Bruce Gordon Gaetke was born on October 19, 1958 along with his twin brother, Brian Gaetke, in Lodi, California. He had been exposed to music virtually all of his life. His grandparents, Carl Berry (drums and violin, which he called his “fiddle”) and Hazel Berry (piano and vocals), played Dixieland and jazz music throughout the Dakotas and the Minnesota area. His mother, Mary Jayne, sang with the band and her brother, Howard, played clarinet and saxophone. His dad, Ernest Gaetke, joined the Berry Band later, where he played jazz guitar.
In late 1969, Bruce and his family moved to Southern California where his mother was recording gospel albums for Word Records. That’s when he began to take an interest in music and found he had a passion for drums. Bruce says he was so obsessed with drumming that “I literally beat the arms off of my mom’s white Naugahyde chairs. I don’t think she ever forgave me for that? Oh well it was good practice.”
While living in Southern California, his cousin, John Friesen (the drummer for the band “Player”) was a huge influence on him, encouraging him to follow his dream of becoming a drummer. John felt Bruce had talent, so Bruce did what he was told: “Take some lessons and practice, Practice, PRACTICE!!!!!”
Bruce got his first real drum set when he was 14 years old. That same year, his dad passed away from cancer and he found himself feeling like a fish out of water. He began to hide inside the music as he played his drums. It became an escape for him and he practiced as much as his neighbors could stand. At the time, he was listening to bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and so on.
One of the first bands Bruce played in was a high school three-piece jam band with just guitar, bass, and drums. Funny enough, Ricky Hunt was the guitar player. “Wow we’ve come full circle and now we’re playing together again.” “We were just a bunch of inexperienced kids learning as we went along. Drumming was a passion for him. He also found that he could sing and play drums at the same time. “It seemed totally natural to me. The way I did it was to kinda split my brain into two lines of thought. One was the rhythm or clock, and the other was more of a flowing line for the vocals. It seems all those years of being exposed to music in my home made a difference.”
One day, a high school buddy took Bruce down to the local Tower Records store. They started looking at all of the albums that had recently been released and came across one album titled “Song for America” by Kansas. Bruce was hooked! He had never heard anything like it before and as Bruce says, “I played the dog gone thing until the vinyl wore out. So, like any hardcore fan, I BOUGHT ANOTHER ONE. All of a sudden my eyes, uh EARS were open to a totally different kind of music. PROGRESSIVE ROCK. ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Kansas, I ate the stuff up.” He began to listen to other bands, as well, such as Star Castle, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and so on. It was a fantastic time to be a musician. Progressive Rock had taken a hold and wasn’t letting go. Bruce did the typical top-40 dance bands to help make a living. But deep down inside he couldn’t shake the progressive rock bug. He consistently listened to progressive bands and began to build his armada of drum licks and chops. He took some lessons along the way, but for the most part, was self-taught.
In May of 1980, Bruce was at a crossroads in his life. He needed to find purpose. He needed a change. He had been on drugs and alcohol and they no longer satisfied him. “I felt like I was totally lost and I was looking for answers about life.” Through a series of events, Bruce was introduced to Jesus Christ. He was told about Christ’s forgiveness and mercy for him. “I heard that my sins could be washed away and that all I had to do was ask Him to forgive me and He would faithfully do so.” Bruce was saved that day and never looked back. He put down his drumsticks and packed his drum set away for over a year, feeling like he needed to find out more about Jesus. If he was going to serve Him, he needed to know Him.
In June of 1981, Bruce was asked to play drums for a music special on a Sunday night. He hadn’t played for a long time and needed to practice. He got back on the drums and felt like he had two left feet. It seemed foreign to him. After about three weeks of consistent practicing, he began to improve and before he knew it, he was back to his previous skill level.
Shortly after he began playing again, he was asked to play drums for a Christian band named Face to Face. It was a light jazz/soft rock style that he’d never played before. “I went from being a hard rock drummer to the opposite end of the spectrum, and man it was a total genre shock.” However, Bruce found he really liked it because it required quite a bit more finesse and much more control. He played with Face to Face for a year.
Then Bruce was asked to step in for the Steve Carl Band whose drummer had quit. It was his first real taste of serious touring. “That woke me up, dude. I had no idea how much time and energy it took to “hit-the-road.” It was brutal, exhausting and downright maddening, but it was one of the most exciting things he had ever done, up until then.
After the tour was over, Bruce took a break from music for about three months. He was asked to sing with one of his sisters (Marilyn) at her church. His other sister (Barbara) offered to drive him over to the practice. When Marilyn and Bruce struck the two-part harmony, Barbara joined in and the three-part harmony blew them all away. They formed the group Heaven Sent and found that their sound was similar to the Carpenters. Soon, that was to become their signature sound. Over a seven-year period, they cut four albums and toured all over California. Bruce finally had to call it quits and soon retired from the group.
For the next twelve years Bruce played in the praise and worship band at his local church. He truly enjoyed getting involved in the music and even headed up the praise team for several years. During all of this time, however, he never gave up on the idea of progressive rock.
His first encounter with Ralph Otteson (Time Horizon keyboardist) was when he was approached to transfer 32 track ADAT recordings for Iron Clay Poets, Ralph’s band at the time which was a Christian Progressive Rock band. Bruce was hired to transfer the tracks and then do the final mixes. They became fast friends and soon found they had similar likes in music. After the Iron Clay Poets mixes were done, Bruce asked Ralph if he would be interested in playing together, just to hear how it might sound. They both knew David Dickerson from past bands and they asked him if he would be interested, as well. And that is when Time Horizon was born.
Steve Gourley, who is presently involved with World Vision International, came onboard as the Time Horizon bass player a short time later. All four of them realized they had something special. The experience and love for prog rock gave them a clear direction to follow. And their love for Jesus Christ certainly brought them to a much higher level of appreciation for the creativity God had given to each of them. After nearly two years of writing and practicing, they decided to start tracking the music and see where it might lead. They found that their writing styles were extremely complimentary to each other, as well as their desire to give God the free hand to direct the writing.
“There have been some changes in the band since the beginning. David Dickerson and Steve Gourley have both gone on to pursue what they feel they need to do. We are all still friends and that is the way it should be.”
“Now here we are and the CD is completed. What the Lord does with it is His business. We know that we have committed all of this to the purposes of Heaven. We have new members who share the same vision. Allen, Dave, and Ricky are all talented people who are great to be around. I am extremely fortunate to be involved with such an amazing group of guys. The future is wide open and there are endless possibilities with the Lord Jesus Christ helping us along the way.”
Bruce’s desire for Time Horizon is to take this music and share the message of forgiveness, restoration, the new life that’s available to us, and that our future is certain and eternal because of one thing, Jesus!!
Name: Bruce Gordon Gaetke “Bruski”
College: Delta College, Heald Technical College
Major: Computer Science / Computer Networking
Favorite Color: Sapphire Blue
Favorite Book: The Bible (New International Version)
Favorite Fictional Book: The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Favorite Movies: Apollo 13 and Avatar (both have great special effects)
Favorite Food: Mexican and Indian.
Favorite Quote: “You were made by God, and for God,
and until you understand that, life will never make sense.” — Rick Warren