Your Questions/My Answers: 2007

For some reason I spent the better part of my 30s answering questions from people I don't know. I tried to answer the serious questions seriously because I believe in pedagogy. I also know how hard it is to be a self-employed musician. That said, I'm a horrible teacher, I'm still trying to figure out this career thing myself, and I rarely know what I'm talking about. As time went on, the questions became more inane and people starting asking about things I already answered. Patience grew thin. Spending my Monday mornings deleting text is not my idea of a good constitutional, which is why I just can't do it anymore. Here, for your enjoyment, are the archives from that less than nostalgic era.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Sancho Ramirez Presley Un Dia De Cuidado
Comments: I don't know whether you stopped answering questions or not, but me and a buddy were wondering if Fantomas plays Philly, like the Electric Factory or the Trocadero or somethin? The other question is what happened to Metallica? What happened to them? It's so horrifying, I don't understand. Trevor Dunn! Trevor Dunn thank god you're here, all of us down here are worried sick about Metallica, it doesn't look like they're going to make it, does it?! Be straight with me Dunn, they're just not going to make it are they?

MY ANSWER:
As of today, June 3, 2007, I have no idea what the plans of Fantomas are. Since I have no new music to learn I can safely say that it will be at least a couple years before we are on the road again if ever. By then I'll be in my 40s and too old to leave the house anyway. I remember when I thought Metallica was something new. Hmmm, let's see...that was about 1982. Master of Puppets was the last record I ever paid any attention to. And that movie? The Monster Mash one? Goodness. I always figured they were idiots but that film just sealed the deal. I laughed harder than I did the first time I saw Spinal Tap.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Eli
Comments: I was listening to some of the old Mr. Bungle demos (i.e. "Goddamnit I Love America!" and "OU818") and realized that you got a really decent slap-bass sound for a home recording. Our band has a talented slap-bassist(??), but I can never get that tone to sound right on home recordings. I was wondering how you got your bass to sound so decent on those old demos?

MY ANSWER:
ok, it's 2007. Stop slapping. GILA was recorded in an "8 track studio" complete with an engineer and everything. OU818 in a 16-track joint. I had shit gear back then. My bass was pretty good though--some kind of Ibanez. It had nice fat frets. I'm pretty much a believer that gear has very little to do with one's tone. And if you want me to recall more details from 15 years ago then you'll have to buy my a double espresso.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: MUG
Comments: Hey trevor!!Any plans on releasing any books dvds on the rise and fall of mr bungle! does any early mr b speed metal days exist on video camera, i would love to see you young sprogs tearing it up when you were so young! must have been fun times!

MY ANSWER:
No real plans. Vague concepts drifting in and out of my brain which is partially cloudy with senility, fears about losing my virility and a growing desire to sleep more. I have my doubts about early video footage. No one really gave a shit.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: kirilov
Comments: Hi. How are you going to support yourself once you are 70 years old? Sorry to frighten you.

MY ANSWER:
yeah, thanks. I heard a rumor that I have no reason to doubt which is Max Roach lives in poverty in an assisted living home in the Bronx. Max Fucking Roach dude. There is a reason that many musicians never retire. They can't. They live hand to mouth until they're eating their last meal. I don't know why I should be any different. I guess I need to get rich. Or have some kids who will get rich. Hey, a lot can happen in 30 years.....


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Daniel
Comments: Hey Trevor I love your music and am really into your trio & mr. bungle right now. I was wondering if it's possibly for you to randomly name a song for me? it's for my group called wait a ho chi minute. thanks & I hope to see you in michigan someday.

MY ANSWER:
Tombs of Limbless Grief


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Sean
Comments: I have a question for you based upon your artistic genius. Your comment: "If you don't love what you do, what's the point?" struck me as the perfect sentiment, but it has to bother you when bands like Korn steal from Bungle, turn it into commodity and get famous. 99 out of 100 people in my area have never heard of Bungle, but 99 out of 100 people have at least heard of Korn. How do you rationalize it? I ask this as an artist myself. My work, like yours, is considered too weird by many of my friends. So, I'm prepared for the blow, but with all the work I've put into this monolith it's going to be tough to rationalize it when the masses say that my work is too weird.

MY ANSWER:
I have no doubt that Bungle pioneered some ideas that were only acknowledged by other musicians who subsequently got rich and famous. One reason Bungle never got rich and famous has to do with marketing and promotion neither of which we had any help with or were willing to dish out wads of our own cash for. Maybe if we would have it would have been a good investment. But I don't think Korn got popular because of the ideas they stole from Bungle. I still don't understand why bands like Korn or Slipknot are popular because there is a level of weirdness with that stuff. Trying to figure out the fickle nature of the makings of success is a waste of time. But let's face it, Bungle is too weird and too goofy for most people. Bottom line. That's the real reason we never got rich and famous, and I accepted that reality from day one. If you want to be accepted by the masses then you have to give them what they want. I certainly see nothing wrong with that. Hard work does not necessarily equal a fat paycheck, or even artistic merit. In fact, artistic merit can only be defined by yourself. Whatever you do some people are going to love it, some will hate it, and the rest won't give a shit. Accept that now and it'll make your life easier.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Fabian
Comments: Hey Trevor! Which do you prefer? Secret Chiefs or Fantomas?!

