By Lucifer Meat and The Dunndertaker
Six men have one singular mission: to make Metal be your master. Sure, they don’t have long hair, air-brushed paintings of Nordic swordsmen holding the reins of sabre-tooth tigers on their tour van, or a mascot (yet), but damn if they don’t make you wanna bang head. With a hefty batch of shows and a five-song CD already under their studded belts, Discorder sat down with Jaime Hooper (dirty vocals), Cam Pipes (clean vocals), and Rich Trawick (bass) to celebrate the coming release of their full-length opus Battle Cry Under A Winter Sun with flagons of mead (okay, some tea, coffee and coke—the mead was enjoyed by Lucifer) and give everyone a glimpse into the New Wave Of East Van Heavy Metal. Time to salute, my brothers!
DiSCORDER: Let’s start off simple: How did you meet, and how did the band get started?
Three Inches of Blood: We all lived in Victoria and we met through school and whatnot… actually we formed to perform a reunion show of a previous band we were in, in a town called Vanderhoof. It turned out that we were short a couple of members, so we asked Rich and his brother Jeff to fill in. We couldn’t be bothered with trying to re-learn the old songs so we just started writing new ones and this [3 Inches] is the result!
You were originally in a band called The Knuckles in Prince George! What was the scene like there?
It was good! Back in the mid ‘90s it was fantastic! It’s just such a small town and everybody’s starving for music, so when somebody takes the initiative to make a band, everybody loves it! The Knuckles were pretty early-’90s hardcore, but it was pretty cool coming out of a town that size and that people were into it!
There is also a Calgary connection with you guys as well. Were you into the scene back then as well?
The first show I saw was Skin Barn at The Republik when I was 14… Geoff and I are actually still big fans of Beyond Posession! We found their first album when we were back in Calgary over Christmas… I never got to see them though… I started going to shows just after that.
The impression I get from seeing Three Inches of Blood play, and listening to the CD, is that you’re just a bunch of guys having fun who don’t take themselves too seriously. Now that you’ve won this year’s Shindig! Is there a pressure to start being more serious?
Three Inches still is six guys having fun. We’re going to make enough money to buy and restore the Hammersmith Odeon!
Are you ever going to release the ultimate anthem in parts that require the roman numeric system?
I’m sure that will be inevitable. We’re definitely working on prolonging our songs into awkward and difficult time lengths [laughter].
Did your guitarists learn by playing tablature?
Not really, they’re both self taught. They grew up playing hardcore and punk when they were younger. Sonny locks himself in his room for about nine hours a day!
When practicing, do you go into the studio saying “Hey guys! I have this song about slaying orcs!” or do you begin with the music?
[Laughter] That’s how most of the lyrics are written, for sure! But mostly the music is written first. Sonny will generally come in and play us some riff he’s been working on and we’ll jam around that. Then we’ll come up with ridiculous ideas for song lyrics.
Will there be a lyric sheet included with the next album?
There will be one available, but it won’t be included with the album. There’s too much text and “booklet” to begin with.
So no map in the booklet then? [For further examples, see any album by Italian “Hollywood Metal” band Rhapsody.]
That’s a good idea! We could map out all the songs on the album and note geographically where each song came from!
Why only three inches of blood? Why not four inches or a foot or a streaming geyser of blood?
We’re thinking three inches deep but over a vast area [laughs]! The name actually stems from my brother’s horrible ability to exaggerate and my dad suggested we name the band Three Inches of Blood ‘cause y’know… blood… metal… they seem to go hand in hand! The story is that my brother slammed his finger in a drawer and every time my brother tells a story it gets better and better so when you hear the same story months later, this prick on his finger turned into three inches of blood and it just had a good ring to it I guess.
The song title “Balls of Ice” causes me to ask: do you have low sperm counts? Are you planning on conceiving children in the near future?
[Laughter] We’ve been trying for a while now. The doctors prescribed this pair of underwear with a little bag to put ice in…The inspiration behind “Balls of Ice” was this joker who kept incessantly pranking our guest book on our web site. He made a parody reference to the song “Sunrise Over the Fjords”—something about “the sun rising over Cam’s ass and the wind blowing his icy balls!”
