Scenes from a Mr. Bungle Concert

Welcome to the part two continuation of this Mike Patton-related discussion! In the first post, the write-up was centered around musician extraordinaire Mike Patton and his bands, with a drawing of Patton himself. This post is specifically about a Mr. Bungle concert in 1999 that still ranks as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Originally, this Mr. Bungle concert write-up was going to be an all-encompassing post, but it became to large and disorganized, so I had to split it into two.

As I mentioned in the first post, I was introduced to Patton’s music by a group of friends late in high school. I’ll forever be appreciative because it really opened up a vast catalog of amazing music that I may never have otherwise experienced. Although Faith No More had already broken up by the time they became my favorite band, it was at least timed well enough to get to see Mr. Bungle in concert in support of their California album. As with pretty much every Mike Patton project, California is quite unique. The best way I can describe it is Beach/Surf Jazz Lounge Rock. It’s an amazing album, one of my favorites with Patton on vocals. Here’s a sample track:

Concert image credits: Photographer Jason Thompson.

The show this group of guys and I attended was at Deep Ellum Live in Dallas, Texas. There were four bands playing, with Mr. Bungle ending the show as headliner. The first two, Hovercraft and Dillinger Escape Plan, were…well, they were really bad. I kept hearing people at the venue talking about how Eddie Vedder’s wife was in one of the two bands (can’t remember which), but otherwise they were only remarkable for being very generic noise generators.

The Melvins were right before Mr. Bungle, and they weren’t bad, but at that point I was ready for the main attraction. There was a pretty long downtime before Mr. Bungle, then the lights went out. I think some random background music played for a while, but I can’t recall what it was. Finally, they started Air Conditioned Nightmare (the song above) as the lights came on, and the venue absolutely exploded. I’ll always remember the energy during that song and how the crowd reacted – it will always be one of my favorite songs because of that memory.

The band mixed in a few tracks here and there from the self-titled album (basically crazy circus music) and Disco Volante (more experimental), but it was heavy on the California tracks. We ended up staying after the show to see if we could get some autographs. I had never done something like that before, but to my surprise, Mike Patton did come out afterwards to talk with fans a bit. I ended up getting my CD insert/cover signed…and a photo with the man himself! I’m not sure he was too psyched about a photo op with some dorky kids. But I can’t really blame him; putting on a concert in August in Texas is probably slightly exhausting. Regardless, it was nice of him to hang out and sign stuff from fans.

This was such an incredible show. I’d be hard pressed to think of a concert that was as memorable as this one was. My friends must have agreed that it was a great one, because we all ended up renting a minivan and driving to another show in Albuquerque, New Mexico! That was a great trip and concert in its own right, but nothing really replaces that first Mike Patton live experience. As a side note, I was lucky enough to finally see Faith No More during a reunion show in 2015. That lived up to my almost 20 year wait; I went with the same group of guys, but we didn’t wait for the band afterwards. I won’t say we’re too old for that sort of thing now, but…yeah.

As I’ve mentioned, this Mr. Bungle concert was the original topic I wanted to discuss, before I went off on the previous lengthy Mike Patton tangent. The genesis of the entire project was that I came across some old photos of me and these guys that I wanted to draw. We looked so different, it’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago. I’ve sketched these guys before, but it’s been a couple of years, so I figured it would be good to try again. The art had to be split into two because one of the main “Patton Crew” fellows wasn’t in the first scene. So, the first was a post-concert shot of three of us, and the second is outside the venue with another in a double-hat, triple shirt pose. Here are the final images, discussion, and progression .gifs:

This first group drawing was an interesting jump in a time machine, especially trying to draw me. I don’t think I’ve tried to do a self-portrait of those awkward teenage years since, well, I was actually in those awkward teenage years. When I was so thin, my long face was really noticeable and it was very challenging to draw accurately. I kept wanted to “normalize” it by filling the face out; fortunately I was able to resist that urge. All three of us look fairly accurate to how we did back in the previous millennium.

The second solo affair is a fairly simple one color and subject-wise, but I like it. I thought the double hat pose was hilarious even back then, so memorializing it in a drawing is something I was glad to do. I think I decently captured how my friend looks here. Although there were middle stages of the portrait (visible in the progression .gif) when he looked sort of like Anthony Kiedis, which is hilarious considering Kiedis’ rough history with Mr. Bungle and Patton himself. Anyhow, ultimately I was able to fine tune the details to make this look more like the real person.

I’ve got two progression .gifs here. The first group picture has a decent amount of images, but unfortunately for the solo portrait I only had four frames. You can still get a decent view of how they each came together though. For some reason, I also wasn’t able to get the frames to align very well. I’m not sure what I did wrong there, but I didn’t want to spend too much time troubleshooting.

Well, that’s it for my Mike Patton/Faith No More/Mr. Bungle series. Hopefully I reached a few fans and perhaps sparked some interest in them with someone who wasn’t that familiar. It was fun to write about music that has meant so much to me over the last couple of decades. I’m not sure how the current pandemic environment is going to impact things, but Faith No More was supposed to be going on tour again in summer 2020. So maybe I’ll get to see them in action soon.

So, what’s next on deck? I’m getting closer to clearing my backlog of finished artwork – I’ve just got a series of Witcher-inspired drawings to share. Of course, by the time I write posts about those, I’ll probably have more completed stuff added to queue again. So, if you enjoyed the Witcher Netflix series, video games, or books, maybe the next batch will be to your liking!

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