Spencer Tweedy

Chicago, Illinois

They have no need for alarm clocks at the Tweedy household. When they hear the pounding of drums coming from the basement, they know it must be morning. Eight-year-old Spencer is loyal to his predawn practice sessions, and despite a head still groggy from sleep, he attacks the skins with a frenetic energy. He makes sounds that are surprisingly rhythmic. And for such tiny arms, awfully loud.

Spencer, who lives in Chicago with his parents and younger brother Sam, claims to be entirely self-taught. He admits, however, to taking a few lessons from Glenn, the drummer from his father’s band, Wilco. Spencer has been honing his percussive skills since age three, when he received a drum kit for his birthday. “It’s not fake,” he’s quick to point out. “It’s not the kind you get at Toys R Us. It’s real drums, just like adults use.”

There are some in his family who trace Spencer’s musical roots back even earlier. “When he was a baby, you could sing to him and he’d sing along in harmony,” says father Jeff. “I’m not kidding. He’d do it all the time. It’d either be right in key or harmonizing.”

A full year before he took up drumming, Spencer had a fondness for the electric guitar. On his tiny Les Paul, he would join his dad in impromptu jam sessions. Before long, Spencer was writing and performing his own songs, proving to be unusually prolific for a two-year old. With little or no help from his dad, he penned dozens of originals, including “There’s a Bug on the Couch” and “Turkey, Turkey, Turkey, He’s Cuckoo.”

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Eric Spitznagel

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