The numbers balance out for 3

By Darren Young

There are five members in New York progressive rock outfit 3. The band formed 14 years ago, released their fifth album last year, has been signed to two record labels and in four days, will be using a vehicle with four wheels to roll into Calgary. Joey Eppard, guitarist and brains behind the band, is glad to take 3 on the road and show off his group and their talent.

“We put a lot of work into this thing and one thing we never did was tour,” says Eppard. “Instead of touring early on, we just stayed home and wrote more songs. We had three albums out before we did a tour.”

Taking time to go on tour has given 3 the time to develop a serious set of stage legs. Bands such as Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Coheed and Cambria have lauded the band’s superior performance ability and technical prowess and have all asked for 3 to join them on their respective tours. Eppard appreciates the attention and acknowledges it took his band years to get to the level they are now at.

“I guess we got good sitting at home,” jokes Eppard. “We do what we love to do. We go out on stage and we have a good time. I used to be in the audience watching Chris [Gartmann, the group’s drummer] and I remember being amazed. Years later, I was able to get him into the band and it’s been a really great situation.”

While Eppard applauds the abilities of his bandmates to no end, he is no slouch on the guitar. Eppard has a unique fingerpicking playing style that is often falsely reported by critics as classical training. He is, on the contrary, largely self-taught and has no real formal training. Most of his techniques have been developed by his own intuition with the instrument.

“There’s complicated elements of classical-type playing in my playing, but it just so happens that I’m following my own process,” explains Eppard. “My brother [Josh Eppard, formerly of Coheed and Cambria] is obviously a great drummer and my uncle was a great punk rocker. Something is definitely going on genetically.”

Genetics have assisted 3 through more than talent. While Josh was playing in Coheed and Cambria, 3 became a regular touring partner. This gained the band some valuable publicity as well as a number of fans who undoubtedly would have noticed the similarity of vocal sounds between the bands. Joey is not bitter about his band’s fame drawing from his brother’s fame.

“I’ll take all the attention we can get and that’s kind of the name of the band,” says Eppard. “My brother used to drum for us and he’s a big fan of what we do. If we were a mediocre band then it might get a little old, but we are our own band and have our own sound.”

After a summer of delivering their sound on the Progressive Nation tour with Dream Theater, 3 is now on the road as a headliner. They will definitely be an act to catch this fall– that is, if anyone can keep up.

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