MY ANSWER:
Considering that I don't play with SC3 (I was only on one full recording, and did one short tour in '98) I'd have to say that I prefer playing with Fantomas, but it's a moot point, and a stupid question too.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: E.M.
Comments: I have two serious questions...well, they're not neccesarily "serious" but I'm not asking just to joke around and be an asshole. Anyway, 1. This just dawned on me: when was the last time you played slap bass, whether in a live setting, on record, or in the privacy of your own apartment? If it was around the time of the Bungle tour for the first album, what happened? How did that transition occur and why so quickly? Not that I'm complaining, because thank God you stopped. Although it almost seems like you should slap the shit out of the bass sometimes on Electric Masada. That's some dangerously cheesy fusion going on there, buddy. As an aside, how do you feel about playing the same bassline for 17 minutes straight? Ok, and 2. Why do so many people assume you're gay or joke about you being gay or simply make gay references when talking about you?

Oh, and also, I don't understand what Zorn ever saw in the first Bungle album. Do you? Was he sort of coaxed into producing it or did he really show the desire to do so? How do you feel about him sampling Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead and having two guitarists shred all over it and calling it his own composition? I always thought it was weird how around the time of the first album, you guys and him seemed to be chums and all and then during Disco Volante both camps seemed to have distanced themselves from each other somewhat, considering that the music on DV is a lot more up Zorn's alley than the music of the first album is.

MY ANSWER:
Too be honest I slapped a bit on the Heliogabalus CD--but that had nothing to do with "funk". I guess I pretty much stopped slapping after the very first Bungle tour of '92. Once we started venturing into the material of DV I discovered that the technique was dead to me. Students still want to learn it and it takes me a minute because those chops are seriously dried up. And hey "buddy", it's not called Trevor Dunn's Electric Masada now is it?

Playing the same bass line for 17 minutes is not a problem. If that's what I am required to do I can only assume that the band leader knows what he is doing. I usually get away with quite a lot of variation, but believe it or not, it's challenging, and I like challenges.

I suppose people like to call me gay because I am effeminate and they are, in fact, gay and want to have sex with me. But my sexual preference isn't really any of your business now is it?

Zorn tried to talk us out of having him produce because he thought we were going for something more commercial which we assured him we weren't. We payed him, and he helped us mix. And for the most part, he was a good referee that put the reigns on us.

I think this "distancing" you speak of was merely a coincidence. I, for one, have progressively worked more and more with Zorn since we first met. And Patton toured with Naked City in the late 90s. Also, I don't think DV sounds remotely like anything of Zorn's. As far as the High School sampling--it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I consider him a friend and a colleague. If you try to do that, I'll sue your ass.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: dan foley
Comments: do you have a heavy admiration for the x files and/or disneyland? i saw buzz and david stone in disneyland last year. and they said it best... dont trust anyone who doesnt fill with wonderment on every visit. even as an adult.

MY ANSWER:
I was into the Xfiles before the stupid movie. I couldn't agree with Buzz and Stone more, although I can't be coerced into purchasing an annual membership like they do. There is a certain McOmnipresence and consumerphilia that keeps me from giving Walt that much money. That said, how can you argue with skulls, ghosts, space travel and cartoons!?


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Harry
Comments: Hey Trevor! When are you going to do another album with Joanna Newsom? I really like the stuff you've done with her so far, and I also hope to see you play live with her one day.

MY ANSWER:
Oh I see, you're provoking me. Well, here, let me give you what you want: Joanna Newsom sucks. Her voice grates on my nerves, her lyrics remind me of shit I made up when I was ten and her harp playing is pedestrian at best. That last record that Van Dyke Parks arranged would have been great without the harp or vocals. Oh, and fuck you.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Gumby
Comments: Hello Good Sir, Listening to Mr. Bungle has been a huge boost in my bass playing abilities. But there's much to learn and plenty of questions to ask. So I'll ask 2. First and foremost: Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart? And for the more bass orient question: I can't seem to write in 4/4 time, it's usually 7/8, 9/8, 3/4, you know how it is... does that have something to do with listening to way too much Claypool and Larry Graham... or is it just my tendency to play with numbers as i spaceout when i play?

MY ANSWER:
I always appreciated Zappa without really being a fan. Beefheart, on the other hand, continues to baffle me, which I love.

Uh, my guess is that Claypool and Graham usually play in 4/4, especially the latter, but maybe I'm wrong. First of all, you shouldn't space out when you play, unless you're a lazy, pot smoking hippie jammy jammer wearing pajamas. You should concentrate, and be aware. Secondly, who cares? If you want to play in 4/4 then force yourself to, as in, look at it as a challenge.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Duane Edwards
Comments: Mr Dunn, I don't know if this is the right place for my inquiry, but I'm gonna do it anyway. I'm a bassist in the state of Maine finishing up my studies in Jazz and Contemporary Music. I'm working on a term project on working bass players and their websites. I have a short list of questions for you to answer. You can be as brief as you like, I can assume you get quite busy.

-How does the website assist you as a working musician?
-What would you consider the most difficult aspect of being a career bass player?
-What musical skills have you developed since working in the area you reside in?
-Has your website provided great success for your career? If so, how? If not so, has the website become a tedious operation?

MY ANSWER:
1)my website is my publicity. 2)travel 3)awareness of myself, sharper focus, a more developed ear. 4) I would not say great success. I think it is a fine line, playing the kind of music I play, whether its a career boost or a time sucker.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: bob
Comments: Would you ever consider being a full time bassist for the melvins if they asked?? (i bet they already have). i reckon you could all come up with some great shit!

MY ANSWER:
They haven't asked and if they did I'd say no. Seriously though, it's not really an option since they are based in LA and I in NY. Although I will continue to play with them on occasion until they give me the final, dreaded and totally expected bassist boot.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Nathan
Comments: Hey, why exactly are you no longer involved with the Secret Chiefs 3? Also, what in particular was your inspiration for "Carry Stress in the Jaw"?

