Interview with Joey, Billy, and Dan from 3 (@officialband3)
The band 3 made their way to Syracuse, NY on September 24, 2012, and I was positive there’d be no chance to get anywhere near them. Currently touring with the still-wildly popular Coheed and Cambria, themselves on the verge of a brand new record, I found myself all but shut out of getting in the door. Famous bands hitting small cities tend to do that though, and there I was heartbroken that tickets were all gone. But, in a first for human beings anywhere, my case of the Mondays worked out in my favor. Imagine that?
Anywho, 3 is a long-running group that has been around since the early 90’s, has an extensive touring history, a highly notable performance at Woodstock ’94, and several national tours under their belt. Upon signing to Metal Blade Records in 2005, the band has been there ever since, and when a label like that picks you up, you’ve got yourself a winner!
Currently touring in support of their 2011 release, The Ghost You Gave To Me, I never thought I’d get the chance to see these guys in such a small venue. Needless to say, it was great to get a super last minute email from bass player Daniel Grimsland at the zero hour to not only sit down and chat, but also check out a super-sold-out performance on a Monday night. I sat down with guitar/singer Joey Eppard and the guys in the Green Room before their set, and here’s what they told me.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Kind of a super last minute thing going on here right now! If you could, please introduce everybody in the group for our readers.
J- Things are going good man, and we’re happy to be here. Let’s see… We’ve got Daniel Grimsland here on bass, Billy Riker on guitar, and the Gartdrumm on the drums. My name is Joey Eppard and I sing and play guitar.
G- Right on. So you guys have been on the road with Coheed and Cambria, and though I can probably imagine, how has everything been going while on the road?
J- Oh awesome… Totally awesome! You know, we sort of kicked off our touring career with these guys, so to be realigning with them and getting back on the road with them is really special.
G- Nice! And has there been any particular city or show so far that stands out?
J- I would say for me, personally, Buffalo and Rochester actually have been real highlights, and that’s not initially what I was expecting, but those shows were just awesome!
G- Hopefully we can split the difference as you guys head east… It’s a sold out crowd, so hopefully we’ll go off for you, too. So, 3 has been a band since the mid 90’s, if I am correct?
J- Yes we have.
G- To dive into your history a little bit, when exactly did you first get started, and do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click” for the first time?
J- Well, let’s see. This is really… It’s almost my first band. We were playing in this band called Voodoo Dolly Pin Cushion and it was a death metal band, and I wasn’t the singer. But me and my brother Josh, who went on to play with Coheed, and the first bass player of 3 Chris Bittner, were in that band. And 3 was sort of born out of a need to, like, make our own music, because the stuff we were doing was, like, so not melodic and we wanted to do something different.
So, we actually had a band for a minute called Bree, and Billy was in that band early on. (Talking to Billy) Was that ’92?
B – Actually 1990, September of 1990. We graduated in 1991 and that whole year we formed Bree.
J- No it was sophomore year.
G- Super history lesson right now!
B- You were 13. No wait, you had just turned 14, and I was 13.
G- The band members have clearly known each other for a long time because they are bantering back and forth.
J- (laughs) It’s all different in our heads here. I definitely wasn’t…
B – We met in September of 1990 and celebrated our anniversary this month. 22 years in music.
G- 22 years as a band!
B (to Joey) – You made me a 3 song cassette.
G- Was that for a battle of the bands or something?
B- No. That’s was when we first met. We met in Social Studies and had class together in 9th grade.
G- And this is the band that stuck, that’s so great! Now, you’re on Metal Blade Records, and I’m sure that that is just awesome, and you’re currently touring your 2011 release, The Ghost You Gave To Me… Are you working on any new releases right now or do you have any plans to enter the studio in the near future?
J- We have been talking about that, yea. We’re planning on making a really fun record and having a good time!
G- So, is there any concept that is going to be behind the record?
J- That is the concept… Fun! Just getting together and seeing what happens.
G- Nice. This may be going back a little way, but 3 toured with Porcupine Tree a few years back, and that must’ve been great! Can you tell us a bit about your experiences touring with them and/or any fond memories or experiences you took away from that tour?
