THUNDERCAT is the alter ego of South Los Angeles-native Stephen Bruner. He is set to release his Flying Lotus-produced debut The Golden Age of Apocalypse in the U.S. on August 30 via Brainfeeder and is set to join Lotus for a few U.S. dates in late June.
If indeed “you blows who you is,” as Louis Armstrong once famously said, then Bruner’s bass is a mainline to the soul of a man whose DNA was transcribed from the stars onto staff paper. A longtime contributor to others’ albums, Bruner is accompanied by an impressive cast ranging from Erykah Badu to members of Sa-Ra and J*DaVeY, to pianist Austin Peralta and his own Grammy-winning brother, drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr. Still, the end result is unmistakably a Thundercat record--a lush and magical document combining classic jazz fusion, futurist electronic strains and timeless musical seeking.
Bruner found his instrument at the age of 4. That made him a late-bloomer in the house of Ronald, Sr., who drummed with the Temptations among others. His first bass was a black Harmony, and he practiced to the Ninja Turtles soundtrack until pops played him Jaco Pastorius. School was a blur of lessons, sessions and waking up for zero periods. At 15, he scored a hit in Germany as part of the short-lived boy band No Curfew. At 16, he toured Japan with soul man Leon Ware and joined thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies (he’s still their bassist). More road and studio time followed, with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Snoop Dogg to Eric Benét. Eventually the name Thundercat stuck, a reference to the cartoon he’s loved since childhood and an extension of Bruner’s wide-eyed, vibrant, often superhuman approach to his craft. As one writer put it, he’s “a mutant jazz cat.” Enough said.