Hydra is an American Southern rock band founded in the late 1960s by Spencer Kirkpatrick (guitar), Wayne Bruce (vocals/guitar), and Steve Pace (drums). Pace and Kirkpatrick first played together in 1968 in the band Strange Brew. Wayne Bruce was playing with the band Nickelodian and accepted the offer to join Pace and Kirkpatrick in the short lived Noah Mayflower. These three remained together in the band Osmosis until 1969 when enlisting a succession of bassists, Hydra finally emerged with the inclusion of Trip Burgess in 1970, and later Orville Davis in 1971. Their reputation as a solid live act in Atlanta, Georgia area began to spread and the band expanded their territory. They began playing at more prestigious venues and supporting major internationally known acts in concert. They have been referred to as the first heavy southern rock band.
The band signed a recording contract with Capricorn Records in 1973 and the first self-titled album Hydra emerged in 1974. In 1975 Land of Money follows. The producer Dan Turbeville used a horn-section (without the bands knowledge) on the first album, and were assisted by musicians like Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers band, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton) (piano/keyboards) and Randall Bramblett, who later founded his own Randall Bramblett Band, on the second.
In 1977 Rock The World was released as a three-piece band (with Wayne Bruce now on bass), by some reviewers considered the minor and by others, including Edgar Brimer, their road manager, their best record. By the end of 1977 the band separated and rejoined only seldom thereafter, except for a series of shows in 1997, first with Jimmy Cobb and later with Tommy Vickery on bass, replacing Davis, who had been erroneously reported as deceased.
Spencer Kirkpatrick performed later on albums from blues guitarist Wayne 'Bear' Sauls, and also from Eddie Stone, Donnie McCormick and on "Georgia Jam" from Stevie Hawkins. Steve Pace went on to work with Whitford St. Holmes (Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, and Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent band) and the band Krokus. Wayne Bruce went on to form his own band (The Wayne Bruce Band) and Orville Davis went on to launch a solo career as a country music singer.
Hydra's two Capricorn LP's were briefly reissued on CD in limited editions in the late 1990s,(which have become collector's items) while "Rock The World", though remastered for CD, has not been reissued as of late 2009. According to Wayne Bruce, the "Rock The World" CD reissue remains in limbo due to licensing problems with the now defunct USA branch of Polydor. In 2005, the band reunited for two shows (with Vickery on bass), resulting in the release of their fourth album Hydra: Live After All These Years. The album created fresh interest in the band and was played in heavy rotation on XM-Radio's fresh tracks. The station actually featured the album along with an interview with the members, and also included old tracks from previous albums to their playlist. There have been discussions of a new studio album.
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