Trey Spruance

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Trey Spruance
Trey Spruance.jpg
Spruance performing in 2008
Background information
Birth name Preston Lea Spruance III
Born (1969-08-14) August 14, 1969 (age 48)
Genres Avant-garde metal, experimental music, alternative metal, experimental rock, ska[1]
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar, various keyboards and synthesizer, baglama, rabab, dumbek, zither, bass guitar, pipa, trumpet, vocals
Years active 1985–present
Labels Mimicry
Associated acts Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, Faxed Head, Faith No More, Three Doctors Band, John Zorn, Pop-O-Pies, Scourge, Asva

Preston Lea "Trey" Spruance III (born August 14, 1969) is an American composer, producer, and musician, perhaps best known as guitarist and keyboardist with Mr. Bungle. He is also leader of the multi-genre outfit Secret Chiefs 3. Originally a guitarist and trumpeter, Spruance later began playing vintage electronic organs, saz, santur, electric sitar, tar, pipa, and various other string and percussion instruments.


Spruance was a founding member of Mr. Bungle, along with Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn. He has focused on his band Secret Chiefs 3 for the last 15 years (though it began in 1996), expanding the role of the group into seven sub-groups on the 2004 album Book of Horizons. Though once secular, Spruance began exploring religious and philosophical themes in Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 in the mid-1990s, after joining the Eastern Orthodox Church.[2][3] Spruance has composed, produced and released eight full-length albums with Secret Chiefs 3 to date, as well as numerous 7" inch recordings, and has arranged John Zorn's Masada music for Secret Chiefs 3 on two releases: Masada Book II "Xaphan" in 2007, and Masada Book III "Beriah" (forthcoming). Spruance has toured extensively as Secret Chiefs 3 band leader. Since 2007 they have performed over 500 shows in over 50 countries, having developed significant followings outside the USA in nearly every country of western and eastern Europe, Turkey, Israel, South America, Australia and Russia. Spruance regularly expands Secret Chiefs 3 into hybrid ensembles of varying sizes. In 2013 he scored his music for the 61-piece Traditional Russian Orchestra of Krasnoyarsk and performed with this orchestra in Kansk, Siberia, with Secret Chiefs 3 as the rhythm section. He has performed with John Zorn and works regularly in Secret Chiefs 3 with Eyvind Kang, Ches Smith and William Winant. He also contributed some guitar and tubular bells to the ASVA recordings Futurists Against the Ocean and What You Don't Know Is Frontier with whom he toured the US and Europe. He notably also recorded with Patton for Faith No More on their 1995 album King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime.

As a producer

Spruance has often worked as a producer, beginning with Mr. Bungle's albums Disco Volante and California. Most of his major production achievements are found among numerous Secret Chiefs 3 releases. In 2001, Spruance produced Chicago-based rock band Tub ring's first full-length album, Drake Equation. In 2004, he produced the album Death After Life for Oakland, CA death metal group Impaled, also contributing guitar solos for their songs "Resurrectionists", and "Medical Waste". Other production duties have included I'll Have What's She's Having (2004) by The Tuna Helpers and Faxed Head's Chiropractic (2001). For the last decade he has focused intensely of Secret Chiefs 3.

Record label

Spruance is the founder of Mimicry Recordings, which has released albums from a variety of different bands, including Cleric, Fat32, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Brazzaville, Matt Chamberlain, Dengue Fever, and Asva, amongst other projects.

Playing style

Known for his proficiency as a guitar player, Spruance's playing style as a guitarist is influenced by many diverse genres of music, such as surf rock, Anatolian folk, death metal, film music, Afghan rebab music, ska, funk, space rock, jazz and Japanoise.

Musique concrète and foley work also play a large role in his recordings.

In movies

Though the legacy of film music composers like Bernard Hermann, Bruno Nicolai, Nino Rota and Jerry Goldsmith play a large enough role in Spruance's creative output to merit the attention of film music buffs, Spruance cherishes his status as an outsider artist who has never aspired to working within the actual film music industry. The only movie score he has worked on thus far was for a micro-independent, The Anna Cabrini Chronicles, directed by his friend Tawd B. Dorenfeld.

Composition style

Spruance's diverse compositional style has been influenced by Fishbone, The Specials,[4] Devo, Olivier Messiaen, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, R. D. Burman, Ananda Shankar, Pythagoras of Samos,[5][6][7] Fear of God, Mercyful Fate, and many others.


Mr. Bungle

Secret Chiefs 3

Weird Little Boy

With Eyvind Kang

Faith No More

Faxed Head

  • Uncomfortable But Free (1995)
  • Exhumed at Birth (1997)
  • Chiropractic (2001)

Band membership


  1. ^ "Interview with Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Secret Chiefs 3 - Culture Creature". August 30, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  2. ^ Sohrabeyal. "Interview: The Secret Chiefs 3′ Trey Spruance dreams of performing in Iran?". DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY. Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Containing multitudes". Retrieved June 10, 2017. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Jawsh Mullen. "The Secret Chiefs 3". Westword. 
  6. ^ "Big, Bold and Epic". Tucson Weekly. 
  7. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Myspace. 

External links

  • The Trey Spruance Gallery – a comprehensive list of Spruance's live and recorded projects
  • Web of Mimicry
  • Mimicry Records – Spruance's record label
  • Official Site of Secret Chiefs 3 – official website containing member line-up and photos.
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