Happy 50 the birthday TREY SPRUANCE!


Preston Lea Trey Spruance III was born on August 14th 1969. He grew up in Eureka California and attended Eureka High with Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn
The first instrument he learnt to play was the trumpet, as a means of getting out of class. He moved onto guitar in an attempt to become popular. At school he shared music theory class with Dunn.
In 1985 Trey was in a metal band with drummer Jedd Watts the two left to join up with Patton and Dunn, forming Mr. Bungle. Mr. Bungle played their first show during November 1985 at the Bayside Grange Hall. The band released their first demo cassette Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny in 1986, recorded and mixed by Trey on his 4-track. 
He went to study at Humbolt State University with Patton and Dunn. 

Faith No More had just recorded their debut album and were on the road with frontman Chuck Mosley. Trey was a fan of the band and on October 4th 1986 FNM played at Humbolt University, he persuaded Patton to go to their show. After their set the band were hanging out when Spruance handed a copy of Mr. Bungle's demo to Mike Bordin.

Mr. Bungle released 3 more demos Bowel Of Chiley (1987), Goddammit I Love America! (1988) and OU818 (1989) this recording was the first to feature tenor sax player Clinton "Bär" McKinnon and drummer Danny Heifetz. Trey's love of jazz as well as the other members changing tastes in music influenced Mr. Bungle's mish mash of styles. 
It wasn't until Patton achieved global success that Mr. Bungle found a major record deal with Warner Bros. In 1990 Trey reloacted to San Francisco and a year later Mr. Bungle released their self-titled debut album produced by jazz experimentalist John Zorn. The record mixed metal, funk, ska, carnival music and free jazz. The band toured the album up until early 1992 when the FNM Angel Dust tour began. 

In 1994 FNM were looking to fill the position of guitarist after they parted ways with Jim Martin. After considering Geordie of Killing Joke, the band approached Trey to help write and record their fifth studio album King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime (1995). However Patton was sceptical about the appointment, not because he didn't think Trey couldn't do the job, but he thought that the band dynamics wouldn't suit Trey. 
Trey's style played a part in FNM's shift in sound. He has writing credits for the song Just A Man
After the album was finished Trey decided not to tour and left the band. The official band statement dumbed down the situation and proclaimed that Trey was a spoilt rich kid who didn't want to commit to an extended tour. 
Whereas Trey highlighted that working with FNM was within a difficult environment. He felt like a hired gun who's position wasn't assured and his salary was also an issue. Trey was also worried that being in FNM would threaten his and Patton's friendship. 

Mr. Bungle's second album Disco Volante (1996) was already written at this point but touring had to wait until Patton had finished playing with FNM. The album was more experimental and avant-guarde than the first, much of this was Trey's influence. Who was inspired by contemporary classical music, avant-garde jazz and electronic music. 
Mr. Bungle's third album California was released on July 13th 1999. A much more easily accessible album. The album was scheduled to be released a week earlier but Warner Bros. held off so as not to coincide with the Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Californication, which was to be released on the same day. Following the album release date clash, Kiedis had Mr. Bungle removed from a series of summer festivals in Europe. Mr. Bungle retaliated by dressing up as members of the RHCP and performed a medley of the songs. 
The band played their final show on September 9th 2000 at Rock City in England. No official announcement was made referring to the band's split. 

In 1996 Trey started his project Secret Chiefs 3. The group originally featured fellow  Mr. Bungle members Dunn and Danny Heifetz. Some of the many musicians who have since recorded or toured with SC3 include Mike PattonEyvind Kang, William WinantChes Smith, Shahzad Ismaily, former Mr. Bungle member Clinton "Bär" McKinnon, and Estradasphere members Timb Harris, Jason Schimmel, and Tim Smolens
The group have released 8 studio albums plus various EPs and live recordings. There are various different incarnations of the band which are expressions of Trey's musical and philosophical interests. The seven bands are Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, FORMS, and NT Fan.

Trey founded his own independent record company Web Of Mimicry in 1998. Trey was a member of experimental metal band Faxed Head under the pseudonym Neck Head. Other band members include La Brea Tar Pits Head on drums, McPatrick Head on vocals, Jigsaw Puzzle Head on bass, and Fifth Head on electronics. Their 2001 album Chiropractic was produced by Trey. 