MY ANSWER:
In the beginning SC3 was never presented to me as a band. It was a recording project of Trey's who utilized the availability of Danny and I. Much of the first record, at least the parts I was involved with, were manipulated improvisations. A band eventually started to take form and a tour ensued in Australia in which I partook. The version of that band was basically Mr Bungle with Eyvind Kang replacing Patton, though I'm sure Trey didn't view it as such. That was the extent of my involvement. The crux of Trey's work has occurred well beyond that short period in which I was involved. I have since relocated to the East Coast and apparently Trey has continued to work in his own surroundings.

Stress was inspired by my teeth grinding, a desire to play metal, and some music by Tim Berne.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Who Cares
Comments: Trevor, why did you "sing" like such an asshole on the really early Secret Chiefs 3 stuff? Was this Trey's direction or just a personal choice of yours?

MY ANSWER:
both.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: DynaDASH
Comments: I'd like to ask you some questions, hope you can answer anytime soon.
1.- ¿What do you think about Eberhard Weber?
2.- ¿What do you think about Percy Jones? And yes, I mean musically.

MY ANSWER:
1)Eberhard Weber? Never hard, ever. 2) I stared checking out Brand X in college after a fellow student told me I played like Percy Jones. I think he is amazing though I haven't listened to that stuff in years. Definitely an unsung hero, a master of harmonics on the bass.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Bob Slake
Comments: c'mon man! For the love of god! You played session bass on that moron from Korn's record!!! Can't you just be a punk rock prostitute and do what every selfish bastard out there wants you to do....

p.s sorry for being selfish but MB and SC3 are what you gonna be remembered for boy! That sheeat is yo legacy!!

MY ANSWER:
You know what I hate? I hate when people tell me, at the age of 39, that my career is over. That I will never do anything worthwhile again. So I should quit now? Stop trying? And why for the love of god do people associate me so much with SC3?? I'm on one fucking record. I didn't even write for that band.

So, Bob, you blind dolt, how come my "legacy" isn't paying my rent? Can you answer me that wise man? I'm a musician. I get paid to be a musician. Ah yes, in your perfect, ideal world, I only play art music, shit that I truly believe in; I struggle, like a real bleeding heart artist, in the streets, broke and hungry. Guess what? I like my computer, my house with heat, my bass and a dry place to keep it, and I like to eat. I don't consider it prostitution, I consider it making a living. Not every note I play needs to be a tear from the muses of inspiration. Some notes get me to the next ones. Have I shattered your illusion of the artist mythos? I hope so. If not, what have you done lately?


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Tony A question regarding Retrovertigo, if I may ? Is that song written from a first person perspective ? And is that person you ?

If so, what is that persons viewpoint/state of mind with regard to the subject of the lyric ?

If it isnt written from a first person viewpoint, please feel free to tell me from what viewpoint it was written from and as I said, their state of mind with regard to the subject of the song...

MY ANSWER:
yes, if I am remembering correctly, it is a first person perspective, that person being me. Without explaining too much, which I loathe in terms of lyrics, the state of mind was disillusionment with a world or society that values image and money over human life. While certain "retro" fashions and lifestyles are considered hip, the on-going tradition of human suffering continues. As the world progresses technologically, certain people value and emulate "the good ol' days", while others are born into poverty never having progressed past the dark ages. The title "retrovertigo" is a term I came up with to describe my nausea regarding this phenomena. At the time I was living in SF where swing dancing was making a come-back, silicon valley was exploding, vintage clothes were expensive, and the notion that anything could be bought or sold--a soul, a tragedy, the end of the world---seemed viable.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Ryan I have a serious question: How do you inspire yourself to work hard on those days when you're not 100% into it (for whatever reason)? You know, those BAD days in life. It's a lot easier to practice for 6 hours in a day when you feel good, don't you think? Thanks! Ryan

MY ANSWER:
It's pretty amazing how therapeutic long tones can be. Concentration on minutia is escapism and hard work all at once. That's one answer; another is that it's ok to take a day off; to step away from those self-inflicted demands in order to clear one's mind. And my third answer: I consider listening to music work in one sense. Of course, I do it for pure pleasure too. But sitting around all day listening to records is part of my development. That's the beauty of doing what one loves.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: konrad Have you ever played a duet with another bassist?

MY ANSWER:
yes, absolutely. Lisle Ellis is probably the guy I've played most with. Also, Thomas Morgan. Always a pleasure.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Derek What do you think about a 15 yr old (Wolfgang Van Halen) playing bass (after on learning the instrument 3 months prior) in such a big band? Dave is back too, what you think about it all? Is brian's(Head) conversion real do you think?

MY ANSWER:
yeah, I don't know if Wolf's gonna be able to handle Running With The Devil. Just kidding. Honestly, I don't think about it very much. I was, however, just listening to Women & Children First. Best VH ever. Hands down. Don't fight me on this.

Yes, I truly believe that Head's conversion is real and whole-hearted. I say, whatever works.


YOUR QUESTION:

Comments: Hey Trevor, did you manage to fuck with Will Lee in any capacity when you were on the letterman show?

MY ANSWER:
Honestly, I shook his hand and told him it was an honor. That guy can play you know. Then I rode in the elevator with Paul and one of the horn players. Paul seemed like a real weirdo.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: nick
Comments: did mr. bungle take any influence from any of those 70's eclectic groups like can or roxy music?

MY ANSWER:
No. I'd say influence came from groups like Oingo Boingo, Devo, among many other things. Can I offer some unsolicited opinion? I can't stand CAN. Why do people like that hippie jammy crap?


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Paul Barte
Comments: This has been driving me crazy for 10 years. Does the cinematic-ish montage at the end of "Dead Goon" consist of samples? And if so, do you remember who wrote and performed the piano part ? Its reeeeealll nice like.