J- I felt like we really clicked with those guys personally, as well as their audience. Those were great shows for us, and I remember when I listened to their music, I thought it was really good. But then when I saw them live, and I saw Gavin (Harrison) play the drums, it was like the next level! Watching him play. Steven Wilson has been really cool and he made some nice public statements about our band that were really nice. So, that was just an awesome tour for us… Just awesome! Next to going out with Coheed, probably the best rapport we’ve had with an audience!
G- Do you have a favorite song that 3 has ever written? Why? Or, if you were to give someone who’d never heard of 3 before one track to listen to, what would you select and why?
J- Boy, that’s a tough one, you know? We’re a 3 dimensional band, so you really need to check out multiple albums to start to see the arc of what we do, and just how big the vision really is.
But for me, right now, today, “Only Child” on the new record! That’s my track! It’s like seven and a half minutes long, and it takes you to a lot of different musical landscapes, and the lyrics are also lyrics that I’m really into, and that’s a good journey of a song.
G- Are we gonna get a taste of that tonight?
J- We’re gonna be playing that tonight, yea!
G- Excellent. Very good! You’ve already shared stages with some heavyweight acts over the years…
B- The Scorpions!
G- Yes The Scorpions, Porcupine Tree, Woodstock 94 yea?
G- That must’ve been pretty wild, but if you were to select a dream lineup for 3 to be on, who would it be?
J- Coheed is definitely one of them. Porcupine Tree, Opeth…
B- But you need the biggest of big headliner. Rush has a pretty big draw.
D – Foo Fighters!
J- I don’t know… Rush maybe. That’d be a tour that we would do incredibly well with.
G- Yea I’d pay for that lineup! That’d be a good one. And what is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
D- Brixton Academy
J- Oh Brixton… That was a memorable show, playing at Brixton Academy.
G- Do you remember what year?
J- That had to be 2005, right? 2006?
D – Yea it had to have been 2005 or 2006. It was right before we did (inaudible)
J- Was it really that long ago?
D – Yea it was 6 years ago.
J- Was that after Australia or before?
D- That was after.
J- It was definitely 2006.
D – Yea 2006.
G- And what about the international differences between performing in the states or across the pond? Do you notice any differences in the crowds or your approach to playing, or do you find it pretty similar overall?
J- I think sometimes we find that there is more appreciation when you get out of your neck of the woods. It’s certainly been the case for us going into Canada, actually. Going into Montreal and Quebec city, we do really well. But, that’s not really proving true on this tour, because I liked Buffalo and Rochester a lot more than I liked the Toronto show this time around. But usually Canada, like, everything sort of goes up a notch. You go over that border…
G- Do you guys have any headlining tour dates set up for after this?
J- We do, actually. I know we’re going to hitting Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City. We’re going to be doing a Boston show, a NYC show, and a Philly and a DC.
G- When is this all taking place?
J- In early November. I think October 30th is in Toronto. So we’re just solidifying that whole run right now. Yea it’s gonna be nice!
D- It’s essentially going to be the 30th through the 10th.
G- Very good! And any other long jumps across the pond or Asia or anything?
J- Well, Billy is going to see Asia.
J- Yea we actually can’t leave for our tour until after he sees them. We had to switch our plans around a little bit. It’s a very important show for him.
B- Hopefully I’ll meet Steve Howard, and he’ll take us out on tour with Yes.
G- That would be good!
D- I want to tour with Asia!
B- And then I’ll meet Carl Palmer and we’ll go on tour with ELP.
D- It’s really going to be a big deal.
G- I just want to go back out on tour myself. I miss the road! I just have one last question for you guys. You been all over the road, you’ve seen both sides of the music industry, and its got a lot of ups and downs. There are a lot of young fans of your band and want to do what you guys are doing now, so what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
J- Well, my advice would be to just go do it. Get out there and on the road and tour. Don’t sit on your ass, but there’s a lot you have to do. First of all, you have to be good, but you’re going to get better anyway. If you’re young, get out on the road as soon as possible. Get your foot in the door and get out there. Once you’re out there and absorbing that, it transforms you.
D- Use the internet to your advantage. There’s so much going on, it’s basically the best way to promote your music. And to do that correctly can really take you to the next level.
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