Bruce Witkin

(established 2006; last updated 6/25/17)


     Please note: It appears that several portions of this page have been "borrowed" pretty much word-for-word, without my knowledge, for a page on Bruce on the site Metro Music Mayhem.  It looks like the article there was written in 2012.  That article does have some original content as well, including some quotes from Bruce himself, so it is worth a read. I do want to stand on record that I did not copy from this site, but rather, it was my text below that was used in their article.

     
Bruce Witkin originally wanted to be a drummer, but he took up the bass when he was about 12.  His mom was managing a band, Tight Squeeze, that kept going through bass players, and he thought maybe he'd be needed someday.  In 1978, Bruce Witkin became a founding member of The Kids (originally called The Kydz), the band that Johnny Depp later joined in 1980.  (See more about The Kids in the Bands-The Kids section, as well as photos Posed and On Stage).   Besides playing bass and keyboards and doing lead vocals, Bruce did most of the songwriting for The Kids.  After the band moved to LA and then broke up, Bruce was able to get a Kids song - one of his compositions, Time To Explain - featured in a 1985 theatrical film:

Credit for The Legend Of Billie Jean (click to enlarge):

billiejean

as well as another composition with Jimmy Gambone- The Man That Knows Too Much- in a TV movie, The Brotherhood Of Justice.

The Brotherhood Of Justice screen capture (the film contains no music credits)

boj

     And he also got two post-Kids songs included in the 1986 movie Head Office.  Credits:

headoffice1   headoffice2  

     Bruce had gotten to know Adam Ant through his sister, and in 1993, he played on an album of Adam's called Persuasion.  Unfortunately, the album was never released, but there was a short tour in which Bruce was featured.  Bruce continued his stint in Adam and the Ants by playing on the 1995 album, Wonderful, and playing on that tour. By this time, Bruce had established a band of his own called Flux, and on the Wonderful tour, Flux served as an opening act for shows on both coasts.  Unfortunately, Flux never got a record deal and eventually disbanded.  (Thanks to Adam-Ant.net for much of this information though the original link has expired).  

     Meanwhile, Bruce started up his own record company, PopSquad records, and gained success as a record producer, engineer and session musician.  He also formed a "supergroup" called Supremium with the former drummer Rob Klonel from Flux, Coz Canler of The Romantics, and Doug Nahory who had played keyboards for Alanis Morrisette.  They released at least 3 albums, including Chemical Imbalance, Lucky, and a more publicized 2001 release called Tales.  Scans for Chemical Imbalance and Tales can be seen below; that for Lucky is shown here, courtesy of Adam-Ant.net.

supr lucky

     Among Bruce's many musical contributions was to play bass on the 2000 album Bliss, released by Johnny's longtime companion Vanessa Paradis; he also toured with her in 2001.  Some of his contributions from both Bliss and the 2001 live album, Au Zenith, are featured on her 2009 Best Of album.  (Vanessa also thanks Bruce in the liner notes of her 2007 album, Divinidylle).  Bruce crossed paths with Johnny again in 2003 by collaborating with him, Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth ("Tonto's Giant Nuts") on the Once Upon A Time In Mexico selection, Sands Theme.  Another major contribution was made to the film industry in 2004 when Bruce participated in the soundtrack to the Martin Short movie Jiminy Glick In Lalawood; Bruce composed or co-composed much of the music and performed on a few tracks.

     In 2005, Bruce toured with rockabilly singer James Intveld, who was supporting The Blasters.  Bruce also played on the 2005 Blasters release, 4-11-44.  Their tour included a show at Johnny's former club The Viper Room on Oct. 20.  In the fall of 2006, he was playing "Hard Again Wednesdays" at the Vine Street Lounge in Hollywood, along with Supremium bandmate Coz Canler, Clem Burke from Blondie, Eddie Munoz from the Plimsouls and Rhett Frazier.  And on January 28, 2007 and August 29 and 30, 2008 Bruce reunited with The Kids in Pompano Beach for special benefit reunion concerts in tribute to his mother, Sheila Witkin (see Photo Gallery for photos).

