3 Inches of Blood are Canada's premier metal militia
by Shawn Jam Hill
Could 3 Inches of Blood be Canada’s greatest metal band?
Flying the flag of trOO heavy metal, 3IoB hasn’t kowtowed to any trend over its decade of existence. Advance and Vanquish dropped in 2004 and set the underground aflame with such instant classiques as Deadly Sinners, a ripper about, um, deadly sinners, and the über-awesome Wykydtron, a hard-rockin’ ditty about a futuristic machine that comes to life and ravages the Earth (I think).
Fast forward to 2011: Three quarters of the Advance and Vanquish line-up have long since decamped to form Thin Lizzy-worshipping boogie-meisters Pride Tiger; the signature dual vokills of Jamie Hooper (inhuman larynx shred) and Cam Pipes (soaring NWOBHM Priest acolyte) have been pared down to Pipes alone as Hooper was in danger of losing his voice forever. Doctor’s orders: No more rock.
Cam Pipes is a man of few words but, in the course of a chat via phoner, the burly frontman schools me on all things 3IoB. “Jamie hasn’t been in the band since 2008,” explains Pipes by way of an extremely windblown cell connection. “There’s more room on stage now, for one thing. Jamie’s leaving didn’t change things much at all. We still have two vocalists: Justin’s (Hagberg, guitars) doing the other vocals instead of having another separate screamer guy. Everyone’s still friends and all; I see Jamie around when I’m at home.”
But 3IoB sure isn’t on its home turf of Vancouver very often. The release of 2009’s battle-ready, Jack Endino (Nirvana, High On Fire) helmed juggernaut, Here Waits Thy Doom, propelled the band all over the world to play countries most heshers have only seen in an atlas.
Gearing up for 25 shows in 29 days from the mountains to the Maritimes may seem a daunting task but these road dogs are always keen to travel. When asked to divulge a number of shows played in any given year, Pipes is thoughtful. “We usually average somewhere between 200 or more shows a year,” he responds. “Last year we were on the tail end of promoting Here Waits Thy Doom, so there wasn’t as much going on but there were still places we had never been and needed to go to. We kept ourselves busy. We went to Japan for the first time, Australia, New Zealand for the first time. We did the Mayhem Fest in the States. Those festival tours are always good opportunities.”
Curious, I wondered how these heavy metal lifers enjoyed Japan. “Pretty insane, actually,” Pipes quips on the Land Of The Rising Sun. “We did Loud Park festival; we flew in for one show and played to about 15,000 people. We experienced as much of Tokyo as we could and then we had to go home. It was fun and really eye-opening. It’s a bit of a culture shock but we weren’t there long enough to get sucked in. Very hospitable, very nice people. What I liked about flying to Japan and back was that they’ll just come around at all times during the flight and serve you green tea, or any kind of tea you want ― and they do it quite often. Refreshing.”
OK, so they may not fit the mould of a bunch of drunken hotel-wrecking reprobates but 3IoB know how to keep it reals. “I’ve been doing this full time without any other job since 2004,” explains Pipes on the eve of his 34th birthday. (And yes, I had to ask: Cam Pipes is the man’s real name.) “I don’t use the term ‘job.’ It’s also like a hobby in a weird way
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