MY ANSWER:
That is an edited down version of a spontaneous turntable creation by David Shea. All vinyl. We wanted to use the whole thing but there were licensing issues.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Joanna Still waiting for this new "singing" project. Any news about that??

MY ANSWER:
band forming, personnel solidifying, songs emerging.......


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Mockturtle
Comments: Hey, How did you get a job working with Head?! That's weird. I can't belive that you got canned from Bass Guitar. Yours was the only collum worth reading. I used it a lot. I was wondering what school you went to and if you have any tips on the music buisseness. By the way your answers to these posts are hilarious. I know first hand how many idiots are out there.

MY ANSWER:
When I was in a recording studio in LA one of the engineers was a roommate of another engineer who was working on Head's record. Through a series of calls I was offered the gig.

The Bass mag thing was expected. I ended up writing more columns than I was originally asked to do. Those mags like to rotate input all the time.

I went to a small university but consider myself mostly self-taught. My tip on the music business is stay out of it. Just keep playing.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: You said in an earlier answer that your practice routine consists of "a 30 minute long-tone warm up. 60 minutes of intonation/shifting exercises. An hour in Zimmerman's Contemporary Concepts of Bowing Technique. An hour on arpeggios, and hour on speed/hand co-ordination, and then 1 to 2 hours on actual music--either orchestral excerpts, a Bach cello suite or something of that nature." REALLY?!? Straight through? I find after about an hour and a half to 2 hours i just need to take a break mentally and come back later. And what do you do about days where you feel like playing but just don't. Sort of like, "NO, today i am a potato chip." Do you feel refreshed the next day, or guilty for squandering a potentially creative opportunity?

Do you like people? I don't. I live in Boro Park, we should get together sometime and see if anything interesting comes out of it. In a bit of a stale-mate with my current project. If you're interested, how can i get a hold of you? Is bothering you after a gig the only way?

MY ANSWER:
yes, it's true on good days, that's my practice routine. But I certainly do take breaks every couple hours. If I feel like playing I play, unless I have some non-musical BS to deal with. That's just life I guess.

No, I don't like people, and since you don't either I think it's a bad idea for us to get together. yes, bothering me after a gig is the best way to meet me.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Miguel
Comments: trevor, what do you think of danny elfman? have you heard his new symphony? i think its neat. also, you once said something to the affect of, that frank zappa had not really been an influence on you, or bungle in general, and that having checked him out after people commonly drew comparisons between bungle and zappa, and from what you had heard you had liked, but had not seen the basis for the comparison. I noticed you quoted him on your page, and was wondering if you had developed a greater interest in zappas music since then, and if so, what you thought of his music.

MY ANSWER:
I think Danny Elfman lost his edge and most of what he does is boring and hackneyed. He's what you call a "hummer". He doesn't actually read or write music so he hums parts to an assistant or arranger who then makes real music out of it.

I still appreciate Zappa a great deal. Even though I'm not drawn aesthetically to his music I think he was a brilliant man. I quoted him as I would quote anyone who said something I thought was relevant.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Internet Tough Guy
Comments: 1) How long has it been since you listened to the first Bungle record? Sure it's lyrically juvenile but you must be able to hear the music and say, "Damn, we had our shit together." It's still amazing to listen to. 2) You're a cool dude, I came up to you and shook your hand once after a Trio Convulsant show. You were sheepish and thankful, just the way I like artists. Keep it up.

MY ANSWER:
Uh, yeah, I don't listen to my own records. It's not like listening to other records. It's like staring at your own face way too long in the mirror. And by the way, fuck you. I really don't think that record is "lyrically juvenile". I also wouldn't say we had our shit together. We were punks. How's that for cool and sheepish. Motherfucker.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Konstantin Molchanov
Comments: Hey Trevor! It seems I'm the first russian visitor of your web-site! Ha! So, I've got something to ask: I do think that Mr Bungle is the best thing you've participated in! I like other your works, but Bungle has, I guess, another level. The question is do you agree in any way with my point of view? Thanks!

MY ANSWER:
That's a weird question that I don't know how to answer.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Simon
Comments: Alright, I've played electric bass for 2 years now, took up tenor saxophone 4 months ago and been thinking of taking up upright bass in few years.. any sense in all this? I know multiple instruments in relatevily young age eats me but you know, I find it interesting handling different playing techniques on completely different instruments.. Ok thanks for your time and sorry for long message..

MY ANSWER:
You can certainly focus on one instrument--maybe the one that is the most difficult for you to play. My only advice is to not give any of them up though. You'll thank yourself later for being able to play all of them.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE There are few experimental musicians who successfully cross over into 'mainstream' success - Mr Bungle have been recognised as influential by the media, along with John Cage, Captain Beefheart and Steve Reich (amongst others).

Given that Mr Bungle composed challenging, non-commercial music, how do you think they differed from thousands of other 'innovators' who remain unheard?

I ask because I know a lot of musicians who play/compose the most incredible innovative music, but conventional audiences don't understand it - these musicians struggle and some even give up, which is a great shame.

Do you have advice for musicians in this situation?

MY ANSWER:
To answer your first question, I think the difference between Bungle and zillions of other unheard creative, innovative bands/musicians is that Bungle got lucky. I can't deny that having our record on a major label had something to do with FNM. That said, FNM would have never hired General P had they not heard Bungle.

Think about this: in college I was assigned a lot of listening to contemporary classical music. Of course, I was led towards the typical masters and their highly influential pieces. But as I sifted through the university record library I found records that, along with these great pieces, included other, completely unknown composers. For me, these ended up being the best pieces on the record and I spent hours of my life pursuing other works by people like Lejaren Hiller, Besty Jolas, Andre Boucourechliev, Marek Kopelent, Arne Mellnas and Paul Chihara.

