Released: October 10, 1995
Best songs: Chemical Marriage, The Secret Song, After School Special, Merry Go Bye Bye
Four years after the release of their self-titled debut, Mr. Bungle finally released Disco Volante. This album was wildly different than their previous songs and various side projects that each member was in really played into the band. Overall, the album had an avant-garde jazz sound to it and was often compared to John Zorn’s works. I never heard his stuff, so I’ll have to take other people’s word on it.
On a side note, they took the name of the album from the boat in James Bond movie Thunderball.
I saw the band for the first time live on this tour. When I had listened to their albums, I figured all the weird noises I had been hearing were made with various instruments. It wasn’t until I saw them live, that half of what I thought came from some machine, actually came from Mike Patton. I was highly impressed. I was also frightened by what the band looked like live. They weren’t wearing clown masks, but still were hiding from the crowd slightly.
It was also the first time that I saw band members come out and set up their own equipment instead of roadies. I would later see Mike Patton do the same for Tomahawk and Fantomas.
Song: Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead
Probably the closest to what they used to sound like in their demos. There is much shouting and singing through bullhorns or other things to distort voices, and a bunch of noise from the instruments too. You wouldn’t call this melodic.
Song: Chemical Marriage
It has a circus song quality to it with the organs, but also reminds me of something you would hear on a tropical island. It could be the thumping percussions that gives me that impression. This song has no lyrics, just random noises that Mike Patton sings to go along with the music. it’s great.
Song: Carry Stress in the Jaw
The horns are more apparent on this song than some of the others. It has a very crazy avant-garde jazz sound to it with some death metal guitars thrown in for good measure. They work very well together. This isn’t one of my favorite songs on the album, but after the song ends (4:43) and before the next song begins, there is….
Song: The Secret Song
This is just added onto the end of the CD track with Carry Stress in the Jaw. On the vinyl of the album, you have to put the needle on the right mark or else you will never hear it, which is why it is the Secret Song. The story behind it is that Trey found some song snippet the band had been working on when he wasn’t around. He decided to record some words for it in a Grandpa Simpson voice and it’s just awesome. And since all the lyrics to it are great, here they are:
don’t tell anybody
don’t let ‘em know
There’s a secret
I know the secret song now
They wouldn’t tell me
But somehow I found out
Goddammit, I’m pissed off
I didn’t get to play on it at all
They kicked me out of the band
Song: Desert Search for Techno Allah
It is more techno sounding, like the title would lead you to believe. It has an electronic sound with also some Middle Eastern noises. This is one of the songs that I would suspect Trey has a lot of influence on it, since he seems to make the Bungle songs that sound like this one and his band after Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3 would have a bit of this sound to them.
Song: Violenza Domestica
It is sung entirely in Italian and talks about domestic violence. They seem to have that theme across the albums. Mike Patton is married to an Italian woman and speaks fluently in many languages, including Italian. The song sounds like it would fit perfectly in a Godfather movie.
Song: After School Special
This song is very goofy. It is also very quiet so you have to turn it up to hear the beginning of it. It sounds like a little kid might be singing it, which fits the song. I also love the line, “My mom is better than your mom and your dad too.” After the song ends, there is some freaking weird stuff going on which could relate back to the song. What sounds goofy, ends up sounding very disturbing at the end with “stop touching me” bits.
The music is very fast and the singing is very slow. There are some horns that are being played at the same speed as the singing. it’s an odd song that doesn’t seem to match itself. I usually ignore this song.
Song: Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz
More organs, horns and weird, weird noises. Some from instruments and some from Mike Patton himself. I always figured he was just scatting through the song or blabbing away, and really didn’t think lyrics were written for this song. I guess I was wrong!
Song: The Bends
This is about five songs in one. It is over 10 min. long. It sounds like one song is dying away and then another one starts up. I always associate this song to Radiohead’s weirder stuff. It is very underwater and space sounding. It can lull you to sleep from being so mellow. I used to listen to this entire album on my way home from work in Phoenix quite a bit. I would be stuck in traffic on the freeway big time around when this song would come on. I would be dazing and not really paying attention since I was moving about an inch an hour. At the very end, it becomes very loud suddenly and used to scare the crap out of me every single time. It was awesome.
Little ditty with not much singing and a lot of organs.
Sounds the closest to one of the heavier songs from the first album. It is a pretty standard rock song for the band, except when everything stops and in a weird-ass voice Mike Patton says, “Ornithorhynchus anatinus – platypus“. After that, it changes a bit and all the weird stuff that is in the other songs is back in here too. Oh, and the entire song is about a platypus and how weird it is. It seems like there are random tidbits of information you would get off a Discovery animal show.
Song: Merry Go Bye Bye
I love this song! It starts out sounding like a very cheesy Beach Boys song and then turns into death metal before finally ending with the cheesiness it began with. I will give a warning if you are listening to this song, about a minute into it is when it goes insane so you might want to turn it down, especially if you are listening to it with headphones. It would be great to listen to this song with headphones since there are weird noises going on all over the place, but some of it is a tad loud. Oh, and from the lyrics, I’m guessing it is about some kind of mass suicide thing, like those Heaven’s Gates people. Finally, the song does end around the 7 minute mark, but after a bit of silence a bunch of random noises are stuck on there making it go over 12 minutes. It sounds like the band just hitting random things in the studio, like cymbals.