I state with confidence that there is only one man alive capable of replacing the legendary Aaron Smith, and that man is Bruce Spencer. With his fantastic playing, I almost don't miss Aaron (although you will be hard pressed to meet a more genuine guy than Aaron), but this is really an entirely new 77's....the power trio. Few drummers can do all the things that Bruce can. He is truly a great drummer!
When asked to compare the two drummers, Mike said "Aaron was like a freight train. He was great for steady, powerful performances. Bruce on the other hand is like a stick of dynamite who can explode at any minute with fantastic fills and rolls." Although, it's like comparing Coke with Pepsi (they both are great in their own way), trying to size up Aaron and Bruce side by side is ridiculous. Aaron is great, Bruce is too and I'm thrilled he's a member of The Seventy Sevens!
Bruce is known as the "jokester" within the band. He can call up and leave hilarious messages on answering machines doing impressions and coming up with the most off the wall yet riotously funny messages. Even one on one this guy keeps people in stitches....always "creating", always entertaining. Yet in between the jokes, chocolate shakes, Slurpees, Diet Cokes, and basketball, he is pure "bid-ness", writing music and playing his beloved drums.
Bruce wrote the music to The Boat Ashore. He is a consummate musician (played keyboards and percussion on the album), and in my opinion is a heck of a song writer. Bruce started writing music when he was 14. At 19 he joined Vector (another infamous Exit band) and co-wrote much of the music on their A&M Records debut Please Stand By. From there he moved on to play and contribute significantly with The Charlie Peacock Group on the lost, yet unre-released Charlie Peacock album, originally released on Exit/Island, on West Coast Diaries vol. 2. from Sparrow, and various Peacock productions including albums from Steve Scott (Lost Horizon, Magnificent Obsession; Alternative), and Rich Lang (Big Dream; Sparrow). He also played a major role in Agnes Stone's Quest/Warner debut, worked extensively with Brent Bourgeois (Matter Of Feel; Charisma/Virgin), Larry Tagg (Rover; ind.), and can be heard on at least three independent releases from Robert Kuhlman (Mikael; Mad Rover Records), and the self titled albums from Scott Free, and Amontillado. Now that just about does it, except for this one "enigmatic" band called The 77's. That's a total of some 14 albums this guy's appeared on, and he's just about to turn the ripe old age of 31. ( Sorry, I have to pick on him, don't get many chances. Besides, he's older than I, and I'm not gonna edit this Bruce! HA HA!). He's done impromptu nights with Tiny Tim and toured with Wynonna! He's got his feet wet in this business, that is for sure!
He's lately been a driving force in getting new material written for the next 7's album. The guys are rehearsing and writing, hashing out bridges, choruses, etc. All this in between tours with The Lost Dogs, festivals in Sweden and Holland, and generally the hassles of trying to get everybody together at the same time. The new stuff they're coming up with sounds real cool, and I'm sure that the new album is going to be awesome!
Bruce, ironically, is the only person within "the organization" who is a native Sacramentan (Mike is from San Jose, CA and Mark is from the back woods of Virginia (he's gonna kill me for that). His folks still live in the same house he grew up in, and go to several shows that he performs in. They're actually a very sweet couple, one that I'm honored to have met, and Bruce is very close to them (ah, only if we all were so close to our parents). To their credit, they fully support Bruce in his pursuit of attaining "teen-age stardom", they obviously see what the rest of us see....he is a very talented individual deserving more attention and pay than he is receiving (just as deserving as Mike and Mark).
Just like the other guys, I am certainly privileged to know this guy. And without trying to sound like a "suck-up", I'm glad that I've been able to develop a friendship with him. He certainly is an original!
When I asked Bruce what makes this band special to him, he answered, "I think we've developed a very comfortable creative environment in this band. It truly is a pleasure to play music with Mike and Mark! In this business I think that is to be appreciated for sure." I couldn't agree any more.