Most of these composers probably made their living as professors. My point? The recognition of innovation has nothing to do with talent or creativity.

I have no doubt that there are musicians who were doing much more interesting things than Bungle was back in the 80s & 90s. But giving up is probably the worst thing you can do. In my opinion, people who give up were never really dedicated. I myself am not in this business for the recognition, fame, fortune or empathy. Of course, most of those things, besides being out of my control, would be welcome if they, by chance, knocked on my door. Regardless, I have to keep doing what I do. It's all I know how to do and it's all I want to do. Once you start TRYING to get recognized, I would imagine that you would loose focus and the music would suffer.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: Hi Trevor. Really enjoy the "News & Gnashing" reads. Reading about "Moonchild" got me wondering. I know you said you'll get a gear page up, but just in case you don't when you answer this, what amp & pedals did you use on "Moonchild" & "Astronome". How does Zorn give you the material to learn? Is something like this music traditionally notated, or is it graphical scores etc? Really looking forward to "Six Litanies".

MY ANSWER:
I use my usual Line6 distortion and delay modules with Moodchild. The music for the Moonchild record was dictated verbally. In other words, Zorn sang Joey and I rhythmic parts. A lot of the harmony was left up to me, although, Zorn encouraged me to de-tune constantly and use a capo in order to keep things random and so that I would be forced into areas outside of my preparations. Astronome was much more traditionally notated and though there is always an element of surprise and improvisation with much of Zorn's music, he seemed to have painstakingly prepared the over-all shape and order of events. Usually I have no idea what is going to happen until I show up at the studio.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Max A.
Comments: Hey Trevor. I'm a huge fan of everything you've ever done, but at the moment I'm quite interested in your work with John Zorn. What's it like working with him? That's a pretty vague question, I know. More specifically, how did the recording process for his Filmworks stuff like Invitation to a Suicide or Hiding and Seeking work? Did Zorn just put music in front of you at one session and you guys recorded it, or did you guys rehearse the music for a period of time? I'm asking because the playing on those recordings is INCREDIBLE. Another question: Will there ever be a Moonchild or an Electric Masada U.S. tour? Also, is it true that you played a show with Yoshida Tatsuya as the Ruins' bassist? I can't remember where I heard that, so I might just be making it up entirely. If it is true, what was that like? Sorry for the barrage of questions, but in conclusion, you're THE MAN, and a major inspiration for me as a bassist.

MY ANSWER:
Thanks very much for your sentiments. Most of the recordings I have done with Zorn, including the filmworks music, are all executed in the same way. The musicians show up at the studio and are either handed a few hand-written charts or are given verbal direction. We rehearse a section at a time. Sometimes that means playing through the entire piece a couple times or, if editing will be involved, rehearsing parts of a piece. Once Zorn is happy with the way it is sounding we roll tape usually succeeding within 1-3 takes. Then we move on to the next section/piece. Most records are finished in one or two 8 hour sessions.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Johnny
Comments: Ever hear anything by John Oswald (his Plunderphonic stuff, not the jazz)? Would you be offended if I attempted a Plunderphonic-style mashup of Unchained Melody and Vanity Fair (for non-commercial use, of course)?

MY ANSWER:
Love that stuff. Be my guest. Send me a copy.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Hellsatana
Comments: hope this new year finds you well...i got Astronome for Christmas and i am very impressed with it. You may have answered this before, but can you play any other instruments? Are there any you would consider trying? And if you ever find yourself in Rhode Island, drop me a line and i'll buy you dinner or some beers.

MY ANSWER:
I play a little guitar and piano and clarinet. Nothing I would do in public however. Ok, I'll take you up on the invite!


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Mylo Stone
Comments: Are you at all aware of how completely full of shit you are?

MY ANSWER:
Obviously not, asshole.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Momtchil Borissov
Comments: Hello Trevor. Excuse my bad english, but I´m a fan ot you music. What do you mean about the current condition of the music. Here in Spain it is increasingly difficult to find a place where you can play original music. Here is the kingdom of "Star Academy" and the trash TV. Thank you.

MY ANSWER:
you know, it's always sucked and it probably always will. That's cool. I still manage to find amazing music and to make a living playing music. If I wanted life to be easy I would get rich flipping condos.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Bryan White
Comments: If I gave you a copy of a Red Hot Chili Peppers album...would you sign it?

which is better...Xbox 360 or PS3 or Wii?

What's your favorite Mercyful Fate/King Diamond album from the 90's era?

what's your opinion of the website www.Blabbermouth.net ?

Is it true that Flea of the RHCP gave you bass lessons during the mid to late 90's in exchange for the bass notes for "Dead Bass Goon"?

Have you ever had the urge to tell Mike Patton the following...."Dude...you can't rap...just stop already!!!!!"?

Which is better...Judas Priest or Iron Maiden?

In your life time how many people have ask you the following...."Dude..Can I pee in your butt" ?

MY ANSWER:
If you gave me a copy of a RHCP album I'd sign it and then break it. Don't play video games. Melissa, but I think that's 80s era--nuff said. I guess I'll go to that website and get back to you right away. Flea doesn't give bass lessons, he's too busy ripping off material from the 70s. Is that rap? Maiden, wanna fight? I think one.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Johnny 5 Spot
Comments: 1) My Fender Jazz bass has a lil' knob within a knob that when pushed subdues the tone of the instrument, does you're 70's one have that, I bet not you jealous prick! Seriously, do you think the ones made these days (Jazz basses) are comparable to the ones actually made in the classiest decade ever, the 70's?
2) I notice that when Patton gives you shit on stage you're reaction is absolutely poker face. Is this just because you're sick of his shit (even though it's all done out of manly love) or do you just find him to be a poor comedian?
3) Get a haircut hippy.

