EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH 3 INCHES OF BLOOD VOCALIST CAM PIPES
Some people might laugh at the lyrics of songs about destroying both orcs and the enemies of metal. Others might not appreciate the sounds of the 80’s as much as the amply bearded Canadians in 3 Inches of Blood do, and anyone who’s heard them know that they piss guitar harmonies and spit falsetto like they were nursed at the teat of METAL ITSELF!
Either way, if you were once like me, then chances are you are criminally underrating them. Watching the powder-keg ignite as they took the stage at a sold out home show with Bison B.C. was a site to behold and only increased my esteem for these classic metal warriors. Just before hitting the stage in his distinctive denim vest, vocalist Cam Pipes was able to offer a few words to MetalSucks. For extra fun imagine this gentle beast falsetto singing every response!
Tell us about touring for Fire Up the Blades. You’ve been on the road for over a year now, right?
Yeah, pretty much since right when it came out in June of ’07. It’s hard to believe that we’re still touring on that record. It doesn’t seem like we’ve had much a break until recently, but its been great. We’ve been able to go back to Europe for the first time in three years…
How was touring in Europe?
Awesome. Just like reliving it; like being there for the first time again because we hadn’t been there in so long. We went to a lot of places we hadn’t been before like Portugal Norway, Bulgaria, just to name a few. There were lots of new cities we’d never been to and lots of new countries as well.
What’s the crowd reaction like country to country? Are some places more into it?
It’s much like here, if you’ve been there before or they at least know about your band then there are some people there that are excited and know the words to your songs. There are places like Bulgaria that probably don’t get a lot of music in general. They’re just happy to have bands come see them. You’re lucky if a few people know about you and in most cases they did.
What was the original idea behind 3 Inches of Blood when it first formed back in the day?
Well, I wasn’t in the band when it first formed. It was mainly a bunch of guys that I knew who were bored with what was going on and decided to do something that was different from what other people were doing and kind of like throwback to old metal. They asked me to join because they heard I could do some falsetto stuff. That’s how I came into it.
What were your influences then coming into the band?
There’s the obvious ones like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. Halford and Bruce Dickinson were probably my biggest [influences]. Bon Scott, Ian Gillan, Dio. Those are probably the main ones. I have a lot of favorite singers but those are the most predominant.
I don’t really do anything. I always have water nearby in case my throat is dry. Other that I don’t really hit the booze too hard and I eat a meal hours and hours before a show.
So does your vocal style come naturally?
I guess, I never had any training for it. It’s just something I worked at.
Since Advance and Vanquish 3IOB have had a lot of line-up changes. Why so many? Is it just a matter of trying to find the right people for the right job?
It’s always tough. When someone’s leaving it’s like starting all over again almost, even if it’s just one guy. You have to teach them the songs and that’s only after you’ve found someone who’s suitable or has the ability to even play what we do. It’s always hard but we try to keep it to people that we know either really close friends or people we’ve associated with before. Only once did we really have a stranger come into the band and it was someone our old bass player knew. I don’t think we’ll really go that route again.
Was that your old drummer [Alexei Rodriguez]?
[nods] He was with us for a couple years but it didn’t take long to see what kind of guy he was really like. He was a great drummer, we’ll never take that away from him but that was the only thing that kept him around for so long. His personality didn’t really jive with the rest of ours. It was really hard to keep your anger bottled in.
I guess he took his anger out on the drummer for Saxon [Nigel Glockler].
I think that was more the drugs or whatever he was on. He claims he doesn’t remember anything, but he’s sober now so I guess that’s a good thing.
With so many lineup changes how has the songwriting process changed?
Bringing someone in and learning the songs from the previous record, it kind of gets in their head, kind of rubs off on them, so their songwriting style will adapt to that somewhat. Either way it’s nice to have a bit of a non-repetitive thing going on because we don’t want to write the same records.
Lyrically, a lot of your songs have a fantasy/medieval element to them. What are your influences behind that?
It changes. Early on it was a more about medieval sword-fighting stuff. I don’t limit it to purely fantasy anymore. Whatever feels like a good story. I would never want to get political or emotional about any lyrics I wrote. It’s all going to come down to whatever I’m writing about and thinking of a theme that I think will make a good story and put it down to words.
What’s the story behind “Great Hall of Feasting?” I always thought of it as a medieval party song.
That’s another Norse mythology inspired song. The great hall of feasting represents Valhalla. Norse mythology is always something that comes back. We wrote about it early on in the band’s career and we’ve come back to it here and there. So that was just another way of bringing it back and taking a different angle.
One of the major events this year is that you’ve split with Roadrunner records. What happened to that relationship between the label and the band?
It was time for them to decide if they were going to pick up the option for the next record. They didn’t and we’re happy about it because we didn’t really like being with that label. There was a lot of things inside the label that we didn’t like in terms of how they showed their support for us and how they pushed our band in the press. We really didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. They’re a really big corporate label now owned by Warner, so they’re moving strictly in a “We want to make money” direction and we weren’t putting up the numbers that they would have liked to see. We got dropped on the priority list time and time again and then they finally decided that it wasn’t economically viable to keep releasing this band. It’s enabled us to be a lot more creative on where we want to go. We’re not tied down to a long term contract anymore, so we can go explore other options and hopefully we’ll be a little more free to do certain things with a label that’s a lot more focused to promote us in a better way and [is] more geared towards our style.
We started looking for labels right off the bat and we’re still weighing our options, but we think we might be getting close. I’m not going to give away any names of potential labels right now but something could happen soon. We’re going to keep writing either way. That was always our focus to just be writing around this time and putting out new songs.
I’ve noticed you’re often in attendance at a lot of metal shows in Vancouver. What do you think of the Vancouver scene?
I think its pretty good. I don’t really pay attention to say if its strong or weak or otherwise. I’ll go see my friend’s bands play, the occasional word of mouth show and I’ll see bands that come tour through town. Often times I avoid going to shows because I’m always away and at a bar or club every night seeing bands play. Usually I just want to get away from it.
What bands do you like from Vancouver?
Bison [B.C.], Tyrant’s Blood, Jaws, and Pride Tiger off the top of my head.
So speaking of getting a new label, when do you think the next 3IOB album will drop?
It’s hard to say. We’re not on a label [yet] so who knows. It’s kind of up in the air.
Any last comments you want to make?
Keep on truckin’!