Joey Eppard: Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar
The Gartdrumm: Drums, Backing Vocals
Billy Riker: Electric Guitar
Daniel Grimsland: Bass, backing vocals
Following the release of Revisions and after several tours with Porcupine Tree and an epic run on the first Progressive Nation Tour with Dream Theater, Opeth and Between the Buried and Me, 3 returned home brimming with inspiration. Joey Eppard, Billy Riker, Daniel Grimsland and The Gartdrumm immediately began creating demos of ideas that would evolve into The Ghost You Gave to Me. It wasn’t long before the songs took on a life of their own. The band found themselves growing out of the standard rock compositional format into something more cinematic in nature. Joey Eppard adds: "The songs told us where to go and the instrumentation followed. We knew this record would be our most progressive but it would be on our terms, and in our own way. As always songwriting and melody are the driving forces behind the sounds capes we generate. I think the biggest challenge was to rise to the occasion lyrically with so many musical scene changes. What I found was that I had to let go and allow the words and melody to be as creative and original as the music, if not more so. In a progressive situation this can be time consuming and indeed the bulk of my efforts were focused on exceeding my own lyrical standards. For example, "Only Child," an eight minute epic that traverses a myriad of musical scenes has enough great lyrics for half a record.
3 ended up with about 25 solid song ideas which were eventually narrowed down to the best 12 compositions, mostly by going with the material that was the most lyrically complete. Eppard explains: "If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of making records, it’s that you can’t force lyrics, although I do seem to do some of my best work with my back up against the wall. For example, the title track; "The Ghost You Gave to Me" was just an instrumental that I still hadn’t come up with lyrics for yet. We were already mixing the record and I had one day to write the lyrics and record the vocals for the song (usually this takes weeks for me!). I locked myself in a room with my recording gear and some notebooks and dove in. I had to go stream of conscious style and just sorta sing whatever popped into my head. Soon bits and pieces began to spark my inspiration… I found a thread and just went with it." About 12 hours later, Eppard was exhausted but was wrapping up the song and feeling pretty psyched about the final result. Lines such as: "tidal controls warping the poles…quaking… drawn back the blanket of faith… to the muscle of soul, brightness unfolds breaking….the Lion is stirring to wake." And also: "emanating epicenter, brutal waves born to vapors clung, last gasp escapes your lung… Universe is on the tip of your bitter tongue… I want to Thank You For the Ghost You Gave To Me…"
The lyrics took an immediate real-world meaning that evening as an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Joey Eppard recalls the scene: "My work complete, I stumbled downstairs and flipped on the TV. When the newscaster began to speak I found myself frozen in my tracks, hair standing on the back of my neck in disbelief of what I was hearing. "This is live footage of Japan which has been struck by a 7.8 earth quake (a few hours later it would be classified a 9)… I braced myself as I watched the tsunami consume whole towns; cars trying to outrace the waves were overtaken. I could only imagine the human devastation. The news crew was beside themselves and unsure of what to say… I still had the lyrics I’d written earlier in the day buzzing in my head and it was definitely more than a coincidence. "Tidal controls warping the poles" (the following day it was reported that the earthquake had shifted the earth’s axis ever so slightly), "emanating epicenter… brutal waves" It was quite mind blowing to have sung this line all day and then to flip on my TV only to see it taking place in reality. Even "brightness unfolds breaking" & "born to Vapors clung" seemed to carry an eerie heaviness as the days passed and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima unfolded. I’m not about to start calling myself a psychic or anything but that day when I immersed myself in the music and let the words come through me I tapped into something… something that is beyond the current scientific conception of how human consciousness actually works. It’s very fitting really, because this is a haunted record and we are a band that walks between worlds."
Joey Eppard’s experience is the very essence of 3 – they are a band apart: dark yet uplifting, spiritual without any connection to religion – theirs is a sound that transcends the genre conformity of modern pop culture. The 3 trademarks are intact: rapid-fire acoustic guitar infused with animated drumming and thunderous bass culminate in a listening experience that is at once accessible and unique. Poly-rhythms pulse within a symphony of driving metal guitars and melodic vocal acrobatics while musical peaks and valleys cross paths with bright and uplifting choruses, dark and heavy passages powered by Gartdrumm’s aggressive drumming, the acoustic/electric guitar duo of Joey Eppard and Billy Riker, and the driving, melodic bass lines of Daniel Grimsland. The Ghost You Gave to Me is 3 at their most inspired and determined.