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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Q&A: The Devil Makes Three on influences, recording

The Devil Makes Three
The Devil Makes three will be playing at the Senator Theater on Feb. 3. The Santa Cruz group’s music is a blend of several styles, such as blues, folk, country, bluegrass and ragtime. Photograph courtesy of Andrea Cordova.

The Devil Makes Three is a local band from Santa Cruz and its music is a blend of bluegrass and folk, but the group has a sound that is all its own.

The band’s latest album, I’m a Stranger Here,showcases its raw talent. Guitarist Pete Bernhard not only shares his inspirations but also the band’s music and experiences on the road.

The Devil Makes Three is such an unique name for a band. What is the origin behind that name?

It was created by a friend in a moment of divine inspiration.

Did you guys always know you wanted to make music?

I did. It was a family tradition. Everyone I looked up to was a musician or a visual artist.

Who inspires you as musicians?

Most of my musical inspirations have unfortunately departed from this earthly plane. There are many: Hank Williams, Django Reinhardt, Townes van Zandt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Bob Dylan, Fugazi, Bob Wills. There’s more, but I don’t want the interview to be an endless list of musicians.

The music you play can be described as a blend of genres such as folk and blues. Was that type of music something you always planned on making as a band?

We have been inspired by folk, blues, country, punk, early rock ‘n’ roll. That said, we never had a plan as a band and we continue to have no plan. We play whatever is interesting to us at the time.

Was it difficult trying to get exposure for your music in this age of pop music?

We don’t really think of our band as competing with pop musicians so I’d say no. It’s a whole other world that we rarely even notice exists. The air waves are unfortunately clogged with complete garbage these days and that does sadden us. So many great musicians out there are not getting access to mainstream radio or media these days, and we all hope that will change.

As songwriters, how do you go about writing a song?

I write the bones of the song and we arrange the songs and write the solos and harmonies as a band. We try not to rush the process and just put out albums when we feel we have enough material to do something decent.

What was the experience like recording at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville?

It was great. The studio is set up with one live tracking room and a control room so we recorded live for the most part which suits our sound. It’s a nice space with pictures of our heroes from Chess Records on the walls. It was a great fit. We have Buddy Miller to thank for sending us there.

The albums your band makes are a mix of both live and studio. Which do you prefer making?

Our last album was really fun to make — probably the most fun we have had in the studio. Usually we prefer to do live records and we plan to do another one soon.

You’ve toured with such legends as Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. What kind of experience was that?

It was a dream come true for me, all of us in fact. Both of them are true legends and influences on our sound. They were both really cool and invited us on stage with them to sing at the end of their sets. We hope to do it all again.

If you were not in a band, what would you three be doing with your lives?

Personally, if music was not part of my life my life would have very little purpose. I can’t even imagine it.


Show Details

  • Date: Feb. 3
  • Time: 8 p.m.
  • Location: Senator Theatre
  • Price: $25

Erin Vierra can be reached at [email protected] or @gingersmurf85 on Twitter.



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