3 Inches Of Blood
Interview with Shane Clark (Lead Guitar)
@ O2 Islington Academy
Interview by Joffie Lovett
Photography by Michelle Murphy
Before seeing the awesome thrash metal legends Overkill live at London’s 02 Islington Academy tonight, we had the pleasure of speaking to the direct support act of the night ‘3 Inches Of Blood’ and sat down for a brief moment with Shane Clarke, to talk all things Metal from the Old School to the now and even a little bit about Hellraiser too, whilst a long line of other enthusiastic interviewers queued behind us.
3 Inches Of Blood is a band that’s had a variety of members and line-up changes over its history starting back in 1999. How did you first end up meeting the other guys in the band and ultimately then become a member of 3 Inches Of Blood?
Shane: Yeah, the drummer at the time who I’m still good friends with, Matt Wood, he gave me the heads up when one of the original guitar players left. Him and I were playing in a Melvins cover band at the time, and as he knew that I was a quite a Metalhead he then told me that 3 Inches Of Blood were looking for a new lead guitar player and so I phoned them up. It was funny because they knew the previous bands that I’d been playing in and the band that I was currently playing in at that time, so I actually never really auditioned, so they just said “ahh ok, so you wanna play in the band?” and I said “yeah!” and then we met up and that was that.
So you were already good mates with the 3 Inches Of Blood guys before joining the band?
Shane: A little bit yeah, most of the guys I knew. I met Cam and Jamie at parties and stuff but never really knew them that well enough…
It must have been nice not to have the environment of a serious audition then I’d imagine?
Shane: Yeah I mean Vancouver is not really that big, and if you’re in the Metal scene there then you kind of know at least who most of the people are.
Yeah, a bit like London I guess. The scene here doesn’t seem to be as massive as most people think and everyone seems to know everyone a lot of the time.
Where does the band name 3 Inches Of Blood come from and is there any secret meaning behind it?
Shane: Errm, it just comes from a story really. Jamie Hooper one of the original guys, the original abrasive vocalist, it was either him or his brother had a big list of names. It’s a really boring story… …they just kind of went “Oh, this name sounds like it would be a cool name”.
Ahh I see, I always thought that there was some kind of secret meaning behind it or something like that.
Shane: I’m being very truthful today to be honest; I usually end up making stories up about where the name came from and telling different ones each time. Like Shark Attacks or “there was 3 Inches Of Blood in my shoe” or whatever else, or you could make up your own if you want and say that I said it?! [Laughs]
The band’s material has always harkened back to the older more traditional elements of Heavy Metal with a lot of references to bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Dio but in a small way has a slight tongue in cheek edge to it, do you think that that element of humour is important for Heavy Metal nowadays to keep the enjoyment there for not only the fans but the band themselves too?
Shane: No no, I would totally disagree. We’re Metalheads and we’re really serious about that. We don’t take ourselves too seriously as people, and I don’t know if either of you have been in a band, but you can’t do this stuff if you’re just joking. So, we take our Metal very seriously. So the tongue in cheek thing, if someone hears a slight tongue in cheek element to our music, that’s fine, but that’s just the way it is for our band, we’re a Heavy Metal band.
And were a lot of the classic NWOBHM bands a big influence on you and the other guys not only with the current material but also growing up and hearing them?
Shane: Oh yeah, huge! You can definitely hear that in our music. You’ve got the main influences that you can hear like Priest and Maiden, early 3 Inches Of Blood is very Iron Maiden influenced. Then when Justin and I joined, we sort of got rid of that a little bit and just added more of what we’re personally into which is more 70’s style Judas Priest, Rainbow and then 80’s stuff like Slayer and Metallica. Just more aggressive riffing I think, as I don’t think there’s as much of that on the first two records.
So is it a strange feeling for you guys to be now playing in the UK where a lot of these bands hail from?
Shane: It’s really cool because most of my favourite bands are from here, and it’s really cool to be here and play the same venues that your heroes have played or even becoming friends with some of these guys. I’d think back to my grade 8 self and think “wow! I’m having beers and hanging out with Shane Embury from Napalm Death!” and you stop and think “well… …fancy that!”