     Bruce was actively involved with Johnny on the film production of Sweeney Todd.  Johnny first mentioned going into a recording studio with Bruce in a May 10, 2007 interview with the Philippine Inquirer:
I ended up going into a recording studio with a friend of mine and I just sang to the tracks to find out if I could do it at all. It’s not unlike the mating call of a rutting stag. It’s a very strange sound but so far, I have not been fired, which is good. We’ll see. I hope you like it.
In the November 9, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Johnny describes the process of testing his ability to sing the role:
So you went into a West Hollywood recording studio with Bruce Witkin, who used to play in that band the Kids with you in the early '80s, and now is a recording engineer.
It was just myself in a booth and Bruce at the controls. Just the two of us. I was in there singing and he was in there pushing buttons, recording stuff. This guy is someone I've known for 30 years. He's a brother. We worked in bands together, we were on the road together. We lived together when we were teenagers. His mom was basically my second mom. It was an enormous help and comfort. It meant everything in finding Sweeney. I'm so pleased that he was there, that the first dive was with him.
Bruce served as a producer on the Sweeney Todd Motion Picture Soundtrack and has a film credit as the producer of Johnny's voice for the film.  The soundtrack received a Grammy nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media.  He also appears in the DVD extras.  

sweeney liner notes   bts1   producer credit   producer credit 2

    In 2006, Bruce began an indie record label, Unison Music, with Ryan Dorn.   In the fall of 2010, the label initiated a weekly streaming live jam session called By The Poolside, featuring musicians from the Unison label as well as other artists.  There have been a number of artists signed to Unison, including Marianne Keith, Peech, Noah Sugerman, Bobby Syvarth, Blame Ruby (featuring Bruce's daughter Veronica), Babybird, The White Buffalo, The Baron Sisters, and The Tricks.  Bruce played with Babybird in a series of UK gigs in 2009 and 2010, and performed on and produced their 2010 album, Ex-Maniac.  In February of 2010, Bruce was spotted at the boards during a session in which Johnny recorded a guitar solo for I Put A Spell On You, a Shane MacGowan charity single for earthquake victims in Haiti.  He also contributed to The Rum DiarySoundtrack and Lulu Gainsbourg's From Gainsbourg To Lulu albums in 2011, and to the Marilyn Manson cover of You're So Vain in 2012. The White Buffalo has been featured a number of times on the television series, Sons Of Anarchy, and released new albums on the label in 2012 and 2013.

     In 2013, Bruce was featured along with Johnny on the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack, covering Mumford & Sons' Little Lion Man.  In addition, he performed on Bill Carter's Anything Made Of Paper, and on Bill's cover of Bruce Springsteen's State Trooper.  Anything Made Of Paper was featured on Bill's album Unknown, which was originally released on the Unison label in January 2013.  Bruce also joined Bill in a live performance of Anything Made Of Paper on the Late Show with David Letterman on February 21, 2013.  See more about Bill Carter on the JD Rocks! Bill Carter page.  Bruce played on The Mermaid, Patti Smith and Johnny's contribution to the 2013 Son Of Rogues Gallery collection.  He was also heavily involved in the Lone Ranger: Wanted "inspired by" album that accompanied the 2013 motion picture.  He co-produced the album with Gore Verbinski, and co-produced and mixed six tracks that were recorded at Unison.  He also appears on Chuck E. Weiss' 2014 album, Red Beans And Weiss, and did the mixing on that album with Keenan Wyatt.  In 2014, he produced Johnny's vocals for the Into The Woods film and soundtrack.

soundtrack liner notes   movie credit

     And for the 2016 film, One More Time (aka When I Live My Life Over Again), he was credited as "Amber Heard Recording Engineer."

     Bruce is one of the Hollywood Vampires and made significant contributions to the Hollywood Vampires album in 2015, as a musician, songwriter, recording engineer, and associate producer. He was part of the touring band in 2015 and 2016.

     Bruce and Ryan continue to expand the Unison label, having recently added Justine Dorsey and Vic Ruggiero to their music group.  Most recently, in August of 2014, Bruce handled the controls on Joe Perry's voice recording for the audiobook of his own autobiography, Rocks, according to Joe's Facebook post.  In addition, Perry's 2014 EP, Joe Perry's Merry Christmas, was released on the Unison label.

 
     Bruce continues to perform in the LA area, in addition to all of his studio pursuits.  He has performed with the Tighty Whiteys, formerly known as the Blue-Eyed Devils, which features former Kids bandmate Joey Malone as well as Ron Young, Kevin Laurence, and Rob Klonel; they have an Official Website and a Facebook page.  The band focuses on the soul and R&B music of the late 60's and early 70's.

     In March of 2017, Bruce sat down for a great 30 minute podcast with After Hours at the Burgundy Room to discuss a wide variety of topics, including The Kids, The Hollywood Vampires, and Unison Records.