Speaking of “Sunrise Over the Fjords” there definitely is a Norwegian feel to your songs. That being said, would Varg Vikernes or members of the scene there (known for burning down churches in the name of Satan) want to kill you for “mockery”?
If Varg finds out that we’re mocking his beloved fjords we’re done for! True metalheads would eat us alive!
The Paul D’ianno scream at the end of “Onward to Vallhalla” is fantastic! Who would win in a battle of wails: Paul D’ianno vs. Bruce Dickenson?
We gotta go with Bruce all the way. D’ianno has his good qualities but Bruce…
Ozzy vs. Dio?
Whoa! Sabbath or solo career?
Okay. Blizzard of Ozz vs. Holy Diver?
Wow! I have both of those on vinyl so I would have to go overtime, game seven on that one!
Bon Scott vs. Brian Johnson?
Halford vs. Ripper?
Emannuel Lewis vs. Gary Coleman?
Gary Coleman! That dude just never gets old!
Will it ever get too ridiculous for Three Inches of Blood? Would you ever look at each other and go, “We’ve got these anthemic six minute solos, why bother?”
Because it’s fun! I guess if maybe after six minutes we got bored of the guitar solo then it would be too much, and we would shorten it to maybe five minutes and forty-five seconds! We’re having too much fun with the fantasy lyrics as soon as we’re sick of that, there’s space themes and deep ocean themes we haven’t even touched on.
If you had a rider, what would be on it?
I like the idea of a pair of clean white socks for after the show, peanut butter and jam sandwiches with the crusts cut off wrapped in wax paper, throat spray in a crystal vase.
Would Three Inches of Blood ever endorse throat spray? How about tapestries? That seems to be a lost art in the metal world!
That’s not a bad idea! The first step though is we would have to go to an institute and learn the art of tapestry. Brass rubbings are nice too. Very medieval…
The first time I saw you, I was drunk out of me head, and I must confess to shouting requests to you in a more than unpleasant manner. How do you deal with asshole fans like that?
Well, for one thing, we believe that heckling is a lost art in and of itself. If there is someone who can come up with creative heckles, welcome! We’ve never had that many hecklers at our shows except for the Shindig! Finals. “Bring back Motorcycle Man!” [another competing artist]. We said “Motorcycle Man taught us everything we know about metal even though he drives by our house everyday on a Kawaski Ninja!” In Calgary we had some guy shouting out Iron Maiden and Judas Priest song titles so Cam sang the first line of every song and he shut up.
Since you won studio time [Shindig!’s first prize] have you thought about using backward masking on any of the new songs?
We’ve thought about that, and we were actually really bummed out because we thought about it after we recorded the new album. I’ve always been in love with Sepultura’s use of backward masking. The message is “Damn you, smoke my dope!”
How do you feel about the new album? Was your producer [Jesse Gander] more “hands-on” or did he sit back and let you do your thing?
He was perfect. When he needed to be hands-on he was, he knew when to punch up. He was great. Even when we thought we did our best take Jesse would come in and say “You can do better.”
Who came in to do the acoustic guitar and mandolin?
It’s Cory, Mike, and Johnny who are in a band called The Streets. The Streets are an unstoppable skate rock band. Johnny is an incredible guitar player who did some classical stuff; Mike played mandolin overtop… pretty sweet! They’ve just recorded a cassette demo. It’ll be released on Wreckage and Teenage Rampage.
Your record will also be out on Teenage Rampage locally, and domestically on Radio Is Down and Cadaver Fashion—how did you hook up with them?
Cadaver Fashion are friends of ours, and Matt from Radio is Down is in a band called Destro, who we played with in Olympia a while back. He really liked us and wanted to help us out which was nice. The album will be distributed by K and Scratch.
After the record is released, what next?
In June there should be a tour across this fine nation of ours. However, the precise details are still yet to be worked out. We are slotted to play Toronto at the beginning of June, so we are going to arrange to make our way out there. There’s talk of going down the west coast in May.
Being on the road, is there one “road trip” album the band can unanimously agree on listening to on those long drives?
Iron Maiden, Powerslave. Or Live After Death.
A couple final questions. Name three other bands besides yourselves you would have on the bill at your dream concert.
Wow… serious or comedy? Children of Bottom, Blind Guardian, and Manowar for good measure!
What would Jesus do?
He would bang his head and stick his thumb out while giving the horns.•