By Perry Grayson
Jack Bruce – Cream of the Rawk
Why cover Jack Bruce on Hot Metal? Jack Bruce? Who? The master bassist and howlin’ wolf of a vocalist! Quite simply, before the tem heavy metal was coined to describe the most extreme in modern music, Jack Bruce laid the blueprint for all bassist/vocalists to follow.
He was born John Symon Asher Bruce on May 14, 1943, near Glasgow, Scotland, and passed away at the ripe age of 71, on October 25, 2014, due to liver disease.
After forays in Blues Incorporated (with patriarch Alexis Korner), the Graham Bond Organisation and Manfred Mann, in the early ’60s, Bruce began his apprenticeship with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. By 1966 Bruce co-founded the pioneering power trio Cream with fellow ex-Bluesbreaker Eric Clapton on guitar/vocals and Ginger Baker on drums. The three musos created the archetypal formation for future hard rock triumvirates such as Rush and Bang. Bruce’s contributions to Cream included the (for the time) ultra-heavy songs “White Room”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses”, “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Politician”.
Following the dissolution of Cream in 1968 and simultaneous to his experimentation with jazz fusion, Jack released his first solo album, Songs for a Tailor (1969). By 1972, Bruce was ready to rawk ‘n’ roar again. This time taking flight with two of his mates, Leslie West (guitar/vocals) and Corky Laing (drums) from Mountain. The resulting power trio was aptly named West, Bruce and Laing. West, Bruce and Laing released to full-length LPs (Why Dontcha and Whatever Turns You On) and a live EP (Live ‘n’ Kickin’). Though Bruce had a sporadic output post-1974, he proved himself a powerhouse four-stringer and singer – even if you only consider his work with Cream and West, Bruce and Laing.
Jack will always be remembered as a longhaired bass monster, wielding a red Gibson EB-3.