 
 
Some additional photos (click to enlarge)     

brucekids
with The
Kids 1980's


with P
with P
1997

bruce vanessa
with Vanessa Paradis 2001
 
Bruce Witkin 
with Supremium 2001
divineidylle
in the studio for

Sweeney Todd
2006/2007

Bruce Witkin
with
The Kids
2007
kids 2008
with
The Kids 2008
babybird
with Babybird 2009
haiti single
I Put A Spell On You session
2010
bill carter
with Johnny
backing
Bill Carter
2012


Here are some great links to read more about Bruce Witkin:



Bruce Witkin Compositions
Mostly taken from US Copyright records; this list is probably far from complete.  Additions or corrections are always appreciated!

 created/copyright(s)    Title {collaborators}
1981/1985 Time To Explain
1981/1985 I Wanna Be Me
1980/1985 Tell Me What You Want
1985/1985 I Need Love {You Need Love credited in Head Office with Jimmy Gambone as cowriter}
1985/1985 (You're in my dreams) Sur[r]eal, Sur[r]eal
1985/1986 Head office collection number 1 {with Goin' Down et al.; 2 selections from the motion picture Head Office}
1983/1987 The Man That Knows Too Much {with Jim Gambone}
1987/1987 Don't Turn Your Back {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner}
1987/1987 Burning Love {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner}
1987/1987 Wrecking Ball {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner}
1987/1987 Rushin' Roulette (aka Russian Roulette) {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner}
1987/1987 Take This Heart Ache With You {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner}
1987/1987 On A Night Like This {with Mark Anthony Pizzuti, Martin E. Wagner, Tim McTighe}
1987/1987 The Lonely Bulls : vol. I {with Jeffery Richard Levine}
1987/1988 Paper Dolls {with Mitch Goodman}
xxxx/2002 Supremium : vol. 2 {2 songs; with George Canler}
2000/2002 The Girl I Want {with Robert Klonel}
2000/2002 Bruce 2000 {compact disc}
xxxx/2003 Sands Theme {with Johnny Depp, Bill Carter, Ruth Ellsworth}

     Jiminy Glick In Lalawood soundtrack (from IMDb):
xxxx/2004 Going All Night {with Kirsten Proffit}
xxxx/2004 To Believe (performed by Bruce Witkin)
xxxx/2004 Here Now With Me {with Kirsten Proffit}
xxxx/2004 Tech-no Hospital {with Doug Nahory}
xxxx/2004 What Cha Got {with Doug Nahory}
xxxx/2004 Going Off The Hook {with Matt Davis}
xxxx/2004 I Got To Know {with Martin Short}
xxxx/2004 Raid Rap (performed by Bruce Witkin)
xxxx/2004 Red Hot Man {with Kirsten Proffit, Doug Nahory}
2006 Try Tonight {with John Feldman}
2011 What About El Monstruo? {with Jimmie Wood, Joseph Michael Sublett, Jeffrey J. Poskin and Michael Barismanto}
2011 Roll Out The Roosters {with Jimmie Wood, Joseph Michael Sublett, Jeffrey J. Poskin and Michael Barismanto}
2015 Raise The Dead {with Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin, Tommy Henriksen, and Rob Klonel}
2015 My Dead Drunk Friends {with Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Alice Cooper, and Bob Ezrin}

                            Also see these scans:
                            The Kids: I Wanna Be Me; Supremium: Chemical Imbalance, Tales:
(click images to enlarge)

kids 45   chemimbal1   chem imbalance  tales




Bruce Witkin Partial Discography

     The following entries are taken from a combination of searches on Barnes & Noble, Google and other sites, and scans of some recordings from my own collection.  It is not meant to be a complete list and may very well have a lot of omissions!  Additions and corrections are always appreciated!  *Many of the Unison recordings are coproduced, recorded and/or mixed by Ryan Dorn.

