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A Tribute to Colonel Bruce Hampton

Colonel Bruce Hampton was born in Knoxville,Tennessee in 1947. Growing up, Hampton loved the theater and enjoyed wearing a bright yellow coat while playing basketball, just to look weird. His crazy antics did of course get him kick out of his league at the time.

Hampton's musical career first made an appearance in 1968 when he became the leader of blues act Hampton Grease Band. They shared the stage with the Allman Brother's Band along with the Grateful Dead and proudly released the “worst selling record” on Columbia Records. They were very proud of this record and didn't mind the title some gave it. The Hampton Grease Band's career rose from there and they signed with Frank Zappa's Bizarre and Straight Labels and opened for Zappa’s Mothers of Invention at the Fillmore East on the night when John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared.

The band parted ways towards the mid 1970's. Hampton continued to perform solo and throughout the 80's and 90's mentored a new generation of jamband musicians which included acts like Phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks Band, Dave Matthews Band and many others.

Hampton founded rock band The Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU) in 1988, with then unknown artists Jimmy Herring, Otiel and Kofi Burbridge and Jeff Sipe. They became known for their "free flowing" performances with songs like "Stand Up People" and "Usaidtheredbefish".  In 1993 Hampton made the decision to leave ARU and move on to something new. 

 Hampton tried his hand at film and appeared in Billy Bob Thornton’s 1996 award-winning hit Sling Blade. Film was short lived as Hampton stayed in tune with his music. He continued to perform with multiple different bands such as Fiji Mariners and The Codetalkers along with his past groups and bands he once mentored.

 Although he changed bands quite often, his love for music never wavered. He continued to play with the bands he founded and mentored. Hampton took his love for music and created so much with it. Forming new bands and helping other's rise. He passion was never unnoticed when it came to music and will hopefully live on throughout each generation of bands to come. 

Today, you can support his chosen charity, MusiCares, by buying a bracelet or pendant from his used and donated guitar strings.