MY ANSWER:
1) I don't NEED a tone subduer big guy. Uh, honestly I never play new basses so I couldn't tell you. Maybe. I mean, I pretty much only play the basses that I own.
2)Both
3)Eat me.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Comments: Have you ever/do you know of/would you ever consider a project that consists entirley of bass? As in, layers and layers, essentially covering a guitar part, precussion, vocals and/or anything else? I ask as i've tried it, rather amateurly, with little sucsess, and was wondering if you had any thoughts or knowledge of such a thing?

MY ANSWER:
yeah, I might consider that. The important thing would be to constantly be aware of orchestration in order to keep things from getting muddy. A variety of timbers (colors) would be essential.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Mr Bungler
Comments: Hi trev, when i see all the songs you have played in, i see than the only melodical album was california of mr bungle. The other are speed-weird-core.. like fantomas, tomahawk.. why don't make new songs like sweet charity or air conditionned nightmare ?? i can't understand why you and patton are always playing the same style... what a pity !!

MY ANSWER:
You are a stupid piece of shit.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: nancy white
Comments: hey trev! what should i do? all the girls in my grade have gotten their periods and i'm almost 15 and still am yet to become a woman! i know this is a private issue, but i believe posting it on your board will bring awarness to other young ladies out there! Sorry to put this on your shoulders but your site i believe is the only place thats safe to post this! i had a web site that i had to elimate called, www.please_bleed.com! but it was swamped with emails from petarfile and metallica fans! PLEASE HELP ME TREV?

MY ANSWER:
There is something seriously wrong with you. I suggest getting into heroin or whiskey or both.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Rachael
Comments: Hey trev you recon that males are better at bass than females coz usually guys have chubby fat fingers that makes them ideal bass players.
P.s. I bet you and claypool are mates? True?

MY ANSWER:
No, I wouldn't reckon that at all. And no I would not consider Claypool a mate.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: Does your family enjoy and get your music? Do they think it's too wierd? Maybe I just live in a small town but avante gardey music isn't all that well recieved by the older generation in SC. Just wondering.

MY ANSWER:
My dad has seen me play avant gardey stuff. He usually says "sounds like you're tuning up to me". He listens to Willie Nelson. My mom likes jazz. They have always been supportive of my career.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: N. End.
Comments: Alô, Trevor, how's everything going? I would like to know if you ever thought about writing music for large ensembles... I am a big fan of you as a bassist and, specially, as a composer, and I think (well, maybe I'm wrong) that the 'shadow' of Mr. Bungle troubles you more than it helps you... I can see you as a great composer (and young, for sure) with a soulful approach and it would be awesome to see you releasing some "fuck off bungle widows" music. And yes, I love Mr. Bungle, but I can't bear the fans' "authority" over its musicians. Sorry for the bad english... Eu sou carioca!

MY ANSWER:
yes, I have thought about writing for large ensembles, and eventually I will. The "shadow" you speak of does not trouble me in anyway, but, yes, it is a shadow.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Stu
Comments: Hey i just read in the Q/A section that you're a jaco fan. just wondering, how much have you dabbled into the fretless world, and do you feel that they are a useful addition to a setup? while i'm here, whats your view on Victor Wooten?

MY ANSWER:
My first fretless was some Peavey piece of crap. That's what I played on Dead Goon and Carousel on the first Bungle CD. Later, I had a custom 5-string made by a guy up in Humboldt County named Ken Lawrence. I still have that bass but don't really play it anymore. I just don't hear fretless these days. It's really just a tone thing, and an aesthetic. It's as useful as you want to make it. I'm not particularly into Victor Wooten.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: "if else then wa wee" - you signed my DV cd with that in '95ish. You're a wacky guy. Question: on "Moonchild - songs without words" Were you and patton provided with sheet music or was it improvising lead by zorn at the time of the recording? I'm curious about zorn's composition method on that record if you are able to divulge that information.

MY ANSWER:
That music was taught orally. There was no written music. Very different approach to all the other Zorn recordings I've done. Also, all of the improvising is specifically orchestrated and structured.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: You deserve to make money
Comments: Hi Trevor, I feel like I'm ripping you off... let me explain: I respect and enjoy your music more and more each day and yet I realized that I bought 2 Mr. Bungle albums from a used CD store and now my friend said he'd burn me "California" so I said "sure, great". This, of course, means that I will have all 3 Bungle albums without you making a dime off of any of it. I'm interested in hearing your acoustic bass playing -what CD should I buy as an introduction to your upright skills that YOU will receive money for. You deserve it! P.S. Just want to say thanks for having this website and for making me want to be the best musician I can be... I love you... will you touch my penis? ...touch it... what do you mean you have a headache?

MY ANSWER:
It's cool dude. If you're broke, you're broke. I used to tape LPs all the time to save money. For more on my opinion on this read the blog on myspace. (www.myspace.com/convulsivebeauty). In the meantime, check out the ORDER CDs portion of this site. The money comes directly to me. And I will not touch you anywhere. Thanks.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Charlie
Comments: Dear Trevor, Please ignore maple syrup question. Anyhoo: my question is, would you recommend putting new pickups and bridge into a Jazz Bass, to give it more punch and a "harder," Justin Chancellor/you sound?

