Canadian Metal heroes 3 Inches of Blood are getting ready to release their latest album Long Live Heavy Metal to the masses. I recently caught up with 3iOB guitarist Shane Clark in a rare moment at home and out of the studio. Shane was awesome and really took the time to discuss the band’s latest masterpiece, the new addition of Byron Stroud on bass guitar and just what the story behind Long Live Heavy Metal is. It was a blast catching up with Shane and I hope you’ll enjoy this one!
Shane, thanks for doing this!
Don! Thank you man. It’s good to talk to you again. This is perfect timing to do an interview. The new album cycle is just about to start. This is actually the first piece of press I’ve done for the new record so this is cool.
You guys are just about to release Long Live Heavy Metal. Have you seen a significant growth in the band since your last album Here Awaits Thy Doom?
Yeah. Totally. I took a listen to Here Awaits Thy Doom and to me it sounds like we’ve come so far since that record as songwriters and as players. One thing I hear personally is just growth in the songwriting and growth in the playing and just as a band. This is the first time that the same lineup has done two records and you can hear the growth of the four guys who did the last record doing this one.
As you said, this is the 2nd album you’ve done with a stable, cohesive line up. Did this make things much easier for you than on past albums with the various line up changes?
Oh yes definitely. All the other records all felt like a first time thing because there were line up changes. On the last album Ash (Peterson; drummer) had just joined the band that year and we were still getting to know Ash as a drummer. We went through all of the growing pains with this line up on the last record so now that we have nearly a solid two years of touring together and playing these songs, this album came very quickly. We wrote and recorded this one in a pretty short period of time.
Was the recording process any different this time around?
Yeah. We took a very different approach to this one. I would say that Here Awaits Thy Doom was a little more lo-fi than the previous two album. I would say that Long Live Heavy Metal is a lot closer to the two albums before Here Awaits They Doom. It’s very crisp and it’s fucking huge sounding. This album is definitely Cam Pipes’ (lead vocalist) best recorded performance to date. It’s unbelievable. When you listen to this new album you’re going to be totally blown away. Everyone is playing better. With every album you hope to get better and I really think we have and you can definitely hear it.
How much quicker did this one come together for you?
We spent less time writing. The songs came to us really fast and we were just so stoked at how the songs were coming together. We just bashed out a bunch of songs and picked the best ones that fit together, rehearsed the fuck out of them and just hit the studio. That’s the key. It’s also very economical to do it that way. I remember Lemmy saying years ago about recording , “Don’t waste your money and write in the studio. Write an album, rehearse the fuck out if and spend minimal time in the studio recording it.” That’s the template that we’ve been working with for a long time.
I would also think that writing outside of the studio is much less stressful to since you’re not worrying about working on a budget or losing a bunch of money.
Yeah. That’s a horrible feeling. That feeling is the most anti-creative feeling. When you’re pressed for time and people are breathing down your neck to finish being creative that’s the worst feeling ever. That’s a recipe for not liking your record or having a bunch of songs that make you say, “I wish I would’ve spent more time on that.”
Speaking of solidifying a line up, you guys also announced recently that you’ve recruited Byron Stroud as your new bassist. What took you guys so long to find a full time bassist?
We’ve had a few bass players where the touring thing was just a bit heavy for them and they basically had to change their life to try and make it work. We just don’t have the time to break someone in who’s green to the scene. We needed somebody who’s at our level and a life. We had a few righteous dudes play bass over the last couple of years. One guy in particular almost made it but he decided that he didn’t want to do a whole other album cycle and tour. I’ve known Byron for many years for like 12 or 13 years. I used to tech for Strapping Young Lad (Devin Townsend’s band) and that’s how I got to know him well. He actually filled in for us about two years ago on the Slipknot tour. He’s is just a full blown Heavy Metal bass player and that’s the kind of guy we need. He’s not inexperienced with being in a band and what that means.
So who did the bass playing on Long Live Heavy Metal?
Me and Justin actually played all the bass on this one. We split it up about 50/50. We’re actually both bass players so we know the difference between a guitar player playing bass and a bass player.
So the new album is called Long Live Heavy Metal. Would you say that the title is a nod to not just Heavy Metal in general but to Rainbow’s Long Live Rock N’ Roll?
We feel really strongly about Heavy Metal. The title was inspired hugely by Rainbow’s Long Live Rock N’ Roll album. Justin (Hagberg; guitarist) and I listen that record on the road a lot and it’s one of our favorites. Justin came up with the title Long Live Heavy Metal. We thought we should call the album that because we find ourselves to be purveyors of straight up Heavy Metal and keeping the torch lit. We made a righteous heavy metal record and instead of having that competitive vibe of who’s band is the best or whatever, it’s just about long living heavy metal. It’s a very positive title because it’s just about celebrating metal and living it up.
No man. You’re on the right track. Somebody else brought that up to me about a week ago. What we wanted to do for the album cover was to have the band’s two main “icons” we use with the band as a brand. One is the number 3 with a circle around it and the other is the goat head because of our song “Goatrider’s Horde.” If we were going to have a record in a store and if you saw it from far away you’re wouldn’t see the fantasy painting type of thing as much as you would see a brand. That’s who we are so we wanted to keep it simple. Everyone who knows the band knows that those are the things that people identify with.
You guys were dropped from Roadrunner Records and were pretty much free agents for a while before signing with Century Media. Do you still feel like you have that creative freedom and what not with out the label intervening too much?