Michelle (photographer): Yeah, it makes you take a step back and think about the situation a bit.
Shane: Yeah, totally!
So have you had any strange guests or visitors to your shows in the past that you’ve not expected?
Shane: Umm, yeah. Doug Bradley, the guy that plays Pinhead in the Hellraiser movies.
Wow! No way!?
Shane: Yeah, he came to the show out in Baltimore. I think he lives out there. So that was pretty cool!
I wanted to ask about Cam Pipes as well, as he has a very unique style to his vocals and hits a wide range of extremely high notes with his singing. Does he have to do anything to help maintain his voice and keep his voice in shape, as it must be a difficult thing to continue do sing like that night after night on a tour?
Shane: I’ve wondered that myself. He’s a lot healthier than he used to be, but generally he would still drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes. I think the most he does is gargle water before he sings. I think he’s just that kind of guy that sings that way.
So he doesn’t have any kind of warm up routine before going on stage or anything like that?
Shane: No, no. It’s funny because I can’t even try and make fun of him and sing like him. He just does it and it’s really natural for him.
Yeah, I remember the first time I saw you guys live over in Wacken and hearing Cam Pipes’ vocals for the first time and thinking “Jesus! This guy’s amazing!” and watching with my jaw almost on the floor.
Shane: Yeah and he doesn’t really even warm up before doing shows at all.
After tonight’s show in London where is the band playing after this on the tour?
Shane: Yeah, this is about the 4th show on the tour I think. The tour’s about 20 dates long, but then there’s a lot of German shows, I think there’s 9 altogether. Germany seems to have its own Metal thing, it’s really cool. They’re very serious about it!
Yeah, they seem to be kind of stuck in the 80s with a lot of their music culture but in a really good way!
Shane: Oh, for sure! Yeah! And we identify with a lot of that, you know, all the Denim and Leather, Saxon kind of stuff. Even though Saxon aren’t from there, but you know what I mean. And bands like Accept definitely. There’s a lot of Metal clubs in Germany where you’ll find guys who are very serious about their Metal. After this show though I think we’re heading to Italy, and we’re doing one show in Prague and in Belgium, but predominantly a lot of the shows are in Germany, it’s like half the tour is over there.
Michelle (photographer): Yeah, it seems like a lot of bands are doing a lot more dates in Germany nowadays.
Shane: Yeah, and as this is Overkill’s tour they go down very well over in Germany too. It’s a great opportunity for us to get more German fans actually, because we’ve had a kind of odd relationship with Germany really. Some towns are excellent to play to and then some towns just stand there and don’t do anything. Then some hardcore karate-kick break down band will play and they’ll love it and I just think “we’re in fucking Germany man!”.
Do you think that’s an aged based thing with audiences or maybe a difference in audiences between East and West Germany or something like that?
Shane: I have no idea; I haven’t paid that much attention to it. Germany has great beer so I’m not going to complain.
Are there any other final words from you and the rest of the 3 Inches Of Blood guys for the readers of Metal Rules to end things off?
Shane: Yeah, check out our new record “Long Live Heavy Metal”!
And you guys did a new music video recently for the track Leather Lord as well?
Shane: Yeah, and it’s probably the most favourite video for me that we’ve ever done. We did the least amount of work on it as well. A lot of the videos we’ve done there’s been some humour in those, for sure. Like the Battles And Brotherhood one where we’re all barbarians and stuff, those were fun to do but ultimately when you have a vision for something and you put that vision into someone else’s hands then it’s not going to be your vision, right? The Leather Lord video was one of those rare times where we worked with someone and they had very much the exact same idea. So then we were all like, finally! This is a cool idea!
Yeah, it must be frustrating to put together a brief and then the video turns out to be something very different.
Shane: Yeah, exactly. For Leather Lord we wanted it to be Psychedelic, Satanic imagery.
Ahh, it looks as though they want to get you off to the next interviewer as we’ve gone over our timeslot a little bit.
Shane: Ahh that’s ok man.
Well, thanks very much for talking to us today Shane and thanks for giving up your time, and it was really great to meet you and the rest of the guys.
Shane: No problem dude, no problem at all! And it was great to meet you too!
Thanks again mate!
Shane: Thank you!