Performer
1995 Adam Ant: Wonderful.  Bass, Mellotron, Background Vocals
1997 Supremium: Chemical Imbalance.  Lead Vocals, Guitars
2000 Vanessa Paradis: Bliss.  Bass, Guitar, Double Bass
2000 James Intveld: Somewhere Down The Road.  Electric Bass
2000/2003 Adam Ant: Antbox.  Bass Guitar
2001 Vanessa Paradis: Au Zenith.  Choir, Chorus, Basse
2001 Linus Of Hollywood: Let Yourself Be Happy.  Bass, Shaker
2001 Supremium: Tales.  Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
2003 Peter Malick: Chance & Circumstance. Bass, Guitar
2005 The Blasters: 4-11-44. Bass
2005 Tim Burgess: I Believe [Bonus Tracks]. Upright Bass
2005 Alexandra Lawerentz: Back For Christmas. Bass
2006 Wisely: Parador. Bass
2009 Vanessa Paradis: Best Of.  Bass, Guitar, Double Bass
2009? Hot Alternative? (iTunes selection)
2010 Babybird: Ex-Maniac.  Drums, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards
2010 Marianne Keith: Cathartic. Basses, Guitars, Keyboards
2011 Vanessa Paradis: Angora (from the album Tels Alain Bashung)  Guitare Baryton (Baritone Guitar)
2011 Babybird: The Pleasures Of Self Destruction: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Strings, Percussion
2011 Lulu Gainsbourg: From Gainsbourg To Lulu:  Drums, Percussion, Bass (Ballade de Melody Nelson, Sous Le Soleil Exactement)
2011 The Rum Diary: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2012 Marilyn Manson:  You''re So Vain. Bass, Keyboards, Guitars
2012 Aerosmith:  Freedom Fighter.  Backing Vocals
2013 Tonto's Giant Nuts: Little Lion Man (from the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack).  Unspecified
2013 Bill Carter: Anything Made Of Paper.  Bass
2013 Bill Carter: State Trooper.  Bass
2013 The White Buffalo: House Of Pain.  Piano, Strings
2013 Patti Smith: The Mermaid (from Son Of Rogues Gallery).  Bass, Baritone Guitar
2013 The White Buffalo: Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways. Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Acoustic Bass, Guitar (Baritone)
2014 Chuck E. Weiss: Red Beans And Weiss.  Bass, Background Vocals.
2014 Joe Perry's Merry Christmas. Bass, Additional Keys / Strings, Harmony Vocal on Run Run Rudolph
2015 The White Buffalo: Love and the Death of Damnation. Fender Bass, String Bass, Electric Guitars, Baritone Guitar, Cig Fiddle, Harmonica
2015 Hollywood Vampires: Guitars, Bass, Keyboard, Background Vocals
2017 The White Buffalo: Once Upon A Time In The West (Deluxe Edition). Bass, Piano, Electric Guitar, Guitar (Baritone)



Engineer
1997 Jack Kerouac: Kicks Joy Darkness
1999 Henry Phillips: No. 2
2000 Vanessa Paradis: Bliss
2001 Midnight in the Patch: Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins
2001 Flammable: Tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers
2001 Tribute 2 Prince: Sexykinkyjazzysmooth
2001 Ozma: Rock and Roll Part Three
2001 Freedom: Tribute To Rage Against The Machine
2002 Pickin' On Lonestar
2002 Steel Guitar Tribute to ZZ Top
2002 Even Better Than The Real Thing: A U2 Tribute
2002 Pickin' on Travis Tritt: A Tribute
2002 The Steel Guitar Tribute To Garth Brooks
2002 L.A. Guns: Waking the Dead
2002 Doom Kounty Electric Chair: Cuban Healed Killers
2003 Kim Fox: Return to Planet Earth (drum engineering)
2003 Peter Malick: Chance & Circumstance
2003 Whitey Conwell: Tales From The Backseat
2004 Peter Malick & Norah Jones: New York City: The Remix Album
2004 Ari Hest: Someone to Tell
2004 Steriogram: Walkie Talkie Man
2005 L.A. Guns: Tales from the Strip
2005 The Blasters: 4-11-44
2005 Alexandra Lawerentz: Back For Christmas
2006 Driveblind: Driveblind
2006 Wisely: Parador
2006 Choppertown: The Sinners (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2006 The Chelsea Smiles: Thirty Six Hours Later (Audio Production)
2007 Pickin On Brooks & Dunn: Special Edition
2008 Linus Of Hollywood: Attractive Singles
2008 James Intveld: Have Faith
2009 Glenn Tilbrook And The Fluffers: Pandemonium Ensues
2009 Vanessa Paradis: Best Of (songs from Bliss)
2010 Babybird: Ex-Maniac (with Ryan Dorn)
2010 Shane MacGowan & Friends: I Put A Spell On You (presumed to record Johnny Depp's guitar solo)
2010 Marianne Keith: Cathartic (with Ryan Dorn)
2011 Vanessa Paradis: Angora (from the album Tels Alain Bashung)
2011 Nick 13: Nick 13
2011 Babybird: The Pleasures Of Self Destruction (with Ryan Dorn)
2011 Lulu Gainsbourg: From Gainsbourg To Lulu (Ballade de Melody Nelson, Sous Le Soleil Exactement)
2012 L.A. Guns: Hollywood Forever
2012 Marilyn Manson: You're So Vain (with Keenan Wyatt) (from the album Born Villain)
2013 Tonto's Giant Nuts Feat. Johnny Depp and Bruce Witkin (with Keenan Wyatt) (from the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack)
2013 The White Buffalo: Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways (with Ryan Dorn)
2014 Joe Perry's Merry Christmas (with Ryan Dorn)
2015 The White Buffalo: Love and the Death of Damnation (with Ryan Dorn)
2015 Hollywood Vampires {with Justin Cortelyou and Tommy Henriksen}
2017 The White Buffalo: Once Upon A Time In The West (Deluxe Edition)
2017 Junkyard: High Water



