunn tells Apple Music. “It represents a really specific period of our life. We took the writing of that music really seriously, it just never had its proper representation.”
Mr. Bungle disbanded in 2000. Reunion rumors popped up anytime members performed together in their many other groups, and eventually, Dunn, Patton, and Spruance found themselves backstage at a Dead Cross show (one of Patton’s other bands, which also includes ex-Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies drummer Dave Lombardo). It was here that Dunn floated the idea to re-record with Lombardo—Slayer had been a massive influence when they first wrote it. “He essentially invented that style of drumming,” he says. “That was the whole catalyst, because he was the guy we had in mind when we were writing it in the ’80s.” Patton later suggested adding Anthrax and Stormtroopers of Death guitarist Scott Ian, who, it turns out, was already a massive fan. “That blew our minds,” says Dunn. “The first Anthrax record was big for us, too.”
Mr. Bungle’s first live shows since 2000 took place right before the pandemic hit, but it allowed them time to warm up and relearn the music. “It wasn't easy,” he says. “I could pick a lot faster when I was 17 and full of angst. But it was super fun.” All but one track from the original demo was rerecorded, alongside three extra songs written at the time and two covers. “In the studio, Trey, Mike, and I were looking at each other as we were recording, like, ‘Can you believe this? We got these guys to agree to do this?’” Below, Dunn talks through each track on The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo.
Grizzly Adams “‘Grizzly Adams’ was Trey's creation. It’s a song we've never played live, ever. Initially we just decided the band needed an intro. So he went home and made this. It's still hilarious to me because it’s too long for an intro, but that's what's great about it. I think Mike came up with the title. We didn't have a title for it—and this is the typical Bungle attitude—it’s just the most inappropriate title we can think of. It has nothing to do with Grizzly Adams, but in a way it’s this kind of heroic, melancholy piece.”
Anarchy Up Your Anus “It's hard to remember exactly why we decided to [sample Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House]. We always liked that ungodly scream after the narration. It's supposed to be a ghoul or something. And screaming at the top of the song, when the beat kicks in, is such a metal thing to do. We decided it was going to be too much trouble to get the rights to use the actual Walt Disney version. We happen to know Danny DeVito, so we asked Rhea [Perlman] if she would narrate it. I think the way she did was really great. She’s also one of the most un-metal people you can think of. That's part of our MO.”
Raping Your Mind “I feel like songwriting-wise, and lyrically, I can definitely tell it was written by a 17-year-old. At a pretty young age I definitely liked to mess around lyrically with the figurative and the literal. That's why I'm using this sort of like a brainwashing metaphor—the idea of the brain being something that can actually be ‘raped.’”
Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere “‘Hypocrites’ on the original demo is a bit of a joke song. It was premeditating the direction we started to go in later, which is why we chopped off the second part—it didn't really fit with the rest. The lyrics are acknowledging our own hypocrisy. Now that I'm a little bit wiser, I feel like it could be a mantra for human beings in general, if they're willing to self-reflect. With adding the Stormtroopers [of Death] song on there, well, we did a Slayer cover in the live set, and we wanted to do either Anthrax or Stormtroopers. It just became part of ‘Hypocrites,’ and plays into that because the original is a big, sarcastic joke that a lot of people might not get. So to redo it but then flip it around with the Spanish seemed to make sense.”
Bungle Grind “That's Trey's song. When Bungle started, me and Mike were 17, and Trey was 15. Trey was sort of this guitar whiz kid who I met in a music class in high school, and he already had a really developed ear. That was always my favorite song on the demo because it's got this really interesting harmonic movement to it. It's unusual, almost leaning towards prog in a way. Trey wrote the lyrics too. I don't even know if he knows what it's about. Who knows what the Bungle Grind is? We're not sure.”
Methematics “This one has complicated history. I think I wrote it after we recorded the demo, thinking we would eventually record more songs. At that point, we changed drummers, added a horn section, and totally started going in different directions. We never even learned those songs. They only existed as guitar demos I made at home. Then, as we were relearning this stuff, I started thinking it would be cool to ‘pay tribute’ to our hometown—I mean, there is some tribute in the lyrics that Mike wrote, but there's also some references to things that were kind of dark up in this part of north California. I sent Trey an email, asking for some stories. He sent me some ideas, and I had some other ideas, and then we gave it to Mike, who went with it and wrote these great lyrics. I think there are some definitely some references to meth addicts, and that's when we thought of the title, which totally worked.”
Eracist “It’s almost a brand-new song, except for the main riff that was written in the ’80s. Mike had those two main riffs. I don't even know if there was a recording of it, but for some reason Trey remembered the riffs. So Mike arranged it and wrote a bridge for it, which is that double-time section in the middle, and he wrote the lyrics. We had the other [previously unreleased] songs on a cassette at my parents' house. I’m a bit of a hoarder, and I have this box of tapes from my youth. Rehearsals, or riffs I was working on, songwriting stuff. So I had them in there and I knew where to find them. I had to digitize those from a cassette tape to send to the other guys. Keep all your crap. We're like the anti-Marie Kondo.”
Spreading the Thighs of Death “The whole song is based on specific intervals. I was treating it like a composition, like, ‘What can I do with this one scale?’ The lyrics are somewhat existentialist in a way. I can't remember what it's called now, but there was some movie from the early ’80s where some geek kid keeps being harassed, being bullied by other people, and then he turns to the occult and conjures up evil spirits. Then it all goes haywire, of course, because he can't control him. It’s also making fun of Satanism in metal. And obviously the title has this sexual reference—I won't go into detail, but as a teenager there were some personal references there. Like, don't mess around with something you don't know about. Being horrified by the opposite sex at a young age is probably a better way to describe it.”
Loss for Words “We used to play it in the ’90s with Bungle ‘proper,’ with Danny [Heifetz, drummer] and Bär [Clinton McKinnon, saxophonist]. That record, Animosity [by Corrosion of Conformity], was big for all of us in high school. We were rehearsing for the live shows when we found out that Reed [Mullin] had died. But that song was already in the set list. The slower section played into the sequencing for the record, especially after a song like ‘Spreading’ which is really intense.”
Glutton for Punishment “It’s another one of the songs I dug out of my archives. The songs were so unclear from the YouTube feed, which is the only way we had access to them. So me and Trey went back and sort of re-demoed them so they were clear for everyone else, especially for Dave and Scott. The lyrics were complete; they're typical of where my mind was as a 17-year-old. Totally indecisive about how to deal socially with people, what I was going to do with the rest of my life, all that sort of stuff.”
Sudden Death “The lyrics are so ’80s. It's essentially about fear of nuclear war. The heartfelt fear, the Cold War, worrying about whether the Russians are going to blow us up or not. For me, it's probably one of the hardest songs. Mike wrote it—aside from the main parts of ‘Hypocrites,’ it was his one contribution to the original demo. It's funny because he's the one guy who didn't have any musical training. He writes everything by ear. It rarely goes back to any previous idea. It’s hard to remember. You just have to keep playing it over and over again.”