Bruce Hampton

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Bruce Hampton
Bruce Hampton.jpg
Bruce Hampton in 2008, Blacksburg, VA Photo: Roger Gupta
Background information
Birth name Gustav Berglund III
Born (1947-04-30) April 30, 1947 (age 69)
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Genres Rock, fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, actor
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1960s–present
Labels Brato Ganibe, Capricorn, Columbia
Associated acts Hampton Grease Band
Late Bronze Age
New Ice Age
Aquarium Rescue Unit
The Fiji Mariners
The Quark Alliance
The Codetalkers
The Pharaoh Gummitt
Notable instruments

Bruce Hampton (born Gustav Valentine Berglund III, April 30, 1947) is a surrealist American musician.[1] In the late 1960s he was a founding member of Atlanta, Georgia's avant-garde Hampton Grease Band.[2] Adopting the moniker Colonel Hampton B. Coles, Retired or alternatively Col. Bruce Hampton Ret., and sometimes playing a sort of dwarf guitar called a "chazoid",[3][4] he later formed several other bands. Some of those band names include The Late Bronze Age, The Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Fiji Mariners, The Codetalkers, The Quark Alliance, Pharaoh Gummitt, and Madrid Express.[5][6]


As a member of the Hampton Grease Band, Bruce Hampton helped record the 1971 album Music to Eat. The legend states this was the second-worst-selling album in Columbia Records history with the worst being a yoga record.[7][8]

Hampton's band The Late Bronze Age consisted of Col. Hampton B. Coles, Ret. (Bruce Hampton) on vocals, slide guitar, mandolin, and chazoid; Ben "Pops" Thornton (Billy McPherson) on vocals, guitar, saxophones, and keyboards; Lincoln Metcalfe (Ricky Keller) on bass, guitar, brass, and vocals; and Bubba Phreon (Jerry Fields) on drums, percussion, trombone, and vocals. They performed several songs in the 1983 movie Getting It On.[9]

Hampton helped start the 1990s seminal H.O.R.D.E. tours.[10] The best known of his bands to play H.O.R.D.E. is the jazz-rock outfit Aquarium Rescue Unit which featured improvisational music all-stars Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Matt Mundy and Jeff Sipe.[11]

In 1994, Hampton then formed the progressive rock/jazz duo Fiji Mariners and recorded two albums on Capricorn Records with Dan Matrazzo who simultaneously played keys, drums, and bass. Later, Ricky Fargo, Marcus Williams joined on drums and Joseph Patrick Moore joined on bass.

Hampton was the voice of Warren, a talking potted shrubbery, in a 1998 episode (entitled "Warren") of the TV show Space Ghost Coast to Coast.[12] Hampton played Morris, the songwriting band manager, in Billy Bob Thornton's 1996 film Sling Blade. He also starred in Mike Gordon's 2001 film Outside Out teaching guitar 'out'struction.[13]

Grammy Award nominated blues singer and longtime friend Susan Tedeschi wrote a song about Bruce called "Hampmotized." It appears on her 2002 release Wait For Me. Hampton returned the favor with the song "Susan T".

"Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret." is a documentary about Hampton. It premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in March 2012.[14]

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal presented Hampton with the Governor's Award In The Arts and Humanities in 2012.[15]

In 2014 Hampton made a cameo in the music video for rap group Run The Jewels' single "Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1".[16]


Main releases[edit]

Hampton at the Riverbend Festival in 2007
  • 1971 - Music to Eat - Hampton Grease Band (Columbia Records)
  • 1978 - One Ruined Life of a Bronze Tourist - Col. Bruce Hampton (Terminus Records)
  • 1980 - Outside Looking Out - Col. Bruce Hampton and the Late Bronze Age (Terminus Records)
  • 1982 - Isles of Langerhan - Col. Bruce Hampton and the Late Bronze Age (Terminus Records)
  • 1987 - Arkansas - Col. Bruce Hampton (Terminus Records)
  • 1992 - Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit - Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit (Capricorn Records)
  • 1993 - Mirrors of Embarrassment - Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit (Capricorn Records)
  • 1994 - Strange Voices: A History 1977-1987 - Col. Bruce Hampton (Landslide Records)
  • 1996 - Fiji Mariners - Fiji Mariners featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (Volcano Records)
  • 1998 - Live - Fiji Mariners featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (Volcano Records)
  • 2000 - Bootleg Live! - The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
  • 2004 - Deluxe Edition - The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (re-released in 2007 as Dee-lux Uh-dish-un)
  • 2006 - Now - The Codetalkers
  • 2007 - Give Thanks To Chank - Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance (Brato Ganibe Records)
  • 2008 - Songs Of The Solar Ping - Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (Brato Ganibe Records)
  • 2014 - Pharoah's Kitchen - Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (Ropeadope Records)

With various artists[edit]

  • 1994 - The Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 6 (Blue Plate Records)
  • 1997 - Mucho Mojo: Best of Fat Possum (Capricorn Records)
  • 2000 - Wintertime Blues: The Benefit Concert (Evil Teen Records)
  • 2003 - Bonnaroo, Vol. 2 (Sanctuary Records)
  • 2007 - The Benefit Concert, Volume 2 (Evil Teen Records)

As a guest musician[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, Robert. Recordings; POP ECCENTRICS REVISITED, New York Times, 21 June 1981. Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  2. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. Yes- And’ing From Here to Zambiland: A Surreal Conversation with Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.),, 20 August 2001. Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  3. ^ Freeman, Scott. Col. Bruce to the Rescue, Creative Loafing, 31 January 2007. Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  4. ^ Paul, Alan. Col. Bruce Hampton and the ARU: An Appreciation,, 05 June 2014. Retrieved on 03 March 2015./
  5. ^ "Col. Bruce Hampton | Discography", Allmusic, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  6. ^ Marshall, Alli. Smart bets: Col. Bruce Hampton and The Madrid Express, Mountain Xpress, 13 January 2015. Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  7. ^ Unterberger, Richie. About Hampton Grease Band, MTV artists, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  8. ^ Neff, Joseph. Graded on a Curve: Hampton Grease Band, Music to Eat, The Vinyl District, 06 February 2014, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  9. ^ The Late Bronze Age - IMDb, IMDb, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  10. ^ On the Cover: H.O.R.D.E 20 Years On, Relix, 04 April 2012, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  11. ^ Paul, Alan. The Jamband Velvet Underground: Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Relix, 09 May 2014, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" Warren (TV Episode 1998), IMDb, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  13. ^ Dansby, Andrew. Phish Members Release Outside Projects, Rolling Stone, 14 November 2000, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  14. ^ Freeman, Scott. Preview: “Basically Frightened” expertly chronicles long, strange trip of Col. Bruce Hampton, Arts ATL, 29 March 2012, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.
  15. ^ Deal awards individuals for achievement in the Arts and Humanities, Office of The Governor, 16 October 2012, Retrieved on 08 March 2015.
  16. ^ Col. Bruce Hampton Chokes on Hamburger in New Run The Jewels Video,, 21 November 2014, Retrieved on 03 March 2015.

External links[edit]