Billy Riker - 3

April 7, 2006

Tell me a little bit about how 3 started.

Well, there are many different variations of 3. The original band was Joey Eppard on guitar and vocals, his brother Josh Eppard on drums who is now the drummer of Coheed And Cambria, and Chris Bittner on bass who produced all the Coheed records. It was the three of them who started it and slowly later on members of the band Peacebomb which was 3's favorite band that we looked up to, they came on board and now our two drummers are the guys from Peacebomb. In 2000 the greatest guitar player of all time, Billy Riker decided to join the band. That's me. I was previously in a band in an earlier incarnation called Three which was way before 3. We were like 14 years old. I reunited musically with Joey in 2000 and Daniel Grimsland joined last year. Our second bass player Joel had a baby so now the current lineup is about a year old. This formation. But yeah, that's it.

You guys have put out a couple of CDs and now you have one out called Wake Pig.

Wake Pig is our new album. We had put it out originally on our local label Planet Noise Records and then Metal Blade got a copy of it and pretty much signed us just upon hearing it. Now it's been remastered and there are new songs and remixes. New vocal parts and things going on there.

To make it worthwhile for people to buy it.

To make it worthwhile. New artwork. Yeah. Plus it really sounds way better. The new mastering.

How would you describe the sound of 3?

The sound of 3 is really interesting. Our influences really are just the purest forms of the history of rock. It's interesting because we're a metal band but we have an acoustic guitar player which is kind of rare and he plays a very unique style of very rapid fire acoustic guitar. It's like we do an auditory good cop/bad cop between the two guitarists and there's the metal guitars and the acoustic going together. Then there's the two drummer thing going on. The thunderous bass player and Joey has such an interesting voice. He doesn't scream. He sings very softly almost like a slow Stevie Wonder sound.

I can't wait to hear that. Tell me a little bit about Wake Pig and why it's called that.

"Wake pig" was a phrase. Our drummer is from West Virginia. He has a lot of catch phrases that he keeps saying all the time and one of his popular ones was "wake pig". In the morning when we used to work together, he would knock on the door and say "wake pig". He'll go on one end of his bass drum and have me grab the other and say "life pig". When we named the record, it was right as we went to war so it was "wake pig" because we're all soldiers now. We recorded the album at home at our own studio. I think we spent $7,000 or something. We got a computer and a bunch of microphones and Joey painstakingly engineered and produced pretty much the entire thing. There are a couple of tracks that we had some other help on but pretty much he was in the studio slowly over a year just formulating because a lot of the songs were formulated already when we played. Some of them were even on previous albums. It's new and improved versions. Sometimes you don't get to do the version you want to do. Wake Pig was the first record from 3 that came out that was current. It wasn't a year old when we finally got it finished. Even though it took a year to make it, it was still as we were making it, very fresh.

You guys got to play with Coheed And Cambria.

Yeah, brother of the drummer tour. They love us. We grew up with those guys. They're all old friends of ours. We've known them since high school. It was so awesome. They've taken us out three separate times. The longest was a two and a half month national tour with them and that was a dream come true. Both bands really liked it because we're just such good friends that it was a lot of fun.

I like your album titles. Your first one was Paint By Number

which I have something at home with little numbers telling me what color to use.

Yeah, Joey named that because the engineers and producers he was working with when he was recording it wanted him to color between the lines. He couldn't color outside of the lines. There were a lot of musical ideas they wouldn't let us do. Now finally that we have our own studio he can do it. People want to be safe a lot of times, if not they want to paint by numbers. That's what they want from music.

It seems to me that it's your project. You ought to decide what you want to do. Not what somebody else wants.

Yeah, exactly.

Then you had Summer Camp Nightmare.

That was named after, there's a movie from 1985 titled Summer Camp Nightmare that went direct to HBO one summer and we all just watched it over and over again. It's really hard to find. I found a VHS copy on E-Bay. The title comes from that but really musically there are a couple of songs on there that are sort of a story of this guy who sees this girl swimming. This beautiful girl and he's spying on her and as she's swimming she drowns and he can't save her. He doesn't know how to swim and then her ghost is haunting him and it's just a summer camp nightmare.

Oh, shit. Now I'm going to have find that movie or you can make a copy of it for me and send it to me. I love horror movies.

This is so bad though. It stars some old washed up actor. He had a TV show called Thrill Seekers. He's the camp counselor and he's accused of molesting one of the kids but it's not true and the campers capture all the counselors and take over the camp. It's like party camp. For two weeks all the kids are getting drunk and it's a great '80s movie.

You guys went to Japan.

That was awesome. That was a lot of fun. Playing over there was really cool. People really listen to music.

Those people are fucking fanatical about music.

Fanatical. They really treasure music. Also everything is so clean and everyone's so polite. Everyone is bowing and if you're sick, you wear a dust mask over your face so you don't have to get everybody else sick too. Everyone is very polite. The restaurant is completely packed. Everyone is talking but whispered like the whole family is listening really intently so you don't have to talk loud. It's just a different culture really. It's crazy. It's the same thing with the way they listen to music.

They're such quiet people but they like such loud music. Those people are just beautiful. You guys are out on the road with Yakuza. How has that been going?

Yeah, we love Yakuza. It's been going good. Yakuza is really interesting.

I like the gas mask thing.

The gas mask thing is really cool. That's scary. Sometimes he starts hugging the speakers and stuff. He's caressing his speaker. He gets really weird. I love those guys. I think it's a good fit because they're like us where there's a heavy metal band but we have an acoustic guitar. They're heavy metal but they have a saxophone. It's a good new direction. Not a new direction but a new direction.

How long have you guys been out on the road together?

I'm not sure but all together it's going to be four weeks. I think we're in the middle of it somewhere.

He's lost track of time.

I've completely lost...is it Friday again?

I like this quote. "There's nothing more inspiring than to see your art bridge oceans and connect distant cultures."

Yeah, Joey said that. He's a vegetarian.

He doesn't eat meat. He will not eat your cow. Any other thoughts or comments?

Look out for bad fortune cookies.

3