Absolutely. Other labels we’ve worked with in the past have just been a business but we feel really at home with Century Media. Century Media doesn’t interfere one bit with anything creative. They’ve been around a long time being just a straight up Heavy Metal label so they know the deal. They’re not in the studio pressuring us for a single or anything. They understand what our band is all about and they just leave us to it which is fucking awesome. We’ve had a lot of great support from them since we’ve started working together.
When is Long Live Heavy Metal going to be released?
March 26th in Europe, March 27th in the States, and Australia/New Zealand on March 30th. That’s when the shit gets real man [laughs].
The face of metal really has changed these days right down to the image. Some of these bands like Avenged Sevenfold that call themselves “metal” these days are so far from it. The music they’re making is so far off the mark.
That’s the new school glam right? I’m aware of them obviously but I don’t really have much of an opinion because I just don’t care enough about it [laughs]. Today’s Avenged Sevenfold was yesterday’s Motley Crue. In the 80’s there were all kinds of bands where the singer was the focal point of the band and the look of the band really sold record. That shit has always been around and that’s fine. You can’t have one without the other. That is something that is so far removed from what we are about or where we’re coming from.
3 Inches of Blood is going to be part of the Metal Alliance tour. Are there any other tours lined up that will hopefully bring you guys to Atlanta?
Right after the Metal Alliance Tour we’re going to go to Europe. Things are just being figured out right now so I can’t give you anything really solid right now. We’re definitely going to do our own tour in the states that’s for sure and we’ll definitely come to Atlanta. Atlanta is great for us and we have really awesome fans there.
I’d love to see you guys and Holy Grail launch some sore of “new traditional metal” tour or something. Have you guys ever thought about trying to put a package tour like that together?
We’ve done quite a few shows with Holy Grail over the years but we haven’t thought too much of doing that kind of a package tour. I do think that’s a cool ideal but we’re fans of diversity when it comes to touring. For instance, I’ve seen some really cool old school Death Metal bands here in Vancouver on a package tour with six other Death Metal bands that sound just like the headliner and it’s a little counterproductive.
Shane, now it’s time for me to throw some fun questions at you. I just like to do these kind of questions to try and get to know someone a bit better.
Sure thing man. Let’s do it.
If 3 Inches of Blood were able to headline arenas, what would you’re stage set look like?
Oh man. Ok, so I’m a big fan of seeing the amps on stage so I want huge walls of cabinets. Just like AC/DC, all the cabs are plugged in and I want to be able to feel the speakers pushing air off the stage. It would be at least 19 or 20 cabinets on each side. We’re talking arenas right?
Oh shit man, let’s do some Van Halen shit and just have tons of speakers everywhere just ripping faces off. Smoke, lasers, blowing some shit up, dragons jumping out of the PA. Yeah, I stole that but I stole it and reversed it from it’s original intention [laughs]. There’s all that but at the same time, I can’t help but just think, “let the music do the talkin’” ya know?
Are there any bands we’d be surprised to hear you were a fan of?
Oh yeah, tons. For as much as I am a Heavy Metal fan I’m just a fan of music and good art. If it’s good music I’m into it. Lately I’ve been into this band from Seattle called The Cave Singers. I got into them from that movie Cabin Fever II. They had the opening song in that movie and it’s kind of folky acoustic driven music which I’m really into. I grew up with a lot of outlaw country and bluegrass. My dad was a bluegrass musician.
I can dig some of that old “real” country music. The shit that they call country music now is so far from what it used to be.
Man, that shit is totally not country. It’s funny. Somebody can put out a pop song with Def Leppard sounding background vocals but if the person in the video is wearing a cowboy hat it’s country music all of the sudden [laughs]. I have been listening to a lot of Freddy King lately. He’s this blues guy from Texas. That’s just some high energy and heavy shit.
In you opinion, what is the ultimate metal album that EVERYONE should own and why?
Oh man. Slayer’s Reign In Blood is one of the best albums ever made. That is what I would say is a perfect record. Wolverine Blues by Entombed and Arise from Sepultura are two other really perfect records. There are so many perfect Heavy Metal records but it depends on what era of Heavy Metal we’re talking about ya know? I mean, Rainbow Rising and Long Live Rock and Roll are both amazing records but In Rock and Machine Head by Deep Purple are perfect also. Then you’ve got Black Sabbath and Captain Beyond. There are so many righteous records out there.
What is your most prized piece of music memorabilia?
Man, I’ve got a couple of cool things but I’ve got this huge ass Rush 2112 rug. It’s fucking massive and it covers almost an entire wall in my apartment. That’s probably the cream of the crop for me. I love that piece.
If Hollywood called and said they wanted to make a movie about Shane Clark, who would play you?
Hm, who would be me? Wow, you kind of stumped me there. Well, I think Jack Black would be good since we have sort of the same physique. Yeah, I would have to say him or Count Floyd from SCTV [laughs]. Yeah, let’s go with Count Floyd.
And last but not least, do you have a message you’d like to send out to the fans?
Yeah. Check out the new record when it comes out and we’ll see you all on tour. Can’t wait.
Shane thanks so much for doing this man. It was great catching up with and beers on me next time you’re in Atlanta!
That sounds great Don. I really appreciate your support and I’m glad we had a chance to do this before the record comes out. Thanks for getting the word out for us. Take it easy man.