08/13/2019 7:40:03 Alex F. Julien

Hey Trevor. I was hoping that you could give Mr. Bungle fans your side of the story about the "Bowel Of Chiley" recording session and releases. How many songs were actually recorded during that session and at which studio did this take place? There's a lot of contradicting information on the web that the band's self-released version had 17 songs, but I've never actually seen an official/band-released version of this demo tape! Did one really exist?

I'm only aware of the 9 songs that were used on a split tape with Rancid Decay that Phil Riola put together (was this official/authorized?) and of the two well-documented 14-song "Bowl Of Chiley" released by Mike Briggs, first through Playhouse Productions and then through Rastacore Records. I've spoken with Briggs over the years and he always maintains that back in 1987, Mr. Bungle had given him permission to release the demo tape (Briggs was a pretty successful concert promoter and had his own Arcatones imprint back then, and I believe Agent 86 played some shows with Mr. Bungle). But that by the time that he finally got around to it, in 1991, you guys had signed with Warner Brothers Records, and to his surprise, were no longer allowing him to put it out and put a stop to it. I would really love to have your side of the story!


This one is gonna take some jarring.
Of all our demo tapes “Bowel of Chiley” is the only one I really consider a demo in the true sense of the word. The other three were more like amateur albums. Bowel was recording in several different friend’s parent’s living rooms or sheds where we used to rehearse. I don’t remember how long it took but we just threw in sessions wherever we could. The purpose of that tape was to get gigs. There was never artwork for it or any effort to publish or sell that tape. Ah, I say that but then see your comment about Phil Riola who was, in fact, a tape trading friend of ours, so that one was authorized by us. The number 17 seems accurate but we later whittled it down to less for purposes of brevity considering the patience and work load of promoters— there may have been a couple different “whittled down” versions. (less songs, and new songs as they came along like “Snap, Crackle, Poop” and “No Strings Attached” — songs that were heading more in the direction of GILA).

It’s quite possible we gave the tape to Mike Briggs —the self-appointed “Pope of Punk” of ‘80s lore — in order to help us get gigs. But I honestly don’t remember allowing that tape to be “released” or sold. No one ever owned the rights to any of that music except for the band. And we never sold BOC ourselves.

I think it’s pretty telling that in ‘91 when we were actually making a name for ourselves and on a major label that a small punk label would decide that’s a good time to sell some archives. We had, of course, done 2 other demos since then and had all but abandoned 98% of the music from BOC. So the timing to me seems suspect. Ladd-Frith did a similar thing when they started selling Raging Wrath at Tower in SF. The ‘90s “release” of that tape included a sticker on it that said something along the lines of “featuring Mike Patton from FNM”. Not very cool, nor punk. We had to shut them down, too.

I’m just gonna add here that I think that BOC is our worst music. We were definitely still finding our voice post-metal while listening to Parliament, Stravinsky, Die Kreuzen, Fishbone, Pat Metheny and The Meat Puppets. Some of it is embarrassingly bad and derivative. It is what it is. I just wish the internet would liquidate it.

Trevor Dunn