Mixing/Mastering
2001 Opening the Doors: The Blues Tribute to the Doors
2001 International Pop Overthrow, Vol. 3
2013 Bill Carter: Anything Made Of Paper (mixed with Ryan Dorn)
2013 The Lone Ranger Wanted tracks: Poor Paddy On The Railway, The American Dream*, Lonesome Whistle*, Sweet Betsy From Pike, Everything But The Truth*, The Truth Lives On (mixing; * with Ryan Dorn)
2014 Chuck E. Weiss: Red Beans And Weiss (mixed with Keenan Wyatt)
2014 Joe Perry's Merry Christmas (with Ryan Dorn)
2015 The White Buffalo: Love and the Death of Damnation (with Ryan Dorn)



Producer
2001 Ozma: Rock and Roll Part Three
2001 Linus Of Hollywood: Let Yourself Be Happy
2001 Supremium: Tales
2001 Freedom: Tribute To Rage Against The Machine
2001 International Pop Overthrow, Vol. 3
2002 Ozma: The Doubble Donkey Disc
2003 Peter Malick: Chance & Circumstance
2003 Once Upon A Time In Mexico: Soundtrack (Sands Theme: co-producer)
2007 Sweeney Todd Motion Picture Soundtrack ("vocals for Mr. Depp")
2008 Linus Of Hollywood: Attractive Singles
2008 James Intveld: Have Faith
2010 Babybird: Ex-Maniac (with Ryan Dorn)
2010 Marianne Keith: Cathartic (with Ryan Dorn)
2010 Blame Ruby: Ophelia (EP) (with Ryan Dorn)
2011 Babybird: The Pleasures Of Self Destruction (with Ryan Dorn)
2011 Lulu Gainsbourg: From Gainsbourg To Lulu (Ballade de Melody Nelson, Sous Le Soleil Exactement)
2011 The Rum Diary - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (tracks 20-23)
2011 The White Buffalo: The Lost And Found (EP) (with Ryan Dorn)
2012 The Baron Sisters (EP) (with Ryan Dorn)
2012 The White Buffalo: Once Upon A Time In The West (with Ryan Dorn)
2012 More Music From The Rum Diary  (The Mermaid Song - Strings Version)
2012 Marilyn Manson: You're So Vain
2012 Little Caesar: American Dream
2013 Tonto's Giant Nuts Feat. Johnny Depp and Bruce Witkin: Little Lion Man (from the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack)
2013 Tonto's Giant Nuts Feat. Johnny Depp: Damien Echols Death Row Letter Year 16 1/2 (from the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack) (produced spoken word)
2013 Bill Carter: Anything Made Of Paper (with Bill Carter)
2013 Bill Carter: State Trooper (with Bill Carter)
2013 The White Buffalo: House Of Pain (with Ryan Dorn)
2013 The Lone Ranger: Wanted (album produced with Gore Verbinski)
2013 tracks from The Lone Ranger: Wanted: Poor Paddy On The Railway*, The American Dream*, Lonesome Whistle*, Sweet Betsy From Pike#, Everything But The Truth, The Truth Lives On (* with Ryan Dorn; # with Johnny Depp)
2013 The White Buffalo: Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways (with Ryan Dorn)
2014 Joe Perry's Merry Christmas (with Ryan Dorn)
2014 Into The Woods Soundtrack ("vocals for Mr. Depp")
2015 The White Buffalo: Love and the Death of Damnation (with Ryan Dorn)
2015 Hollywood Vampires {Associate Producer with Tommy Henriksen}
2017
The White Buffalo: Once Upon A Time In The West (Deluxe Edition)



Other
2013 Citizen Cope: DFW (from the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack) (Unison Music credit)
2013 Sweet Betsy From Pike from The Lone Ranger: Wanted: Arrangement (with Johnny Depp)



Unison Music Clients
Babybird
Marianne Keith
Bobby Syvarth
Noah Sugarman
The White Buffalo
The Baron Sisters
The Tricks
Little Caesar
Justine Dorsey
Vic Ruggiero
Joe Perry
Junkyard

(see Unisonmusic.com and check out iTunes for recordings from these musicians)



Please e-mail at info@johnnydepprocks.com if you have any corrections or additions!
 




related musicians

home