MY ANSWER:
I play a P-bass so that is partially where that sound is coming from. I don't think a bridge is really gonna change the tone that much. Personally I would put vintage jazz-bass pick-ups in it, cuz that is a great sound. If you want more of a rock sound I would go for more of a rock bass.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Simon Dunne
Comments: Hi Trevor. I was just wondering if the writings of Henry Corbin and concept of Mundus Imaginalis etc has had any bearing/impact on you personally or as an artist? If not, what are your views on this subject area? P.s. I'm sure you know where this is coming from and I don't mean to irritate you with this question but nobody seems to have asked you about this yet!!

MY ANSWER:
I had to google that shit cuz I had no idea what you were talking about. still don't.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Paco
Comments: Which of your songs is your favorite and why? How would you describe the musical styles of the guys from Bungle (including yourself). Please continue your great work! (preferably writing your own material)

MY ANSWER:
I can't really comment on what is my favorite of my own. My brain just doesn't work that way. Each song I write I try to make better than the last one. I would describe the styles of all those guys as eclectic.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Miles Crevice
Comments: Hey Trevor! You rule. One and an a half question for ya: Meshuggah, good or just "good musicianship on their part"? Perhaps a bit of rhethorical question but do you have any favourite Miles Davis records you'd recommend?

MY ANSWER:
Meshuggah is rhythmically very interesting to me. But that's about it. Miles: Nefertiti, Seven Steps To Heaven, ESP, Miles Smiles.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Goldman
Comments: Hey Trevor i'd like to know what you think of your performance in this video:
http://vidsearch.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1033642402 enjoy

MY ANSWER:
Considering that I was 17, hated everyone in high school and liked punk AND metal, I'd say GENIUS!


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Andrew
Comments: Was a big fan of Mr Bungle's 1st album but Disco Volante was the first avant-garde type album I ever owned. From there got into Zorn. Just bought the double live cd of electric masada, what was it like playing with 2 drummers? Any chance of you ever doing a show in Auckland with some band or other?

MY ANSWER:
It's a challenge to say the least. Especially when the one furthest away is keeping time and the other one --between us--is playing arhythmically. I have to be focused like a god damn telescope in that band. Hope to come to Auckland some day....


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Tom H
Comments: Hey Trev, I just want to say what a great performance on Letterman last month with Sean Lennon. Such a beautiful piece. Did you record any of the new album with him? Touring with him at all? And how was it working with the son of a legend?
P.S. I hardly recognized you at first with the granola look. I'm used to the clean "spanky" lookin Dunn. You rock man.

MY ANSWER:
No, I didn't play on the album. I just did that one gig. Got asked to tour but didn't have the time, although I would if I could. Sean is very down-to-earth. Yes, I like granola.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: Question on the song title, "The Holy Filament": Is this related to a radio program by Joe Frank? I have to know.

MY ANSWER:
No, I got it from a B. Kliban cartoon and applied it to a story by Louis Aragon, although I love Joe Frank.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: jake
Comments: trevor, your work with mr.bungle is kickass and that first album has some of my all time favorite bass lines but what the fuck is up with fantomas' first album? i trusted you and mike patton and dave lombardo (of whom i am a huge fan) but i bought that album and felt genuine rage towards you, i still idolize every note you play but come on man that is just so stupid i cant take it, its fuckin noise man, and i never use that term to describe music

MY ANSWER:
Believe it or not, every single note on that Fantomas album, and in fact, all Fantomas albums is pre-determined and rehearsed. The wood-shedding for that first one was some of the most rigorous and intense rehearsing I have ever gone through in my life. I'm glad that you felt rage because that a good feeling to have. But I think you should have more of an open mind towards music and, to be honest, towards noise which is a beautiful thing in and of itself. I can understand that you don't get it, or that it's out of your scope of normal or comprehensible, but you should watch your mouth when you call something stupid when it actually took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to produce. You're entitled to your opinion and I don't expect you to like everything that I do but that record is no less important or artistic than anything else I have ever done.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: I suck at bass, but love all your work. I am a big fan of Bungle and Fantomas and just wondered is you had any "All you need to know to play bass in one sentence" types of advice? Even though if you knew that/if it existed, you'd probably face several problems... ... Uh...

MY ANSWER:
just keep practicing.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Rachael
Comments: Who is Mike Johnson and why does he feel the need to bag you out? If you don't mind me asking.

MY ANSWER:
uh...there's a guy from SF who did some engineering on Bungle records with that name, but frankly I don't even know what "bag out" means.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: erik
Comments: What’s your take on some of these guys work and role shifts in a pop like band... Like Claypool and Death From Above 1979... Dig it or no merci..? I was wondering if you have listened to Kaada on Ipecac.. On some I wish the ghost of trevor dunn would appear... thanks for the time and the years of kick ass music....and if your ever in miami hit me up and bring some music.. and or booze... Cheers

MY ANSWER:
I don't follow either. yeah, I dig that Kaada stuff.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Jorge
Comments: Hello Mr. Dunn. Is it true that you wrote a concert to double bass and orchestra? Is it for sale? In the double bass reportoire, what you played in your school? Bottesini,Koussevitzky?Or you don´t like that kind of stuff?

MY ANSWER:
No, it's not true. I did, however, write a solo piece for prepared contrabass. I'll make you a photocopy if you want to check it out. yes, I played all that stuff in college. I still like to practice Bottesini and Glier to keep my chops up.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Alex
Comments: Hey man, first off I wanna say that you're an awesome bass player, and one of my favorite musicians. Ok, I read one of your responses to a question about lazy musicians you said "There is nothing worse than a lazy musician. Someone who doesn't have to work at McDonalds yet can't be bothered to sweat a little and put some EFFORT into their vocation. They're called pot-heads." I play guitar regularly and I jam with a good friend often, I'm also a "pot-head" so am I now a lazy musician?

