Alan Bruce - learn more about him
Find out more...
Alan Bruce began his playing career back in the 70’s as a teenager wanting to emulate his then hero Marc Bolan. He learned how to play a 12 bar, taught by an older friend named Andy, whose brother played bass in a band called Alan Avon & the Toyshop, who had supported Black Sabbath in their early days. The first song he learned to play was “Down the Dustpipe” by Status Quo - a twelve bar boogie. He claims to have been in the first ever tribute band in 1974 who played a set of 30 songs and 26 of them were Quo songs! A REAL musician!
Alan had always sung from an early age in school choirs, progressing to drums and percussion in high school alongside his out of school bass playing activities in various bands – he says ‘we changed the name of the band almost weekly – before settling on “The Harley Street Blues Band II”’ and this lead to a string of self penned numbers which still barely survive on ‘tape’ to this day - for most musicians it all sounds rather familiar.
Some great musicians and friends made in these formative years, even better stage clothes big boots winged tops all great fun, always just past trend being a Rock fan as in Rush, Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc. was not good in the UK in the mid to late 70’s.
Various bands and line-ups came and went as he found himself playing with Heartbreaker in 1980-1983 a voracious touring band, which played the Northern UK rock circuit with circuit contemporaries such as Twisted Sister. Bruce says ‘We supported Demon several times and secured a deal with a very minor label’. This lead to a split in the band, with three members taking the deal under the guise United Nations and releasing the album, while Bruce continued in bands, writing original material through the middle eighties Hard Core being a firm favorite - he wrote some of his best songs in this band at that time with some excellent musicians, very much a mix of Genesis and Level 42 if you can imagine it.
Around this time Alan also got involved with local drama groups taking to the boards singing and acting in a number of shows over the years, in award winning productions, combining both playing in pit bands for a couple of shows too. He also loves gadgets and gizmos of all kinds and photography is one of his passions; He loves to try to capture the essence of the moment.
Following a serious illness and while Bruce was recuperating Tony Mckenzie was working on his ‘Eniac’ album on which Alan had the pleasure to play bass, some rhythm guitar and sang as well as hints and ideas for the production. The album spanned twelve months effort on and off interruptions here and there. Tony Mckenzie does think outside the box - Check it out - It Rocks!
Mckenzie inspired Alan Bruce to produce his own album. The album was to be based on existing in ‘altered states of consciousness’ - No he wasn't drunk when he thought that up, he was just waking from a dream about being WATER! Honestly the medication these days... Alan had about eight tracks lined up for that album in various states of readiness as in ‘little or not very much’ ready, but no doubt will make the studio one of these days.
Tempus Fugit as they say... Alan's album had been put firmly, albeit in a gentle way onto the back boiler... slowly simmering. McKenzie and The Berner Street album concept started off with him asking Alan to work on his new album - bass, lyrics and vocals. From this it became an all encompassing joint project. Some very diverse outings style wise for both musicians but that all added to the mix, and made life interesting. Alan Bruce commented ‘It is one of the most interesting projects I've ever been involved with over the 30 years I've been playing music - Good Grief!! Is it that long?’ Both Alan and Tony Mckenzie pushed themselves technically and imaginatively on the Berner Street album. ‘I've never worked so hard or enjoyed a project as much’ said Alan. The ‘Mckenzie – Bruce’ album ‘Berner Street’ was completed and released back in 2008.
After a 4 year period for no apparent reason (sounded like a plan at the time) Alan's album had still not made it to recording but Tony Mckenzie had again another album. The concept of Gravity Waves was apparent and Alan and Tony Mckenzie worked on that for around two years. Mckenzie was taken ill and that took two years for him to fully recover but then the race was on again to complete Gravity Waves. Alan wrote the lyrics, bass parts, contributed 'Al's Blues' to the mix as well as co-writing 'God Particle' which was recorded in just one take in the studio.
The Gravity Waves album was completed late July 2016 and released 29th August 2016 and Alan's contribution alongside Tony Mckenzie cannot be underestimated.
No doubt that Alan's long overdue album will take focus again and who knows that might well be the next course of action for Alan and maybe Mckenzie will be on that one. We shall see.
In the meantime get Gravity Waves - its one cool album with many varying styles from laid back blues, catchy rock, classic rock and even a salute to metal on there.
Click the image for a larger view