Trey Spruance is one of the most underrated, versatile, and experimental rock guitarists of modern times. Born Preston Lea Spruance III in 1969 and raised in Eureka, CA, Spruance began playing in local heavy metal bands while in high school. During 1985, the guitarist hooked up with some fellow high school musicians (including singer Mike Patton and bassist Trevor Dunn, among others), to form Mr. Bungle. During the late '80s, the group grew more and more musically schizo as they incorporated more and more varied styles into their compositions -- all of which purposely didn't follow the traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure of most rock bands. When Patton landed a gig with Faith No More in 1989, he pledged to keep Mr. Bungle going, a promise he kept when he came off the road in 1991. The same year, Bungle signed with Warner Bros, and issued their self-titled debut. When Patton returned back to Faith No More later in the year, Spruance filled up his downtime by forming side projects, including the goof death metal outfit Faxed Head.
During 1994, Spruance was invited to join Faith No More himself, after founding guitarist Jim Martin was fired. Spruance accepted, lending his talents to the group's exceptional 1995 release, King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime, but on the eve of the album's supporting tour, Spruance jumped ship, much to the displeasure of the group. Spruance's working relationship with Patton didn't suffer as a result, as they both completed work on a second Mr. Bungle album, Disco Volante, the same year. Also issued in 1995, was the full-length debut from Faxed Head, Uncomfortable But Free, and the first releases by another Spruance project, the Three Doctors. The latter group was formed by Spruance in an attempt to repel some of the newer mainstream fans who may have discovered the guitarist via his work with Faith No More, as they would only play shows in Santa Rosa, CA, and purposely come off like the world's worst bar band, as evidenced by Back to Basics Live and Archaeology of the Infinite. With Mr. Bungle on hiatus once more by 1996, Spruance formed Secret Chiefs Three along with fellow Bungle mates Trevor Dunn (bass) and Danny Heifetz (drums). Often described as a Mike Patton-less version of Mr. Bungle, the group issued their debut album, First Grand Constitution and Bylaws, the same year.
The late '90s saw even more Spruance-related releases crop up, including another Faxed Head release, 1997's Exhumed at Birth, plus John Zorn's Elegy and a Zorn/Patton/Spruance collaboration, Weird Little Boy, who issued a lone self-titled album in 1998. Another Secret Chiefs Three album was released in 1998, Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws: Hurqalaya, while Mr. Bungle reassembled once more to begin work on their next release. 1999's California was Bungle's first attempt at penning songs that adhered to traditional song structures (in the stylistic vein of the Beach Boys and '60s surf movies), and the result was an album which is often considered to be the group's finest. Expectedly, Mr. Bungle went on hiatus after their ensuing world tour in support of California wrapped up. And once more, Spruance wasted little time in picking up where he left off, issuing new albums by both Faxed Head (Chiropractic) and Secret Chiefs Three (Book M) in 2001. In addition to the many bands that Spruance is a member of, he has also produced albums for other artists (Neil Hamburger's America's Funnyman, Tub Ring's Drake Equation, Dieselhed's Tales of a Brown Dragon, etc.), and guested on other artists' recordings, as well (Melt Banana's Charlie, Machine for Making Sense's Dissect the Body, etc.). Spruance also runs his own record label, Mimicry Records, whose website stocks most of the recordings he has appeared on over the years (www.webofmimicry.com). ~ Greg Prato, Rovi