The Devil Makes Three is an eclectic band from Santa Cruz, Calif. The folk-punk band consists of guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, on guitar and on banjo there is Cooper McBean. To date they have five albums and a bright future ahead.
During a busy touring and festival season, IN was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist Pete Bernhard who filled us in on the band and their humble beginnings.
IN: Where do you and the other band members hail from?
BERNHARD: All three members of The Devil Makes Three (dm3) were raised in Southern Vermont. Cooper McBean lives in Austin, Texas, Lucia Turino and myself live in Brattleboro, Vt.
IN: What are your musical backgrounds?
BERNHARD: I started playing guitar at age 12; my first lessons came from family members. Both Cooper and I were raised with musicians in our families. My brother, father, aunt and uncle were all musicians. Lucia Turino started playing bass when she joined the band. She is a very quick study and quickly surpassed our knowledge of upright bass.
IN: How did you and the others develop your individual musical styles?
BERNHARD: We did so by attempting to learn the records we loved by ear and failing. That mixed with a dearth of proper musical education and voila’.
IN: Who are your musical influences?
BERNHARD: Howling Wolf, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Townes Van Zandt and Sleep.
IN: How did the band come together?
BERNHARD: We all grew up in the same area in New England but the band formed in Santa Cruz, Calif. due to a lucky car break down. Our first shows took place there in Southern California, mostly in houses and cafes.
IN: How many albums do you have so far?
BERNHARD: Three studio and two live.
IN: Follow up question: tell us about the first one and the last one.
BERNHARD: Our first record was recorded in the Santa Cruz, Calif. mountains before we really knew what we were doing. Cooper and I recorded all the instruments on the record and sang all the vocal parts. I love it, but it is slower and darker than what we are up to these days. Our last record was recorded at home in California onto tape, and has Lucia Turino on bass and backing/lead vocal. We also added steel, harmonica and fiddle. The record is much more upbeat and a lot more traditional sounding. More country and blues on “Do Wrong Right” than we ever had on the earlier albums.
IN: How long have you been touring with Flogging Molly?
BERNHARD: Our first tour with them was earlier this year and it was great.
IN: How would you rate performing at large music festivals?
BERNHARD: I rate it very highly – perhaps, four stars? I enjoy music festivals, but I also enjoy leaving them and retreating to someplace very quiet and sparsely populated afterward.
IN: How did your style of music develop?
BERNHARD: It is hard to calculate. We have stolen from everyone, and continue to do so. All musicians and artists are thieves; we just tend to only steal from old musicians – even dead ones. You could say we are musical grave robbers. Our music is like a feral animal; it once was domesticated, but now has chosen to return to the wild permanently. If you try to make friends with it you might get rabies, but you might make a friend for life. Everything we love about music has been ground down to a fine dust in our brains. The musical mixture could be snorted like Keith Richards snorted his dad’s ashes, but we recommend that you mix it with liquid and drink it slowly.
IN: Do you have any additional comments to add?
BERNHARD: We are so looking forward to touring with Flogging Molly again. Great band and great people all around.
THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
Saturday 12:15-1:15 p.m., “Letting Go” Stage