Trevor Dunn
Trevor Dunn

Trevor Dunn

About Trevor Dunn

Bassist and composer Trevor Dunn is a musical free spirit whose resumé runs the gamut from prankish rock to experimental music, the avant-garde, and jazz. He first earned a reputation for his work with the off-kilter alternative rock band Mr. Bungle, and has since performed with grunge forefathers the Melvins, arty mental ensemble Fantomas, ambitious jazz/rock group the Nels Cline Singers, and a large number of projects with avant-garde composer and bandleader John Zorn. Dunn has also recorded as a bandleader and soloist with his ensembles Trio Convulsant and MadLove.
Trevor Dunn was born in Eureka, California, on January 30, 1968. He grew up on a typical diet of rock and pop music (favorite artists included Cheap Trick, Kiss, and the Beach Boys), and when he was nine years old he began taking clarinet lessons. At 13, he became more interested in rock, and took up the electric bass, soon joining a local band. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Humboldt State University, where he studied composition and playing the contrabass. Two years into his studies, he co-founded the experimental alternative rock band Mr. Bungle, releasing a demo cassette titled Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny. In 1989, Mr. Bungle's lead vocalist, Mike Patton, joined the band Faith No More as they were completing work on their third album. That album, The Real Thing, became a surprise hit after the track "Epic" racked up steady play on MTV, and suddenly Patton was a rock star with some clout. He was able to wrangle a major-label record deal for the aggressively uncommercial band, and Mr. Bungle, their first proper album, was released by Warner Bros. in 1991. Dunn would appear on two more Mr. Bungle albums, 1995's Disco Volante and 1999's California, as well as performing with his Bungle bandmates Danny Heifetz and Trey Spruance in the group Secret Chiefs 3, debuting with 1996's First Grand Constitution and Bylaws.
In 1999, Dunn released his first album as a headliner, Debutantes and Centipedes, a quirky fusion of free jazz and prog rock recorded with his group Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant. That same year, he appeared on the self-titled debut album from Mike Patton's metal project Fantomas, which included Buzz Osborne from the Melvins and Dave Lombardo from Slayer; he would record four more studio albums with the band by 2005.
In 2000, Dunn left California to move to Brooklyn, New York, and he was soon working regularly with John Zorn, the celebrated experimental composer and instrumentalist who met Dunn when he produced the first Mr. Bungle album. Dunn would appear on more than three dozen albums by Zorn (as well as his Electric Masada project), in addition to working with a number of artists affiliated with his Tzadik label and his Radical Jewish Culture releases. Dunn was also a member of the improvisational ensemble the Bureau of Atomic Tourism, sat in with Tomahawk (another Mike Patton project, featuring Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard) on 2013's Oddfellows, held down the bass on the Nels Cline Singers' 2014 release Macroscope, accompanied outré jazz legends Marshall Allen and Roswell Rudd on 2019's Ceremonial Healing, and worked with many more jazz and experimental artists.
Despite his busy schedule, Dunn still had time to periodically issue solo work, including 2008's Four Films and 2019's Nocturnes. After working with Buzz Osborne in Fantomas, Dunn became part of the Melvins' creative network. He appeared on the joint Fantomas and Melvins release Millennium Monsterwork in 2002 and toured with the group for the shows that appeared on Houdini Live 2005: A Live History of Gluttony and Lust; he also guested on 2012's Freak Puke, 2013's Everybody Loves Sausages, and 2016's Basses Loaded. In 2020, Dunn co-starred with Osborne (here calling himself King Buzzo) on his acoustic solo LP Gift of Sacrifice. ~ Mark Deming

  • BORN
    January 30, 1968

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