MY ANSWER:
Ok, so you're one of those assholes that can smoke a lot of pot and still get shit done. More power to you. My comment was directed at laziness, not drug use. So I used the term "pot-head" in a derogatory way. Who cares. Have I really offended your drug-induced preciousness? I think not. Relax. Take another bong hit. And thanks for listening!!


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Petros
Comments: Hi Trevor, CAn i borrow your bass amp for a rehearsal on tuesday? Mines Broken ):

MY ANSWER:
sure, I'll just leave it outside on the stoop. Come by and get it anytime.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: Will this be the way a point a question for "Your Q., My A."? I hope so; Trevor, i'm sorry but i never listened any of your work other than Mr. Bungle; I plan to do so as soon as i either get rich or download them from eMule. I must say (even you may be tired of listening to/reading this) i admire it so much, all of what i listened of it (Mr. Bungle, Disco Voador, California). Maybe i should talk about the music if i ever meet you someday. Here's my question: Why is it so rare for artists to get accessible to the ones that admires them so much, you being an exception (are you)? I tried so hard to deliver a CD with several notes/letters and some photographs and draughts i made (i collected several things that were important to me and could show to them the face of a person amongst the millions in the crowds) to Pearl Jam guys when they came here in Brasil (I went to two shows) but i could only deliver a single letter to the security guy, and i'll never know if they readed it. How must it be like relating to crowds from afar? Guess everybody knows it's painful to them. An' guess your relation to fans is not lake that... Could you figure out my question? If not, talk as you like. I hope i can make more questions further...

MY ANSWER:
I'm not sure why people think that artists SHOULD be accessible. They are humans after all and enjoy company that they are familiar with as well as privacy. Do YOU want strangers coming up to you every day with questions, presents, demands, weapons or opinions? Just because an artist addresses the public, or reaches a wide audience doesn't mean that his social boundaries can be waved. When a musician is on tour he/she is doing their job. After a performance sometimes it's important to wind down, reflect, hang out with loved ones. Talking to excited fans is not a priority because that too takes a lot of energy. An artist is by definition a creative and giving person. Fans who demand accessibility are, in a sense, saying that they are not satisfied with just the art. They need the artist to also give a part of his/her social, personal self.

Each artist, that is, each individual has his/her own boundaries. One reason I am more accessible than Pearl Jam is because I don't have a fraction of that kind of fame. But I have noticed that the more accessible I am, the more people want from me. I'm happy to answer questions and help people out if I can in any way, but it IS time-consuming and it's not the first thing on my list in terms of getting shit done. I can't imagine being a celebrity and not being able to go to the grocery store just because fans wouldn't allow you to shop. They'd be too busy trying to get a piece of you. So I can understand why famous people are inaccessible.

Unfortunately, sometimes when strangers want too much or don't respect your boundaries, you have to be a "jerk". I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to make music.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: James Everett
Comments: Hey Trevor, I was just thinking, do alternative artists write music that is alternative to what is "popular", or would those same artists write the same music were it selling millions of copies etc. What would your reaction / response be if tomorrow your music was going platinum or some shit?

MY ANSWER:
hmmm...I remember when REM was considered "alternative" because it was college radio material that was going against the grain of Madonna and INXS or what have you. I suppose that the term "alternative" is always in opposition to pop (aka, popular) music. The truth is that most pop artist aren't really artists at all. They are hot looking cultural icons. Britney Spears, for example, who I am seriously a fan of, probably doesn't have anything to do with her albums. Then you have actual musicians and artist, some who write music that is popular and some that write music that is not popular. Some probably try to fit into a certain genre, others just write. I'm sure that every musician or artist would hope that their craft be accepted by a wide audience.

If tomorrow my music suddenly became popular and I made a crap load of money, I would stop worrying about paying bills and spend more time writing music.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: michael
Comments: hi trevor- I am a bassist/composer surrently studying jaz bass at the university of miami. i dig the bungle shit but i am really interested in the new music stuff youve been doing with Hilmar and the whole skirl thing. What shoudl i be doing regarding listening/practicing/writing to keep improvisational music moving forward? Second, i find it difficult at times switching basses, i lose a lot of touch on my electric if I have been playing upright for a few hours prio. how do you balance that? thanks for your time,

MY ANSWER:
To keep the music you love moving forward you just have to support it. That, in part, means listening more, practicing more and writing more. As long as there is a fire in you to continue it will be alive somewhere.

Your bass switching question is one I have been dealing with for years. It's one reason I rarely bring both to a gig. I recently wrote an article in the new Arcana book (published by Hip's Road) that addresses this a bit. Basically, they are two different instruments and the only way to regain that touch is to warm up to it. These days, I tend to go in phases of which one I am focusing one, but I still have the same difficulty.


YOUR QUESTION:
Name: Travis Wilson You know dude, you got a huge ego problem. When you were refering to Brian Welsh, you talked a lot about you. How could Korn have stolen a lot of Brian's ideas and stuff like that when HE WAS IN THE BAND WITH THEM!! Your quote was contridicting all within itself. Head could've and should've found a different bassist for his album.

MY ANSWER:
Dood, you have a huge comprehension problem. What I said what that Korn stole ideas from Bungle. I played in Bungle jackass, not Korn. I recorded on Brian's solo record and HE is the one who told me that. I talked about myself cuz it's my website. What Head should have done was paid me in a timely manner. What you should do is kiss my ass.


YOUR QUESTION:
PRIVATE
Comments: I really enjoyed hearing the Electric Masada ensemble at the 92y (although the string trio truly blew my mind). What a great night of music and humble talent. If you were to recommend one Brooklyn restaurant, what would it be?

MY ANSWER:
Al Di La

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