2019

Faith No More Followers
"Mr. Bungle was born in one of the most famously dark corners of the womb of the Golden State in '85. Nurtured on some of the bitterest milk of Kalifia's alienation we were, naturally enough, a death metal band. Surrounded by hippie stoners and rednecks, disliking pretty much everyone, we were just another group of disaffected punks roaming aimlessly in a dreary coastal town in the extreme north of the state."


2017

Medium
"We were still in our metal-hood thing, and I remember Patton was playing electric guitar and he used only one finger. He could only play a minor chord if he just wanted to play 3 notes, otherwise he’d play 2 notes for a perfect fourth. That was incredible. I had never played Ska before in my life and those guys really wanted to play Ska."

2016

Culture Creature
“It was amazing. Sometimes as much as a year or months would go by when he was gone on tour. When we would all re-converge, we all would have our heads really deeply into different things that we had all discovered. We would kind of pool all of that. When Mike came back, we called it ‘show and tell.’ He’d show us all of the records that he’d bring back and all of the things he discovered, and we’d bring him up to date on our discoveries. San Francisco was pretty interesting at the time. It was a really fruitful reconvening. We’d take these long breaks and then have an explosion of creative energy.”

FNM Followers
"Collaborative compositions in Mr. Bungle were developed as skeletal chains of riffs we'd call "snakes". The trick was always in the morphing of complimentary riff ideas that came from different worlds into a coherent song."

2014

SF Weekly
"Mike Patton worked at the local record store, so he had access. At the time, it was well before the Internet. He would take records home and open them and tape them onto cassettes and we would copy his cassette tapes of all these different kinds of music. After a while it was just pouring in and our musical horizons were expanding together. I think from a very early stage, we were listening to a lot of different stuff and kind of shoving it into our music in weird, awkward ways until we finally got a little bit better at that."

2012

Prog-sphere
"I take the record production onto myself, because there’s like a control freak aspect there. You’re like a conductor, and in order to do that nowadays, you need to have total control over the way a record is recorded and put together. A composer that conducts his own music, that’s what I feel like I’m doing. For some sorts of music, you can allocate some of the work to an engineer, but for what I’m doing, I feel like I have to take on all of the burden myself; micromanage everything. If you’re going to be putting in a million hours into making this record, if your heart’s not into it, then it’s not going to have any power to it."

2011

TapeOp
"I'm really against the idea of convoluting the original idea. I hate it when musicians have a clear and good idea and then accuse themselves of doing something garden variety, "so now I need to go fuck with it." This is terrible. The original, pure idea, maybe needs to be more than what it is, so dress it up in something! Don't be ashamed of how normal it is!"

2007

Mark Prindle
"It's weird. I lost interest in guitar when I was about 20, which was in 1990. It really just became a means to an end for me, and still is. I like what I can do with it compositionally and all that. I leave the mastery of the instrument to others who are infinitely more qualified. All I do is wield it so as to have a part in the performance of compositions... I think this attitude has freed me up a lot over the years."

1997

CJ Chilvers
"There are certain things on “King for a Day” that I think really, really stink, but there are a lot of things that are really good. Like the last song, which I think is excellent. The end of the record is strong. There’s a few real duds in the beginning. I don’t hate it or anything."

1995

Studio Interview
"Sometimes you end up living with something - for a long time - that not everybody is entirely excited about that suddenly somebody will have an idea where to take it to. We sat on some of them for a while in various states of completion before we actually were gonna record them. So they really evolved more than having like a whole lot of conscious application thrown on top of them."

Carl Kingdom
"We have to be prepared…we can’t just go into the studio – there’s a LOT of preparation that goes into it. And everybody else has to agree on the arrangements, getting it all shaved, and a lot of the time someone won’t have any idea what instrument should play a certain part, so I’ll have to spend a lot of time programming synthesizer voices or finding organ voices and voicing chords."




Comments

  1. Great article, thanks! I noticed a couple of inaccuracies/typos:
    * He felt like a hired gun who's position => whose
    * Disco Volante was released in 1995, not 1996.

    ReplyDelete

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