Secret Chiefs 3

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Secret Chiefs 3
Secret Chiefs 3, New York, 2009; 05.jpg
Secret Chiefs 3 performing in New York, 2009
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Avant-garde
Years active 1995–present
Labels Mimicry, Amarillo
Associated acts Mr. Bungle, Estradasphere, Faith No More
Website Official Site
Members See "Band members"

Secret Chiefs 3 (or SC3) is an avant-garde group led by guitarist/composer Trey Spruance (formerly of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More). Their studio recordings and tours have featured different line-ups, as the group performs a wide range of musical styles, mostly instrumental, including surf rock, Persian, Arab, Indian, death metal, film music, electronic music, and various others.

The band's name was inspired by the "Secret Chiefs" said to inspire and guide various esoteric and mystical groups, and is a reflection of Spruance's interest in such philosophies.

Satellite bands[edit]

In 2007, it was announced Secret Chiefs 3 has always been a general name for seven different bands, each representing a different aspect of Spruance's musical and philosophical interests.[1] The seven bands are Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, FORMS, and NT Fan.[2] Spruance has stated that the sound collages of Electromagnetic Azoth serve as the center of Secret Chiefs 3.[3]

The albums Book of Horizons (2004) and Satellite Supersonic Vol. 1 (2010) were conceived as compilation albums featuring the satellite bands under their own names. All bands have appeared on at least one of these albums. Some satellite bands have also released records on their own. So far, five of the satellite bands have had tracks featured across a series of six 7" singles and Traditionalists have delivered a full-length album.

Trey Spruance performing in 2009

Band members[edit]

Spruance formed the band in the mid-1990s with fellow Mr. Bungle members Trevor Dunn on bass and Danny Heifetz on drums. Some of the many musicians who have since recorded or toured with SC3 include violinist Eyvind Kang, percussionist William Winant, drummer Ches Smith, bassist Shahzad Ismaily, former Mr. Bungle member Clinton "Bär" McKinnon, and Estradasphere members Timb Harris, Jason Schimmel, and Tim Smolens. Musicians tend to float in and out of SC3, so the concept of "current" and "former" members isn't entirely applicable. Below is a list of past and present members, guests and collaborators:


This is a list of all releases by SC3 and the satellite bands. The column "artist" states under what name the recording is released, not who is credited with the individual songs. Some releases, like the album Book of Horizons, are noteworthy in this regard because they are released under the name Secret Chiefs 3, but the tracks they contain are each credited to a satellite band, giving the release the appearance of a compilation album.

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Artist Notes
1996 First Grand Constitution and Bylaws Secret Chiefs 3
1998 Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws: Hurqalya
  • Labels: Amarillo (1998), Mimicry (2000)
Secret Chiefs 3
2001 Book M
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3
2004 Book of Horizons
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 First part of the Book of Truth trilogy

Individual tracks are credited to the satellite bands

2007 Path of Most Resistance
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 Retrospective and rarities album
2008 Xaphan: Book of Angels Volume 9 Secret Chiefs 3 Arrangements from John Zorn's second Masada songbook
2009 Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
  • Label: Mimicry
2010 Satellite Supersonic Vol. 1
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 Individual tracks are credited to the satellite bands
2013 Book of Souls: Folio A
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 Second part of the Book of Truth trilogy.

Some individual tracks are credited to the satellite bands.

2014 Perichoresis
  • Label: Mimicry
Ishraqiyun The satellite band's full length album.

Live album and DVD[edit]

Year Title Artist Notes
1999 Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Flame
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 Recording of a live performance at Slims in San Francisco on August 18, 1998
2009 Live at the Great American Music Hall
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3 Recording of a live performance at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on June 3, 2007

Singles and EPs[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Notes
1995 The Legendary Paper Project Secret Chiefs 3 / Mr. Bungle Split 7" promo including Mr. Bungle's "Platypus"

Packaged with US vinyl copies of Mr. Bungle's Disco Volante LP

1998 The Theatrum of Suprasensory Universes Vol. 1
  • Label: Amarillo
Secret Chiefs 3 Live EP with material from Australia tour
1998 Zulfikar II/Zulfikar III
  • Label: Mimicry
Secret Chiefs 3
2007 The Left Hand of Nothingness / Personnae: Halloween
  • Label: Mimicry
The Electromagnetic Azoth / UR
2007 Balance of the 19 / Ubik
  • Label: Mimicry
Ishraqiyun / The Electromagnetic Azoth
2007 Kulturvultur / Drive
  • Label: Mimicry
2007 Circumambulation / Labyrinth of Light
  • Label: Mimicry
2011 Saptarshi / Radar
  • Label: Mimicry
Ishraqiyun / FORMS
2012 La Chanson de Jacky / The Western Exile
  • Label: Mimicry
2014 Medium Aevum / Stars and Stripes Forever
  • Label: Mimicry
UR / FORMS Mighty Theatron Animatronique
2014 Apocryphon of Jupiter / Danse Macabre
  • Label: Mimicry
FORMS Mighty Wurlitzer

Planned releases[edit]

Title Artist Notes
TBA Secret Chiefs 3 Folio B: The Second part of the Book of Souls album, part of the "Book of Truth" trilogy, coming soon.
TBA Secret Chiefs 3 The Third part of the Book of Truth trilogy
TBA Holy Vehm A full length album from the satellite band for a possible Fall 2007 release.


  1. ^ Mullen, Jawsh (March 1, 2007). "The Secret Chiefs 3". Denver Westword Music. Denver Westword. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ York, William. "Book of Horizons". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Murphy, Tom (January 24, 2012). "Trey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3: "I started studying the musical systems of antiquity to try to understand what made them tick"". Denver Westword Music. Denver Westword. Retrieved January 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Secret Chiefs 3 at Wikimedia Commons

Free live recordings