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[whitespace] Patton Bungles

Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton misreads his audience at Palookaville show

By David Espinoza

TO KNOW THE CONTENTS of Mike Patton's head is to know the concept of infinite possibilities in sound. The lead singer of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More is a genius of instrumental experimentation--or, more accurately, a composer gone mad, a postmodern Frank Zappa with a scurrilous disposition, one of the most bewitching performers around. That being said, the man is also unfortunately a bit of a jackass when it comes to establishing rapport with his audience. Perhaps it's because he doesn't really speak the same language as the average fan and could very well be certifiable. (It is said that he is introverted when meeting others--imagine that!) Either way, Mr. Patton could use a bit of training in the crowd-communication arena.

At Friday night's sold-out Mr. Bungle show at Palookvaille, Patton addressed the crowd with "Hello, hate-free Santa Cruz," flashing the peace sign and grinning. But what started off as a funny rejection of Santa Cruz's politically correct piety became just a little abrasive as Patton continued to harp on the subject throughout the night. Spirits were high early on when Patton asked the audience, "Are you ready for some hateful fucking music? Are you ready for some evil fucking music?!" but the riff got old real quick when Patton asked if there was anything to do in this town besides beat up hippies.

As Patton continued to address the crowd as "hate-free Santa Cruz," it occurred to me that one could get the notion that he really does hold the people paying his bills in the highest contempt. Now the die-hard Bungle fans might say that such attitude issues should be expected from a guy whose onstage antics include leaping into the air screaming one moment and then crooning and crying the next. After all, Mr. Bungle's latest material, although more accessible to the masses, is still darker and less playful than the songs on the debut album, which was released eight years ago. Where one used to find half-joking, half-serious sexually perverse songs like "The Girls of the Porn" and "Squeeze Me, Macaroni" are now songs like "Retrovertigo" and "Sweet Charity." This is not to say that Patton and crew aren't still the most wicked cult band around, they could just stand to be a bit more grateful to their fans.

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From the September 2-8, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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