May 5, 2006

3's Wake Pig Dodges Categorization

When I found 3’s Wake Pig on my desk, I was perplexed; no affected indie art, no sentence for a band name, just a big “3” against a black cover. I don’t know how many CD’s I’ve received where the design of the album cover is better than the insipid emo within.

I was wary. One of the guys is wearing an ear-flapped hunting cap in the press photo, bearing his teeth. There is big red 3 on a black album with weird translucent threads (neurons?).
I was thinking metal. I was wrong.

Well, nearly. 3 owes some of its sound to metal (what new rock band doesn’t), but the music itself is mutable and unpredictable. Wake Pig is one of those albums where track one doesn’t have to sound like track two, and yet still comes off as a cohesive unit, one full album.

Wake Pig was recently re-released on Metalblade, after its first incarnation on Planet Noise.
“We needed a label with more outreach and marketing muscle,” says Joey Eppard, vocalist and guitars.

The band started in Woodstock, New York, nationally known as a music town for decades.
“There are a lot of heavy musicians, producers and engineers in this town,” says Eppard. “You stop to get some coffee and end chatting with ‘Clip’ from P-Funk, you run into Doctor Know from the Bad Brains in the produce section of the grocery store, Jerry Marotta at the gas station.”

3 is not the only band to come out of Woodstock recently. Joey Eppard’s brother Josh is the drummer for Coheed and Cambria, another band to find success out of the area.
Both Coheed and 3 have been categorized in the catchall progressive label, which is unfortunate. The bands may share similar characteristics, but the sound is different. Eppard’s vocals are more Ozzy than Geddy, yet soulful and controlled. The band’s sound is more funk than punk, so to speak.

Eppard recognizes music categorizing for what it is: a marketing tool.

“Although, when business principles supercede artistic ones you have to wonder what the effects on our cultural evolution might be,” he says. “For a while I suspected there was some sort of emo handbook these bands were all reading. Move like this, twirl mic like so, throw in some screams, cut your hair like your an anime character etc, etc...”

“We end up in the progressive category mostly because it is a broad genre within which we can play intricate, melodic, musically and compositionally ambitious songs,” says Eppard.

Intricate is the right word. Eppard’s mastery of the guitar (especially the acoustic) is brow raising, and if anything, a respectable accent, never the focus. 3 avoids the pretension commonly associated with prog rock while maintaining the feeling that these guys know what they’re doing.

“We don't try to be complex, really we strive for balance,” says Eppard. “For us the song comes first, but if you grace a good song with skilled musicianship then that is the ultimate.”
The band’s Purevolume site is the best place for a sample, offering free downloads of both cuts from Wake Pig and live performances.

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