Mr. Bungle is back with their first album in over two decades, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo.For their latest music video, they turned to acclaimed director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond The Pines, Blue Valentine) for the band's epic 8-minute song "Sudden Death." Today, we are honored to premiere the video for "Sudden Death" in all of its ear-shredding glory.
When Mr. Bungle finished The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo earlier this year, singer Mike Patton started to think about making a video and knew that Derek Cianfrance was the right director for the job. Cianfrance and Patton came to know one another after working together on the 2012 film The Place Beyond The Pines. Cianfrance said, in an interview with Pitchfork, that once he shot the film, he knew the only person who should compose its score was Patton.
The director has also incorporated music from Mike Patton's discography into his current project, HBO's I Know This Much Is True. Patton and the band gave Derek Cianfrance the freedom to choose which song he wanted to make a video for, and he immediately gravitated towards "Sudden Death," which Patton thought was the best choice for the most unobvious reasons. He explains.
"When we first worked together, he told me he was a fan, and I didn't believe him. Years later, he told me he gravitated to the most difficult tunes on Bungle records ('Dead Goon,' 'Merry Go Bye Bye,' 'Goodbye Sober Day') so him choosing 'Sudden Death' for this iteration of Bungle actually made perfect sense. The least commercial and longest song? That's where his ears and eyes go."
Derek Cianfrance is a huge Mr. Bungle fan, going back to his days as a teenager in Colorado. "If you lived in Lakewood, Colorado, during the early 1990s, there's a slim chance you would have seen and heard a 16 -year old boy driving slowly around town in a white, 1974 Mustang II, with his windows rolled down, disrupting the neighborhood by blaring the music of Mr. Bungle," says the director. He continues, "That 16-year-old kid was me, and that music that I listened to, over and over and over again, set the bar for my life as an artist." After already working with Mike Patton, Cianfrance was excited to get to work on "Sudden Death," though there were some challenges. Cianfrance had this to say.
"So, 30 years later, when I got a call from Mike Patton asking me to direct a music video for one of the songs on their new album, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, I questioned whether my life was really a dream... I informed Mike that I had never directed a music video before, but he wasn't dissuaded. I listened to the album and asked if I could work with the song 'Sudden Death.' It reminded me of the feelings of angst I carried throughout my youth while growing up in the shadow of a looming, forbidding thermonuclear war. I decided I could make a short film (well, not so short - the song is almost 8 min!) about these fears that haunted me. I was also interested in meditating on the theme of desensitization in modern society, where citizens are gradually and systemically numbed to the possibility of cataclysmic consequences."
Mr. Bungle wrote all of the songs on The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny (except for "Loss for Words" and "Habla Español O Muere," which are Corrosion of Conformity and SOA covers, respectively) in 1986 when they were still teenagers. Derek Cianfrance wanted to tap into that energy of the mid-80s, along with the heavy power of the music when he was crafting the video for "Sudden Death." You can read what he had to say about the style of the video below.
"Since the song was written in the mid-80s, I determined that the video should feel like it was made during that time and imagined it as some sort of rediscovered relic. Shooting during a global pandemic proved a fitting backdrop to the malaise of the song. It also presented a unique challenge as I was too nervous to work with actors - so I had to come up with another solution. making this video with a small team of trusted collaborators, and working with my life-long heroes, was nothing short of a total dream come true."
After collaborating on The Place Beyond the Pines, Mike Patton didn't know if he and Derek Cianfrance would work together again. However, the director was more than willing to get a chance to collaborate with the mighty Mr. Bungle. "Derek is a sonofabitch. I respect him like a godfather. He has no regard for human life with this video, which is absolutely PERFECT. Derek is a killer in the best way possible," Patton says. Working with Cianfrance on the 2012 score still sticks with Patton 8 years after the fact because of the freedom that Cianfrance offered him, which is exactly what the band offered the director while working on "Sudden Death." Patton explains.
"I was fortunate enough to gain his expert trust over the years, and we did Pines together, which was a damn composer's dream. He could have easily chosen a more 'qualified' composer but he stuck by me. That level of understanding and trust is something I could only describe as A FAMILY MEMBER at this point. Who else would do such a thing? During the process, he continually went to bat for me, although I'm sure his producers wanted to fire my ass. Also, he FELT the music I was creating, and knew what worked, and what would not. Like... he KNEW. That level of understanding, in my experience, isn't common. Nobody does that."
The "Sudden Death" video arrives as the band, whose current line-up features original Bunglers Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton, and Trey Spruance with Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Dead Cross, Fantomas), celebrate not only the release of The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, but the wildly successful Mr. Bungle: The Night They Came Home livestream and the album's impressive entry on to worldwide music charts. The 11-song album entered Billboard's U.S. charts at #1 on Current Hard Music, #2 on Independent Albums, #3 on Rock Albums, and #6 on Top Current Albums. This is the first Mr. Bungle album to enter the Top 10 on any album chart. Internationally, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo debuted at #1 on Canada's #1 Hard Music Chart (#7 Top Current Albums), #3 on the UK's Rock & Metal Albums chart, and #6 on Australia's Top Albums chart.
Mr. Bungle was formed in an impoverished lumber and fishing town by a trio of curious, volatile teenagers. Trey Spruance, Mike Patton, and Trevor Dunn beget the amorphous "band" in 1985 up in Humboldt County, California, sifting through a variety of members until around 1989 when they settled on a lineup that managed to get signed to Warner Bros. Records. No one really knows how this happened and it remains a complete mystery that even the algorithms of the internet can't decode. Up until 2000 they released three albums (Mr. Bungle in 1991, Disco Volante in 1995 and California in 1999), toured a good portion of the Western hemisphere and avoided any sort of critical acclaim. Some argue that the band subsequently broke up but there is also no proof of this. What is true is that they took 20 years off from performing under said moniker while they pursued various other music that, in contrast, paid the rent.
Earlier this year, the band returned to play a series of sold out performances, performing music from the band's 1986 demo: The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny. Mr. Bungle followed those performances by entering the studio and giving the collection of songs their first proper recording, dubbed The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo. Decibel declared the release "one of the best thrash albums of the year," Stereogum said "...Mr. Bungle are reliving their very earliest days and kicking a whole lot of ass in the process," and Brooklyn Vegan called the album, simply "badass." In a year filled with bad news and garbage, it's a real treat to have new music from Mr. Bungle again. You can check out the video for "Sudden Death" above, thanks to the Ipecac Recordings YouTube channel.