Trey Spruance / Mr. Bungle Interview 1998

This article was originally published by INK19 in June 1998.

by Carl King

San Francisco resident Trey Spruance, guitarist/keyboardist for the esoteric bands Mr. Bungle (The REAL Greatest Show On Earth) and Secret Chiefs 3 is not in the least afraid to brag about his fondness for modern recording technology, his 10 day-long wild feasts, and the coded messages that a mind like his often tries to send him.

Q: Do you think the Spice Girls sing in tune on recordings?

A: Yes I do. I also think Lars Ulrich from Metallica plays in time on recordings. Recordings are great.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: To name a few: Stanislaw Lem, Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi, William Blake, Antoinin Artaud, Henry Corbin, Phillip K. Dick, Albert Pike, Jorge Luis Borges, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Isadore Ducasse, and Amos Tutola. “God” is pretty good too. He wrote the Bible, the Qu’ran, the Qabalah etc…

Q: What’s the most high-tech piece of equipment you own?

A: My penis, duh… No wait! Auric Chainmail!! I have a “mind” also, which is a good thing to have. Check with your local Radio Shack, because that’s where several people I know got theirs for cheaper than I got mine. There are some problems, though… During my shower this morning on the bar of soap I used were some pieces of hair. They were pretending to be the instruction manual for my “mind,” and spelled out the following message in an elegant cursive font: “Hurry — there’s not much time left before the world explodes!!.” I don’t believe it, and neither should you.

Q: Ever been to Vancouver? What’s it like?

A: Beautiful. Boring. It’s Canada, man! Give ’em a break!! Well, I guess you are pretty far away, huh? If you must know, there is a very seedy part of town — prostitutes, heroin, murder. It’s not that boring, I guess. At the same time it’s probably the nicest looking city in North America.

Q: What is your average daily food expense?

A: I average from $15 — $20. It’s my downfall. I don’t make enough money to justify the current extravagance. Here’s the breakdown: on a $1000 budget with $300 going to rent, & $200 going to gas, car insurance etc… 10 days of the month I spend $40 a day on wild feasts. The rest of the time (20 days) I scrounge on my floor for change ($2 a day) so I can get a frozen burrito at the gas station. I ask you: why am I stupid?

Q: Have you ever considered quitting composition?

A: Never. I’d sooner kill every person on this planet starting with myself… hey wait a minute…

Q: Do you do any “producer for hire” work?

A: I did some work today for a band called “Fluff Girl.” The singer lights his hair on fire (pubic, armpit included) when they play. He slammed his finger in the door to the control room and the end of his finger almost came all the way off. They play the kind of music that limp-wristed straight people would call “homophobic,” but hardcore gay leather daddies would call “a damn good time.” Yipes.

Q: Why is Mr. Bungle filed under “Pop,” but Green Day is filed under “Alternative” in Camelot Music?

A: Such is the “level-one reversibility” of images and their signification. Now that the God Damned giddy ironic games of Post Modernism have predictably taken over the media world, what a “funny” retro-ironic world it is!! To be sure, the self-mockery at MTV indicates a sophisticated level of “self-awareness,” oh yeah. We have the Avant Garde of the 80’s and early 90’s to thank for that kind of empty dogshit. I wonder what they would file Good Honest Pop like Air and Mono under, “Seasonal” maybe?
In all honesty, I would find it flattering to be considered a “pop” band. But I fear that what is happening at Camelot Music is more like a post-mortem motor nerve reflex. No meaning should be attached to it — lest you contract the same viral meme infection that has killed off all the Sincerity in so many otherwise “cool” or “wired” hepcats. Maybe everyone just reads too much Baudrillard… I’m dreaming again. People don’t read!!

Q: What’s the worst part time job you’ve ever had?

A: Playing Guitar with the rock band Faith No More. I mean, I wish I could just say “Dude, bosses suck!,” but some things are far weirder than that. Luckily, I don’t have any personal complaints toward band members, or predictable diatribes against the music industry. What I do have is a lot more self-confidence, and a stronger conviction that my instincts are there to be followed “to a tee.”

Q: Are you a fast runner?

A: Not really, but I can cook a mean Vietnamese Phó. While it’s boiling, if you pour it over my head I will run as fast as I can to the nearest hospital. I’m sure that would be cheating, though. Besides, I don’t want you to cook me just to prove a point. If you’re going to kill me, you should show some “Hunter Etiquette” and eat me. You sadistic bastards haven’t even read Ted Nugent’s book Blood Trails, have you? This society is decaying…