|"Travolta (Quote Unquote)"|
|Single by Mr. Bungle|
|from the album Mr. Bungle|
|Format||Vinyl Compact Disc|
|Genre||Avant-garde metal, funk metal, ska punk|
4:31 (single version)
|Songwriter(s)||Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, Mike Patton|
|Producer(s)||Mr. Bungle, John Zorn|
|Mr. Bungle singles chronology|
Sample from Mr. Bungle's "Travolta (Quote Unquote)" from the album Mr. Bungle. It was Mr. Bungle's only song to ever receive a music video.
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Although the song was originally titled "Travolta", it was quickly changed to "Quote Unquote" due to legal threats. A music video was made for "Travolta," using its later title "Quote Unquote." The video was banned from MTV due to images of the band members (dressed in various costumes and masks) hanging from meat hooks and overall scary, disturbing images. The video used the single version of the song.
References to John Travolta
Allmusic considers the song to be a tribute to John Travolta and fellow actor Patrick Swayze, although it also contains references to Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump. A biography about John Travolta, written by Bob McCabe, was titled "Quote, Unquote" after the song.  The main theme from the movie Grease, a movie John Travolta was famous for, was sampled twice in the song.
This may, however, be a barbed tribute in that the lyrical content of the song strongly references the 1938 novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, throughout which a mute quadruple amputee war veteran details his personal suffering in the first person. Hence the song's title. It might be worth noting that Patrick Swayze's character in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing is also named Johnny, perhaps implying that the song is a more general homage to greasers being led off to war. However, Trey Spruance offered a different lyrical concept in a 2017 interview:
|“||Travolta's lyric concept (which was very well redacted by Patton), came about in a very unique way. There was a spontaneous brainstorm by the whole band during a long night drive somewhere. For some reason we were obsessing on the hypothetical inner experience of a person who lacks almost all sensory input (deaf, blind, limbless and with mouth sewn shut). Everything he experiences is tunnelled through a highly developed, almost miraculously compensatory sense of smell. He is thrown onto a trampoline --- by who? a sick torturer laughing at him? loving parents attempting to provide something joyful that "normal" kids do? How would it matter in either case? As you might expect from a bunch of alienated teenage delinquent heshers pondering over such questions, we were in collective hysterics over all of this. The truth, though, looking back is that we very much identified with this tragically monstrous character, who in his extreme sensory isolation was effectively living outside of time and space. I say this now, but 400 miles from anywhere, pre-internet, we were receiving our cultural referents in a way that could be compared to breathing through a tiny straw. And in some way, therefore, we were therefore free from their actual influence, free to imagine them any way we wanted to. We weren't thinking this about ourselves at the time, but the Travolta figure exemplifies the idea that when left only with one's imagination, and some vague other impressions from far off, such a suffocated entity might not feel deprived so much as take advantage of the elasticity of his state. To become something of a shapeshifter. In our adolescent gloom, therefore, "Travolta" would of course take on the identities of various megalomaniacs; Hitler and Trump are mentioned, and there's something prescient there about pathological narcissism mixing with the unbounded entrepreneurial spirit, peppered with a life mission of compensatory revenge.||”|
|— Trey Spruance|
- Quote Unquote (Edit) - 4:31
- Quote Unquote (Album Version) - 6:56
- "Mr. Bungle - Quote - Unquote". Discogs. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Huey, Steve. "Mr. Bungle - Mr. Bungle". Allmusic. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2002). AllMusic Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. ISBN 087930653X.
- McGaughey, Scott. "The Unclassifiable and Ever-Evolving Music of Mr. Bungle". Furious.com. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Mr. Bungle -Quote Unquote (Travolta) on Vimeo
- Quote - Unquote on Amazon
- Mr. Bungle - "Quote - Unqote" on Whosampled
- Spruance, Trey (November 2016)